3 Dec 2011

Marine industry hails Team NZ deal with Italians

10:15 am on 3 December 2011

The marine industry is hailing a deal under which the Italian challenger for the America's Cup will design and build most of its high-tech boat in Auckland.

The partnership between Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa - unique in Cup history - involves the Italians being based in Auckland through next year.

The hulls for the 72-foot catamaran must be built in Italy but an estimated $9 million will be spent in this country, building the rest of the boat.

Marine Industry Association executive director Peter Busfield says lateral thinking by Team New Zealand will draw attention to local expertise.

He says the deal will add one or two points' extra turnover to thei ndustry's export earnings.

But it's not just about the dollars, he says - it will boost the industry's profile.

"It acknowledges the best boatbuilding apprenticeship system in the world and here's evidence of it being used at the highest level," Mr Busfield says.

He says the spending on the boat is in addition to what the Italian team will spend living and working in Auckland through next year.