22 Oct 2013

Money for Team NZ 'no guarantee' of Cup challenge

10:10 am on 22 October 2013

The Government says its multi-million dollar commitment to Team New Zealand is no guarantee there will be another America's Cup challenge.

The Cabinet on Monday agreed to give the team $5 million to help retain key staff until a decision is made on whether to mount a challenge for the next America's Cup.

Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton says the team has been working on the challenge almost from the last race day in San Francisco.

Mr Dalton says the team has been talking informally with existing and potential sponsors, and will start calling on them with proposals from next month.

He says decisions by Oracle Team USA on the venue, dates and class of yacht for the next America's Cup race will be fundamental in the decision to mount a challenge.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the sum the Government is giving is slightly less than the team wanted, but a balance needed to be struck between keeping key players and potentially losing the investment.

"There's always a risk that you're flushing it away, so to speak. But these guys are very keen to go again, they've got some very supportive sponsors, at least in principle, so all of those things are positives."

Mr Joyce said there is every likelihood they will put together a challenge though that cannot be guaranteed.

The minister said he has spoken to both Grant Dalton and Dean Barker, and although they have been through the wringer, both are keen to stay with Team New Zealand.

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron says the Government's interim investment towards a potential challenge is an important first step.

Vice-Commodore Andy Anderson says some of the team members have been together for seven campaigns, and the government funding means that knowledge will be retained.