Team New Zealand decision ‘disappointing’

Auckland Council and the government have made a combined offer in cash and in-kind of nearly $100 million, but Team New Zealand wanted twice that amount. Photo Scoop

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says Aucklanders will be disappointed at Emirates Team New Zealand’s decision to look overseas for the next America’s Cup defence.

“Moving the race overseas would be the first time a successful New Zealand team has not defended the Cup on home waters,” he said.

“Auckland Council and the government have made a combined offer in cash and in-kind of nearly $100 million, but Team New Zealand wanted twice that amount. That clearly was not sustainable in the post-Covid environment.

“While I understand Team New Zealand have to think about their commercial interests, I share Aucklanders’ disappointment that the Cup is looking like it is going overseas.”

Council invested $113 million in infrastructure for this year’s successful America’s Cup and made a huge effort to deliver it on time and on budget, Goff said.

Auckland was anticipating that the city and its businesses would get a second return on this investment, particularly after Covid prevented the positive economic impact of overseas visitors and the boost super yacht refittings would have given to the maritime industry.

“The location of the Cup Village and bases in the centre of the city was popular with all of the teams and punters, and it created a great atmosphere for the competition. It’s hard to imagine a better venue for the races than the beautiful Waitematā Harbour,” said Goff.

“Auckland was a fantastic host for the races and hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders and Kiwis descended on the waterfront to enjoy the atmosphere and support Team New Zealand throughout the competition, despite the challenges caused by Covid-19.

“While the infrastructure created to support the Cup will stay in the city as a legacy for future generations despite this decision, I think Aucklanders and New Zealanders were expecting ETNZ Emirates Team New Zealand) to acknowledge the significant support they have received by choosing to defend the Cup in Auckland.”

Meanwhile Team New Zealand said that during the three-month exclusive negotiating period between New Zealand agencies and ETNZ, they have not been able to reach a conclusion that works for all parties.

“All three parties have worked through these discussions with the best of intentions to see the AC37 hosted in Auckland, and they have not been able to reach agreement by the expiration of the exclusive period,” said Team NZ syndicate boss Grant Dalton.

“Emirates Team New Zealand will now commence discussions with other nations to look into options regarding hosting AC37 events.

“By all means, the end of the exclusive negotiation period does not eliminate all possibility of the event or an event being hosted in New Zealand. If resources enable an event in New Zealand we will remain open to it.

“But, we must explore other opportunities to ensure we can put up another successful defence. No matter where in the world we are, we will always be Team New Zealand.

“Our priority has always been to keep and defend the America’s Cup successfully. We certainly want to explore holding a regatta in Auckland and, along with discussing the venue for AC37 with other nations, would like to work through that opportunity also.”

RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young said “Whilst we also remain hopeful that the cup can stay in New Zealand, it would be prudent to now explore other options as well, with the primary objective to ensure we keep the America’s Cup trophy in the cabinet here at the club.

“As such we also understand the need to help ensure the viability of Emirates Team New Zealand so we have every opportunity to defend the America’s Cup again, wherever that may be.

“It would be an unprecedented achievement to win the America’s Cup three times in a row and taking the cup overseas may well offer the best chance for us to do so.  At a meeting last night members were presented with this option and I believe generally understood this might need to happen.”