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Disappointment at yachties' decision

Sport, Fitness and Leisure Minister Trevor Mallard said he was disappointed at the decision by two key players in Team New Zealand to move on.

Trevor Mallard confirmed today that $5.6 million had been set aside in this year's Budget for the Team New Zealand defence of the Americas Cup.

"Team New Zealand approached the Government soon after their successful defence of the Cup earlier this year. We have been working hard to respond to their request for Government assistance.

"What we have agreed to is for Brand New Zealand to become a strategic partner with Team New Zealand for the defence campaign. This will mean that Team New Zealand will adopt the Brand New Zealand fern icon and will work closely with Tourism New Zealand and Trade New Zealand to ensure that the Americas Cup show cases New Zealand to the maximum possible extent.

"In making our decision to support Team New Zealand, we took into account their assertion that their defence was as much about national pride and identity as it was about money.

"Despite today's announcement, I remain supportive of New Zealand's bid to retain the Cup and will be discussing this with my Cabinet colleagues.

"New Zealand public supported Team New Zealand wholeheartedly – with both financial support and motivational support during the racing. I am sure they feel let down by today's announcement however there is huge depth in the crew and others standing behind them who can fill gap," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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