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Ward wants water safety rather than another Cup

Ward wants water safety rather than another Cup gamble

Green MP, Mike Ward is urging the Government to make our seas and rivers safer for ordinary New Zealanders, rather than investing millions in a new America's Cup bid.

Mike, the Green Sports spokesperson finds it ironic that, at a time when Cup syndicates were spending hundreds of millions of dollars to win a rather ugly trophy, Water Safety New Zealand was struggling with a $1.5 million deficit to meet its commitment to keeping kiwis safe in the water over this summer.

"The $5.6 million our Government committed to this last - unsuccessful - Cup defence would have kept our lifesavers and coastguards funded for the next four years," said Mike Ward. "And the amount of corporate sponsorship that has been channelled away from other sports and into the Cup defence doesn't bear thinking about."

"The America's Cup has always been a game for the small group of playboy billionaires who can afford to squander fortunes in pursuit of a spots trophy. Now, two of the world's wealthiest men, Ernesto Bertarelli and Larry Ellison, have the helm and they'll spend whatever it takes to gather the best designers and the best crew.

"New Zealand has done spectacularly well in winning and keeping the Cup but the game is now moving well beyond our league.

"Auckland - and New Zealand - have done well out of the years we held the Cup but development based on holding a sports trophy is never sustainable. Sooner or later we were bound to lose it. Even if we were to regain it, how long would the public and economic euphoria last?

"Far better to invest in our future by saving lives in the water and encouraging all new Zealanders to get out and enjoy this beautiful country."

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