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Government commits initial $5.6 million to Team NZ

Government commits initial $5.6 million to Team NZ

The Government will commit an initial $5.625 million as part of a new marketing agreement with Team New Zealand for the 2007 America’s Cup in Europe, Minister for the America’s Cup Trevor Mallard announced today.

“This new funding will allow Team New Zealand to start the process of re-signing key team members. Without it, the human capital and intellectual property built up by Team New Zealand could disperse, putting at serious risk New Zealand’s ongoing participation in the America’s Cup,” Trevor Mallard said.

‘If this happens, all our best sailing, design and boat building talent will be forced to join foreign syndicates and related industries, which would be a tragedy for New Zealand yachting and for New Zealand. We don’t want to see that happen.

“The Government is in ongoing discussions with Team New Zealand and will not be in a position to confirm the final level of its tourism, marketing and trade investment for several months.

“The final contribution will depend on an assessment of the potential economic benefits that can be leveraged off the next regatta in Europe. It will also depend on Team New Zealand’s ability to raise substantial funding from the private sector, both from here and overseas, to mount a credible challenge.

“The Government is confident that the next America’s Cup will provide New Zealand with the chance to develop and expand on the trade and tourism opportunities created over the last eight years.

“Through the success of Team New Zealand, New Zealand has been showcased as an innovative, creative nation. The Louis Vuitton and America’s Cup regattas have highlighted New Zealand’s strengths in the areas of boat and sail design and boat building, and drawn attention to New Zealand as a perfect destination for high value tourism.

“We are sure that Team New Zealand is the right vehicle for New Zealand to leverage off the America’s Cup again.

“That’s because the next America’s Cup regatta, the first to be held in Europe, is likely to be the biggest in the history of the event both in terms of the number of challengers and public and media interest. This exposure will be magnified if Team New Zealand does well. In this respect, Team New Zealand believes that it has a young, developing team that is capable of regaining the America’s Cup.

“No one should under-estimate the amount of work that will need to be done by Team New Zealand to fund the cost of a challenge in 2007, which is likely to be in excess of $120 million. “Team New Zealand’s ability to secure new sponsors will be affected by the competition for sponsors from rival syndicates from the northern hemisphere. Team New Zealand, like the All Blacks, could have a head-to-head advantage over other possible syndicates as it’s a successful and well-known sporting brand, which will appeal to major corporate companies.

“The final level of the Government’s investment will be small in comparison to the expected cost of mounting a credible challenge for the cup in 2007. This initial investment will provide Team New Zealand with some financial certainty early to assist with their build-up and planning for the next event,” Trevor Mallard said.

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