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Louis Vuitton Pacific Series a winner for Auckland

15 September 2008

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series a winner for Auckland

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced government support for a new high profile international yachting regatta for Auckland, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series to be held next February and featuring Emirates Team New Zealand.

"This is an exciting development for Auckland. It will attract international spectators and tourists, and focus international media attention on our biggest city as our team, Emirates Team New Zealand, races against the world's top sailors,” Helen Clark said.

"The racing will be held within the inner harbour, from Orakei Wharf to Rangitoto. Aucklanders and visitors to the city will have a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the racing, both on and off the water. The Viaduct Basin will be a centre of activity, with all the teams based there and accessible by the public. I am sure Aucklanders and visitors will want to get behind this unique event, especially as it falls over Waitangi Day.

"The event will be hosted by Louis Vuitton, in conjunction with Emirates Team New Zealand and with the assistance of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. The racing will involve the two Emirates Team New Zealand race yachts, NZL84 and NZL92, featuring prominent New Zealand branding," Helen Clark said.

A new cup will be created by Louis Vuitton for the event. Emirates Team New Zealand, as host, will have automatic defender rights.

The regatta - to take place between 31 January and 14 February - will involve six major international Americas Cup syndicates in a match racing series in Auckland Harbour, using ETNZ yachts rotating amongst the competing syndicates, culminating in a series against ETNZ itself. Teams will arrive in New Zealand from the 24th January.

Associate Finance Minister Trevor Mallard said the government had agreed to support the event through a $750,000 contribution. This will be funded from the Government's $36 million trade and tourism allocation for Emirates Team New Zealand's buildup to, and participation in, the next America's Cup.

"New Zealand's participation in and hosting of these international regatta pay off economically – through tourism and also for our marine industries. The government’s $33.75 million investment in Emirates Team New Zealand for the last America's Cup boosted the New Zealand economy by around $2 for every dollar of public funding. When we hosted the America's Cup in 2003, more than $500 million was injected into the New Zealand economy," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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