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Len Brown strangely silent on America’s Cup

Len Brown strangely silent on America’s Cup, more interested in NRL Nines

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer says it’s great news that the economic impact of the NRL Nines exceeded expectations, but while the Mayor is today talking up the ‘value of major events to this city,’ he remains strangely silent on Team New Zealand’s plight.

“Nine months ago the Auckland Mayor was down with the crowds at Shed 10 cheering on Team New Zealand and enthusiastically talking up the benefits to Auckland of the San Francisco regatta and coverage not to mention the huge economic boost to Auckland if the Cup ever returned.

“Back in September, he was all thumbs up about the America’s Cup, waxing lyrical about its positive impact on Auckland, and getting all prematurely excited about its return to the Viaduct.
“I’m not necessarily advocating for more Government money, I just want to know if the Mayor still thinks an America’s Cup challenge is important to Auckland, and what his view has been to the Government in recent days.

“He is now conspicuously silent when Team New Zealand need him most. He’s busy singing from the rooftops about the $9.3m economic return of the NRL Nines, but plenty will be thinking what about the $529m the 2003 America’s Cup brought New Zealand?

“Last year ATEED was boasting Auckland as the “spiritual home” of the America’s Cup in New Zealand. It spent over $1 million of ratepayers’ cash showcasing Auckland in San Francisco including funding 18 people to attend last year’s America’s Cup. Now they too are strangely AWOL despite all their hype and investment little more than nine months ago.
“ATEED and the Mayor were talking up the global audience the America’s Cup provides and the huge opportunities for key Auckland sectors. They were keen to drive home its positive impact on the region’s exports and international tourism. It was a massive deal for Auckland nine months ago, but supposedly it’s not worth any advocacy now. Talk about being a fair-weather friend.

“Grant Dalton would’ve been hoping the Mayor was on his side when it comes to buying a bit more time. Where’s all his talk about the America’s Cup economic benefits now? Why did the Mayor believe it was essential for ATEED to spend $1m and send 18 people to San Francisco last year, but is seemingly not prepared to beat the drum for Auckland now?

“I call on the Mayor to make his position clear, whatever that may now be. He owes it to Team New Zealand, and to Auckland’s ratepayers who have invested millions around the America’s Cup over nearly 20 years. As Auckland’s number one cheerleader, he now needs to come out of hiding on this issue. There’s a lot at stake either way,” says Cameron Brewer.

Ends

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