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Statement And Copy Of Mark Dunphy’s Speech To The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron AGM

Having read and listened to the various accounts of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron AGM on 9 December, Kiwi Home Defence is placing on the record Mark Dunphy’s address to that meeting and his answer to questions put to him at the meeting concerning around the availability of funds and revenue for the events. The address is attached, which is followed by his ‘answers to questions’ put to him at the meeting.

“Some of the reports of last week’s meeting bear little relationship to the meeting we attended.” Mark Dunphy stated.

“We didn’t learn anything at the meeting that changed our view that the Cup defence can be held successfully here in Auckland. The confirmation from Team New Zealand that Prada wants to renew sponsorship of the Challenger Selection Series and the America’s Cup for AC37 is a clear signal the Prada money is there to hold the event here in Auckland. For AC 36 this Prada sponsorship was worth Euro 23 million ($37 million).” Mark Dunphy said.

“Grant Dalton keeps repeating that the New Zealand events budget is $50 million short. But he doesn’t include the event income of more than $60 million within that budget; which combined with the generous support of $31 million from the NZ Government takes the events total (at $91 million) comfortably over the $80 million he says he needs. Controversially, Mr Dalton uses the AC 36 TV costs to conflate income from the events with costs. TV costs are forecast at a lesser amount of $30 million for AC 37 when compared with the $37 million of TV costs presented for AC36 ($15 million, or more, assumed to have been met by Prada). TV costs and other savings will add to the events surpluses, estimated by us at $10 million to $20 million, which are also available for team funding.

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Mr Dalton says he needs a total of $200 million to keep the cup defence at home, made up of $80 million for the events and $120 million for the team. Mr Dalton says he backs himself to raise $80 million in sponsorship for the team and Kiwi Home Defence has offered a firm $40 million for the team in support of a home defence. So the team has $120 million and access to surpluses from the events of a further $10 million to $20 million.

“If the team needs more funding, Mr Dalton should tell us what it the additional funding is for and release the full accounts for the team and events for the America’s Cup defence held earlier in the year. If more funding is required, we are confident New Zealanders will step up to provide that.

“We hope that Grant Dalton and the Commodore have not decided the Cup will be held offshore and are saying anything to justify that. It is for the members of the Squadron and New Zealanders to decide whether that is acceptable.

“For our part we will continue to campaign for the Defence to be held in Auckland. It absolutely can be, and it will be a travesty if it is held offshore” Mark Dunphy concluded.

AGM Address 9 December 2021

Commodore, Flag Officers, Honorary Members and Members, Grant Dalton, Greg Horton, Directors and Former Directors (including Sir Stephen Tindall) and Members of Team New Zealand.

Thank you, Commodore, for the opportunity to speak. Some of you will not be aware that I became a member of the Squadron in July of this year following an invitation from Aaron and Andrew to join the Squadron. The last time I attended and spoke at a meeting here of this number was the wake for my brother-in-law Peter Walker, who had been a member of the Bruce Farr team, an Admirals Cup sailor and part of the design team in the big boat challenge in San Diego.

May I start by asking you please, (whether you are in this room or in the Dinghy Locker or any other room here or offsite on zoom), to raise your hand if you want our defence of the Americas Cup to be held here in Auckland.

I was confident that I would be joining almost everyone here, in saying that I (and we) all want to see the America’s Cup Defence happen here, in Auckland, in 2024. I believe defending the Cup here in Auckland is a massive opportunity for our country, our city and for yachting in this country. There will never be a better time to hold this marquee international event as a real celebration, to show that New Zealand is once again open and welcoming of people from all over the world, after all the challenges of the pandemic.

The 2024 Defence is shaping up extraordinarily well, with a lot of interest from different challengers, and I pay tribute to the Team and the Squadron in the work they have done on the protocol. Where I part company with some at this meeting is: I believe it is entirely financially possible to successfully defend the Cup here, according to all the information made available by the Team and the Squadron to date.

We at Kiwi Home Defence have offered a firm $40 million in support of a home defence. When you add that to the Government’s offer of $31 million, the team’s $80 million in sponsorship, plus sponsorship of the events themselves, rentals, TV revenues and all the other income around the event, including the entry fees, that comes to more than the $200 million the team and the squadron say is required. There is nothing that I’ve heard this evening that actually changes any of that. The best guide to the future is the past, and we all know that we won the Cup here earlier this year in the middle of a pandemic.

A number of things have been said publicly questioning my motivation for involving myself in the 2024 defence. Many things have been suggested, including that I am wanting to take over the team, that I want to steal the team’s IP, that I am acting on behalf of foreign teams or that I just want to disrupt. Some have said that the $40 million I am committing is not real.

I don’t want to labour this, or look back, but all of those comments are completely untrue.

My motivation is purely patriotic. My involvement in the America’s Cup goes back to the start of our New Zealand America’s Cup campaigns. I have been involved as long as Mr Dalton, although obviously, not as close to the sailing action. I have been on the financing side. I worked closely with Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite, as a partner of that firm, through the funding of our first 3 New Zealand campaigns. I have attended all but two America’s Cup events since then.

I want to ensure that the legacies of Sir Michael Fay, Sir Peter Blake, Sir Douglas Myers and all of the others who have played such a big part in our proud America’s Cup history are celebrated and I want to see Team New Zealand given the very best chance of retaining the Cup for us by holding the defence in home waters. I also believe that we owe this to the people of New Zealand and Auckland who have contributed so much to Team New Zealand through their taxes and rates over the years.

I became involved this time around when the Commodore advised in June that Team New Zealand was having difficulty raising money for the defence. As you will be able to confirm Commodore, I was introduced to you by Dr Farmer at the start of July as someone who was prepared to raise funds. I had discussions and a meeting with Tina Symmans of TNZ and ACE and after that, and conducting my own due diligence, in early August I spoke with Grant by phone. Things turned sour within a day or two of that phone meeting and it was definitely not my decision to fight this out in the media.

What is clear is that there is plenty of money available to ensure a well-funded defence by Team New Zealand here in New Zealand in 2024. There is therefore no reason to take the defence offshore, unless there is another dynamic at play which has not yet been shared.

I remain committed to ensuring that we have the funding for the 2024 defence and look forward to the RNZYS being trustee of this Cup and host, along with Auckland and New Zealand, of cup defences, for many years to come.

Mark Dunphy’s answers to questions put to him at the AGM:

When questioned about events revenues and asked to explain why the events income would exceed $50 million, I responded that the Prada sponsorship of the events for AC36 was Euro 23 million ($37 million); entry fees assuming four to five teams would bring income of $16 million to $ 20 million; there was a public release that TVNZ was paying $3 million for AC 36; and base rentals, super yachts income, cup village income and other revenue could be material. Put together this income would be more than $60 million (and more than the $50 million Grant Dalton had claimed the events income was short).

In response Grant Dalton spoke about TV costs of $37 million for AC36 and anticipated net TV costs of $30 million for AC 37 as included in the events cost of $80 million. I had been referring to the income generated from the events, not the costs.

The fact is that the estimated income of $60 million from the events and the $31 million contribution by the NZ Government (together more than $90 million) will exceed the costs of $80 million (this $80 million includes TV Costs of $30 million) that TNZ has said the events will cost.

The world is awash in money, the world economy is recovering much better than expected, it is easier to find investors and donors than it was a year ago.

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