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Kiwi Home Defence Supports Withdrawal Of SGM Motion

Kiwi Home Defence supports the decision of Dr Jim Farmer Q.C. to withdraw the motion to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron about holding the America’s Cup Defence in Auckland, says Mark Dunphy.

“It is quite clear with all the activity that has taken place in recent days that the process has been completely undermined. It is apparent that the Squadron leadership has no real wish or ability at this time to facilitate a free and open debate by members on the location of the next defence and it therefore made complete sense to withdraw the motion.”

Mr Dunphy listed some disquieting events which have led him to this view.

“The personal calling of requisitioners by Grant Dalton to attempt to persuade them to withdraw their requisitions by making outrageous threats to dissolve or liquidate the team, or that the team will collapse within months if the motion goes ahead is one. The unwillingness to distribute Dr Farmer’s statement in support of his motion is another. The refusal to hold a meeting in one room in which all members can participate and vote is yet another. These, together, point to a process which is highly prejudiced against a proper and informed discussion amongst members about the next America’s Cup defence in Auckland.”

“On top of that, the Commodore distributed a letter to all Squadron members last week which stated that Kiwi Home Defence’s offer of $40 million to support an Auckland defence has not been formally made or made in writing.” This is despite our letter addressed to the Commodore and the General Committee of the Squadron on October 21st which clearly does just this. In that letter which is available on our website (by following this link) we said the following:

“…following our soundings with prospective donors, today we advise that we will underwrite the additional $20 million of funding which is required, for a total firm funding commitment of $40 million in support of a home defence for AC37.”

Sadly, we can have no confidence in the Squadron leadership representing the position as it truly is, and therefore there is no point in having the debate in the compromised SGM forum at this time.

In the letter to members, the Commodore released the same $200 million high-level financial budget for the AC37 which Mr Dalton has been distributing, which suggests a $49 million shortfall even when the Kiwi Home Defence funding is provided.

“Kiwi Home Defence’s $40 million, the Government’s $31 million and Team NZ’s own $80 million in sponsorship comes to $151 million. The budget released by the Commodore omits all the income from the events, including entry fees, events sponsorship (as distinct from team sponsorship), TV revenues, rentals and other income. In the defence held earlier this year, that income exceeded the $50 million that is now claimed to be the shortfall.”

“The event income goes up by $4 million every time a new challenger enters the race. Last week we had two new entrants. There is at least one other entrant rumoured to be waiting in the wings which will bring the number of challengers to four.”

“This means, if we all work together, and with the generous support of the New Zealand Government, the Auckland City Council and Panuku, we will comfortably have more than $200 million to host the event here in early 2024.”

“Yet Grant Dalton, and now the Commodore, continue to insist there is a $50 million shortfall. The question that must be asked is, what is the additional $50 million for?”

“Nothing we have seen in the last few days challenges our view that with the $40 million of cash committed by Kiwi Home Defence it is entirely possible to hold the America’s Cup Defence here in Auckland. It beggars belief that doing so “will force the team into liquidation” given the event was last held here very successfully just seven months ago.”

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