Steven Joyce will to throw more tax dollars at rich kids

You win some, you lose some. ?When it comes to the America’s Cup, we certainly have a proud history of punching above our weight. ?And, various governments of the day have provided funding in the hope that a win would produce exposure and GDP growth for New Zealand as the defence would be sailed in this country.

But with Oracle’s slanted new rules putting that prospect even further beyond our reach, should New Zealand tax payers enter the America’s Cup lottery again?

Steven Joyce thinks so, as long as Team New Zealand can find sponsors to do the same

A decision on whether New Zealand will make another challenge for the historic yachting trophy needs to be made in the next month or so, and by then funding will need to be in place, Mr Joyce said yesterday.

He was “happy to go and talk to my colleagues” about funding, he told TV One’sQ+A?programme, but money would have to come from private sponsors as well.

If Team NZ decide they want to go ahead with a challenge, “then they need to get in touch with all their sponsors, including us [the Government], so not just us, and say, ‘Actually, we need a bit more money before we can find out where the venue finally is’, and then the sponsors, all of them, and not just the taxpayer, have to say, ‘Right, this is what we’re prepared to do’,” Mr Joyce said.

Over the weekend it has been mooted that New Zealand should start its own tradition. ?A much fairer regatta, based on rules that don’t change every time, and don’t automatically favour the defender. ?

Mr Joyce said any decision on further government funding would depend “on the attitude of the other players”.

“There’s a big yachting community in New Zealand who are keen to see a challenge. I think it would be a good idea for some of them to step up at this point.

“And of course there’s a bunch of other sponsors who, as I understand it, indicated to Team New Zealand that they’re very keen to keep participating. So they should probably step up a bit now as well.”

Mr Joyce met Team NZ last week before the protocol for the next Cup was released, but would not say how much money the team needed.

“They didn’t ask for a specific amount, but we know that the $5 million that they got from us in November/December last year, that’s about three to seven months, so they would need something similar from their sponsors over the next period.”

Mr Joyce said he believed the Cup was “still a great thing for New Zealand in terms of marketing opportunities”.

I think its economic benefits are seriously inflated. ?During the last America’s Cup, if you selected 1000 random Americans, I’d be surprised if more than a few would have known the racing was on, who Jimmy Spithill was, or even that one of the contenders was from New Zealand.

The way that various New Zealand governments have propped up the promise of another win hasn’t resulted in the tax payer seeing any benefit. ? It is time this trough gets covered over.

It is nothing more than work-for-the-dole for rich kids.

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