Damn straight public opinion is cooling

The most successful losing team in the world is still on the bludge but the government is getting cold feet on funding more America’s Cup challenges.

Team New Zealand is the sporting equivalent of Colin Craig, they spend loads of money coming second or worse…the only difference is Colin Craig spends his own money whereas Team NZ likes to spend our money.

It is time for millionaire sailors with multi-million dollar houses to find another trough to sup from.

Public opinion is turning against subsidising Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup campaign and hosting the competition in a billionaires’ tax haven is only likely to make the situation worse, the Government warns.

Prime Minister John Key said the international yachting regatta was increasingly seen by Kiwi taxpayers as “billionaires playing with their toys”.

“Turning up in Bermuda hardly helps in terms of breaking down that image.”  

Bermuda was announced yesterday as the next America’s Cup venue, pipping San Francisco at the post.

Team New Zealand may now need to secure rights to the America’s Cup qualifying stages in Auckland to have any hope of getting Government funding, after ministers said the choice of Bermuda as the host country offered few incentives for a taxpayer subsidy.

Government ministers said the small island nation provided fewer commercial opportunities for local companies to leverage off a New Zealand bid.

They also noted that New Zealanders’ growing opposition to subsidising a rich man’s sport was unlikely to be helped by the decision to hold the competition in Bermuda – a billionaires’ playground and known tax haven.

It will hardly be a tourist extravaganza in any case as there are only barely 5000 hotel rooms or other accommodation available on Bermuda, which has one of the highest rack rates in the world for rooms.

Time for the gravy train to end.

It’s over. It will be 14 years since we last held the cup when they finally get racing, and by then Oracle will have found better ways to cheat.


– NZ Herald


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  • conwaycaptain

    If it is such a good investment why don’t Dalton Barker and Co put their own money up.
    They Upstuffed in the Hauraki Gulf when the boat broke, they upstuffed in SF last time. Go get yr own funding

    • LabTested

      It was great when it was country against country, but as soon as it is $$ against $$ what is the point. We could just as well argue why NZ does not have an Indy Car team or a F1 Team

      • Bayman

        It’s never been country v country. It’s always been yacht club v yacht club….

        • JAFA Gazza

          There you have just disassembled your own argument. Why should taxpayer’s fund / invest in private yacht clubs? If we invest in One Yacht Club….why not two? Or three? Three teams that want to compete? You ROI argument is devoid of the basic requirement…facts. if you cant fiscally account for the actual return in terms of $$$ made on the investment. ..forget the soft stuff like exposure and joy of entertainment. ..ask yourself this…WHY has no leading enterprise stuck any real money into it?

          It has been said may times over…its a rich mans dalliance. 110 million to win a tin cup and bragging rights.

  • Catriona

    The funding of the America’s Cup Challenge bears no relevance to NZ anymore. The Govt should now turn their backs on requests for funding. It’s over.

  • Momo

    Why should taxpayers pay the million dollar salaries of sailors that do not pay tax in this country?

    • Bayman

      Since they live and work here, they do pay tax here.

      • Momo

        They don’t. Most are not resident.

        • Bayman

          Residence is irrelevant under the tax code here as far as I understand it. If they are paid here in NZ which they are as when training here on the Gulf. Hence they’d then be taxed here.

          • Momo

            We personally know a few. They do not pay tax here as they are not here for long enough. Complicated structures.

          • Bayman

            Not here long enough?? Really. Did you see how long they were training here for last time?

          • Momo


          • Monito

            I don’t believe that these guys are not able to sidestep every tax law in the land if they did pay income tax and GST and contributed millions back into the economy people would probably be more supportive. The last straw for me was when Grant Dalton was weeping to all and sundry that they were going to run out of money then his pay cheque was revealed.. absolutely absurd for NZ to fund this sport.

          • Bayman

            They dont fund it per se. They are an investor. And as such expect an ROI. $60m+ is in my eyes most definitely an ROI.

  • Greg M

    I’ve been a fan of the Americas cup regatta since the old alloy 12 metre class. Back then it was seamanship and sailing skills that won the race. Now it is just a matter of who has the deepest pockets and the best lawyers. I’m over it.
    It’s a real shame, but it’s time to cut it loose.

    • island time

      Agreed. I am a fan of Formula 1 but it does not mean I want the Govt of the day to subsidise a racing team.

  • Michael_l_c

    It is a competition between multinationals not nations. Sure Team NZ has links to NZ but as we have seen the crews go to who ever pays the most.

    The govt donations to the rich & want to be famous have gone far too far. They are unable to quantify the benefits to NZ.

    Comments a couple of days ago suggested that money from the AC came to NZ & created huge employment benefits. Well lets see the numbers.

    Lets create a ‘South Pacific Cup’ and base it in NZ. We can supply a trophy that gets returned each competition & saves the cost of a new one. NZ supplies identical boats manufactured here, the weather & sailors make the difference.

    We got told the syndicates love NZ so lets go for it, or is that rubbish?

    • Bayman

      It’s easy to work out how much was spent here if we just use our heads.

      Budget of circa $110m. On a conservative side they spent 69% of that here, I’d suggest more. But at 60% that’s $66m. All spent here in goods, services and wages.

      Which in turn gets spent in the same.

      • Momo

        If they want more money, they should be upfront about how much Dalton and Barker are being paid. Much more than the PM. Why should we pay for those huge salaries? Won’t they do it for less?

      • Albert Root

        It will be interesting to see whether any of the teams design and build their boats downs here.

      • island time

        We took subsidies off farmers years ago. Why subsidies for Yachties?

        edit missing word

        • Bayman

          It’s not a subsidy. Not the way I see it. Sure it’s funding, but really in the form of sponsorship.

          Without the $36m last time ETNZ wouldn’t have been able to compete. So the in excess of $60m that was spent here in NZ wouldn’t have happened.

          Personally I see that as a great ROI without even factoring in the TV exposure.

          • Albert Root

            Why was it not possible for the most likely challenger last time to get its own funding? Seems odd when the other syndicates were able to rely on private funding alone.

          • Brian Dingwall

            There is an argument that someone should invest, but why the taxpayers of, say, Milton, or Shannon? Surely the only motive for them is the “ROI” to the taxpayer, ie incremental GST, the tax on increased corporate profits, and the net change in status of any who would not otherwise be employed? Less any (tax credits on losses post event a they all gear down again).

            I am not swayed by those who claim increases in total production, increased forex flows, or even the sheer joy of the event, as those benefits all flow to specific people (who may well choose to invest). And turnover is not a return (as losses are often declared even on inreased revenues).

            Too often the tax payer is called on to fund unbankable projects that have benefits only for a small section of the business and public communities.

            The whole question of when/if the taxpayer should invest in commecial activities such as movies, professional sports, etc needs to be debated, and clear guidelines established; and no such investments made unless the direct beneficiaries co-invest, there is a tangible return for every taxpayer (and not just a feel good), and it is clear the investment will not proceed without a tax payer contribution (preferably as a loan, just like a bank).

            Anyway them’s my views…

  • conwaycaptain

    Dalton is worth gazillions. Barker comes from a wealthy family and they all get paid top dollar and you can bet your bottom dollar they pay damn all tax.
    Let them find a bottom less pit somewhere else.

  • Albert Root

    We tend to forget that the America’s Cup regatta has never ever been ‘democratised’, although many New Zealanders may feel their contribution has actually achieved that. But that is not the case; It has always been a very rich man’s dalliance, and the rules, as old and unchanged as they are, reflect that fact. Nevertheless, racing in San Fran gave average NZers a chance to actually travel to the event or, as was more frequently the case, view racing during the day online and in real time. Neither of those options will be easily available to them during the next regatta. The true market for the AC doesn’t exist at street level, and that fact is reflected in the comment by one of TNZ’s major commercial sponsors, Omega, that it believes Bermuda provides some very good marketing opportunities. When your business is selling $30k+ watches, I hardly think Bermuda and its usual clientele would provide otherwise!

  • Salad Dodger

    Barker is the Americas Cup’s Biggest Loser. Dalton no better. Spithill wins sailor of the year after facing one of the biggest chokes in sports history.
    Then there is the remuneration Barker and Dalton pay themselves.
    WE have the sailors to do the job, we have the design and build teams. We need a clean organisation that will choose talent over what dirty secrets one has over another.
    Lets do a big pass on this AC Regatta, hope that the UK wins and gear up for a future challenge that is a NZ entry – not a private cash cow funded by the taxpayer

    • So you would also argue Adams “choked” when beaten by Ostapchuk.

      • Salad Dodger

        Adams didnt choke 7 times in a row and was beaten by a drug cheat.
        Hardly relevant.
        Barker has failed in 3 AC attempts. never won an Olympic medal and no world champion.
        Young Guns Tuke and Peter Burling are the future.

        • The comment “7 times in a row” is hardly relevant either, once the cheat was done the boat was unbeatable, TNZ is not just Barker so a bit unfair to lay it at his feet, looks like we will just have to agree to disagree.

  • Jayar

    When Team NZ, with such a lead in the last Cup, ended up by being beaten it’s obvious that it is unlikely the Americas Cup will ever return to this country. Wealthier nations will once again triumph. There should be no taxpayer funding.

    • Albert Root

      You forget: Each of the other major teams has outrageous amounts of private sponsorship and frequently, as is the case with Oracle and Alinghi, backing from a single individual who has a win-at-all-costs attitude to funding their project. Governments are very rarely involved in AC sponsorship.

      • Monito

        And that is exactly what has destroyed the Americas Cup campaign.

  • Albert Root

    Take the money dedicated to TNZ and give it to the wealthy tit-suckers who produce such wonderfully crafted TV as Shortland Street and Westies.

  • Bayman

    The funding for ETNZ comes from money allocated to economic development and/or promoting NZ as a destination. The $$ are already allocated. Given that where else would be a better place to spend that money? Especially given that the majority of the budget for ETNZ is spent here? Secondly the TV exposure for the industry and NZ as a whole more than pays for itself.

    In ROI terms it could be argued that they double their money, but hey let’s not let facts get in the way.

    • island time

      Then put the facts up for us to see. Show us the numbers. Your statement so far is baseless

      • Bayman

        We don’t need the numbers. It’s quite simple to work out, unless of course you’re totally closed off to actual thinking.

        • Grizz30

          If your making a business case to spend taxpayer money yes you do need to put up the numbers.

    • Monito

      We are going to get that exposure regardless of whether the campaign if funded by the government – knowing now how much these guys are paying themselves it is particularly important for the government to call a halt to stopping the handout. Grant Dalton holds himself out as the master negotiator for funding, let him get his funding from the corporate world not the taxpayers of New Zealand. Good luck with that being that the campaign is now out of Bermuda.

    • Thirdly, the pittance that the government put in is a very minor part of their overall budget, listening to some of the comments it would appear they are under the impression our government is a major sponsor.

    • JimmyFreedom

      Just because it is allocated doesn’t mean they have to spend it; it can go back in the bank for some more useful.

      Classic bureaucracy, better spend that money given to us or we won’t get any more next handout.

    • Bartman

      I think that generalised statements about positive ROI are misleading. It’s well understood that ‘investment projects’ live or die on the assessment criteria assumptions, so I would want a far better insight into those criteria and settings that result in the stated ROI.

  • johnnyB

    “Time for the gravy train to end”. perhaps the new yacht needs to be called the Gravy Boat

  • flutterby

    Can’t seem to forget that we were beaten last time by intellectual property from our very own country NZ.
    Seems to me that if the people who participated in that couldn’t support their own country and at least have given the opportunity to Team NZ to participate on a level playing field, they don’t now deserve to have Team NZ given taxpayers money so they continue to reap the benefits.
    Yeah, I understand that it brought business benefits to NZ but loyalty to our own country is to be treasured and yes, I love watching the races, but fairs fair!

    • They were not beaten by intellectual property from our very own country, it is generally accepted (depending who you talk to) the property that beat TNZ originated at Boeing.

      • Salad Dodger

        You forget the 2 massive sailing mistakes – failure to cover when ahead, and nose diving the boat when a conservative approach could have won. Remember TNZ only had to win one race. In the first 4 of the following 8 they had every chance and it was bad sailing – skippering – that lost those races

        • Remember the comment from Oracle when they first saw TNZ’s boat. Agricultural I think it was, this was because it was designed to foil and there was always a risk it could fall off and the design could accommodate that, Oracle could not fall off (because it was not originally designed to foil) or it would go over as seen in practise, bad sailing had nothing to do with it, they both made tactical errors, Oracle was just the faster boat, always was but couldn’t be sailed to full potential until they could control the foils.

  • Cowgirl

    I’m over it frankly. I’ve been a fan since the days of KZ7, but the last regatta just left a godawful taste in my mouth. Sure, the result stunk and I felt pretty hard done by in that respect, but it mostly it just made it abundantly clear that some people will stop at nothing to win it, even if that just means throwing obscene amounts of money at it, and significant rule manipulation. It’s not worth it – it’s just a cup – and I truly think after the last disaster, if we’ve got a spare 30 million, then maybe that should be allocated somewhere much more useful, that actually benefits NZers (not just the ones who are already rich). I’m not really interested in NZ competing against people whose sense of fair play is so radically different from our own. These days, the way the competition is structured makes it far less accessible to the viewers than before anyway, so it will not be any great loss, except to my blood pressure.
    If they’re so marvellous, they shouldn’t have any trouble finding other sponsors.

    • Bartman

      You really captured the underlying (well, not so much currently) sentiment CG, there are more important things to spend the limited taxpayer funds on, not just on more hand outs. I think the money will be found, precisely because the people involved are wealthy and have connections who are similarly disposed. We’ll still shout and cheer for the Kiwi team, as we do with all outward focused sporting and business endeavours.

      • Cowgirl

        I have a feeling that when Dalton and Barker get desperate enough, they will find the money from somewhere. They really want it to happen, and they are both men of action.

    • M C Chinaman

      We not only compete against people with a different sense of fair play but also against other New Zealanders, so it is a country against multinationals. The original America’s Cup charter made it ‘a race between nations’. As the holder makes the rules, TNZ only had to enforce the ‘nations’ rule. They could have banned the Alinghi syndicate, or ruled that if that team represents Switzerland then the sailors and support crew must be Swiss, with adequate rules/time delays covering anyone switching nationalities. This would not have been a radical rule change, merely an enforcement of the original charter. This was a golden opportunity lost

  • Bayman

    A question to readers/commenters:

    Is it a good thing or bad thing that in excess of $60m was spent in NZ for the last AC campaign? It seems to me that people think it was a bad thing….

    • Cowgirl

      It still will be, even if we don’t put up a challenge. Those boat builders/designers and crew members should have no trouble finding work from other syndicates, and the top syndicates will still spend serious dough coming down here to employ/poach them. I’m not worried.

      • Bayman

        No it won’t. It’ll be spent for sure. But under the rules the majority of the boat has to be built and designed in the country the yacht club is based. So no ETNZ no $60m+

        And how about answering he question….

        • Cowgirl

          And yet, I still don’t care. That is how much the public’s opinion has ‘cooled’. If Dalton et al want to do it, they can. They can stump up the cash and find sponsors. The rest of us are pretty well over it. I reckon if ETNZ get anything, it will be a significantly reduced amount, and until they can prove they can win the wretched thing, it should stay that way. I’m firmly in the camp where I think we can run our own game and the America’s Cup can go hang. Sorry.

    • Des Marshall

      You came up with that figure. Got any evidence?

      • Bayman

        It’s simple maths. Budget of $110m. Two boats built here. Crew and ground support resident here. Base at the Viaduct.

        I’d even suggest the $60m figure to be conservative.

        Really people, you don’t have to be an economics professor to work that out.

        • Des Marshall

          To the benefit of some boat builders and sailors. Hardly an argument to keep chucking money at them. As has been repeatedly said here, if it’s so good, let them (those that directly benefit) stump up the cash.

    • Tony

      I would describe the issue as whether an investment of 60M (your figures) was appropriate. My understanding is that it placed NZ in front of a well heeled group of people, allowed NZ to show off its technology sector and was a great backdrop for NZTE to meet people and assist the cutting of deals. So – one can only decide whether it was worthwhile or not is to see what effects it had. I do note the LOTR/Hobbit has brought more into the country than has been taken out.


      How many millions does Fonterra get from the tax payer to be a world wide success that has an enourmous spin of for NZ or Icebreaker or….

      • Wallace Westland


  • Wallace Westland

    Sorry but Dalton paying himself a reported 2 million dollar salery and Barker and co on who knows how much but Barker rumoured to be around 750k the whole farce needs to end.
    I’m a passionate supporter of ETNZ and would continue to be so if they survived but I’m afraid I don’t beieve taxpayers should be funding those types of salaries. You want to play sport and live a sailors lifestyle on me? Do it with a 40k salery like everyone else.


    Isn’t one stretched out tax payer funded humiliation we experienced last year enough?

  • David

    Millionaire Dalton has enriched himself courtesy of NZ taxpayers. It is time Dalton took his snout out of the taxpayer funded trough and paid his own way. Team NZ should fund the campaign themselves either out of their own pockets or through sponsorship. Taxpayer funding has to stop.

  • Champagneshane

    The body of opinion, now that the venue has been revealed seems to favour: “let ’em race, but not at our expense”. If it was at all humanly possible it would be my preference to pull the name “New Zealand” from the team label as well. If we’re not forking out for it then there’s no point in advertising the brand given the audience that is attracted to the event. Furthermore as has been pointed out below in pretty clear terms, the last loss had nothing to do with money, technology or intellectual property. Furthermore not to put too finer point on it, the loss was due to piss poor sailing and poor decision making at the helm.To have such basic errors,at the pinnacle of any sport, totally stuff up the result associated with our enviable brand reputation is not a good look.
    Good luck to them. I’m sure they’ll find a billionaire willing to enter a dick measuring contest and pay for it, but they’ll need to grow bigger balls than the ones that were on dispaly in San Francisco.

    • dgrogan

      Let’s just imagine for a second if they were able to win The Cup back in 2017. Would it still “…be [your] preference to pull the name “New Zealand” from the team label as well?”
      Government funding aside, it seems to me the Tall Poppy Syndrome is alive and well in NZL.

  • ExCoaster

    When you play against Cheats you’ll get done every time, it will be the same next time round.
    Remember we were 8 / 1 up & a rest day, & some “changes made” I say give it away & let the playboys have their own fun with their own money they manage to whip up

  • BM

    I think what really killed them was Grant Dalton crying poverty and then the papers doing a story on his million dollar + salary courtesy of the taxpayer.

    Yeah, I can see why Grant is so keen to keep the show going.

  • Mark Watson

    Anytime Grant Dalton opens his mouth I have to reach for a bucket and I don’t mean for the purposes of a collection either. He’s pathetic. The spin that comes out of his mouth is palpable. When will he, TVNZ (champing at the bit for prime time advertising), Martin Tasker, Peter Lester and Dean Barker wake up to the fact that if we as tax payers have to fork out one more penny to this bunch of wannabes, no bucket will be big enough to accommodate the entire contents of my innards. There’s the back door Grant, close it gently on your way out.

  • damm good thrashing

    No money for elitist sports. I may feel a little differently if they had put up a good show last time but to lose as they did …..well…..I don’t want them representing me. Almost begs the question……Did Dalton et al. get more money for losing than winning?

  • dgrogan

    I understand your resentment. I do really. How could they lose at 8:1 right? But you haven’t answered my question.