No more tax payers money for rich sports people

Credit: Roger Price

Credit: Roger Price

Guess what?  After complaining and working as hard to prevent the AmCup being held in Bermuda, now that it has been decided to hold it there, Team New Zealand have suddenly discovered “it will work”.

Team New Zealand believe Bermuda can deliver “an amazing” America’s Cup – now they have to convince their sponsors and the government as they look to raise the money to contest the 2017 finals.

Bermuda was …  confirmed as the venue for the finals, to be sailed in June 2017. The British territory beat American stronghold San Diego for the honour.

While there has been much speculation about Bermuda providing a financial challenge for Team New Zealand, especially for government funding, the syndicate’s chief operations officer Kevin Shoebridge suggested they could make it work.

If we ever had an argument about the nebulous financial return on the tax payers’ “investment” to date, it is going to be next to impossible now.   Bermuda?   Yes, that’s in the top 10 of countries we visit and do business with, right?  

Part of New Zealand’s process looks to include hosting a leadup event involving all of the teams.

That would likely be part of the elimination process in the actual 65-foot catamarans rather than the World Series events next year and 2016 that will be contested in smaller 45-foot catamarans.

Shoebridge was certainly full of praise for the North Atlantic island in sailing terms, as he attended the official announcement in New York today.

“We’ve worked pretty closely on both options over the last few months, realising it was obviously going to be a pretty close call,” Shoe ridge said.

“Bermuda is a fantastic venue. It’s a fantastic sailing venue, it’s an island with huge maritime history and I’m sure there will be absolute engagement from all the Bermuda public to really support the event.

“I think we’ll have a really amazing event there.”

Oh, I have no doubt it will be great.   I just don’t see why a insignificant rich mens’ sport should continue to be propped up by public money.  By all means, go have fun.   Crowd fund it if you like.   Get more sponsors.   But stop coming to people who  work 70 hours a week and are waiting for a hip replacement to come fund your flights of fancy.

Tax payers money should benefit the tax payer.

Prove you case, or stop leeching off the public.


– Duncan Johnstone, Stuff


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  • phronesis

    The catch cry will be that if we don’t support the team we will lose all the talent and never get it back. I don’t buy it. Our actual sailing talent is in demand all over the world and anyone could start a team and buy that talent whenever they want to. Same goes for designers etc. As for team management, I don’t think we have anything to lose there. Let TeamNZ die.

    • Imogen B

      Will the death of TNZ save us all from any further renditions of “Sailing Away”?
      That would be reason along not to bank roll them in my book.

  • Chaos

    i have no problem with team NZ asking for govt support. It is probably the only sport that NZ is involved with that when they get some funding from the government it actually brings in more money into the economy than they were given.

    • stephen2d


      • Boating industry… knowledge, employment, manufacturing, sales.
        Enhanced Kiwi reputation for excelling in sports beyond the All Blacks
        Boating industry…

      • Crookednose

        Oracle’s boats were mostly made in NZ, it’s rumoured that the money spent here more than covered the government’s investment.

        • Chris EM

          If that rumour could be proven as fact i would change my stance. As it is, I believe they should raise the money themselves instead of bludging off the taxpayer.

          • Bayman

            Easily proven – ETNZ had a budget of circa $110m. At least 50% would have been spent here if not more. I’d suggest more.

          • Chris EM

            Sorry, that’s not proof. Surely TNZ would be announcing from the top of the yard arm, with the numbers to prove it, if their yacht race was so good for our economy and a good investment for taxpayers money. They’d be silly not to, as it would help their cause no end.

        • Tom

          Fantastic, the boatbuilder industry can fund it then

      • Bayman

        Really… some research

        • stephen2d

          Why should I do any research? It is a simple question, what was the revenue generated from TNZ America Cup challenges in Valencia and in San Francisco, if it is that clear? Yachts being built here would always be built here, as well as the sailors would be “poached”, because they are already the best – nothing to do whether the govt forks out $36 million or not. If it is that much of a success, why aren’t private investors (yacht manufacturers) not sponsoring it, since “it has already paid off several times the amount spent by the govt”?

    • Mrs_R

      If I recall correctly Treasury stated that any positive economic impact from government contribution had not been established. Their recommendation was that private backers be sought in lieu of further government financial assistance.

      • Chaos

        if i remember correctly treasury aren’t really worth what they are paid. not even the government take their reports seriously.

        “an economic impact report estimated the last campaign added $87 million
        to the economy, raised $17 million additional net tax and about $38
        million direct and flow-on tax.”

        • Mrs_R

          Could those same financial benefits not be achieved by private sponsors rather than the tax payer? I presume it was private industry that received the most economic benefit.

    • BJ

      Can you quantify that please.

  • stephen2d

    Bermuda will eventually become full of opportunities for NZ businesses, something that must be explored and the government should not spare any expense in investing in TNZ’s challenge, as they are such fine ambassadors and provide such return on investment that it is a no brainer! I mean, only an idiot would not see that Bermuda is not the powerhouse we must do business with, its vast territories of 50 square km. And its 60k inhabitants are a huge source of potential tourism $$ for NZ.

  • Dead right, imagine how many big mac’s $30M could buy for the 1 in 4 poverty stricken kids.

    • Rocket

      Thanks John. I was agreeing with Cam, even though I am a sailor, until you raised the optional use of the $30m.

  • Michael

    Yeah, nah.

  • Similar parallels to the tax rebate offered with the making of the LoTR movies.

    At the time, the most noise and bleating about it was coming from vested-interest unions attempting to be immigration and employment specialists, where they wished they had the only say in the matter. They were spanked hard by the Wellington / NZ film industry as the mouthpieces shrilled their opposition to Kiwi’s in the film industry gaining employment. The MSM even called Kelly “Hobbit Haters” such was their rantings at the time.

    No one today could decry the immense value and return on investment NZ has received from partaking in such an event. Would this sailing event be similar?

    • Tom

      Nah, the LOTR films support was a tax break, and it was actually happening in this country.

      Bermuda? Starting to sound like another IPCC free-for-all

      • Point of order – I was really sure the film companies had to pay the full taxation and were rebated back a set amount – making it technically a “rebate” where as a tax break would mean they just didn’t pay as much up front, but both scenarios resulted in the same amount of taxation revenue for NZ Inc?

        • Tom

          Yep, spot on. A lot better than: ”Here’s $100 million guys, have fun”

  • Crookednose

    Here’s the thing. The challenger series could be run here in NZ under the new rules. The final takes part in Bermuda, but everything else could happen in Auckland.
    I wouldn’t mind taxpayers money going into that!

  • disqus_uZO0NMUTKn

    I have been a dedicated America fan since the KZ3 days.

    I think the time has come for the Govt to step back, if they can compete with private sponsors fine but no more tax payer funding.

    If the Govt wants to sponsor sports try something else, World Rally Champs, Haydon Patton, étc?

  • Richard

    Shoebridge also compared Team NZ to the All Blacks, aannnnd…….there goes his credibility right there.

    What is Team NZ’s historic winning percentage again Kevin?

    • Isherman

      Yep, really poor choice for comparison. I would accept that over the last 20 years in particular, Team NZ have woven themselves into the fabric of the event to some degree, and it might be just possible to also say the event might feel like it’s ‘missing something’ without a black boat, but I get peeved every time I hear them compared with the AB’s, there’s literally no valid comparison between them.

      • dgrogan

        Apart form them both being iconic New Zealand sporting brands, of course. I’d even suggest that TNZ has a greater NZ support base than the All Blacks – but only when they’re wining apparently.

    • dgrogan

      Actually, TNZ’s record is pretty good. There are only four countries which have ever won The Cup – America, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland (and let’s face it, the Swiss had a lot of help from us).

  • jonno1

    I had to laugh at ZB news allegedly quoting Grant Dalton saying something along the lines of “it will be great sailing in the Carribean”. Maybe it will, but if so you’ll be several thousand kilometres from Bermuda. BTW, I doubt that Dalton said anything of the kind, I’m pretty sure he knows where Bermuda is!

    While I don’t wish to see more taxpayer money thrown at this venture, it’s also fair to say that with Bermuda lying between the US and Europe there may indeed be commercial and trade opportunities available.

    PS. Happy for my prediction last night to be correct, mind you it was a fairly open secret. I believe that the cup is winging its way to Bermuda as we speak, to be displayed in Hamilton, possibly on the Spirit of Bermuda (Bermuda’s sail training sloop).

  • Jafarma

    June 2017. Close to the next NZ election? I struggle to see how a Govt spend on a rich boys extravaganza could be a vote catcher even if we won.

  • The government is responsible for using our tax dollars wisely to benefit society. I personally, although 50 years a sailor, don’t view the America’s Cup as anything but a game for ultra-wealthy individuals to waste their money on. It has very little significant international public impact and provides minor benefit for NZ economically other than to encourage our relatively small marine and boat building industry. It’s like saying the taxpayers money should be spent on helping orchid growers because they add to the economy. It’s high time the government made the responsible decision not to aid this group, many of whom are individually wealthy as a by-product of financial support from long suffering taxpayers.

    • Imogen B

      Absolutely agree with you Cavalier. Time to stop calling this bunch of welfare beneficiaries Team New Zealand too. Everyone knows that if the coin smells better elsewhere, they’ll all be off and patriotism has nothing to do with it no matter how much they give Dobbin in royalties for “Loyal”

  • munzrat

    say what you like …. its a done deal !

  • Sunshine

    I am over Team NZ – the constant whinging and begging for more money when most of them are independently wealthy due to the generosity of NZ taxpayers. I really hope they sail into the Bermuda Triangle, never to be seen again.

  • caochladh

    If TNZ are successful in bringing the Lois Vuitton Cup to Auckland, wouldn’t there be a funding opportunity from all the revenue that would generate?

    • dgrogan

      It’s not the Lois Vuitton Cup we want. It’s the America’s Cup. Coming second is boring. But we’ve got to be in it to win it. Go team New Zealand.
      PS: I’m quite happy to support ETNZ’s effort as a NZL taxpayer.

      • caochladh

        Its the competition for the LV Cup that TNZ wants to bring to NZ and the winners will be Auckland. The cup itself would be a bonus.

        • dgrogan

          Incorrect. It’s only the warm-up regattas. The ‘play-offs’ and the match will be in Bermuda. There is no longer a LV Cup.

  • Bayman

    Hmmm it’s quite easy to prove that the money benefits the tax payer.

    $36m give or take invested last time. The vast majority of which was spent….here in NZ on wages, goods and services. So in turn would be spent by companies and/or individuals whom those companies employed. There’s a direct financial benefit right there both in income tax and GST and basic economic benefits to the regions the companies were based in.

    Then following on from that you get the TV exposure of a boat from ‘little old NZ’ taking on and so very nearly beating the might and money of Oracle/USA. Exposure in a number of markets which given the time of day and duration of exposure would have cost a lot more than the $36m that had already been spent my ETNZ back home.

    Lastly, there is in the budget money allocated to ‘economic development’ and to marketing NZ. This will be spent. On something. So one could argue that if it’s spent on ETNZ or elsewhere is a moot point.

  • island time

    The Bermuda Triangle strikes again ….this time it is the taxpayers money that will vanish without a trace.

  • Isherman

    For me its really simple, Team NZ simply need to make sure they run as a self sufficient fiscal entity, and as long as they can do that then all power to them, but if between 20-40 mil have to be thrown at every installment, then its fair to demand to produce a proven water tight case for this level of funding, and I agree Bermuda makes that more difficult. That said, I hope they do continue (under their own sail’s – so to speak), get racing, and bring the cursed thing back. At least then if we are hosting a defence, there might be scope to justify looking at an investment package, more for the off water side of it than the team and its running costs.

  • Tom

    Team NZ need to be thrown from the trough. Boating doesn’t impress 99.9% of NZ taxpayers.

    • dgrogan

      Except when they are winners, right?

      • damm good thrashing

        That’s a joke. When did they last win?

    • Mark Harrison

      As a kiwi I say “Go Grant Dalton and Team New Zealand”
      As a taxpayer, I say everyone else has to pay their own way through their sports and hobbies, so does TNZ. You rich guys have had your hand deep enough in our pockets.
      Our Black Sox have to sell reflect tickets to get to their World Champs and they’ve been on top more times than TNZ has won the AmCup.

  • damm good thrashing

    I sincerely hope there will be no tax payer money for the cup. Dalton already has his hand out. What a loser.

  • Albert Root

    Most NZ-made TV (not movies) are principally funded by the taxpayer via NZOnAir. A few sycophants in this industry have made very large sums of money by pretending their quality shows (Shortland St, Westies, etc.) wouldn’t be made without state support, which is quite correct. Are there any comparisons that can be made between this industry and TNZ?

  • Tamaki

    How can Joyce reconcile using taxes paid by nz workers and companies to support a tax haven event ; Bermudas where American companies keep corporate profits to avoid US tax. Team nz should approach apple facebook Pepsi etc who pay almost no tax here and all have more funds parked up in these places than they know what to do with: Give the impoverished nz tax payer a break!