Wellington - The New Zealand government announced $3.7
million in funding Monday to help the country's America's Cup-winning yachting
team retain key personnel after their victory.
Prime Minister Bill English said the money would help keep
together the Team New Zealand syndicate that claimed yachting's oldest trophy
last week with a crushing 8-1 win over Oracle Team USA in Bermuda.
While the syndicate is a private entity, English said a
contribution of public funds was appropriate given the next regatta in 2021 was
likely to be held in Auckland.
"We are in boots-and-all in the sense that this is a
big event, it will be great for New Zealand and government has a role in
supporting major events," he told commercial radio.
"But we are not holding out an open cheque book for
Team New Zealand to get whatever they want."
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said that when
New Zealand hosted the America's Cup in 2000 and 2003 it generated about half a
billion dollars each time for the local economy.
"This investment of $3.7 million will go some way
towards protecting the valuable intellectual property, experience and skills
that rest with key team members," he said.
"While the location for the 36th America's Cup has not
been decided yet, we do know that hosting a regatta in New Zealand has the
potential to generate significant economic benefits."