America’s Cup Minister Stuart Nash is playing coy on where the money is coming from to entice Team New Zealand to stay in Aotearoa.
Nash won’t say whether the Government caught an end-of-January deadline for a fresh cash injection from Budget 2021 for the next defence in 2023.
No America’s Cup winner was confirmed before the deadline to seek a spot in the Government’s books.
Previously, the Government set aside $136.5 million supporting the latest regatta in the 2018 budget.
Both the Government and Auckland City, who have already spent a combined total of about $270m, are negotiating to entice Team New Zealand to stay for its next defence, planned to start in 2023.
A spokeswoman for Nash said he was not doing further interviews “given the obligation on the Crown to conduct negotiations in good faith with the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron and its partners”.
Auckland City is currently drafting its 10-year budget, which sets planned spending and indicative average rate increases for the next decade.
Mayor Phil Goff would not answer questions on whether provisions were made in the budget, also underway before the competition ended. The budget would seek to keep average rate increases to 3.5 per cent from next year.
A spokeswoman for the council-controlled organisation Auckland Unlimited said it was too early “and not appropriate to speculate on what if, any support would be offered or from where”.
Meanwhile, the approximate $5m offered by the Government to help tide over Team New Zealand immediately after the latest competition would come from leftovers from the existing budget, Nash has confirmed.
Last year Team New Zealand started taking global bids to host the next event. The process, run since October for potential overseas hosts, closed at the end of February.
Now the Government and Auckland City have three months to negotiate a deal. Any overseas bids would be weighed against negotiations with the Government, which paid a $40 million event fee for the latest event.
Speaking last week, Goff said the Government and Auckland City should “push hard” to keep the next defence, but in the end it was Team New Zealand’s decision.
“I think that with the offer by Government and our offer to continue to improve those facilities on the wharf we’ve got a very good offer that I hope that Team New Zealand will take up.”
The decision on what goes into Budget 2021 would be made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Finance Minister Grant Robertson, and Associate Finance Ministers Megan Woods and David Parker.
How much did it make?
A 2017 forecast predicted the America’s Cup would add between $600m and $1 billion to the New Zealand economy but the impact of Covid-19 and New Zealand’s closed borders meant the event was now expected to run at a loss.
Auckland Unlimited chief executive Nick Hill said it was too early to talk about potential support “that may or may not be offered” to keep the next defence.
He said the council was still working through an assessment of the latest event, “which will all help to inform any potential negotiation”.
The council and Government had contracted an external report to evaluate the America’s Cup impact, Hill said.