- POSTED: 04 Oct 2013 12:53
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New Zealand said Friday it was ready to pour state funding into another America's Cup challenge, despite the Kiwi team's spectacular collapse in last month's final in San Francisco.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand said Friday it was ready to pour state funding into another America's Cup challenge, despite the Kiwi team's spectacular collapse in last month's final in San Francisco.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce told a reception for Team New Zealand crew members in Auckland that the country was proud of them, regardless of the loss to Oracle Team USA.
"While you didn't achieve everything you set out to, you did win the hearts of this nation," Joyce said, referring to the team's stunning 8-9 loss from a seemingly unassailable 8-1 lead in the regatta.
He said New Zealand taxpayers, who contributed NZ$36 million ($30 million) to the America's Cup campaign, were ready to chip in for another tilt at sailing's top prize.
"This country and this government stands ready to be part of the next America's Cup," Joyce told Team New Zealand.
"Bring us a proposal and we will work with you on it."
The funding for this year's challenge was granted on the basis that Team New Zealand win the cup and bring the event back to Auckland, reaping an estimated NZ$500 million in economic spin-offs.
State funding is seen as essential to Team New Zealand's survival after it failed to claim the Auld Mug, but the government's commitment had been in doubt until Joyce's remarks.
He did not specify how much the government was willing to contribute.
New Zealand has won the America's Cup twice, in 1995 and 2000, and staged the regatta in 2000 and 2003.
Australian winemaker Bob Oatley's Hamilton Island Yacht Club was formally announced on Tuesday as the Challenger of Record to Oracle Team USA for the next America's Cup.
Being the Challenger of Record means Hamilton Island has the right to work with cup holders Golden Gate Yacht Club and set the laws of the next regatta, while representing all other challengers in dealings with Oracle Team USA.