Dunno why we Nats are copping so much heat over the decision to pump $36 million of hard-earned taxpayers’ money into Team New Zealand’s 2013 America’s Cup campaign.
The blame should be heaped on Labour for doing the deal that contractually binds us to squander the money in this shameful way – a bloody boat race in San Francisco.
TVNZ has noted the Labour origins of the arrangement –
The Labour government signed an agreement with Team New Zealand as part of the team’s 2007 campaign against Alinghi in Valencia.
As acting economic development minister, David Carter can only try to ensure the best possible use is made of the investment.
He said the government would use the 2013 America’s Cup to showcase “New Zealand’s technology, products and services, and encouraging tourism”.
But it’s a measure of the public’s inability to get a grip on some things that TVNZ also reports –
However, news of the funding during times of austerity prompted many to have their say on tvnz.co.nz.
“Rich man’s sport – let ’em pay,” wrote greenersideoftheditch.
“Most of the money doesn’t filter down to the average guy – the last few we hosted proved that!
Lindsay Addie wrote that “I’m also outraged” at the funding, while Shandoa posted “I hope that the agencies who are struggling to help/feed the increasing numbers of those in need are totally in support of this spending”.
There’s more of this pap on the TVNZ website.
The important thing for Alf is that in a tvnz.co.nz poll, 47% of participants voted that the money should not be given, compared with 24% who said it should.
It’s not as simple as that.
The legal obligation is made clear at Stuff, where a report points out that the Government took legal advice before acting on an instinct to break the contract to put $36 million towards Team New Zealand’s 2013 America’s Cup campaign.
The Government was contractually obliged to produce the funding because of an agreement signed by the previous Labour-led Government. Legal advice sought by the ministry said the Crown had to honour the agreement.
“If the Crown terminated without cause, the Crown’s liability would be potentially for the full amount outstanding under the agreement, together with damages and costs, if those were sought under court action by Team New Zealand,” Mr Carter said.
But Emirates Team New Zealand are over the moon at having been assured of $36 million that would be better used providing the citizens of Christchurch with dunnies and what have you.
They are also in cuckooland.
Chief executive Grant Dalton said the funding would help return the America’s Cup to New Zealand.
“The Government’s contribution allows us to be competitive on the world stage.”
But if they have to get taxpayers to bail them out, how can they claim to be internationally competitive?
And let’s face it.
The buggers will take money from anyone, including their competitors.
Remember when Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli dipped into his own pocket to make sure New Zealand got to the America’s Cup?
Oh, but let’s not forget that some of the $36 million has been spent already.
This happened when the cavalier Helen Clark announced government support for a new high profile international yachting regatta for Auckland, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series to be held in 2009 featuring Emirates Team New Zealand.
A new cup was created by Louis Vuitton for the event.
But here’s the thing when it comes to the fiscal rigour that was seriously lacking under the Labour tossers –
Associate Finance Minister Trevor Mallard said the government had agreed to support the event through a $750,000 contribution. This will be funded from the Government’s $36 million trade and tourism allocation for Emirates Team New Zealand’s buildup to, and participation in, the next America’s Cup.
So Alf supposes our legal obligations are for something a tad less than the $36 million everyone is yapping about.