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Kiwi politics and the America’s Cup

Published on June 10th, 2020

The right-leaning National Party and the left-leaning Labour Party dominate New Zealand political life, and the current prime minister, who ranks as the most senior government minister, is the leader of the Labour Party.

The New Zealand government closed its borders to limit the COVID-19 spread, but as America’s Cup teams struggle to gain entry into the country to prepare for the 2020-21 competition, the opposing National Party is lending its voice with this press release:

(June 10, 2020) – The Government’s lack of urgency on approving visas for the America’s Cup teams is concerning and risks losing a significant amount of economic benefit to New Zealand, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Judith Collins says:

“Two weeks after (movie production) Avatar crews and their families arrived in Wellington, America’s Cup teams who need to get here and train are still waiting for their visas.

“The Government have brushed it aside as a matter of process but the lack of consistency implies they’re playing favourites with who’s allowed in to New Zealand and when.

“This isn’t good enough when taxpayer funds are being spent to bring the America’s Cup here, not to mention millions in economic benefits that risks being lost if teams aren’t able to get here in time to train.

“The Government has invested $136.5 million to secure the regatta for New Zealand yet Ministers are now nowhere to be seen when the competition is at risk.

“With the teams footing the bill for the quarantine, the economic benefit, including significant flow on effects for tourism and hospitality, this is a no-brainer for the Government.

“It is not COVID-19 that is causing this hold up, and a whole lot of other economic benefit to be lost, it’s the Government’s poor response, lack of ability to think strategically and focus on what won’t work as opposed to what will.

“The America’s Cup will provide significant economic contributions to New Zealand’s economy over the coming year of up to $1 billion, and create more than 8000 jobs.

“The Minister needs to prioritise approving these visas so the teams can get here and train, and so New Zealand can reap the economic benefits.”

36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAW
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAW

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, but they still must complete the entry fee payment process before they will be eligible to race. They have allegedly made their initial payment but as a late entry challenger under the Protocol, they also have a liability to pay a US$1million late entry fee due in installments by October 1, 2019. However, it is not yet confirmed if they have paid the fee, nor is there any knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team training.

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1


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