Calling it ‘Team NZ’ is the biggest misnomer in sport, the boat should be called 1%



I’m sorry, but I just don’t give a damn about a rich boys elite yacht wank – calling it ‘Team NZ’ is the biggest misnomer in sport, the boat should be called 1%.

This game of billionaires that NZ with it’s little brother complex feels compelled to play in is skillful. I appreciate the technology and the hard work that leads to such excellence, but it’s a game for the 1%, not for New Zealanders.

The $36m in taxpayer subsidies plus the multi-millions before that should be paid by the elites who play this game, not the taxpayers of NZ. We have 270 000 children in poverty and the largest level of rising inequality in the OECD – forgive me won’t you if I don’t join in the exuberance of watching tax dollars blown on the sport of the filthy rich.

I’m also not alone in shaking my head at the flag blinded nationalism, Child Poverty documentary campaigner, Bryan Bruce posted his reasons against the symbolism of paying for a boat while ignoring poverty…

I know the argument is that the $36 million we put up is an “investment” , that we’ll get over $100 million back through increased business , that it will create Auckland jobs and that somehow men in black sailing a black boat in San Fransico will boost our tourism industry; but I don’t buy it.

First of all let me say that that I’m not anti- America’s Cup it’s a spectacular event, the courage of the men taking part and the ingenuity of the boat building is admirable. But in my view the taxpayer should not be funding the Team Emirates New Zealand’s challenge.


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Well let’s start with the the argument that the $36 million “investment” will return $100 million via the Auckland boat building industry. In 1990 I made a documentary about Peter Blake as he was then. I followed him and is crew around the world when he won The Whitbread. He was, no doubt about it, a remarkable man. But all the money he raised was from private sponsors. So our boat building expertise began through enthusaistic amateurs and corporate sponsorship – it wasn’t a government funded startup. Win or lose the upcoming series , rich people will still come to New Zealand to get their boats built because we’re very, very good at it .

Then there’s the issue of “branding” New Zealand on the world stage. Well apart from a silver fern and the words New Zealand if you hunt for them on the hull, its is a black boat (covered in corporate logos) sailed by men in black (covered in corporate logos) sailing against Oracle Team USA another black boat (covered in corporate logos) crewed by other men dressed in black (and covered in corporate logos). So right there you have brand confusion.
And what exactly IS this “brand ” the boat symbolises? Well for me the message to the world is that the New Zealand Government sees itself as a corporate that is so rich it can play with other rich corporates.

-We’re not a corporate – we’re a country. A country that can’t have paid parental leave because it “costs too much”. But we can have a share in a boat.

-We’re a country that won’t pay for healthy meals for kids at school because it ” costs too much” . But we can have a share in a boat.

-We can’t take GST off basic food items because it would “cost too much”. But- yes- we can have a share in a boat.

…I have no envy or anger at rich people, but i think that when we have a national crisis of inequality and poverty the symbolism of pouring millions of tax dollars into a boat game for playboys and billionaires is a slap in the face to those living beneath the poverty level.

This is bread and paddling pools.


  1. Agreed. And the argument for tipping money into this 1% fails on so many levels – not just for those underfed children, those without adequate housing, those unable to pay they power bills and so on.
    When we hear that the various ‘arts’ that contribute to our cultural identity cannot be adequately funded because they’re ‘elitist’, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander surely.
    NZ Music, indigenous theatre groups struggling, an adequate public service broadcasting system, world class orchestras reliant on corporate sponsorship …… this really is a sop to mates and Natty MPs favourite little projects. It isn’t even trickle down! Its a torrent for mates and a drip for most.

    • “Win or lose the upcoming series , rich people will still come to New Zealand to get their boats built because we’re very, very good at it”

      And we’re good at it because?

      Why do people get “good” at things? Practice, perseverance and experience. New Zealand got it’s “go to” to get your boats built or fixed reputation because of the boys in their boats showing the rich guys how to build, maintain world beating hardware. Advertising is the name of the game and what better way to do it than thrashing the yanks and that traitor Coutts. Jac

      • And that would be why they get corporate sponsorship. Doesn’t mean that the government has to put in the dollars.

  2. And professional rugby or football? Is it any different?

    After all there are professional sailors, sail makers,engineers and designers involved who are definitely not part of the 1%.

  3. ok, I get that it is a lot of coin, and yes, it could have been better spent on many things, as mentioned, but lets face it… it wouldn’t have been spent on anything better by this government if they had been able to get out of paying. The whole yachting is only for the rich thing that has been going on all over NZ sites lately is pissing me off too. We are a young family who live on a boat and we are DEFINITELY not part of the 1%. The reality is, it is currently cheaper for us to live on a boat than on land, and we are not the only ones, there a plenty of cruisers out here who can’t afford a mortgage, power bill, phone bill… the list goes on. We consume less than land based families, are a lot more conscious of how much waste we create, and extremely active environmentally – we get to see first hand the pollution and detrimental effects of commercial fishing… Part of the reason Team NZ needed the money to get going was the ridiculous costs set up by the billionaires who held the cup, without it we would never have had the chance to win it and bring it back to NZ, generating tourism and industry revenue AND making the next cup less expensive for teams to compete in. How much did the rugby world cup cost? I hate rugby does that mean investment by the NZ govt was wrong?

    • @Terry
      Point taken mate, and best of luck to you and your whānau and your life aquatic, but I don’t think Bomber is saying yachting is for the rich. I think what he is saying is that America’s Cup level yachting competitions are for the rich. I don’t think the NZ public should have spent any money on the Rugby World Cup either, for the same reason. These are massive, corporate-sponsored events, perfectly capable of raising the capital they need through private channels.

      @Louis M
      >> So when we have a national crisis you oppose a programme of government stimulus which helps create jobs? <<

      $36 million is nearly a dollar for every person in the country. That's enough to create 1000 fulltime jobs, at the living wage of $18,75, for a year. Will "investing" that money in the America's Cup create those jobs? Like hell.

    • Terry, I suspect that the boat you live on is far removed from the high tech wonders roaring around San Francisco. Trying to live on one of them would be like using an F1 Ferrari to drag dead cows out of a swamp.

    • No. That is framing a question that says it is one or the other, invest in the America’s Cup or no investment.

      What about stimulus packages in industries that serve a wider demographic, have more than a winner’s opportunity, and while being invested serves NZ’ers in NZ. Affordable housing programmes, community engagement projects, health staff retention and engagement, apprenticeship opportunities, manufacturing sector …

      On a reasonably compiled list of stimulus packages – this option would probably be way down the bottom – on the last page.

  4. And now here is something else to consider, re the America’s Cup. Should the NZ team win the thing and bring it back to NZ, what’s the bet the PM will make sure victory parades are held up and down the country next year! Election year no less!

    Being the shallow, PR fabricated, facade he is, Key plays on the “feel good” factor and in his puerile brain, something as false and pretentious as this one, the America’s Cup, will be used to generate votes from the gullible, for him and his rabid mob of National miscreants!

  5. The most prominent sponsor of Emirates team NZ is owned by a government with values radically inconsistent to anything I would support or promote in any way. U.A.E., a place where consensual homosexual sex gets 10+ years jail. Men can beat their wives if they leave no marks. Government owned Emirates is a great partner for a nation opposed to wife beating (NZ), or is the oldest sporting cup of such great value that the money is more important? Yes.

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