RNZYS's special meeting for home defence called off

Source: 1News

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron members have withdrawn a bid for a special meeting to keep the next America’s Cup in Aotearoa.

Grant Dalton arrives in Auckland with Peter Burling and Blair Tuke after winning the America's Cup in 2017.

Since defending the Auld Mug in March, Team NZ have turned down a $99 million bid from the Government to keep the America’s Cup defence in New Zealand waters, opting instead to explore more lucrative deals offshore.

The move was met with resistance by the RNZYS, with members petitioning to reconsider their decision.

It led former Team NZ director Jim Farmer QC to file paperwork – which required 25 signatures – last month to force a special meeting to address the issue and vote on a motion that the America’s Cup be defended in Auckland.

The meeting was scheduled for Thursday but Farmer has since withdrawn the request, citing media reports that Team NZ boss Grant Dalton had “persuaded” some members to change their mind by claiming if a defence was held in New Zealand, the team would be put into liquidation, which would leave RNZYS without a team to defend with.

"Given that position, I felt it incumbent on me as the representative of those members who had signed the requisition in good faith to go back to them and advise them that, in my view, there was a real prospect that the SGM would be undermined by the threats made," he said.

In a separate letter to RNZYS commodore Aaron Young, Farmer said the meeting would be pointless.

“It is clear that the (RNZYS) Special General Meeting is unlikely to be a constructive, transparent and rational debate on the critical AC Venue issue.”

Farmer added those who pushed for the meeting still objected to the defence of the cup taking place off-shore and they still disputed claims made by Dalton that the defence in Auckland is not viable.

“Efforts to maintain the defence of the America’s Cup in Auckland will continue unabated and in particular Team NZ will continue to be challenged to justify its position that the funding of the event here is not viable.”

Farmer said he now wants a mediator to be brought in so there can be a discussion between the RNZYS, Team NZ and others who question the offshore move.

Team NZ are due to announce a venue for their next defence in March 2022 with Cork in Ireland, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and a multi-city bid from Spain considered the leading candidates.