Ardern 'disappointed' America's Cup going to Barcelona

Source: 1News

The Prime Minister is "disappointed" that Auckland will not be hosting the next America's Cup in 2024, saying the Government had offered Team New Zealand enough money to keep it in Aotearoa.

It comes after confirmation overnight that Barcelona would be the host of the next contest.

"For us, we wanted it hosted here because New Zealand treats it like a national event. I don't think any other country in the world treats the America's Cup the way we do; we all celebrate it," Jacinda Ardern said.

"I am disappointed [with] the decision that's been made on where the America's Cup will be held. As Government, we certainly stumped up sufficient funding for it to be hosted here. We wanted it hosted here."

Sports Minister Grant Robertson said he thought the close to $100 million the Government and Auckland Council had offered Team New Zealand to host the 37th America's Cup was "reasonable".

However, he said the Government didn't want to enter a bidding war.

Taxpayers forked out about $136 million in the regatta in 2021, with Auckland ratepayers providing an additional $113 million.

Team New Zealand cited funding difficulties in its decision to effectively put hosting rights up for tender.

Chief executive Grant Dalton said in a statement issued at 3.35am he "felt the responsibility to grow the event, the audience, and the sport of sailing on a global scale".

He said hosting the regatta "in a significant city such as Barcelona" would "allow us to propel the growth trajectory on the global sporting stage".

Meanwhile, National leader Christopher Luxon said Team New Zealand's decision was "really disappointing", especially for businesses in Auckland's Viaduct that had struggled because of Covid-19.

He didn't believe there was much more the Government could have done because it was ultimately Team New Zealand's decision.

"I think the Government put its best foot forward."

But veteran sailor and broadcaster Peter Lester said he understood why Team New Zealand had decided to go overseas.

"The reality is, for the board of Team New Zealand, to keep the team together, they need money," Lester told Breakfast.

"We shouldn't be surprised - this was flagged very early on that they were looking offshore because they needed the money to be successful."