Govt risks losing economic benefit of America’s Cup

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 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.”