America’s Cup advocacy campaign: Mark Dunphy sees $ 40 million shortfall partly filled by more government cash

Marc Dunphy. Photo / Alex Burton

Mark Dunphy has pledged $ 20 million of his own money to keep the next America’s Cup going in New Zealand, but still sees a shortfall of $ 40 million that could require government funding.

Dunphy, the chairman of Greymouth Petroleum, has offered to provide short-term funding to Team New Zealand to the tune of $ 5 million, provided the 37th America’s Cup is held in Auckland.

New Zealand team general manager Grant Dalton has previously claimed that in order to credibly defend the cup, it needs to be hosted abroad.

On Saturday, Team New Zealand said Dunphy had not answered a list of questions about her interest, adding that the $ 5 million was a loan she did not need.

Now a letter from Dunphy to Team New Zealand has emerged providing the outline of what Dunphy believes to be the shortfall needed to defend the Cup in Auckland.

The letter, sent to Team New Zealand director Robert Field and Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron commodore Aaron Young on September 14, was based on the assumption that the government’s offer of $ 31 million in cash for defense was valid.

Dunphy said he had received advice from the New Zealand squad that this left an $ 80 million deficit to continue hosting the next America’s Cup in Auckland.

“I propose that these funds be obtained from a combination of private and public sources,” Dunphy wrote.

He believed that “at least” $ 40 million would be available from private sources.

“My personal private interests and associates will commit $ 20 million,” Dunphy added.

“The balance will be obtained by reconnecting with current and past donors, members, contributors and [Team New Zealand] shareholders. “

Emirates Team New Zealand, pictured en route to the first race of the 36th America's Cup match at Waitemata Harbor in March.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Emirates Team New Zealand, pictured en route to the first race of the 36th America’s Cup match at Waitemata Harbor in March. Photo / Dean Purcell

A former major donor had indicated that he would support again, but “this party and the other donors demand anonymity”.

The letter suggests a shortfall of up to $ 40 million.

“I propose that this gap be bridged by a combination of additional private and public funding. The government has a significant sunk investment in the Cup facilities and infrastructure in Auckland and, due to the pandemic, has not been in. able to monetize this funding with the 2021 event. A defense in 2024 would remedy this, while highlighting New Zealand’s return to the world stage after Covid-19.

Before the letter was made public, Team New Zealand not only asked if the government would be prepared to fund the defense if the identity of the donors was not public, and called Dunphy’s short-term funding offer a ready.
Team New Zealand “does not require a loan,” the union said in a statement.

Dunphy’s letter confirms that it would be structured as a loan, but against the $ 20 million he spent on defense. In an interview, Dunphy told the Herald it would be extended based on talks held to keep the event in Auckland.

“I propose that the government financial support of $ 5 million for the team announced on March 17, 2021 be made available. In turn, I will double this government funding to the amount of $ 5 million, to be taken out in the form of a down payment loan. of my $ 20 million funding mentioned above.

‘Wishful thinking’

Team New Zealand said Monday that Dunphy had yet to respond to its request to provide detailed financial terms or who initiated the funding.

“These remain unanswered in his letters. All that has been is a collection of pious ideas that do not constitute commercial terms.”

He said Dunphy’s statement of the shortfall assumed someone else would provide the roughly $ 10 million required for the chaseboats.

Team New Zealand said it also assumed there would be more from the government, after ministers had previously indicated there would be no more than the money offered in March.

Team New Zealand said there were “much higher priorities” for the government.

“ETNZ has always said it considers the government’s offer to be fair and reasonable given the times in which we find ourselves, and maintains that view,” Team New Zealand said in a statement.

Team New Zealand published a letter from its managing director Grant Dalton to Dunphy in the Herald.

Dalton told Dunphy not to write to Field. “Your inquiries should be directed to me as interim chairman and CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand,” Dalton wrote.

He also indicated that the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron would not participate in the talks.

“In the same way [commodore] Aaron Young indicated that RNZYS has no role to play in any negotiations that may or may not be successful and that all inquiries should be directed to myself. I will then distribute accordingly. “

Dalton said he wrote to Dunphy on September 16 to inform him that he was aware of “offshore lobbyists who are actively campaigning against the bids and asking for confirmation that neither you nor your backers are related to these lobbying efforts. To date, I have not received any response. “

Dunphy’s letter said that none of the potential donors were associated with any of the America’s Cup vying teams, but Dalton wanted more details.

The questions seem to suggest that Dunphy may have been seeking the support of several business figures who have been involved in past campaigns for the America’s Cup.

“Can you confirm that none of the potential donors currently have or have had before … at any time an association not only with a team (who intends to enter, is investigating entry or has in been a participant since the Cup left New Zealand in 2003) or could be viewed as third party intermediaries for a team, its main sponsor or even its main. “

He also wanted to know “the nature of the conversations that you or your collaborators may have had directly or via third parties with [Oracle founder] Larry Ellison, [former Alinghi principal] Ernesto Bertarelli or [Prada chief executive] Patrizio Bertelli. “

He also asked for clarification as to the nature of the conversations Dunphy had with “to seek the support of the [New York Yacht Club] and through whom these approaches may have been passed. “

Dunphy responded to Dalton’s letter on Sunday. Although it appears he ignored Dalton’s instruction to write to him directly, Dunphy appears to deny the implication that the money collected comes from overseas.

“The potential donors are New Zealanders who have contributed to various campaigns dating back to the Fremantle Challenge,” Dunphy wrote.

“These parties will not support offshore defense but will support national defense.”

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