Heather du Plessis-Allan: America's Cup is not about loyalty

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Fri, 12 Feb 2021, 4:19PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: America's Cup is not about loyalty

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Fri, 12 Feb 2021, 4:19PM

I can’t say that I give a fig if Grant Dalton decides to take the next America’s Cup away from New Zealand.

We’ve heard the reports in the papers since Sunday and it’s been doing the rounds in Auckland for a few weeks now that Dalton’s hired an agency to shop the event around the world, places like China and Europe, and is considering essentially selling the hosting rights, presumably to the highest bidder. And the prediction was that Kiwis would consider this disloyal. But I don’t, do you? 

This is business, if Grant Dalton and his lot can get more money taking the event offshore than they can get hosting it here in New Zealand, then that is the smart business thing to do. This is of course presuming that Team New Zealand wins this event this year.

Yes, it’s unusual for the defender not to host the event at their home base. It would only be the third time in the regatta’s history that’s happened, once in Bermuda and once in Valencia.

I’m sure there will be a few Kiwis annoyed that we’ve shovelled hundreds of millions into the team and the hosting infrastructure, and that’s clearly not being rewarded with loyalty. But there never was any loyalty. Remember, Grant Dalton is the guy who three years ago threatened to take the Cup to Italy unless he got what he wanted.

The only question now really is whether we want to try to retain it.

Apparently our government has a three month exclusive period within which they can bid to try to keep it, by presumably paying tonnes of cash. Again, that has got to come down to business. Is it worth it for us to do that? 

I mean, we can see the infrastructure benefits of the previous investments we’ve made. Auckland has the viaduct because of the first America’s Cup and further development at the Wynyard Quarter because of this America’s Cup. So it is directly responsible for turning Auckland in to the beautiful waterfront city it is now.

But how much more do we benefit?  Do we get bang for our buck?  How many bucks is worth it?  That’s for smarter people than me to figure out and make a judgement on.

But ultimately, let’s forget the emotion. This is not about loyalty, it probably never was. It’s about business.