Team NZ' future now looks assured (25/06/07)
 (source : Radio NZ)

They failed to win the Cup losing to Swiss holder Alinghi. But Team New Zealand's future now looks assured.

Sports Minister, Trevor Mallard, said the kiwi Government is already committing an extra NZ$10m (about €7m) and several more million in the coming months so the team can stay together.

He said the $34m the Government originally invested in the team was well worth the publicity for New Zealand and its industries.

The $10m the Government was advancing was necessary to secure key people from the team.

"Clearly the team won't be able to outbid on everybody but the team had to have certainty of funding in order to go forward at all." Mr Mallard said the heads of "Big Teams" had large chequebooks open: "Their companies could well have a bigger turnover than our country does...we've got to be prepared."

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton said it was a great gesture and he would be back at the helm of the team.

"I have put my name forward and said I will run another challenge," he said. "Trevor [Mallard] support has been sensational and without them we would have been finished."

Dalton said he was gutted after this Thuerday's loss.

"We are incredibly disappointed," It feels like our heart has been dug out with a spoon and I don't think that will change in the short term. But Alinghi were better. That's all that matters."

It was the closest and most exciting finish to the regatta in its 150 year history. That was little consolation to Dalton.

"It don't think the margin today really matters," he said. "They still won it."

However, he paid tribute to his entire team of 120 who now pack up and relocate back to Auckland.

"The guys have done an amazing job," he said. "It's been a long four years. Of course I'm enormously proud."

"We didn't come here to just take part. We came here to win it", he concluded. "We haven't done that, so we're just going to have to re-group and have a look at what the future holds".

"We've been focussed on the now. We'll need a bit of time to look at what happens next."

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