There should be no taxpayer money for dysfunctional Team NZ

Team NZ is falling apart and the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of Grant Dalton.

The latest stoush?is over Dean Barker who has now called in the lawyers.

A furious Dean Barker has called in the lawyers as the bitter battle over his future with Team New Zealand intensifies.

Barker was left shell-shocked at leaks to media this week that he was to be axed as skipper of the America’s Cup syndicate. His lawyers have written to the syndicate’s board seeking a “please explain” over his treatment.

The campaign for the 2017 regatta in Bermuda was already mired in controversy over taxpayer funding, and now the Herald on Sunday has learned the relationship between Barker and syndicate boss Grant Dalton has been toxic for some time, and that they rarely speak. It emerged this week that Barker only learned he was to be replaced at the helm of Team New Zealand by young sailing star Peter Burling after reading it on Facebook.

The leak occurred while Barker was in negotiations with Team New Zealand top brass. It is understood one of the options being discussed was for Barker to be replaced as skipper, but to retain a leading role within the team.

That now appears unlikely, with the Herald on Sunday learning last night that Barker – left in tears after Team NZ’s heartbreaking loss to Oracle in the 2013 America’s Cup – is set to walk away from the crew if Dalton remains in charge of the syndicate.

A source close to the team said if Barker moves on he will reject any imposition of a gagging order and is preparing to reveal all.

Revealing all is likely to become very messy, especially with all the carry on in San Francisco.

However there are?other things going on behind the scenes that are yet to make the light of day.

Like the two board members who have quietly walked away shaking their heads…and the major sponsor who is having smoke blown up their rectum being told that the government money at the same level is locked and loaded.

The government money is far from assured.

There is a bit of argy bargy going on within National at the moment over the funding…with Treasury papers being hurled around.

Steve Joyce is insistent that he continues the corporate welfare but the back bench is restless. John Key is sensing this restlessness and coupled with the messy situation Joyce landed the government in over SkyCity is becoming reticent about funding a bunch of millionaire sailers with millions more of corporate welfare.

Joyce, the poll driven fruit cake of National is also starting to see push back in the numbers, but is convinced he can win?the?public over. Though I’m not sure he’d be happy with the assurances being given out to sponsors that the government money is a done deal.

As for the Treasury papers, they show that the claim of there being a GST windfall as a result of x event or y event is a dodgy claim. It is quite a considered opinion and has turned more than a few of caucus away from corporate welfare. Basically it says that there is no demonstrable gain in GST or other taxes as a result of an event, because it is basically discretionary spending, and if spent on event x or event y then it is not spent in other areas…the net effect actually being neutral rather than the million in bonus GST politicians love to claim.

In my opinion the government should stay away from Team New Zealand, at least until Grant Dalton is gone…and then see if there is anything in the wreckage worth salvaging. I suspect not…our day is done playing with billionaires who change the rules to suit themselves.


– NZ Herald