The America’s ClownShow Shell Game?

Five months ago, MBIE appointed two former senior officials from the Serious Fraud Office to investigate several claims of financial impropriety that had been made against the America’s Cup champions and their event management arm, America’s Cup Event Ltd.

Richard Gladwell wrote another ridiculously biased piece for Sail-World regarding the sleazy kerfuffle between Emirates Team New Zealand, ACE, M&C, MBIE, the NZ Herald, and the NZ courts. And, since it’s a Saturday and I’m bored, I feel compelled to rip it apart, because it richly deserves it.

The bulk of his sophomoric article is a laughable attempt at swaying the decision currently in arbitration as to whether the Class Design fees of $3M should be paid to ETNZ with public money through MBIE. He makes the pitch thusly…

For an organisation that has Innovation in its name, one would have thought that MBIE would have been more than pleased to pick up the cost of development and testing of the AC75 boat concept and class rule.

Really? Though it is the typical KiWhinger jingoism we’ve come to expect from Gladwell, and what one has to assume is borne of GD whispering hotly in his ear, it is a very weak argument for many reasons.

But there is a lot of crap surrounding this whole thing that needs dealing with first. So let’s get started…

Now in my own following of the story to date, there is not a lot of solid public information precisely because ETNZ lawyered up, stopped cooperating with the investigation, and put a hush on everything through the courts. This is important because, in light of that, Clownwell is making a lot of arguments in his article where either:

  1. He is completely making stuff up without a shred of evidence.
  2. He is being fed stuff for PR reasons by those in the hot seat to influence this arbitration decision.

My wild hunch, due to his historically one-eyed coverage of the AC, is the latter.

So what I’m going to do here is take the same set of facts that are publicly known and show just how ridiculously inept his arguments in that article are – and how clear it is that this story is far from over.

Let’s go back to the confidential letter to MBIE – now understood to be the whistleblow from M&C that started all this. Here was its crux as reported by the NZ Herald:

Letter raised serious concerns with use of public funds

Among the concerns and allegations raised in the MBIE-council letter:

• “ACE has used part of the Event Investment for costs that have arisen but which are not in relation to the management and delivery of the Events”;

• “This includes the $3,000,000 loan to ETNZ which was subsequently reclassified and the payment that was made to the Hungarian bank account through fraud”;

• “Lack of record-keeping and unwillingness to provide the information that has been requested”;

• “Material relationships with third parties that are not documented and which can be terminated … upon 30 days’ notice”;

• “Poor governance including suggestions that records should be retrospectively amended”.

Now, a few critical things to keep in mind as we wade through all the #KiwiPoop surrounding the above allegations, as well as Gladwell’s ridiculous spin about “vindication”, and ETNZ being somehow deserving of yet more public funds after scuttling the NZ economy for some shiny bling:

  1. All of this deals with MBIE and its provision to ACE (the event management side of ETNZ) of public dosh to the tune of $40M.
  2. Grant Dalton is the head of BOTH ETNZ and ACE – meaning he makes the ultimate decisions about any and all financial transactions for both entities – which as we’ll see was a very bad move from a business management perspective.
  3. All of this alleged “fraud” seems to revolve around the sum of $3M. But what’s interesting is that same amount shows up in many ways in many different places in all of this. So, it sure feels like a shell game as you’ll see.
  4. The MBIE money was just part of all this – and the BV report likewise had a very narrow view (actively hampered by ACE) – so a resolution on that single item does not necessarily discount the allegations in M&C’s letter, nor does it absolve ETNZ or ACE from other very problematic $3M issues.

So, we’re going to follow this $3M nut and see where it leads us.

In doing so, what you will see is this:

  1. ~$3M lost by ACE in the HungarianGoulash affair.
  2. ~$3M of ACE/MBIE money claimed by ETNZ for Class Design fees which is still in dispute, and BV’s attempt to validate that sum with salaries/hours that would have gone into that work (again this is the main thrust of Clownwell’s article trying to justify this payment to ETNZ).
  3. ~$3M that should probably go to LR for the same amount since they too put their time into it. Does that come from ACE? Someone else? Is that the Europe connection? Remember, LR is party to the HVA just like ETNZ is.
  4. ~$3M added by MBIE just prior to the BV report – but not specifically accounted for in that report.
  5. ~$8M that BV could not/did not look into for whatever reason.

So, knowing all of this, any “vindication” here whatsoever is very narrowly related to one thing: Did MBIE’s money (public money) for the event get “misappropriated”? Or in more appropriate terms, did MBIE “lose any of its money”?

Here’s how Gladwell frames things for his article:

Several of the issues had occurred and been notified to the other entities up to a year ago. Had had they been of serious concern, at the time should have been addressed using the reporting and audit processes outlined in the Host Venue Agreement. There are very clear provisions in that agreement for handling “misappropriations” – which in this context means there is a disagreement as to how an intercompany transaction is handled between the entities. There is always a clear obligation for the parties to act in good faith, and for prompt action be taken if there is an issue. 

That does not seem to have been the case in this relationship – and the  Summary Report from the auditors does not address the latency of these concerns and issues, which gave rise to the audit investigation.

As you see, he points to a few things:

  1. The Joint Statement from MBIE/ETNZ/ACE (linked here)
  2. The Summary Report itself from MBIE (linked above)
  3. The Host Venue Agreement (linked here).

Keep these handy as we merrily dismantle his arguments.

The first important item in his quote above is his definition of “misappropriations”. He is poorly and incompletly summarizing this section of the HVA:

22. Termination – (a) The Hosts may terminate this Agreement by written notice to ACE and the other parties to this Agreement with immediate effect on the date of termination specified in that notice and without limiting any other rights or remedies available to the Hosts under this Agreement or at Law:

(iv) if it is determined that any Personnel of ACE or ETNZ are defrauding, or attempting to defraud or conspiring to defraud the Hosts or are committing any offence under any laws in respect of fraud or corruption in relation to the Events or the Event Investment is misused, misapplied or misappropriated (an Offence) and ACE or ETNZ is unable to remedy the Offence to the Hosts satisfaction, for example by way of refunding any amount of misappropriated Event Investment or terminating the relevant Personnel’s employment, within 30 Business Days following written notice of determination of the Offence from the Hosts to ACE.

So, Clownwell’s mention of the amount of time that has passed on these issues is actually very problematic. As you see above, there is a 30-day window for reporting and refunding any type of misappropriated funds. As you’ll see below GD says he “immediately” informed MBIE of the HungarianGoulash loss (which occurs some time around December 2019) – and told them these weren’t MBIE/public funds.

But think about that a moment. That particular ~$3M was, at that point, DEFINITELY MBIE/public money – lost by ACE. How do we know? Look at the HVA as to what ACE is to spend this MBIE money on. It specifically includes broadcast production services (keep this in mind when we look at the mysterious 3rd party relationships below also mentioned in the BV report).

So the real question here is whether that initial report by GD to MBIE was, in fact, full and accurate? And what was going on behind the scenes during those subsequent months to account for this ~$3M loss by ACE? If it wasn’t MBIE money as GD said he told them – who else was covering this ~$3M loss? And when exactly was it refunded – if at all (the BV report doesn’t show this)?

Finally, on that same question, if everything was, in fact, legit after that point, why did MBIE send in FRAUD INVESTIGATORS after M&C came forward with their documentation months later detailing the steps being taken within ETNZ and ACE to deal with this shortfall? Remember who was calling the shots for both entities.

Are you starting to see how this is much messier than ETNZ/ACE/MBIE want it to be? Yet, Clownwell tries this classic bait-and-switch…

Surprisingly, MBIE did not request an inquiry into how the confidential material came to be in media hands, or if MBIE did investigate, the findings have not been publicly released. ETNZ/ACE has now filed legal proceedings in respect of some of those issues.

The considerable reputational damage to the highly experienced directors and management of Team New Zealand Ltd and America’s Cup Event Ltd has also been conveniently ignored.

I’d say GD’s clear mismanagement of both entities in this case, even according to BV, has done the real damage…as you’ll see below. The whistle and leaks were just the spotlights on that failure.

So, to get a better handle on all of this, we first need to look at GD’s own statements to the press when it all started blowing up in June 2020 after M&C sent the letter to MBIE.

Here is exactly what GD said in 2 interviews with the NZ Herald (First one here and second one here). The italics are my own questions…

  1. He said that when they discovered the HungarianGoulash affair, they “immediately rang MBIE – and said it wasn’t government money“. (How could it not be government money if it came from ACE for broadcast production services which is exactly what the $40M under the HVA was for? Whose money was it? Was that report from GD accurate? And how was it accounted for?)
  2. He says “we got a lot of the money back, well some of the money back…” (So what was the original amount and how much did you get back? The BV report specifies $2.8M as being lost. So did you get $200K back – which brings us back to the same $3M?)
  3. Defrauded by mysterious and unknown “scammers” and don’t really know where the money went…just that it went to Europe.
  4. Have we been obstructive to MBIE? Yes. Because we suspected the questioning was “unusual”.
  5. Personnel work across both organizations (ETNZ/MBIE), but we weren’t prepared to give the salaries – back-engineer those percentages – during COVID – for reasons that were pretty obvious. (This hits on 2 issues – the public money claimed by ETNZ/ACE for COVID-related benefits – which I’m not concerned about here, but also – as we know now – the issue of BV trying to calculate the $3M figure for the Class Design Fees. But notice that GD only answers the COVID item.)
  6. There was no $3M loan to ETNZ from ACE. And the HungarianGoulash amount wasn’t that figure. They are 3 things that don’t relate to each other. (As we know now, it apparently was that figure. And since it was ACE/MBIE money that was lost – how was it accounted for between ACE and ETNZ? Remember, GD told MBIE it was not public money. So that would seem to mean that ETNZ would have to themselves cover that loss by ACE. Could this be the “reclassified loan”? Or could that “reclassified loan of the same amount be for the Class Design fees?)
  7. Doesn’t know what the “material relationships with 3rd parties that are not document” means. (It means material relationships that are not on the books. BV address this – but are not given clarity from ETNZ/ACE. This is a very big and important blemish on that “vindication”.)
  8. He knew he had “spies” because information he knew could only come from one source was fed back to him from Europe. (Why Europe? Is this about the $3M HungarianGoulash, or has been discussed in the press as well, salaries which would factor into the disputed $3M Class Design fees – which one would assume to be both for ETNZ and LR?)
  9. Said that suspicions grew that M&C’s actions were not “team dynamically right” – so we placed one of them ‘in the main organization – with guys who knew what the game was'” (So he moved this person from ACE to ETNZ? That’s a problem in itself. And what “game” are we talking about? Anything to do with shells?)
  10. Q: Is there legal action here? Sighs. We’ve spent a number of days with lawyers looking at all the different angles.
  11. This has nothing to do with the team – but with the event…and both are housed in the same building. (And both under GD’s control. And this takes us back to the question of covering the $3M loss. Whose money was lost?)
  12. Didn’t use these funds to ship his race car(s) to Europe.
  13. ACE was trying to scale back the safety plan from 45 boats – and push that to the police.
  14. (PS – He also told the press at the time that the HungarianGoulash loss was $1M – not the ~$3M in the BV report.)

So, with all of the above, you’ll see it’s perfectly reasonable for MBIE to “vindicate” ETNZ and ACE in this matter if all of the money IT GAVE to ACE is accounted for to its satisfaction. In other words, it didn’t lose any money of its own – so what does MBIE care if someone else loses theirs from another bucket?

In this regard, remember the fact that, per the HVA, ETNZ/ACE are responsible to cover any costs that fall outside MBIE’s pool of dosh on their own…

7.2 (b) the Event Investment, together with the Public Sector Delivery Obligations (including the provision of the required infrastructure for the Events) and any other obligations of the Hosts under this Agreement and any amounts that the Hosts determine to pay in connection with the ETNZ Team Base, (Hosts’ Contribution) is the maximum financial contribution available from the Hosts and the risk of any increased costs either for the management of the Event or the conduct of the sporting campaign for the Defence over ACE and ETNZ’s budgeted costs shall lie solely with ACE and ETNZ. Both ACE and ETNZ warrant not to seek (directly or indirectly, including through statements to the media and others) any contributions above the Hosts’ Contribution from the Hosts.

And that last sentence makes you wonder why Clownwell is going on and on thusly…

It is clear from the Host Venue Agreement that the MBIE’s much-vaunted $40million Event Investment is only part of the event funding. 

Team New Zealand is required to secure the balance described as the External Funding Commitment in the Host venue Agreement.

Specific amounts and percentages are redacted from the publicly available version of the HVA. Our guess is that the NZD40million is about 60% of the total required with the balance being sourced by ACE/ETNZ from sponsors and other funders.

In light of the complete economic #dumpsterfire that AC36 has become under GD’s tenure – where do you think that additional money will come from during this time of COVID? The answer to that should tell you why GD-via-Clownwell is fighting so hard for it to come from that MBIE balance of public dosh already sitting in ACE’s bank account…but which he can’t touch.

Money has dried up and everyone involved is looking at a huge loss on their investments in this thing. And, naturally, people are panicking.

Again, where ACE/ETNZ gets its money is not MBIE’s concern. As long as its own $40M is clean and accounted for, it’s happy to throw a public vindication bone. But, again, it’s a very narrow “vindication”.

Therefore, it’s also perfectly reasonable to deduce that there is still a huge pile of stink under GD’s table…and, ergo, that M&C had legitimate reason for concern in the interceding months before that particular bone was thrown.

So, despite Clownwell’s eyerolling attempt to sweep all this #KiwiPoop under the already bulging rug of Auckland, this story definitely isn’t over as Pattrick Smellie rightly points out in his article:

Let’s now summarize by looking at these various ~$3M nuts and which of them have been fully and clearly explained/accounted-for and which are still very much under a shell.

And for kicks, let’s compare them to the leaked MBIE letter to see how “outrageously false” those initial allegations by M&C were – in relation to the BV report’s actual findings.

~$3M lost by ACE in the HungarianGoulash affair.

Remember above that GD said he immediately informed MBIE about the scam and told them it was not “public money”. But that doesn’t line up with this from the BV report itself…

The first documents were provided by ACE on 20 April 2020. One was a schedule that recorded that $29M had been contributed by the Crown {effective 31 March 2020, the date to which this report relates} and then expended on a range of expenses (grouped into categories} totaling $25.4M and recorded as “ACE Campaign Spend”. The schedule also listed four categories of expenditure / income labelled as “Activity Outside Event Funding” including a fraud matter dealt with later in this report. We refer to the schedule as the “Event Spending Schedule”.

So it certainly appears that despite the labelling this ~$3M loss came from ACE’s coffers which, as the report also says, were being filled by MBIE. So was it just a matter of using that public money to cover the loss when it happened, and then using creative accounting to push repayment off to the future (like a loan)? Hmm.

But then you have this little jewel from the BV report as well, mysteriously combining the scam with the still-disputed Class Design fees…

Subject to our findings in respect of the AC36 Event & Class Design expenditure and the money lost to a third-party fraudster, we are of the opinion that the expenditure incurred was to meet costs arising with the management and delivery of the Events. We have not seen evidence that ACE/ETNZ misapplied the Event Investment.

Two ~$3M expenditures going out. One to ETNZ and another to “Europe” for goulash? Interesting.

So how can this scam be reconciled? Simple, from the BV report, it appears ACE/ETNZ is eating that loss…

If any part of the $2.8M lost to the fraudster is considered a breach of the HVA (and we do not express a view on if it is a breach) then it was not an intentional one. We note ACE / ETNZ’s advice that it does not intend for any residual loss from the fraud to reside within the Event Investment nor impact on the $40M of funding to be provided by the Crown.

So, even if there is/was something nefarious going on under the table regarding this money up to the point of the report, as long as it wasn’t coming out of MBIE’s pool – it wasn’t MBIE’s problem. Simple labelling of those losses seems to be all that was required to satisfy MBIE.

But that brings up the question of who else is putting money into ACE – or who else besides ACE/ETNZ will eat these losses?

This also brings into question this little jewel from the report which GD was unable to explain in his interviews (despite him being the boss) and which no one has been able to explain since…

“In our interim report we advised that there were material relationships in place with third parties that were not documented, or which operated verbally, or were still under negotiation. We also advised of an agreement with a media and TV production service provider that did not prescribe the services to be provided. ACE subsequently provided extensive information relating to these relationships and agreements and we have referred to those in the appendices to this report. We refer you to those. In respect of our enquiry, our concern was simply to establish support for payments made to the third parties and we have been able to satisfy ourselves on that aspect.”

Does this have any connection to the HungarianGoulash affair? Who are these mysterious, off-the-books “third-parties”? This, as much as anything else in this story, stinks to high-heaven. You can’t get much more “under-the-table” than this.

Yet it’s completely glossed over in the MBIE “vindication”. Again, as long as it’s not MBIE’s money “going missing” – what does it care?

M&C Letter:

• “ACE has used part of the Event Investment for costs that have arisen but which are not in relation to the management and delivery of the Events”;

• “This includes the $3,000,000 loan to ETNZ which was subsequently reclassified and the payment that was made to the Hungarian bank account through fraud”;

• “Lack of record-keeping and unwillingness to provide the information that has been requested”;

“Material relationships with third parties that are not documented and which can be terminated … upon 30 days’ notice”;

• “Poor governance including suggestions that records should be retrospectively amended”.

Apparent Verdict: All True or Conceivably True.

So this leads us to all the other $3M buckets which begin to provide some possible answers…

~$3M of ACE/MBIE money claimed by ETNZ for Class Design fees which is still in dispute (and BV’s attempt to validate that sum with salaries/hours that would have gone into that work – but which were not accounted for)

This item is not at all settled – and ETNZ/ACE and MBIE have gone into arbitration on whether this counts as an event-related cost. It’s the whole thrust of Clownwell’s article. But this is actually one of the most sticky problems in the whole deal. From the BV report:

In respect of AC36 Event & Class Design expenses (Appendix A) and Management and Administration expenses (Appendix B) that ETNZ recharged to ACE, we have accepted that the costs were initially incurred by ETNZ. But the lack of an appropriate time­recording system within ETNZ prevented any objective verification of the amount that was ultimately recharged to ACE. The failure to maintain a contemporaneous and documented record that would allow objective verification warrants criticism at a governance and management level. It attracts an increased criticism given ACE’s Event costs are funded to a significant amount by taxpayers.

So, apart from the fact that BV too is hammering GD’s clear failures, he – via ETNZ – has apparently already taken this ~$3M from ACE (and the taxpayer), with him saying in the press that the cost should have been ~$6M, but that ETNZ was only charging ACE half – to be nice I suppose.

But, wait – if ETNZ is going to charge ~$3M for these services to ACE – where are the similar charges from LR who was also part of that work? How was that covered?

If arbitration finds in ETNZ’s favor on this charge – does that mean LR are owed the same ~$3M? And does that come from MBIE too (further depleting that public-money balance)?

As to quantifying that amount, here is Clownwell’s argument:

The auditors seemed to have the view that this cost could be determined by the inspection of timesheets – against which the requested remuneration information could be applied and a cost estimated. 

That approach view ignores the fact that ownership of the design and engineering software systems, along with the other related assets, including simulators, are required for the development of an America’s Cup Class rule. Use of those assets come at a cost which should be reflected in the Rule development cost.

Or should the rule developer time be costed at the same rate as auditors, lawyers and accountants? There is a very compelling argument that the yacht design and engineering group have a more valuable skill set. 

Regardless of rate arguments, it is very easy to get to a figure of $3million for the development of an AC75 class rule, within a six-month time-frame.

So, we are now back to the salaries, the “spying”, the European connection, and the whistleblowing. Were LR trying to get their share – and M&C were trying to arrive at specific numbers using these hourly numbers (based on salaries) as BV tried as well? Or was M&C simply trying to quantify this number for MBIE as BV tried as well? And was that “The Game” GD referred to, and the info that was coming back to GD from Europe (not MBIE)?

We can’t know of course, due to BV being unable to determine this value because of GD’s “failure to maintain a contemporaneous and documented record that would allow objective verification

And here we are back under the table.

M&C Letter:

• “ACE has used part of the Event Investment for costs that have arisen but which are not in relation to the management and delivery of the Events”;

• “This includes the $3,000,000 loan to ETNZ which was subsequently reclassified and the payment that was made to the Hungarian bank account through fraud”;

• “Lack of record-keeping and unwillingness to provide the information that has been requested”;

• “Poor governance including suggestions that records should be retrospectively amended”.

Apparent Verdict: All True or Conceivably True.

This is “vindication”?

(A quick sidenote here…remember GD’s attempt to reduce the safety footprint of the event. From the above, it seems that ETNZ is already in the ACE hole for up to $6M. And, remember, it’s up to him to cover anything over that $40M from MBIE. Is his reduction of the safety costs for the event a way to reduce the liability he sees coming due very soon?)

~$3M that should probably go to LR for the same amount since they too put their time into it.

Continuing on the above. Why are we not hearing anything from or about LR in this Class Design discussion? Seems they’d be very interested in recouping $3M since they are also a party to the HVA and ACE and MBIE.

~$3M added by MBIE just prior to the BV report – but not specifically accounted for in that report

This was a weird one. From the BV report:

Under the HVA, MBIE had agreed to pay ACE NZ$40,000,000 {“the Event Investment”) as a contribution towards running certain events, namely the Christmas Race, the Prada Cup and the 36th America’s Cup match {together, “the Events”). At the time we were approached, MBIE had made payments totaling $26,000,000, now increased to $29,000,000 {all numbers exclusive of GST).

So BV were approached in March 2020 and the MBIE payments stood at $26M. Then suddenly that was increased by $3M just as BV started their work. But that then brings us back to this part of the report:

“The first documents were provided by ACE on 20 April 2020. One was a schedule that recorded that $29M had been contributed by the Crown {effective 31 March 2020, the date to which this report relates} and then expended on a range of expenses (grouped into categories} totaling $25.4M and recorded as “ACE Campaign Spend”. The schedule also listed four categories of expenditure / income labelled as “Activity Outside Event Funding” including a fraud matter dealt with later in this report. We refer to the schedule as the “Event Spending Schedule”.”

So there is ~$4M of the $29M that is marked “Activity Outside Event Funding”. And that seems to include the ~$3M from the HungarianGoulash affair. BUT, remember that $3M that was added by MBIE prior to BV getting rolling? How and where does that factor in?

Well, BV can’t tell you because they’ve been locked out. In fact, this is where the story gets really interesting.

M&C Letter:

• “Lack of record-keeping and unwillingness to provide the information that has been requested”;

Apparent Verdict: True.

~$8M in public many that BV could not look into for whatever reason.

From the report…

We have tested $21.lM of the $25.4M Ace Campaign Spend (i.e. 83%} and the four “Activity Outside Event Funding” categories. MBIE should note that we have not pursued information in respect of the $4.3M balance in spending.

It’s understandable that BV wouldn’t feel the need to test unspent money. But in light of ETNZ taking the disputed $3M, being accused of improper loans, and the sudden $3M bump from MBIE right as this was getting started – shouldn’t you dig a little?

But then you have this from the report…

“At a preliminary stage of our enquiry, on 9 June 2020, ACE wrote to us stating (inter alia} that it had provided considerable information in furtherance of the audit and was returning to its full programme, requiring its full attention. It invited us to submit an audit report to you and advised it would discuss any remaining matters of concern directly with you.

The communication from ACE effectively meant we could not pursue documents that we still required. Nor could we seek explanations from ACE/ ETNZ personnel based on a developed view of all relevant documentary material. Equally, it impacted on an opportunity to assess the information received from the Whistleblower against information from ACE.

So, GD stopped cooperating and shut out BV. It was, apparently, only when BV’s interim report was leaked that this happened…

On 20 June 2020, we provided you with our Interim Report. Subsequently, ACE acknowledged that its approach to the provision of information had been unhelpful and that more fulsome disclosures would have helped to address the concerns we had raised. It advised that it was prepared to provide information that it considered went beyond its strict contractual obligations, in order to address our concerns.

Beginning on 9 July 2020, ACE provided a significant quantity of additional information, including extensive explanations about the various categories of expenditure. Had we received this information in April or May, we would not have needed to raise many of the issues disclosed in the interim report.

The detailed explanations we received allowed us to determine a number of issues without the need to seek face to face meetings with ACE / ETNZ personnel. We have appreciated the assistance given since the interim report. On 11 August 2020, we met with ACE Directors and the CEO to discuss a few remaining matters.

So, suddenly GD orders cooperation when he sees what’s coming out. But remember, two months or so have now gone by after those questionable sums and explanations in the interim report. And, surprise, surprise – this newly produced documentation neatly solves all the problems and satisfies MBIE that all is good.

So, what exactly was going on during those 2 months?

M&C Letter:

• “Lack of record-keeping and unwillingness to provide the information that has been requested”;

“Poor governance including suggestions that records should be retrospectively amended”.

Apparent Verdict

“The America’s Clownshow Shell Game”, summed up nicely by Clownwell himself:

While it is always essential to ensure that investment, Government or otherwise, is appropriately spent, there is a much bigger picture which must be kept in sharp focus – a successful Defence of the America’s Cup. 

That vision doesn’t seem to be present, at least in some circles in New Zealand.

Yes, Kiwis – keep your eye on the “Cup”. Heh.

Stay tuned.

One thought on “The America’s ClownShow Shell Game?”

  1. Well – an update on this! Check out this article:

    +++++

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/americas-cup/122706145/americas-cup-mbie-opposes-footing-3-million-boat-design-bill

    “MBIE states the payment of $3m of the Event Investment by ACE to Emirates Team New Zealand for this purpose was not communicated to the Hosts (MBIE and Auckland Council); was not set out in budgets provided by ACE to MBIE prior to the parties’ entry into the Host Venue Agreement; was not raised at joint committee meetings and was not accurately referenced in the Event Investment dashboards,” said Beattie Varley.

    “Until 31 May 2020 the use of this $3m was captured under the heading ‘Project Management’,” said the report.”

    “Each version was created well after ACE had settled on the $3m amount. Each version had significant differences in composition,” said the audit.”

    +++++

    Turns out I was right – yet again…

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