Team New Zealand hits back at calls for Grant Dalton to stand down

Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) has hit back after an influential rich-lister claimed he has donors lined up to fund a New Zealand-hosted defence of the America’s Cup – but only if Grant Dalton steps down.

Earlier this week, Mark Dunphy, CEO and chairman of Greymouth petroleum, claimed there has been “no genuine attempt” by Team NZ to raise the money privately.

“The potential donors I have spoken to have had no contact from Team NZ, but I am confident they will assist with the funding of the defence,” the rich-lister told the Herald.

In a statement, ETNZ called the accusation “mind boggling”.

“For an assumption to be made that as a group of people we would simply welcome the departure of someone like Dalts, who has achieved more and given more than you could ever imagine to this team, to our country and to other people, is mind boggling,” ETNZ said in a statement released online.

The Herald understands the statement was written and agreed by a core group of long-term team members and department heads, but also widely supported throughout the team.

ETNZ said Dunphy publicly undermined the team structure and the “dedication and commitment” of Dalton.

“If anyone has proven they can raise money for the team it’s Dalts.

“To keep the team afloat over the last 18 years he has raised over $500 million in sponsorship for this team to be able to proudly put New Zealand technology, innovation and sporting talent on a global stage, so much so that many of the biggest brands in the world want to associate with us.”

Dunphy said he met with America’s Cup hosts the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) and held preliminary talks with Team NZ.

Aaron Young, Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, said Team NZ and RNZYS had not received a proposal involving private funding mixed with Government/Council funding that would enable AC37 to be staged in New Zealand.

Team NZ swept to victory for the fourth time and wrapped up a 7-3 series win over Luna Rossa with a 46-second victory in race 10 of the regatta on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf in March.

A decision on whether the regatta will be held overseas will be made on September 17.

Since the victory, there has been some controversy. In February, the Herald revealed the America’s Cup was being “shopped around” by Team NZ to overseas venues due to a lack of public funding and the looming deadline of September 17 for applications to host the 37th America’s Cup.

Dunphy says nothing would make him happier than ETNZ raising its own funds.

“But if Grant Dalton and Team NZ don’t want to do that or can’t do that then I am happy to do that. In this context, it seems most donors are happy to put in funds providing Grant Dalton is not involved,” he said.

“That wasn’t my starting position but it is now. If Grant doesn’t want to or can’t raise the money, I will do it. The same position applies to Grant’s ongoing involvement with the team, if he doesn’t want to manage the cup here, I believe there are others who will do it and can do so just as well or better.”

ETNZ hit back at these accusation made by Dunphy saying it is “naive” to think that management of an organisation like ETNZ can be replaced so easily.

“He is a major driver of the team’s performance and right now Mr Dunphy’s actions are compromising our performance towards winning the 37th America’s Cup,” the statement said.

“Mr Dunphy has not shown any transparency or consultation with the team and has in no way shape or form, offered confidence in a process that would allow a successful defence of the 37th America’s Cup which once again remains our sole focus, alongside the treatment of our people – without them, we would be nothing.”

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