'It's catastrophic for us' - America's Cup challengers vent over NZ border ban

Challengers for next year's America's Cup in Auckland are growing frustrated, unable to travel to New Zealand to begin their preparation for the 2021 cup.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Travel restrictions are stopping overseas teams from arriving in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

US based challenger American Magic are wanting clarification from the Government, as they prepare to ship their boat to New Zealand tomorrow.

American Magic boast a number of Kiwis in their crew, including skipper Dean Barker, who can enter New Zealand during the Covid-19 closure. However, American Magic also employ over 100 crew and staff plus their families, who would be unable to currently enter the country.

The arrival would also be a boost for the post Covid-19 economy, the three America's Cup challengers expected to pump an estimated $200 million into the economy. American Magic themselves paying income tax and renting over 50 homes as well.

Ineos Team UK another to provide a needed cash injection into the economy, using locals to construct their Auckland base, worth $7 million.

The syndicate wants some leeway from the New Zealand Government.

"We want to be able to support and live in a safe manner inside the Auckland community, but we also want to sail our boat," executive director Terry Hutchinson told 1 NEWS.

"In my mind it's catastrophic for us. Through nobody's fault, when you have that time stripped away from you, you know it's gonna be a tough one to overcome."

American Magic are willing to take Covid-19 tests and fund their own quarantine. Their situation isn't unique either, with British outfit Ineos in the same boat.

"We need to start arriving in New Zealand from mid to late June to get set up in our base, and get ready for our boats to arrive," Ineos CEO Grant Simmer says.

"We need to know when we can enter so we can plan."

Teams weren't meant to start sailing on New Zealand waters until August-September, however the cancellation of recent World Series regattas have changed the time frames for the challengers.

The pre-Christmas World Series regatta in Auckland is just over six months away, however Covid-19 could see those plans scuppered too.