poker star

One thing I have learned is that if I ever played poker other than I wouldn’t have a clue as to the rules is don’t play against Grant Dalton. 

The delay over the venue decision is not only sensible but the fact an overseas defense was being considered has brought a home defense, if not quite onto the table closer to a possibility.

As the other potential venues appear to have had challenges, the Irish concerns about affordability or financial return exacerbated by political moves, the Valencia site becoming a ‘Spanish National Effort’ and the reported human rights concerns of a Saudi Arabian Cup venue the demands by Mark Dunphy that any funding from him and his mates would be dependent on the removal of ‘Dalts’ from his team leader position appear to have been removed from the ‘condition list’.

Such an idea would have been, let’s just say, idiotic. “I’ll give the team money if you sack the driver behind the Bermuda victory and the AC36 defense.” Can you imagine the reaction if, having just won the Rugby World Cup there had been a demand to sack the All Blacks manager?

It would be just another factor that would make an AC37 a non-defense. 

Just the same as if Team New Zealand doesn’t have the budget to match the R & D and team quality of the likely Challengers – INEOS and whoever joins in – then the so-called Defence would likely be no more than a capitulation.  

Even Sit Stephen Tindall, long-time sponsor (not a last-minute dangler of cash) of the Kiwi America’s Cup efforts has publicly declared that without Grant Dalton New Zealand won’t win the America’s Cup.

The recent report that New Zealand only saw a return of 73 cents on the dollar from AC36 may be accurate from a “dollars during the Cup” but it is however a snapshot in the country’s glorious America’s Cup history and could most likely be largely put down to the current and still raging global COVID crisis.

2000 & 2003 collectively (according to a similar government-backed report) brought close to NZ$1 Bn to the New Zealand economy. Thank goodness the world’s major companies are not being run by similar philosophies or a good number of them would have similarly scrapped future plans due to one poor result.

Also forgotten is the infrastructure changes put in place can be enjoyed into the future. 

To support this theory one only has to look at Viaduct Harbour in Auckland. Redeveloped largely, if not entirely for the America’s Cup 20 years ago has lifted the appearance of waterfront Auckland providing facilities, employment, an improved image AND 20 years of revenue to businesses, employees and of course tax dollars to Auckland City and NEW Zealand National government coffers.

Of course, when the naysayers are making their (flawed) arguments this ongoing revenue has, perhaps deliberately, been left out of the equation. Even in the latest Cup some of the improvements which were required anyway have been ‘assessed’ as a Cup cost.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean the American’s are in active discussion about spending $US3.5Tr for the long term benefit of the nation. In the private sector, people are still pouring millions into the likes of Tesla which has rarely (as in almost never) turned a profit. 

The lack of vision regarding the long-term benefit to the city and nation is, at least, disappointing particularly when those potential benefits are right in front of their noses in the heart of Auckland.

Perhaps however, like many politicians, they are only interested in boosting their own re-election opportunities a mere few years in the future. 

As far as ordinary Kiwis saying they are unhappy about a Cup defense not being on home waters? 

Well sorry, perhaps if they actually were willing to have some skin in the game their views might have more relevance.

5 million Kiwis, 20 bucks each – there is your ‘Home Defence’ right there.

Back in 1983, Bob Hawke and others stated A2’s victory over Liberty united the nation (Australia or ‘Big Island’ as the Kiwis often call it) like no other sporting event. 

In New Zealand it has a similar impact rivaled only perhaps by the All Blacks winning Rugby’s ultimate trophy and the scenes around the Auckland waterfront after Race 10 of AC36 were clear evidence as to what that win meant to ordinary Kiwis

Does Ms Ahern’s government not see that? 

If New Zealanders want any chance of a successful DEFENCE it has to be properly funded so there is are three simple choices, somehow raise the funding for a home defense, insist on an underfunded team LOSING the Cup on home waters or be prepared for late-night TV viewing while AC37 sails in the Middle East or in the middle of the night if Spain wins the bid.

We are already in overtime regarding the eventual decision and none of us know how many Aces Dalton has up his sleeve. Like I said at the start, it is not wise to play him at poker.