Kiwis question America's Cup future

A national debate has already begun about New Zealand's future in the America's Cup and whether this nation of 4.5 million can find both the ambition and the resources, financial or otherwise, to challenge again for the "Auld Mug."

Team New Zealand relied on a $36 million contribution from the New Zealand government on top of a collection of sponsorships to mount its latest challenge.

Surveys showed that at the height of the regatta in San Francisco, as Team New Zealand edged closer to victory, a majority of New Zealanders favored further government funding in the expectation of a major economic boost from a Cup defense in Auckland.

But as defeat became more imminent, support for a further injection of taxpayer funds dwindled and the New Zealand's current, center-right government will now question whether, in a time of relative austerity, further funding would be warranted — or popular.

Prime Minister John Key, who watched the final race from New York where he is attending the general assembly of the United Nations and called it "gut-wrenching," said "there's a lot of things you have to consider before you put taxpayers' money on the line.

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