Please select your home edition
Musto 2017 728x90 Surefooted
Product Feature
Optimist Racing by Steve Irish & Phil Slater
Optimist Racing by Steve Irish & Phil Slater

America's Cup: Draft plan in place to open Fortress New Zealand to Challengers

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World NZ 23 May 04:15 BST 23 May 2020
Emirates Team New Zealand expect to have their AC75 Te Aihe back in New Zealand in early-mid June, 2020 © Emirates Team New Zealand

New Zealand's Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield has outlined a likely protocol that will be used for athletes wishing to enter New Zealand.

His comments came in response to a question raised at the daily media conference on Thursday, when he outlined a likely protocol that could be used for athletes wishing to enter New Zealand - bridging the moat around Fortress New Zealand for America's Cup Challengers. However, no date has been set for the introduction of the protocol.

Currently, entry into New Zealand is prohibited to all but NZ Passport holders or those holding Permanent Residence visas. All other nationalities and entry options are forbidden, including non-NZ residents holding a tourist or work visa, seeking to cross the NZ border.

Bloomfield is the NZ Coalition government's principal adviser on strategy relating to the control of the coronavirus in New Zealand.

The timing of the introduction of the protocol will depend on the level of confidence that health and authorities have "as to how things are onshore, and we're also confident about our border arrangements - and that we have got good, robust quarantine and supervised isolation procedures in place.

"Also, we are looking at the role of testing in that setting. We will be moving to testing everybody before they leave isolation or quarantine", Dr Bloomfield added.

"We need to be confident of our border processes, and also that there is a need for people to come in. The opportunity will be there to start opening it up, and we are confident that we can control the risk at the border."

Unfortunately for America's Cup teams wishing to enter New Zealand, Dr Bloomfield could not put a timeframe on when the new protocol could be introduced.

He did elaborate that the additional testing would be done before they departed from managed isolation "and headed off to do their business."

"That will be one of the things we will be doing. Just again as part of that process we need to be confident that we have everything mailed down at the border," he re-emphasised before closing the media conference.

Today, Saturday, there were again no new positive cases of coronavirus and only 28 active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. Only one person is in hospital. There have been a total recovered of 1455, and one person is in hospital, the ministry reported in a statement this afternoon.

The number of people who have recovered is 1455, and the total number of cases (active, recovered and fatal) remains at 1504, with a 97% recovery rate and 21 deaths. New Zealand has a population of 5million.

New Zealand has dropped from a Level 4 alert to Level 3 and now Level 2 alert - meaning that people can work from home or a place of business, cafes are open, schools are open, and since Thursday bars and clubs are open - subject to social distancing rules. Many businesses in the hospitality industry are unable to open under these limitations, and there is considerable pressure for the Alert Level to be lowered further or done away with altogether.

New Zealand is quite rapidly de-escalating its Alert Levels to try and head off the serious economic and other damage caused by the Coalition Government's decision to suddenly apply a full lockdown followed by a border closure on March 26.

The comments by the Director-General of Health would appear to have headed off any ability for teams to successfully complain to the Arbitration Panel they were being locked out of New Zealand - opening the way for the 36th America's Cup to be postponed. Or, for the Arbitration Panel to extend its ruling of declaring a Force Majeure to be in existence for the America's Cup itself, with a postponement or cancellation of the event.

The Arbitration Panel made a declaration that a Force Majeure situation existed in UK and Italy on March 18, sanctioning the cancellation of the America's Cup World Series Regattas in Cagliari and Portsmouth UK.

While the challenger teams may be keen to enter New Zealand and commence training as soon as possible, their situation is little different to that of Emirates Team New Zealand who flew out of Auckland for Bermuda on April 17, 2017, to compete in a regatta which started just six weeks later on May 27, 2017.

The first regatta in the 36th America's Cup is set down for December 15, 2020 - with the latest possible arrival date being mid-September, early October, given the Kiwis 2017 campaign timeline, and that the teams need to train and prepare, having not raced a single regatta in the AC75 foiling monohulls.

Bloomfield's response is cold comfort, at this stage to fans hoping to travel to New Zealand, given that some assessment of the need to be in New Zealand seems to be a requirement.

The best hope for fans wishing to come to New Zealand is that a free-travel "bubble" is established between Australia and New Zealand and that maybe that can be extended closer to the end of 2020 to other countries who have coronavirus at an epidemiology elimination level.

However, there is real pressure to open the border gates in a controlled way to alleviate the ongoing damage to the hibernating NZ tourism industry, which contributes $NZ2billion a month to the New Zealand economy. Currently, 85% of New Zealand's hotel accommodation is closed or vacant.

Two of the America's Cup Challengers have indicated they are accepting of the need to undergo a two-week supervised quarantine and to bear the cost of that stay. The position outlined by Dr Bloomfield is similar to that mentioned by Sports and Finance Minister, Grant Robertson on Thursday morning, ahead of Dr Bloomfield's response and thinking.

Related Articles

America's Cup Rialto: Te Aihe resumes training
Emirates Team New Zealand was back out on the Waitemata Harbour, and on the old America's Cup course Emirates Team New Zealand was back out on the Waitemata Harbour, and on the old America's Cup course off the East Coast Bays, training in an offshore breeze of 18-20kts gusting to 25kts. Posted today at 11:31 am
America's Cup Rialto:Teams caught by social media
America's Cup Rialto: Sept 24, 2020 - Teams caught by candid social media America's Cup challengers have learned that it is very hard to fly under the social media radar in New Zealand, demonstrated by incidents involving Italian Luna Rossa and USA's American Challenge. Posted today at 9:43 am
Emirates Team NZ open simulator to the public
Emirates Team NZ open simulator to public in new 5G Racezone at the ETNZ base Spark has launched its 5G Race Zone, an immersive multi-sensory experience that gets New Zealanders closer to the America's Cup than ever before. The centrepiece of the 5G Race Zone is the Emirates Team New Zealand simulator. Posted on 28 Sep
America's Cup: 12 mths of AC75 sailing reviewed
It has been 12 months since the AC75's started sailing - how has the class and event shaped up? It has been 12 months since the first AC75's started sailing - Emirates Team New Zealand in Auckland, and American Magic in Rhode Island. There's just three months to the first/third America's Cup World Cup Series. Posted on 27 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: Taking on the white water
Defiant was the only AC75 sailing today, docking out just before noon heading for a seabreeze After yesterday's action on the Waitemata Harbour with Emirates Team New Zealand and American Magic sailing in a staged race, today was very tame by comparison. Defiant was the only AC75 sailing today, docking out just before noon Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: Two AC75's race in Auckland
The two AC75's currently in Auckland met up on the Waitemata Harbour on Monday afternoon The two AC75's currently in Auckland met up on the Waitemata Harbour this afternoon for the first shoot-out of the 36th America's Cup. Fortuitously the two teams were both training on Course C. Updated with an amazing 19 minute video Posted on 21 Sep
America's Cup Rialto: AC75's dodge a bullet
Both AC75's were out sailing in Auckland on Thursday, sailing once again in fresh breezes offshore Both AC75's were out sailing in Auckland on Thursday, sailing once again in fresh breezes offshore breezes of 18-20kts, gusting 22kts. The next day, Auckland was hit by a surprise 70kt squall, which gusted to 55kts on Course C. Posted on 18 Sep
Baffling Youth America's Cup decision
Rugby deal raises questions over cancellations of Youth America's Cup and other events Leading sailing journalist, editor and winning America's Cup team manager, Alan Sefton comments on the recent rejection by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of the Youth America's Cup Posted on 17 Sep
America's Cup: Butterworth joins Challenger group
Brad Butterworth to be a contact figure and facilitate a direct communication flow with the hosts Four times America's Cup winner, Brad Butterworth, joins COR 36, Challenger of Record of the 36th America's Cup presented by PRADA, in the capacity of External and Institutional Relations Officer. Posted on 17 Sep
America's Cup: NZ vessels get new marina offer
Silo & Viaduct marinas offer new deal for NZ vessels and offer bond refund for visitor vessels The official marinas of the 36th America's Cup have tacked in response to a wind shift in superyacht visitation rules - opening 28 berths up to Kiwi vessels at standard rates, while offering overseas boats bond refunds. Posted on 16 Sep