Please select your home edition
Edition
SW newsletters (top)

Sail-World NZ - May 30: Immigration shenanigans...Defiant checks in..Te Aihe's return

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 29 May 2020 19:06 PDT 30 May 2020
Te Aihe arrives back at the Emirates Team New Zealand base - May 26, 2020 © Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com / nz

Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 28, 2020

The America's Cup was in the news for much of the past week for all the wrong reasons.

Two challenger teams are demanding action on their entry visa applications into New Zealand, saying they have been lodged for some time.

When questioned as to their progress, Minister of Business, Innovation and Employment, Phil Twyford said he had not seen any applications.

Both statements are probably correct given that apparently the systems at NZ Immigration are still largely paper-based, running on a process akin to an airport baggage carousel. Quite when the answers will be forthcoming is hard to tell - without an understanding of the process that the teams have followed.

Making the situation even more difficult for the teams involved is the information that several exemptions to New Zealand's close border regulations have been signed by Minister Twyford. Many were applications from those working on the latest Avatar movie, which was in production when the New Zealand borders were closed to try and contain the spread of the devastating coronavirus. Others were technicians from Germany to repair a leaking sewer.

To add to what is normally a far from straightforward process, is the split appearing in the Coalition Government ranks - with the Prime Minister wanting to remain at Alert Level 2 for four weeks, and the Deputy Prime Minister saying that the lockdown should have ended already and the country should move to the lowest level of Alert immediately.

With a General Election looming in mid-September there is clearly political positioning underway, and the America's Cup Challengers have got caught in this crossfire.

The Challengers haven't helped their cause too much by going public, other than drawing attention to their plight.

Fast rewind back to 2014 and the infamous "Black Friday" media conference called by Emirates Team New Zealand on Friday May 13, 2014. There in the old Alinghi base, Grant Dalton sought to explain they were in a financial tightspot, and looked to the Government to get "vital" funding over and above the initial $5million kicked in by the then National Government, which came immediately after the unsuccessful San Francisco campaign, to keep the team alive.

Grant Dalton's comments got turned around by some of the media present to claim Dalton had given the Government an ultimatum, which went down like a cup of the cold proverbial with then MBIE Minister Stephen Joyce, 15 minutes later in Wellington, although he was smart enough to draw a deep breath before speaking to what was a media set-up job.

Even so, Emirates Team New Zealand came close to exiting the Cup amidst a cacophony of barracking from the America's Cup defenders, Oracle Team USA and others.

In New Zealand, airing one's America's Cup political washing in public, is never a good idea. And rather than react, the government of the day's reaction is usually to dig in and take the always politically popular stance of standing up to America's Cup teams of whatever hue.

We've all seen this story played out before - and the outcome is predictable - the teams will get their passes, but when is quite another matter.

Maybe the first to arrive, American Magic, would be best advised to take a leaf from Luna Rossa's playbook and fit their AC75 with electric engines to replace six grinders and then start training in on the Waitemata NZ with Dean Barker and a Kiwi resident crew of five.

Sailing away

Emirates Team New Zealand are sailing on a different tack to the Challengers, and with the earlier than expected arrival of their first AC75, Te Aihe are now back in control of their assets and timetable, looking ahead to sailing fast on smoother waters all the way to the America's Cup.

That is the situation this week - but nothing ever remains the same in the America's Cup.

Of course, the downside to the immigration woes of the challengers, is that many of the multi million economic benefits of the America's Cup in New Zealand may not be realised.

If the participants in the America's Cup are getting the run around on visas - what hope is there for mere mortals like superyacht owners, media, and America's Cup fans who need to gain entry into New Zealand?

Normally in a hosting agreement for an America's Cup there is a clause allowing for Cup personnel being given a waiver on immigration and other areas where an exception to legislation may be required including payment of income tax.

At the time NZ won the Cup such a clause probably wasn't necessary, but the advent of COVID19 changed all that and now the Challengers from themselves stuck up Immigration Creek without an exemption.

For events like the Olympics, visas are not usually a problem and are near automatic once you are approved for accreditation. America's Cups are different, but still relatively straightforward, given that a legislative exemption is usually in place and the welcome mat is always at the airport door.

There was an exception at the last America's Cup, in Bermuda, where before traveling, the media were asked to add a line with their details into a supplied spreadsheet.

The idea was that all the lines could be compressed into a single document - so Immigration at Bermuda International Airport had a list of who was coming in that day, on what flight etc, and that they were there for the upcoming America's Cup. And the media gained the impression that no entry visas were required

It was a great idea, except someone neglected to tell the Immigration officials. Around midnight, a couple of days before the start of the Louis Vuitton Trophy, several planes arrived from USA and other parts, and disgorged their passengers.

Regular tourists and residents got through their processing with just a long wait, a look at their credentials and visas, and then got waved through.

A growing gaggle of media turned up, without any visas and just their passports and name on a spreadsheet.

Then started the interrogation process in one of the side offices, by a senior immigration officer. He took about 40 minutes for the first, 30 minutes for the second and becoming ever shorter as more media sat in the hot-seat in an office, each reciting the same story. Outside more and more media joined the waiting-room queue, in a airport which architecturally looked to have changed little since the 1950's. It was a quaint but not uncomfortable experience.

After promising we would leave Bermuda after 40 days and we wouldn't sell our camera kit, we all got the vital stamp and were allowed to go out into the night.

Sadly for the America's Cup challengers group, it is unlikely that the same ruse will work for teams arriving in Auckland, over the next few months.

For all the latest news from NZ and around the world see the Top 50 stories below.

Between newsletters, you can follow all the racing and developments in major and local events on www.sail-world.com/nz or by scrolling to the top of the site, select New Zealand, and get all the latest news and updates from the sailing world.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

Please forward your news stories and images directly to Sail-World NZ as text in the email and attach images in the standard way for emails. Our email address is sailworldnzl@gmail.com

To subscribe to Sail-World.com's NZ e-magazine published weekly go to the website sail-world.com/nz and click on Newsletter and Subscribe. You can see previous newsletters by clicking on Newsletter and then Archive from the drop-down menu.

To check if you have been missing one or more Sail-World newsletters - then check on Archive in the Newsletter section - and if you are missing some, then enter a new email address for you. Again the location is www.sail-world.com/NZ/newsletter

Or if you are a potential advertiser and want to understand how Sail-World can work for your company, website or product, then drop a line to Colin Preston whose details are in the Contact section of sail-world.com/nz

If you need to contact the Sail-World team, our phone numbers are +649 489 9267 or 021 301030 or from outside New Zealand +6421301030 and on WhatsApp at the same number. Our Skype address is sailworldnzl

Related Articles

The big question
And that would be, 'Who will win?' Now for the moment we are not talking Olympics... And that would be, 'Who will win?' Now for the moment we are not talking Olympics, but rather World Sailing's 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. So it could be you, your club, class, federation, company or your regatta that gets the nod. Posted on 1 Aug
Gladwell's Line: Touchdown in Tokyo
Tokyo2020 may well be the circuit-breaker that returns international sport back to normality No two Olympics are the same, and Tokyo2020 will be notable for having been conducted against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may well be the circuit-breaker that returns international sport back to normality. Posted on 24 Jul
Sail-World NZ: July 24 - Latest NZ and World News
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for July 24, 2021 Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for July 23, 2021 Posted on 23 Jul
The big end of town
That would be 60 to 100 in the old language, so that means feet... That would be 60 to 100 in the old language. So that means feet, and whilst some will be 20-30 tons, quite a few will be double that or more. How come? Posted on 18 Jul
Fashionably black
And you're going, 'No it's not! It's cyan.' Ah yes young Padawan, but eventually she will be black And you're going, ‘No it's not! It's cyan.' Ah yes young Padawan, but eventually she will be kitted out entirely in black, which is certainly fitting. After all, she does hail from Melbourne, where power dressing is an art. Posted on 4 Jul
The Catman
Well more precisely Group Beneteau's sailing cat man, actually. Let's look at the Lagoon 55... Well more precisely Group Beneteau's sailing cat man, actually. We have spoken a lot with and about Bruno Belmont in relation to Excess the brand.However, now it is time to look at Lagoon, and in detail at the new and quite different Lagoon 55. Posted on 29 Jun
Live Ocean back expansion of Gulf protection
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke back the move to increase the Hauraki Gulf marine reserves Live Ocean's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have welcomed the move to significantly increase the marine reserves and other protection measures announced by the NZ Labour Government, on Tuesday. Posted on 23 Jun
Can I get sauce with that please?
Probably going to need lashings of tomato sauce to help that sandwich go down Probably going to need lashings of tomato sauce, or a massive pile of mint jelly to help that sandwich go down. Which sandwich, precisely? Well that would be the IOC not seeing the brilliance of the Mixed Offshore event for Paris 2024, and beyond. Posted on 20 Jun
The good, the incredible, and the brilliant
Ever since writing 'More Grit' I have been on somewhat of a Western trip Ever since writing More Grit! I have been on somewhat of a Western trip. It was only further solidified after actually meeting both the incredible Bill Hatfield, and the brilliant Jeanne Socrates. Posted on 16 Jun
Letter from the Antipodes: Kiwi's export their Cup
A look at the latest round of SailGP ; The Ocean Race Europe ; and the exported America's Cup A look at the latest round of SailGP - still a work in progress; The Ocean Race Europe hands out some unexpected outcomes; What we are expecting to hear on the fate of the 37th America's Cup - and why it can't work in New Zealand Posted on 12 Jun
MBW newsletters (top)