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America's Cup: RNZYS Special General Meeting will not go ahead - request withdrawn

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-world.com/nz 6 Dec 2021 06:04 PST 7 December 2021
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron © Carlo Borlenghi

The Special General Meeting requested by a group of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron members, set down for Thursday evening, will not go ahead after the requisition was withdrawn on Monday.

Emirates Team New Zealand will continue with its venue negotiations.

The Requisition to call the meeting was lodged with the RNZYS General Committee. After a meeting with one of requisitioners, Jim Farmer QC, the Committee agreed to hold the Special General Meeting following the RNZYS deferred Annual General Meeting, later this week on December 9.

At the meeting a Motion was to have been discussed and put to a vote that there be "added to the Objects of the RNZYS one which provides that the America’s Cup, when held by RNZYS, shall always be defended in the waters adjacent to the City of Auckland."

In a letter republished on the Kiwi Defence Website, Farmer has advised that he has recommended that the Requisition be withdrawn.

"I felt it incumbent on me as the representative of those members who had signed the Requisition in good faith to go back to them and advise them that, in my view, there was a real prospect that the SGM would be undermined by the threats made. That communication has taken place and I have their authority to withdraw the requisition, which I have done by letter this morning to the Commodore."

The withdrawal letter should end an acrimonious media battle between Emirates Team New Zealand and its would be funding "partner".

The Requisition calling the meeting was variously reported to have been signed by between 34-39 Squadron members from the eligible membership categories. Following inquiries by ETNZ, CEO Grant Dalton contacted several of the signatories.

"Yes - I have called a total of four people. Although there has been a larger number of the petitions total who we understand have pulled out citing distasteful legal action taken by Mr. Dunphy against the Team and myself," Dalton said.

"The America's Cup and NZ sailing scene is a very small world so it is not hard to know who they were. The question you are really asking is whether the RNZYS have supplied us with the list of people seeking the meeting, and the answer to that is no. We however believe that should be disclosed to members, so they are clear who the people are."

"The purpose of the calls was to correct a lot of misinformation that many people have been fed so they understand the complete reality of the situation which will allow them to make fully informed decisions."

Dalton confirmed that he had asked the petitioners he'd called to withdraw their support.

"Of course," he said, "but in the end that is a decision for them. It's clear that once people know the full picture their view completely changes."

"My intentions have simply been to correct clearly misrepresented information used to gain support. Having correct, complete and accurate information is the basis of any process. We will attend the [now cancelled] meeting and share our views. Members may then vote as they see fit, having heard and considered all views.""

Grant Dalton took over the role of CEO of Team New Zealand in April 2003, at the request of the then-Directors. He has several times both publicly and to Sail-World expressed the view that Team New Zealand would collapse if the event is held in New Zealand?

"The stark reality is that an underfunded Defender forced to compete against a fully funded Challenger that has come through a rigorous elimination series will lose, and lose badly. Emirates Team New Zealand's sole objective is to win the America's Cup, not just to participate."

"I have always been consistent about the costs of our defence," he added. "It is other people's misrepresentations of costs that have been fluid and confused."

"To be as successful as ETNZ has been and intends to continue to be, we know that winning campaigns competing against the budgets of the likes of Alinghi, INEOS, Luna Rossa & American Magic it requires a minimum of $120mNZD or $40mNZD per annum- which is obviously the same figure as we have always been consistent with."

Dalton has previously made reference to new teams being able to challenge for $60mUSD - which is a budget based on a new team running for two years only, as a first step to getting into the Americas Cup. -

Although the requisition for the Special General Meeting has been withdrawn, concerned RNZYS members may still raise their issues during the Annual General Meeting, which will take place on December 9 after being deferred from its original date in September, due to NZ's Covid restrictions which effectively prohibited hold the AGM.

The full statement and attachment by Jim Farmer QC is as follows:

STATEMENT BY JIM FARMER QC AS TO WITHDRAWAL OF REQUISITIONS FOR SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND YACHT SQUADRON FOR 9 DECEMBER 2021

On behalf of 34 RNZYS members I presented a requisition for a Special General Meeting of the RNZYS to consider a motion that the objects of the RNZYS Rules be amended to add an objective that Defences of the America's Cup, when held by the Squadron, would take place in Auckland.

The Officers of the Squadron appointed 9 December 2021 for that Meeting, notwithstanding that because of Covid restrictions the numbers able to attend physically and participate in the discussion at that time are limited to 200 spread over 2 rooms, with others required to view by Zoom (but unable to voice their views). Team NZ has fixed 31 March 2022 as the date by which it will announce the Venue.

The NZ Herald last Saturday reported that Grant Dalton had been calling RNZYS members who had signed the Requisition and persuaded some of them to withdraw their signatures on the basis that if the Motion was passed Team New Zealand would be put into liquidation and the Squadron would be left without a team to continue a defence.

Given that position, I felt it incumbent on me as the representative of those members who had signed the Requisition in good faith to go back to them and advise them that, in my view, there was a real prospect that the SGM would be undermined by the threats made. That communication has taken place and I have their authority to withdraw the requisition, which I have done by letter this morning to the Commodore. A copy of that letter is attached to this statement.

Efforts to maintain the Defence of the America's Cup in Auckland will continue unabated and in particular Team NZ will continue to be challenged to justify its position that the funding of the Event here is not viable.

Jim Farmer QC
6 December 2021

STATEMENT BY JIM FARMER QC AS TO WITHDRAWAL OF REQUISITIONS FOR SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND YACHT SQUADRON FOR 9 DECEMBER 2021

On behalf of 34 RNZYS members I presented a requisition for a Special General Meeting of the RNZYS to consider a motion that the objects of the RNZYS Rules be amended to add an objective that Defences of the America's Cup, when held by the Squadron, would take place in Auckland. The Officers of the Squadron appointed 9 December 2021 for that Meeting, notwithstanding that because of Covid restrictions the numbers able to attend physically and participate in the discussion at that time are limited to 200 spread over 2 rooms, with others required to view by Zoom (but unable to voice their views).


Team NZ has fixed 31 March 2022 as the date by which it will announce the Venue. The NZ Herald last Saturday reported that Grant Dalton had been calling RNZYS members who had signed the Requisition and persuaded some of them to withdraw their signatures on the basis that if the Motion was passed Team New Zealand would be put into liquidation and the Squadron would be left without a team to continue a defence. A copy of the Herald article can be found by following this link. Given that position, I felt it incumbent on me as the representative of those members who had signed the Requisition in good faith to go back to them and advise them that, in my view, there was a real prospect that the SGM would be undermined by the threats made.

That communication has taken place and I have their authority to withdraw the requisition, which I have done by letter this morning to the Commodore. A copy of that letter is attached to this statement. Efforts to maintain the Defence of the America's Cup in Auckland will continue unabated and in particular Team NZ will continue to be challenged to justify its position that the funding of the Event here is not viable.

Jim Farmer QC
6 December 2021

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