Following a week of high drama for America's Cup defender, Team New Zealand, which included accusations of government money being lost in an internet scam, CEO Grant Dalton fires back:
Auckland, New Zealand – 3rd July 2020
This week has seen a highly orchestrated attack on our integrity and credibility by people with questionable motives. We want to reassure all of our supporters, our sponsors, and partners that there has been no misappropriation of public money, and we are working with MBIE to clear all allegations.
Peeling back all of the layers of what is going on here, it is a textbook case of ‘Intentional reputational damage 101’. It is a deliberate, sinister, and highly orchestrated attack which includes anonymous tip-offs, recordings and document leaks. ‘Informants’ orchestrate unfair accusations, bypassing normal processes, and going straight to external authorities. The authorities quite correctly look into the claims. Once that process begins the claims are leaked to media to create a kangaroo court trial, by specific media, before the target has had a chance to clear themselves through proper process. And even when the claims are proven inaccurate or wrong the reputational damage is done.
All this at a time when every hour counts as we try to focus on delivering a great event and Defending the America’s Cup. The timing has been very well considered to take our attention off these vital objectives.
A huge irony is that one of the points we have been criticised in the interim report is that we have not been forthcoming in providing highly confidential and commercial information. The reason we did not want to provide elements of this information was because we held serious concern about the lack of confidentiality in the process. Clearly we were quite right about that.
The reason we have been seriously concerned about the media reporting on the initial, incomplete and now “leaked” report is because it will give competitive advantage to our on-water Challengers during this and subsequent campaigns, we have had to take all actions available to protect that information and our competitive position.
Everyone is asking – what are their motives? We are getting increasingly clear views on this, but we won’t stoop to their level today, our focus needs to be elsewhere right now.
I want to emphasise, as we have all week, that any outcomes from MBIE’s investigation can and will be worked through to ensure we deliver a great event and a successful campaign. We will work with the Government and project partners to ensure this.
As a team, all we want to do is defend this America’s Cup successfully in March 2021, and showcase to the world what an amazing country we have through a successfully run and broadcast event.
– Grant Dalton