Sir Bob Jones

I was shocked as both a substantial Auckland ratepayer and central government taxpayer, to read that the Auckland City Council and the government have contributed over $250 million of our money to the staging of the America’s Cup.

The justification for this largesse is the assertion that the eyes of the world will be on us and the publicity will be good for tourism.

That is simply untrue. Only when Alan Bond snared the trophy, thus becoming the first non-American holder, was there meaningful world attention.

After that there was high interest in Australia for their losing defence and likewise subsequently here with Michael Fay’s near miss challenge, indeed so much so, on his return he received a ticker-tape Queens Street parade, something I don’t recall ever occurring before or since.

When a challenge was held a few years ago in San Diego, our own journalists reported the locals were totally oblivious to it going on in their city.

There’s now only one country in the world that thinks it’s an important sporting event and that’s New Zealand.

Elsewhere, it scarcely gets a mention. The serious British press will give the result at best two paragraphs, so too everywhere else where it might be mentioned, although most will totally ignore it.

Participants are purported here to be representing their nations. That’s a fiction, they mostly being wealthy individuals representing themselves.

It’s time the Auckland Council and central government woke to the fact that this extraordinarily boring event carries absolutely no global interest and desist wasting public money on a few individuals private indulgence.

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Bob Jones
Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Jones — now New Zealand’s largest private office building owner in Wellington and Auckland, and with substantial holdings in Sydney and Glasgow, totalling in excess of two billion dollars — is a property investor, author and former politician, who has written fiction as well as books on property investment, selections of his newspaper and magazine columns, and reminiscences of former prime minister Robert Muldoon. While at Victoria University of Wellington, he earned a ‘blue’ in boxing and contributed to a boxing column in the university’s newspaper Salient. A multi-millionaire, Jones earned his wealth through investments in commercial property via his company Robt. Jones Holdings Ltd. He founded and led the New Zealand Party in 1983. In 1989 he was made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in received the New Zealand 1990 Commemorative Medal.