Posted: 9:48 am on 3rd June 2013

The New Zealand government has agreed to spend around $32 million to help send a national team to compete in this year’s America’s Cup.

Sailing is a notoriously expensive sport and the decision to compete in hi-tech aerodynamic catamarans has seen the cost of competing in the America’s Cup skyrocket to around $100 million.

The costs of racing this year are so high that it the event has only attracted three other crews to the event.

These boats are temperamental beasts that are prone to capsizing which can put an expensive hole in your pocket – it can cost millions of dollars just to replace the sail if damaged!

We hope for our counterparts across the ditch that nothing goes awry for them;  a broken mast or sail tear would be a quick, gut wrenching reminder of public money badly spent.

While Australians can enjoy this isn’t our money being spent, we can’t be complacent. We are just as mad when it comes to taxpayer funded support for Australian sport.

The 2013-14 Commonwealth Budget had nearly $400 million in government spending on ‘sport and recreation’ for the upcoming financial year alone.

Steve says:

Are there social benefits to sport? Some would argue there are, i.e. because of positive externalities, the market alone will underinvest, so the government must provide some subsidy to reach the socially desirable output of sporting and cultural activities. It’s basic first year economics – do you remember that course?

Clay says:

Steve: I think you might be missing the point regarding “social benefits to sport.” The question is whether it ought to be a function of government to provide those benefits. What always seems to get lost in the argument is that the government has no money that it doesn’t use its powers of coercion to appropriate from the individual. Perhaps we could rephrase the question and ask whether individuals should be forced to apportion some of the fruits of their labours towards some field of endeavour that may or may not provide any benefit to them at all, and into the bargain, have that wealth disbursed by a web of organisations (i.e., the government) that are notoriously wasteful and inefficient. Hmmmm…

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