Forty of the workers who built the Emirates Team New Zealand America’s Cup hydro-foiling catamaran were recently laid off.
Southern Spars general manager Peter Batcheler said the boat was delivered last year and there has been a long period without production between then and now.
“Like any contracting business, production goes up and down. We're no different," Batcheler told the New Zealand Herald. "The good news about the America's Cup of course is it should bring some activity back to New Zealand which will put us in a better position going forward."
One former employee said he regularly worked seven-day weeks on the boat.
"Everything you see on TV is a whole lot of hype and a whole lot of camaraderie,” he told the paper. “What about the boat builders that built the boat that now don't have a job?”
He said he had received no indication that there would be job losses until about a week before the Cup started. A few days later he was called upstairs by management and told his skills were no longer required.
The company had done everything it possibly could to avoid job losses and it was a last resort. It detailed the process on its website.
"We take it very, very seriously and it's a conversation that's been running for months. We also know that with very few exceptions everybody that we did have to let go we actually helped them to get into employment within, in some cases, hours," Batcheler said.