Huge boost expected for marine industry once America's Cup base location decided

Ateed general manager destination Steve Armitage hopes the America's Cup will leave a lasting infrastructure legacy for Auckland

The America’s Cup bases decision is a step nearer and the marine industry is expecting a boost as the Auld Mug racing pays dividends.

The marine industry is expecting an extra $500 million to be spent at Auckland boatyards over the next five years.

Described as a really big deal for the wider industry, it brings the country’s boat building and repairs skills into focus for superyacht owners around the world.

The marine industry is working closely with Auckland Council to do whatever is required to ensure the Emirates Team New Zealand’s cup defence is held in Auckland.

When New Zealand won the cup for the first time in 1995, the industry was instrumental in convincing Ports of Auckland, then owner of Viaduct Harbour, to make berths available for superyachts and build the team bases.

This opened up the waterfront with restaurants, bars and berths for superyachts and charter boats.  

Five potential options for new bases for the 2021 cup challenge and defence have been presented to the council and it will make a final decision on the preferred option in nine days’ time.

Construction is expected to start in the middle of next year, once resource consent has been granted.

The money for the bases will be included in the council's Long Term Plan on the basis a funding package will need to be negotiated, sharing the costs between the council, the government and private sector investors. The government will make its decision next year. 

One of the criteria used to select the sites at Halsey Wharf extension, Captain Cook west, Captain Cook east, the bases split between Halsey Wharf and Westhaven Marina or bases dispersed between Halsey and Hobson wharves and Wynyard Point west was whether they could be used for subsequent cup defences.

The cup has the potential to attract about 150 superyachts to Auckland, with each contribution millions of dollars to the economy.

A study by Market Economics for MBIE shows hosting the America's Cup will add $555-977 million to the New Zealand economy and this doesn’t take into account the benefits of new infrastructure and a continuing boost for the marine industry.

Such is the glamour of the cup for superyacht owners, inquiries are already being made for berths from 2019 during the challenger races and defence of the cup.

Council-controlled Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) general manager destination Steve Armitage says the cup will bring myriad business opportunities.

He says there are significant opportunities for maintenance and refit work for visiting yachts.

Mr Armitage says it is hoped the cup will leave a significant legacy for Auckland.

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Dreams are free

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Auckland City need to be bold with the choice of the location. The horse shoe extension of the Hasley Wharf seem the best commercial alternative, and is hardly an intrusion into the harbour when situated between two existing wharves.

As regarding costs, Auckland City should pay for all of it; be it through a GST claim on the extra spend created or user pays. The reality is what they are building is a permanent asset for them.

Dont make the same mistake the Rugby World Cuo did by turning down a waterfront stadium for a half ass Eden Park upgrade, in a location that has served its use by date. Go for the best option, and if thats the most expensive so be it. This is an opportunity to show Auckland can deliver a world class facility for a showcase event.

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