America’s Cup infrastructure plans advance

The Government has agreed to further funding for America’s Cup infrastructure as certainty about the number of challengers moves a step closer. 

Economic Development Minister David Parker says Cabinet has approved additional funds of $22.5 million, following higher than forecast costs for wave breaks and dredging work. 

This follows the announcement on Friday by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) that an additional eight notices of challenge had been received by the deadline.  

An acceptance process will determine how many challengers will compete in the Prada Cup alongside Luna Rossa, American Magic and INEOS Team UK.

The extra funding is subject to Auckland Council on Thursday also agreeing to increase its contribution. It would take the Government’s contribution to the Auckland waterfront development to $136.5 million. 

“This investment will ensure we deliver a great regatta in 2021, and negotiating to remove the tank farm off Wynyard Point will help revitalise the waterfront,” David Parker said. 

The 2021 event has been estimated to bring in an estimated $550m to $1 billion to the economy, return significant tax income to the Government and provide wonderful opportunities to showcase our country, people and innovation.  

Many of the people who developed ETNZ’s carbon fibre technology have gone on to develop carbon composites for Rocket Lab rockets and new technology from the R and D programme has flowed through to the general marine industry. 

 “The development will provide a legacy for Auckland and for New Zealand for years to come. The Government’s investment represents a significant contribution to the major, multi-billion dollar rejuvenation of the Auckland waterfront that will be enjoyed by the city and visitors for generations – and by future America’s Cup defences.”  

He said a detailed design and costing process for the Wynyard-Hobson infrastructure had been completed by Wynyard Alliance contractors as is standard for construction projects in order to finalise cost estimates against budgets. 

It is possible that if the final number of challengers is five or less, then savings can be made by opting to base them all on Wynyard Wharf and dispensing with plans to extend Hobson Wharf. 

No final date has been set for the number of challengers to be determined. But ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton has said the organisers want to act quickly to tell the Auckland Council and Government the total number of teams.