The 2021 America’s Cup will be held in Auckland following an agreement between Emirates Team NZ, Auckland Council and the national government over the “base village” where the different syndicates will be positioned in Auckland harbour. The back-and-forth negotiations have taken months to reach a conclusion, with Team NZ always having the option of holding the America’s Cup in Italy.
Under the final agreement, Emirates Team New Zealand will be housed along a section of the harbour called the Viaduct Events Center. Another team, likely to be the Challenger of Record, the Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, would be housed on an extension on Hobson Wharf. The other challenging teams would be based on Wynyard Wharf.
The new plan proposed by Team New Zealand would bring “substantial savings” of about NZ$50m over an earlier plan that called for the revamp of Wynyard Point. That plan was put forth by Economic Development Minister David Parker and called for an extension of Halsey Wharf.
Local media reports that Team New Zealand will be given a rent-free subsidy until 2022 for its base. The total costs for revamping the harbor and creating the new bases is expected to be about NZ$212m. Team New Zealand had wanted to negotiate a 20-year lease but Auckland Council said that was a non-starter.
"This is a huge relief to have reached the agreement with Government and Council over the event venue and host agreement,” said Grant Dalton CEO of Team New Zealand, in a statement."It has been a very complex and time-consuming process for everyone so it is pleasing that all parties have seen the collective benefit of our innovative base proposal.”
Dalton said the “clock has been ticking for the last nine months,” while the protracted negotiations have proceeded over whether Auckland would hold the America’s Cup.
Peter Busfield, executive director of the Marine Industry Association, told Radio New Zealand that delays leading up to the final decision had been “embarrassing,” but that the industry was relieved to have a final plan. "With the America's Cup coming here we are already seeing an increase in boat sales, commercial entities looking to buy charter vessels and the syndicates are already looking at support vessels,” he told the national radio network. "I think there will need to be about 60 vessels built to run the Cup, so we are already seeing an increase in business.”
Busfield said the marine industry has hired 60 apprentices in the last few months and expects 600 will be needed in the lead-up to the Cup. He said the cost to the taxpayer was significant, but the event would benefit New Zealanders and not those just in the marine industry. "Certainly we’ll see it in the construction industry and the tourism industry,” he said. “There was one superyacht in Bermuda that spent NZ$300,000 on flowers over a couple months, so there is an opportunity for New Zealand businesses to find niche market and benefit from the Cup."