15 Feb 2018

Govt: Cup Village plan not a done deal

10:40 am on 15 February 2018

Team New Zealand has yet to commit to staging its defence of the America's Cup in New Zealand, Minister for Economic Development David Parker says.

An artist impression of the government's alternative plan for an America's Cup Village, with more bases on Wynyard Point.

An artist impression of the government's alternative plan for an America's Cup Village, with more bases on Wynyard Point. Photo: Supplied / MBIE

Mr Parker made the comments after the team expressed its surprise at government and council public backing for a revised cup village on Auckland's waterfront, while negotiations continue.

The minister told RNZ's Morning Report that separately, negotiations had not yet begun on a hosting agreement for the 2021 regatta, which would include the level of public funding.

Team New Zealand kept open a possible relocation of the event to Italy, in the protocol which it released last year.

"That would be a bad outcome for New Zealand, except in the case that their demands are reasonable," said Mr Parker.

"They haven't yet committed to stay in New Zealand yet, and that's understandable from their perspective, unless they get a negotiated outcome that's acceptable to them."

Team New Zealand has not granted interviews on the latest development, but says it proposed ideas on Tuesday on variations to the village layout which it agreed with the Auckland Council in December.

That development involved 75 metre extensions to Halsey Street Wharf and Hobson Wharf, to house eight teams.

It was costed then at $142 million, but the mayor Phil Goff yesterday said that had risen to $200m and could rise further.

The new variation, which had been pursued by Mr Parker since December, uses land on nearby Wynyard Point for some bases, reducing the size of the Wharf extension from 75m to 35m.

The new layout was estimated to cost $185 million, Mr Goff said.

The reasons for the cost increases, and technical detail about either option have not been made available.

Statements from Mr Parker and Mr Goff yesterday, and new information on the website of the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, made no mention of the costs of the options - later revealed by Mr Goff in an interview with RNZ.

Mr Parker has made a point of underlining that the deal which he sought - involving council-owned land, and council tenants - had been achieved.

"That was said to be impossible by others," Mr Parker told Morning Report, referring to the agreement by Bulk Fuel Storage firm Stolthaven to vacate a site early, making it available to house three teams.

"I'm glad now that (Team NZ CEO) Grant Dalton and Phil Goff are claiming to be catalysts for that - success has many fathers."

Neither Mr Goff nor Mr Parker would say how much longer talks with the team could take.

That was up to Team New Zealand, Mr Parker said.

The village layout approved by the council in December, is now in the formal planning process and 12 public submissions have already been received.

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