Govt finds $40m to host America’s Cup
The Government will pay $40 million to Team New Zealand as the 'hosting fee' for the 2021 America's Cup in Auckland.
The figure is confirmed in tables to the Auckland Council extraordinary meeting tomorrow morning and forms part of a total central government outlay of $113.9 million for staging the Cup.
Auckland ratepayers are up for $98.5 million because Mayor Phil Goff ruled out paying anything towards the hosting fee.
In December it was suggested foreign centres such as the United Arab Emirates or Russia could be prepared to offer up to $116 million to lure Team New Zealand to take the 36th America's Cup elsewhere. Goff at the time said: "Am I going to compete with Sochi, the Russian mafia in that city and the Middle East, Abu Dhabi, to pay $116 million? Not on your life."
The Labour-led government has agreed with Team New Zealand to the lower figure of $40 million - but that in itself is more than was committed by both Labour and National administrations toward past challenges overseas.
Economic Development Minister David Parker did not directly comment on the hosting fee in announcing the latest America's Cup base plan on Monday, referring instead to achieving the "lowest practical cost" for the waterfront venue for the Cup defence. He said the new plan would cost $50 million less than previous options.
The plan must be approved by the council and would involve an overall public cost of $212.4 million, before a further $80 million of infrastructure works around downtown and the Auckland waterfront related to the Cup and the hosting of the Apec meeting in 2021.
In May, the council will decide how much infrastructure spending to bring forward in its Long Term Plan for downtown and the waterfront in the next three years.
Documents to councillors say: "The mayor has made it very clear the council will not provide any money towards the hosting rights for the event or for ETNZ's campaign. The agreement requires the Crown to pay the event-hosting contribution of $40 million"
However the Council will close the Viaduct Events Centre, forgoing perhaps $10m-$12m in annual revenue, to allow Team New Zealand to use it as its base, rent-free until at least 2022.
The lost rent for the centre's owner, Regional Facilities Auckland, a Council Controlled Organisation, will be reimbursed directly by the council from its rates and other income.
Team NZ will be in the events centre for a second defence of the Cup if warranted and will make structural changes to the building, changing the eastern or city-centre side's wall to be able to launch boats directly into the water. A report to the council says the alteration "may enhance" the centre's use in the future.
The change in use of the events centre will require a new resource consent application.
Team NZ will look at making part of the city end of the building available to the public for an "accessible interactive area on the ground floor" and will keep the western side of the events centre open for public use down the wharf.
Fishing boats which use the wharf near the events centre will have to be moved, as will the Sealink car ferry service to Waiheke and the Gulf. Those changes were still under negotiation.
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