Team New Zealand AND Auckland Council? What could possibly go wrong?

Team New Zealand’s bid to host the America’s Cup qualifiers has hit a further snag, with crisis meetings held yesterday over problems with the proposed locations for the team bases.

An announcement confirming Auckland had secured the qualifying regatta in early 2017 was originally planned for yesterday but has been pushed back to next week as Team NZ try to put some distance between the fallout over Dean Barker’s axing.

In the meantime, Auckland Council bodies are struggling to agree on the waterfront locations to house the team bases after the preferred site at Westhaven Marina was found to be unsuitable within the short timeframe.

Plans to build a causeway between the end of Westhaven Drive and a seawall in two stages have encountered geotechnical and practical problems.

The first stage of building the causeway and starting repairs on the seawall is sufficient to accommodate two syndicate bases, but completing the second stage to accommodate three more syndicate bases is estimated to cost an unbudgeted $10 million to $15 million.

Team New Zealand manage to suck more money out of the tax (rate) payers after all. ?On the good side, this is only for Auckland victims. ?Until Steve Joyce figures out how to repackage his corporate welfare deal. ?

Senior figures from Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (Ateed), which has the job of assessing the viability of the event, were in meetings yesterday discussing potential fixes and the cost to ratepayers of hosting the regatta.

Ateed chief executive Brett O’Riley was not available for comment, but in a statement said the council body was still investigating options for team bases, the race village and entertainment hub.

“Feasibility work in regards to Auckland hosting the America’s Cup World Series and America’s Cup Challenger Series events is under way, and this includes consideration for team bases. At this stage it’s too early to speculate the outcome of where those bases might be.”

The latest complication follows a stand-off between America’s Cup organisers and the European challengers over the selection of Auckland to host the event. The teams are unhappy with the costs and the time that will be lost shipping their operations to and from New Zealand and are seeking amendments to the protocol to negate any competitive advantage defenders Oracle Team USA may get while the teams are out of action.

There has been some suggestion the syndicates may even decide to pay the US$1 million fine for skipping the regatta as it could work out cheaper.

Oh what a fine pickle we’ve got ourselves into.

Seriously now, Team New Zealand isn’t what it used to be. ?And it needs to stop leaning on the people of New Zealand for free money, be it directly or by having to create infrastructure to accommodate their private boat race.

Of course, Auckland Council don’t have money for a rescue helicopter, but they would have no problem finding $10m-$15m to help out a bunch of billionaires who want to race their boats.

 

– Dana Johannsen, NZ Herald

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