On 26 March, Emirates Team New Zealand have come to terms with the Government and Auckland council, ending speculation that the America’s Cup could have defaulted to Italy if Emirates Team New Zealand failed to produce a plan. This final plan is still pending approval by the Auckland Council Governing Body and final sign off by Finance Minister Grant Robertson, but is an important step, considering growing friction between the parties involved.
This last-minute deal was a result of extensive negotiations between Emirates Team New Zealand, Auckland Council and new Zealand Government, following three plans presented by ETNZ and a further six by the Labour-led Coalition Government.
The final agreement was reached only after ETZ came up with a further plan to take over the three level Viaduct Events Centre, just used by the Volvo Ocean Race, for their boatyard, media centre and administration facility.
“This is a huge relief to have reached the agreement with Government and Council over the event venue and host agreement. Our determination to have the event in Auckland never wavered despite plenty of challenges right up until the 11th hour.” said CEO Grant Dalton.
“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 the innovative base proposal put forward by Emirates Team New Zealand late last week.”
The latest plan eliminates the need for an extension of the Halsey Wharf, bringing a significant cost reduction, and situates the team in the Viaduct Events Centre. The extended Hobson Wharf will be home to a base, most likely Luna Rossa, while the remainder of the team bases line up along Wynyard Wharf.
“Excitingly, what we have in the agreements is essentially the start of the event build.” said Dalton.
“In saying this, there isn’t time to celebrate, the clock has been ticking for the past 9 months and there is a huge amount to organise and build in a very tight timeline. But it is a line in the sand where everyone collectively can now focus on working together to deliver the best America’s Cup in history and the most successful and inclusive major event New Zealand has ever seen for all New Zealanders.”