Auckland Council’s contribution to the America’s Cup

Ratepayer funding contributing to lasting legacy for Auckland

Last Updated : 06 Jul 2020

Auckland Council has committed to contributing $113m in funding to hosting the 36th America’s Cup event in Auckland in 2021.

In partnering with the government and working with event organisers, the council negotiated its input into funding parts of the event programme that leave a lasting legacy for Aucklanders – like the development of infrastructure in the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Basin.

How the numbers add up

The combined government and council group funding commitment to the 36th America’s Cup totals $249.5m with the government contributing $136.5m for construction, the event fee, and commercial and base related costs.

The council group’s $113m contribution includes $71.7m towards construction of the team bases and the upgrade and expansion of superyacht berthages and $34m for the council's share of the commercial and base related costs.  

The remaining $7.3m of the $113m is for event-related services, shared between ATEED and Panuku to support the council-controlled organisations with event planning and city integration. This budget has gone towards operations, project team staffing, crowd modelling, event readiness, activations, business and readiness toolkits, marketing communications, mana whenua engagement and legal fees.

Included in the overall package above is an agreement for Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) to use the Viaduct Events Centre (VEC) as its headquarters for the 2021 event.

Supporting the biggest event in town

To support the event, Auckland Council has brought forward $100m of planned infrastructure projects to enhance the waterfront.

Director of Infrastructure and Environmental Services Barry Potter says, “The major events programme for 2021, particularly the America’s Cup, provided an opportunity to accelerate projects that were already planned, to support delivery of the events while creating a lasting legacy that opens up the Waitematā Harbour and creates an attractive, welcome destination for Aucklanders and visitors that last beyond a single event.”

These projects include the early removal of tanks on Wynyard Wharf, relocating Sealink to the western side of Wynyard Point and the Daldy Street stormwater outfall project.

ETNZ HQ at the VEC

Mr Potter says using the VEC was a way of using existing infrastructure to both limit imposing more buildings on the harbour’s edge and reduce costs.

“We weighed up the cost of taking a venue out of circulation for a number of years with the overall construction programme in the event precinct when offering up the events centre as ETNZ’s headquarters.

“The lease agreement is structured to allow for a number of outcomes,” says Mr Potter.

Key points about the lease agreement include:

  • The first three years were provided under a nominal rent with the foregone income being considered part of the council’s contribution to the event
  • The rent is subject to a market review on 1 March 2022, after which time ETNZ must pay market rent if they continue to occupy the VEC
  • If the site is no longer needed, there are provisions to have ETNZ vacate the site within three months
  • Any alterations made by ETNZ to the building must be reinstated at the end of the lease.

The Mayor has asked that the council group work with ETNZ to identify suitable alternative premises for ETNZ following the conclusion of the current event. This would enable an early return of the event space from September 2021.

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