Auckland could face public protests if councillors and the Jacinda Ardern Government pump $190 million into a large wharf extension for the America's Cup.
"We still have our placards," said a prominent leader of the campaign to stop Ports of Auckland expanding into the Waitemata Harbour, which began with a proposed 250m extension to Bledisloe Wharf.
Panuku Development Auckland has confirmed Team New Zealand's preference to have all the syndicate bases on one site would involve extending Halsey Wharf 220m into the harbour and cover 3ha of water space between Princes and Wynyard wharves.
Halsey Wharf currently extends 150m into the 20ha water space from North Wharf at Wynyard Quarter.
The public does not have an appetite for its harbour to be whittled away over time in an ad hoc way.
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The $190m option provides space for seven bases, some public access around the perimeter and berths on the western edge for super yachts and support vessels for the 36th America's Cup. An eighth berth would be built on nearby Hobson Wharf.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wants a second option of dispersing the bases with a smaller extension of Halsey Wharf housing four bases, one base on Hobson Wharf and three bases on Wynyard Point at a cost of $137m.
However, he said this will require Team NZ to be flexible over its desire to centralise the bases and event facilities in one location at Halsey Wharf.
Team NZ has said it will continue to support the process to achieve the "best possible outcome for everyone".
Stop Stealing Our Harbour spokesman Michael Goldwater said the group was opposed to the "massive extension" of Halsey Wharf because it would steal more of the harbour and become a beachhead for development in future.
"The public does not have an appetite for its harbour to be whittled away over time in an ad hoc way.
"The Bledisloe debacle is strong proof of that. We don't have to have all the bells and whistles for the event," said Goldwater, saying the city should make better use of existing facilities to minimise invasion of the harbour.
Urban Auckland chairwoman Julie Stout has emailed Goff and councillors, who have just nine days to make a call on what option to proceed with.
The email said they need to understand what 3ha of "concrete into the harbour actually looks like" and ask how it fits into the long-term urban design of the waterfront and the effect on views from the Viaduct Basin and North Wharf.
"As Aucklanders, our legacy is the Waitemata Harbour. Our responsibility as citizens is to develop our waterfront with care," Stout said.
Former Team NZ director Alan Sefton told Newstalk ZB today that local and central government need to dream big with America's Cup infrastructure.
He said before the 2000 defence, the Viaduct Basin was a dirty, old fishing basin. After being redone for the first cup defence, it was transformed into one of the city's jewels.
The same big thinking has to go towards planning infrastructure for the 2021 event, Sefton said.
Economic Development Minister David Parker has said no funding decision will be made until the first few months of the New Year, but a reasonable contribution could be made subject to an environmental case being made.
Panuku design and place director Rod Marler said the council's development arm was working with mana whenua on cultural and environmental issues and the consenting team is considering what environmental impacts and mitigations there might be.