Cabinet minister Steven Joyce says Auckland's waterfront will require further upgrades if the city hosts another America's Cup because the Viaduct has changed significantly since the last Cup defence.
The Minister of Economic Development is representing the Government in San Francisco this week, watching races from the plastic waka anchored under the Bay Bridge and from on board one of Team New Zealand's chase boats.
He is wary of jinxing Team New Zealand - who are one race away from winning - by talking about the next America's Cup, but he is doing some research in case Auckland will be hosting the next event.
The Auckland Viaduct was upgraded at a cost of more than $100 million to host the Louis Vuitton challenger series in 1999 and the America's Cup in 2000, which required dredging, reclaiming land, and construction of bases for the Cup syndicates.
Mr Joyce said there had been a lot of building activity on the site since the last defence in 2003, and only Team New Zealand still had a base there.
"My understanding is that if there was to be a defence, it is likely to be a different configuration to what we had back then."
It is believed there would not be enough room in the Viaduct to host other yachting syndicates, and the Cup could be hosted in another part of the waterfront such as Queens Wharf, Westhaven Marina or Wynyard Quarter.
If New Zealand won the America's Cup, Mr Joyce planned to meet central figures such as Team New Zealand manager Grant Dalton to discuss the next event. He said the Government would have several considerations, including whether the challenger series was hosted in more than one city.
Depending on the result, he would also meet the Auckland Council to discuss a celebratory parade.
He was hesitant to discuss the possibility before the series was completed: "I get quite superstitious about that kind of stuff ... let's not get into any of that.
"I had a brief conversation with Dean Barker today and said 'You're getting close', and he said 'We've still got a way to go yet'. From their perspective, things could still go wrong," Mr Joyce said.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment had already been instructed to look at what would be required to upgrade the Auckland waterfront if New Zealand hosted the competition again.
Mr Joyce was one of four ministers to visit the Team New Zealand base during the finals series.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said it was still too early to start planning.
"Let's all focus on the job at hand, winning the America's Cup.
"My thoughts are absolutely with Emirates Team New Zealand and the incredible effort our sailors are putting in on San Francisco Bay."
Waterfront Auckland had started in August pulling ideas for six possible sites for the team compounds and a village.
A spokesman yesterday said they could not elaborate on those ideas until they knew the result for certain.
- additional reporting: Amelia Wade
The hosting options
Marina within Westhaven Marina
Offers sheltered water, green space and good view of inner harbour to welcome and farewell boats.
Wynyard Quarter headland park
Offers sheltered water; would fast-track removal of tanks and development of headland park.
Site of a public race village with good harbour views. Has existing facilities with the Cloud and Shed 10.
Has issues with lack of calm water, fuel and bulk storage on site.
Halsey St wharf extension
Offers sheltered water at a new extension north of the Viaduct Harbour.
Captain Cook Wharf
Would require release of wharf by Ports of Auckland. Allows for development of Quay St.
Source: Waterfront Auckland