Auckland Mayor Len Brown wants to make an immediate start to build a cruise ship terminal on Captain Cook Wharf costing up to $200 million.
With 138,000 passengers due to disembark at shabby facilities on Princes and Queens wharves during the cruise ship season, Mr Brown is giving top priority to a new terminal.
"I want to see a cruise ship terminal now.
"I see Captain Cook Wharf as the place to go," Mr Brown told the inaugural meeting of the Waterfront Development Agency yesterday.
He supported a plan by prominent architect Gordon Moller to extend Captain Cook Wharf, east of Queens Wharf, by 100m and building a double-sided overseas passenger terminal so two ships could berth at once.
Mr Brown, who promised to deliver a cruise ship terminal on Captain Cook Wharf on the election hustings, said Queens Wharf was needed for expanded ferry services on the western side and it was a good site for open space on the waterfront.
He wants the waterfront agency to include his preference for a cruise ship terminal on Captain Cook Wharf in the waterfront masterplanning process next year.
"We will then go through a three- to four-month discussion with the community and confirm our final options for the development of the waterfront, in particular the cruise ship terminal," he said.
Waterfront agency chairman Bob Harvey was delighted that Mr Brown had a strong view on a cruise ship terminal, which, he said, was vital for the local and national economy. A number of options were being evaluated for the masterplanning exercise, he said.
The mayor, however, faces an uphill battle convincing Ports of Auckland to relinquish Captain Cook Wharf in the short term, where car-carrying roll-on ships berth. At peak times, up to 4000 cars are parked on the wharf.
Mr Brown said he expected the 100 per cent publicly-owned company to "be part of the overarching delivery of my vision". A ports company spokesman said it was happy to work with Mr Brown and council agencies to explore all options and was collating relevant detail to assist the process.
One source said that it could cost up to $200 million to buy Captain Cook Wharf, extend it by up to 100m and build a new cruise ship terminal. Nearby Marsden Wharf would have to be demolished.
Cruise New Zealand chairman Craig Harris said there was some immediacy to new cruise ship facilities in Auckland with the cruise lines asking for certainty.
He said the industry would be happy for Shed 10 at Queens Wharf to be tarted up as a cruise ship facility in the short to medium term.By Bernard Orsman @BernardOrsman Email Bernard