Boat berths in Viaduct Harbour Marina have skyrocketed in price by roughly 50 per cent, and boaties are irate at $4000-plus monthly rents.
An email from Viaduct Harbour Holdings this October informed berth holders along the southern city edge of Viaduct Harbour Marina there would be a steep rise in their rent.
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One boat owner told the Herald on Sunday their berth will jump from $1900 per month to $2812 as of November 1, not including $200-plus GST.
The boatie asked not to be named out of fear it would compromise the security of his berth with Viaduct Harbour Holdings, which is renewed on a month to month basis.
"I think it's atrocious really. I can't afford to get chucked off the marina berth. I've got nowhere to put the boat," the boatie said.
"I'm probably going to just have to pay it, but it's a massive increase going from a year ago.
"They're saying they have to do it to pay for the upkeep of the marina. Well I say you guys have really f***ed up your management in the last 10 years by not working out that you haven't got long-term maintenance set-up going."
Despite the new lease pricing being locked in until October 2021, the boatie said many owners in Viaduct Harbour Marina are slightly suspicious of the motives of the berth price rise ahead of the 2021 America's Cup.
"The cynic in you would say yes [it is due to the America's Cup] because of the size of the increase and the feeble wording of why they've done it," he said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they can sell my berth for $4000 during the America's Cup."
While Viaduct Harbour Holdings increased a 22.5m berth to $2812.50, a boat of 27m will now cost $4000 per month, and boats over 27m must discuss their rate with the marina to determine it.
Viaduct Harbour Holdings CEO Angela Bull said there was no hidden agenda to the berth price hike, insisting it was due "to an increase in operational and compliance costs".
"It is certainly not a strategy to clear out berths — many of our berth holders are longstanding customers of Viaduct Harbour Marina, and their business is valued," Bull said.
"To provide our existing berth holders with certainty through the America's Cup period, we have committed to a price freeze for this two-year period."
In July, Auckland Council owned Panuku boat berths in the same Viaduct Harbour Marina announced they would be taking "expressions of interest" for all berths for the six-month period around the America's Cup to "maximise revenue".
This week, Panuku confirmed they too had a "small" increase, of around 5 to 10 per cent, to the rates for 2019 for their larger superyacht berths to "cover the marina's services and operational expenses".
"Our costs are competitive with other superyacht marinas, both locally and internationally, and ensure Viaduct Harbour Marina can continue to provide high quality services to berth holders and visitors," a Panuku spokesperson said.
At $8.50 per metre per day, a 50m superyacht, for example, in a Panuku berth now costs $12,750 per month.
The boatie who spoke to the Herald on Sunday said objection to Viaduct Harbour Holdings' price hikes, up to practically equivalent with the larger Panuku berths, is widespread among the marina's occupants.
"They're all pissed off. The problem is with the size of boat we've got, there are very few berths available in Auckland that would take it."
Auckland has had a "dire" shortfall of boat berths across the city for years, with an extension of Westhaven Marina adding 117 berths.