Monster cruise ships will be able to berth in Auckland if plans by authorities get the go-ahead.

A resource consent for a mooring structure at the end of Queen's Wharf is due to be lodged later this month.

The "mooring dolphin" is sunk into the sea floor off the end of a wharf. It provides another mooring point for long ships without spending much more money on extending a wharf.

Auckland Council organisations Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Panuku Development Auckland, Auckland Transport and Ports of Auckland are involved in the plan.


" It's early days and the project is not yet in the design stage, however early estimates suggest it could cost up to $10 million to build the interim infrastructure, which would be in place until there is a new fit-for-purpose cruise infrastructure in Auckland," said Ateed's visitor and external relations general manager Steve Armitage.

"Without the right infrastructure Auckland could start seeing a decline in the number of visits from ships, meaning fewer passengers, GDP and jobs," he said.

The mooring dolphin could be ready in time for the 2017-18 season, depending on time taken to get the relevant consents and progress building it.

Last summer's cruise season resulted in record spending, worth about $484 million to the national economy.

It was Auckland's biggest cruise season, worth $220 million to local economy - 15 per cent up on the previous season.

Figures released in the latest Cruise New Zealand Economic Impact Summary Report showed Auckland had 105 ship visits in 2015-16, carrying 230,800 passengers.

Auckland plays a key role in New Zealand's cruise sector as the country's primary exchange point - where passengers embark or disembark from their vessel, and where vessels are re-provisioned.

Forecasts for the 2016/17 season are showing a decrease in passenger numbers, down nine per cent to 209,000.

Without the right infrastructure Auckland could start seeing a decline in the number of visits from ships, meaning fewer passengers, GDP and jobs.


This is because the larger, Voyager-class ships, are not going to come because they are unable to exchange here due to the lack of infrastructure, instead staying in the China region.

The 2016-17 season will see the arrival of the largest ship to ever call in New Zealand, Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas.

Watch: Ovation of the Seas heading for NZ

Royal Caribbean boss Adam Armstrong discusses bringing out the biggest cruise ship seen in NZ.

The ship is 168,000 tonnes and 348m long.

Ovation of the Seas will be in Auckland three times this summer, carrying between 4200 and 5000 passengers per visit.

Due to its size the vessel will be moored in the harbour with passengers who wish to disembark tendered to shore by smaller boats.

Armitage said Cruise New Zealand was predicting Auckland's cruise sector will be worth an estimated $470 million to the local economy by 2030, with ship visits growing from the 105 we had this season to 160.

"However, these numbers rely on our ability to accommodate the larger cruise ships."