A new jetty is coming to the banks of the Waikato River in Hamilton's CBD.

On Thursday last week, Hamilton City Council voted 11 to 1 in favour of spending $550,000 to build an extended jetty on the Waikato River behind the Waikato Museum.

The new jetty, part of the city's River Plan, will include a gangway, ramp and a 5sq m floating pontoon. The structure will extend 23m into the Waikato River.

Waikato River Explorer skipper Darren Mills spoke at the public forum on Thursday in favour of the new jetty, which would allow him to transport customers from the CBD to the Hamilton Gardens and back.

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Two options were put to the council — the new upgrade or the rebuild of the old jetty, which was dismantled last September.

A budget of $280,000 was set aside for the rebuild option and the shortfall of $270,000 will come from funds reallocated from a postponed walkway project for Embassy Park.

Mr Mills said that the upgrade was his preferred option as without the pontoon he would be unable to dock due to the low water levels.

"If the council opts for the more desirable option we would then be mooring our vessels a full five metres further out and using a floating pontoon which is a better fit for a river that rises and falls," Mr Mills said.

Councillor Geoff Taylor supported the upgraded jetty.

"This is a practical important early step to encourage use of the river," Cr Taylor said.

"There's the magic number of hours in which, if you can keep visitors for three hours in the city, you'll get a better chance of having them stay overnight."

However, councillor Garry Mallett was on the opposite side of the argument saying that the councillors are spending like "drunk sailors".

"We're in a situation where outside this chamber we are telling our ratepayers that we are concerned for them and that it is really bad that your rates are going up and then we come into this chamber and spend away like drunk sailors," Cr Mallett said.

Mayor Andrew King was in support, saying the biggest asset of the city was the Waikato River.

"We have the beautiful gardens there which bring tourists in, but we don't have a jetty in our CBD to transport people in from the gardens," Mayor King said.

Councillor Garry Mallett was the single councillor opposed to construction of a new jetty.