Team New Zealand is set to move into the Viaduct Events Centre and begin preparations for its America's Cup defence after the Environment Court granted consent for the Auckland waterfront village.
The court decision was released today, about a month earlier than expected, giving Auckland Council and the Government the greenlight to build the syndicate bases and associated infrastructure which will host the 2021 regatta.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the consent opens up the ability to crack on with the necessary work programme and ensure "a great America's Cup event for Auckland and New Zealand".
"Auckland will be a great host for the America's Cup. We are ready to put on a spectacular event for sailing fans and showcase Auckland and New Zealand to the world.
"Over the next couple of months, we will see Team New Zealand move into the Viaduct Events Centre to begin its preparation for the Cup defence, and a start to the building of the Hobson Wharf base for Luna Rossa.
"The demolition of the hazardous substances tanks at the South end of Wynyard Point will then take place, marking a new future for the precinct," Goff said.
The hefty Environment Court decision sets out a slew of conditions that must be met in giving the waterfront village the green light.
"To assist in creating Auckland as the most liveable city the [Auckland Plan 2012] identifies a 'City Centre' initiative which includes reference to the waterfront and seeks to unite it with the city centre and its parks; and for Auckland to become a "water city", a city closely connected to the harbour and coast. We believe the proposal would be consistent with these aspirations, so far as we can pin them down and understand them."
Between them, Auckland Council and the Government are spending $212 million on construction and running costs for the Cup - $114m from taxpayers and $98.5m from ratepayers.
On top of this, the council is pouring $55m of new money and bringing forward $53m of expenditure on a raft of projects to spruce up the waterfront for the Cup and Apec conference in 2021.
Economic Development Minister David Parker also welcomed the court's decision.
He said the decision was streamlined after the application was sent straight to the Environment Court, rather than being heard first by the council.
"This has demonstrated that the direct referral process does deliver these benefits," Parker said.
"I was approached in my role as Environment Minister to consider special legislation to ensure that this important project could proceed.
"The success of this process, and the ability of all parties to be heard (the Court received 83 submissions), and reach agreement shows that no such over-bearing intervention was required."