Auckland Mayor Phil Goff believes the private sector should pay much of the cost for hosting the America's Cup, saying the days of council and government picking up the tab are over.
Goff is offering "some assistance" but says he does not have a heap of money to throw at the event when his focus is on transport and housing.
With predictions of a $1 billion bonanza from the cup, Goff said beneficiaries like the Team New Zealand sponsors, maritime, hospitality and hotel industries should contribute the lion's share of the event, including a huge infrastructure bill.
But Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said the private sector, council and Government had to get behind Team New Zealand for a successful regatta.
Private sector investment - be it in accommodation, restaurants or boat building - will emerge if an economic opportunity stacks up. And the corporate sector will support Team New Zealand through sponsorship, Roberts said.
"However, it is not the private sector's role to subsidise the provision of public facilities like wharves," he said.
Roberts said council's economic development arm, Ateed, will consider ratepayer funding for the event.
"It has a well established record. For example, Ateed contributed $11m to host the World Masters Games, and paid the rugby union $1.3m to secure a second Lions Test in Auckland.
"The last America's Cup regatta in Auckland contributed over $500m to the city so there is a clear return on investment for the council and Ateed," Roberts said.
Large-scale events such as the America's Cup and Rugby World Cup have proven to be a catalyst and opportunity to create big infrastructure projects, such as the Viaduct Harbour and $240 million upgrade of Eden Park.
Herald revelations of a proposal to dust off plans in 2012 for a 60m to 80m Halsey wharf extension north of the Viaduct Harbour to accommodate the America's Cup syndicate compounds has received a lukewarm response from the mayor.
Goff said it was one of the options to be looked at, but council had to consider the cost - estimated by one council boss to be up to $100 million - and the impact on Aucklanders' access to the waterfront.
Goff, who campaigned against further reclamation of the harbour for port use, said he was prepared to look at the wharf extension on the grounds of what was best for Auckland long-term and what was good for Team New Zealand.
The wharf extension was again mooted this year, to provide a sheltered basin for superyachts, but is now being eyed as the most logical location on the waterfront for the syndicates with Queens Wharf performing the role of party central.
At the time of the America's Cup dramatic finals in 2013, the wharf extension and the northern end of Wynyard Quarter were shaping up as preferred waterfront locations.
The Viaduct Harbour, which hosted Team New Zealand and racing syndicates for the 2000 and 2003 defences of the cup, no longer has any space for syndicates. A $200 million Park Hyatt hotel is being built on land occupied by the Team New Zealand base.
Goff said the end of Wynyard Wharf, known as the Tank Farm, also had to be considered as an option to base the yachting syndicates, but it would involve buying leases and relocating companies based there.
Potential sites, Goff said, would depend on what Team New Zealand were planning on things like the type of boats and whether Auckland would host pre-America's Cup regattas.