The location of the America's Cup bases in Auckland is up in the air with a Government plan to house the syndicates on the old Tank Farm at Wynyard Point.
Economic Development Minister David Parker says he has received an in-principle letter from Stolthaven to move its hazardous facilities off its southern Tank Farm site by the end of the year.
"If that can be finalised, and I think there is a good chance it can be, the overall construction cost savings to the country are likely to be tens of millions of dollars and the Halsey St extension is then rendered unnecessary," he told the Herald.
Parker's persistence at investigating a land-based option at Wynyard Point is at odds with Auckland Council and Team New Zealand, which agreed last month to go with the Wynyard Basin option for a cluster of bases on a 75m extension to Halsey Wharf, a 75m extension to Hobson wharf, and on the existing Wynyard Point wharf.
Last Monday, a resource consent application for Wynyard Basin was lodged with Auckland Council. The consent, a huge document with more than 50 supporting reports, is due to be publicly notified on January 30.
Parker said the cost of Wynyard Point would be a "very small fraction" of the $118 million figure the council's development arm, Panuku Development Auckland, said it would cost to move and relocate the hazardous facilities.
Panuku have costed the Wynyard Basin option at $124m plus $18m to relocated tenants and landlords. This does not include $28.4m to build eight syndicate bases. Panuku costed Wynyard Point at $112m (exclusive of bases) plus relocation costs of about $118m.
Parker is confident the Wynyard Point option can be achieved within the tight time frame to gain consent and build the base in time for the first team's arrival at the back end of 2019.
"There are few things we need to check through that could yet not work out, but assuming our current understandings are correct then we think there is a very good prospect that these remaining issues are worked through," he said.
Parker has also been in talks with ASB chief executive Barbara Chapman about using a car park the bank leases on Wynyard Point for the cup bases.
Parker, who is also Minister for the Environment, has been very mindful of the environmental impact of further expansion into the harbour - from the first proposal of a 230m extension of Halsey Wharf favoured by Team New Zealand (subsequently dropped), and the 75m extension to Halsey and Hobson wharves from the Wynyard Basin option.
Parker said he had informed Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Team New Zealand on a pending deal with Stolthaven and what it meant for the cup.
The initial reaction from Team New Zealand was cautious but not opposed, he said.
Last night, Goff said the council was keeping an open mind and will review information when it is provided.
"We need to satisfy a number of criteria, including environmental considerations, legacy and what delivers the best value and benefit for Team New Zealand, Auckland and our country.
"We're working collaboratively with government to deliver an America's Cup defence in New Zealand in 2021," Goff said.
Stolthaven, which has storage and distribution facilities around the world, has a lease at Wynyard Point to operate bulk liquid customers until April 2022.