A senior politician says the $178.5 million cost to provide the America's Cup in Auckland is a "crude estimate" and could rise significantly.

Chris Darby, chair of Auckland Council's planning committee, is concerned about the cost of building the bases in Auckland, which will involve contractors working 24 hours a day to meet a tight timeframe.

"There is not a lot of accuracy in the costings to date. They are a very crude estimate and don't be surprised if there are significant upsides on those costs," he said.

The council has estimated it will cost $160.5m to build the infrastructure for eight cup bases and superyachts, plus $18m to relocate the local fishing fleet and Sealink ferry.


A resource consent application to build the bases says the work covers a large area over deep water and will require working round the clock six or seven days a week. It warns about the need to obtain price certainty for the Government and council, saying the financial risk is unlikely to be accepted by the contractor.

The council is also planning to spend $260m on projects around the waterfront for the Cup and Apec meeting of world leaders in 2021, of which about $80m is currently funded. The projects include new public open spaces, upgrading Quay St and ferry terminal improvements.

The Wynyard Basin option for the America's Cup bases in Auckland.
The Wynyard Basin option for the America's Cup bases in Auckland.

Darby's concerns come as Mayor Phil Goff and Economic Development Minister David Parker continue to work on a "compromise" solution for the America's Cup bases.

It will be a mix of the council's option for a cluster of bases around Wynyard Basin and Parker's preference for a land-based solution on Wynyard Point, also known as the Tank Farm.

It is understood work is still continuing on commercial negotiations with Stolthaven to move its hazardous facilities off its southern Tank Farm site to allow for more base space on land and a reduced extension of Halsey Wharf under the Wynyard Basin option.

A statement issued by the mayoral office said Goff and Parker are continuing to work on a variant to the Wynyard Basin and Wynyard Point options and explore some outstanding issues.

"The council and the Government are working well together but are yet to reach an agreement with Emirates Team New Zealand," the statement said.

Neither Goff nor Parker would respond to Darby's concerns around the cost of the project rising.

Auckland councillor Chris Darby
Auckland councillor Chris Darby

Meanwhile, Darby is miffed at not being told about plans to build two large wharves extending 100m off Wynyard Wharf for the fishing and ferry operations.

The plans surfaced in the resource consent application by the council on January 30 as a solution to relocate the fishing fleet and Sealink services.

Darby said people knew the fishing and ferry operations would need to be moved for the cup, but the proposal for the wharves was not "socialised politically".

He said the proposal, on land zoned public open space, was at odds with the vision for a 5ha headland Park at Wynyard Point and the fishing industry being central to the Wynyard Quarter urban design principles.

The resource consent application for the wharves said once the cup is over, the fishing fleet may stay or fully or partially return to Wynyard Basin.

Stop Stealing Our Harbour spokesman Michael Goldwater said the fishing industry is integral to the vibrancy of the waterfront and there needs to be an "iron-clad" agreement for it to return once the cup is over.

The costs

• Infrastructure costs, such as wharf extensions $128m

• Infrastructure for support vessels and superyachts $4.1m

• Construction of bases $28.4m

• Relocating fishing and ferry services $18m

Total $178.5m
* These costs are based on the Wynyard Basin option