Team New Zealand has today said a new plan for a village location and design for the America's Cup could work, but there are still problems that need to be resolved.
Team boss Grant Dalton said today: "The Government came to us with a further plan last week. It's a further iteration of the minister's plan known as the 'Hybrid option' but is closer to the one designed by Viaduct Harbour Holdings.
"On the face of it and to the layman's eye it looks like it could work.
"In the limited time we have had to look into the detail we see that there are some problems that need to be addressed."
The latest plan reduces the extension of Halsey St Wharf from 75 metres to 45m.
"But with the reduction of the extension of Halsey wharf, this means the majority of the challenger bases must go on to on Wynyard Wharf," Dalton said.
The Herald understands from sources that the latest plan was agreed to between Economic Development Minister David Parker and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff at the weekend.
It involves moving the Team New Zealand base from a 75m extension on Hobson Wharf to the eastern end of Halsey Wharf. There is provision for a second base on Halsey Wharf and five bases on Wynyard Point.
The plan is a combination of a "hybrid" option earlier agreed between Parker and Goff and a late option put forward by Viaduct Harbour Holdings, a private company which owns about 20ha at Wynyard Quarter and the Viaduct Harbour.
Dalton said Parker had agreed Team New Zealand would have a permanent base on Hobson Wharf.
"He has been forced by Viaduct Harbour Holdings' threat to disrupt the resource consent process to back away from that commitment and move our base to the eastern end of Halsey wharf.
"To be honest I'm a bit pissed off with this but I will live with an equal base at the eastern end of Halsey Wharf. It's far enough away from the activities that occur at the Events Centre but still allows us to build an innovative interactive public space.
"We are planning a space where people can get really close to the team while at work and experience the excitement of sailing these amazing boats through simulators and other great technologies.
"None of this is ideal but we will continue to work through the challenges in an effort to see the America's Cup hosted in 2020/21 in Auckland. It's where our home is and where our heart is. Council and Government have their own challenges and we recognise that they are doing their utmost to meet them."
The Team New Zealand boss said the Government has successfully negotiated with Stolthoven for the removal of its tanks on Wynyard Point earlier than was planned.
"The same sort of negotiation is currently taking place with Bulk Storage Terminals who own the other tanks that would need to be removed. This negotiation needs to be concluded before this plan could be considered viable. We are unsure of the timeframe for those negotiations to be concluded," Dalton said.
He said the Wynyard Wharf tank removal and remedial work are complex and time consuming.
"We along, with Government and council, have concerns about the works timetable and availability of specialist construction resource in an already stretched environment. The Government is seeking a second expert opinion on the timetable issue and we support them in doing this.
"There is little point in agreeing to a plan that can't be delivered on time."
He said Team New Zealand have a meeting with challengers in Europe at the end of this month and confirmation of Auckland as a venue and the class rule are eagerly awaited by them.
Stop Stealing Our Harbour spokesman Michael Goldwater said the latest plan was unacceptable because it created a "concrete rugby field' into the harbour on the end of Halsey Wharf.
"We are not building concrete rugby fields on the waterfront for the All Blacks. Why would we do it for Team New Zealand," Goldwater said.
He said the lobby group was a strong advocate for the Wynyard Pt scheme with the Team New Zealand base located on a much smaller extension at the western end of Halsey Wharf.
Locating Team New Zealand at the western end of Halsey Wharf beyond the ANZ Events Centre would require an extension about half the size of the latest plan and retain unimpeded views to the harbour, Goldwater said.
He also believed the Stop Stealing Our Harbour plan could see most, if not all, of the fishing fleet retained on Halsey Wharf where it is an "integral part of the urban fabric of the waterfront".
More to come.