The sensitive issue of America's Cup spying has reared its head in Environment Court hearings into the planned bases at Wynyard Point.

The court is hearing a resource consent application from Auckland Council's development arm Panuku Developments for the $200 million bases project for the 2021 event.

While the majority of issues have been agreed, two remain in dispute — building design and minimum requirements for clear glazing, reports

In previous America's Cups secrecy has been paramount in teams getting an edge over opponents, so syndicates are uneasy if the public, and potentially spies from other teams will be able to see what is going on inside.


The original requirement was for glazing of 60 per cent of one of the sides of Luna Rossa's Hobson Wharf and 100 per cent of the western side of the other bases. These areas of glazing have been termed "passive surveillance". It is unclear what triggered the "passive surveillance" requirement.

The size of the glazing has been reduced to 30 per cent for Luna Rossa and 33 per cent for the other bases but the public and opponents will be able to watch and photograph what is going on behind the glass.

While all parties have agreed they will accept the court's decision and will not appeal, design and development has been a major part of past Cups.

Team New Zealand got a massive jump on their opponents in the last two Cups working in secret, being the first to foil the 72ft catamarans for the 2013 event in San Francisco and then developing the cyclors grinding concept which gave them a huge power advantage in their winning challenge in Bermuda last year.

In fact, one of the parties in the court hearing noted that the New York Yacht Club would have loved the "passive surveillance" clause when Australia II were developing their revolutionary winged keel in 1983. Australia II took the America's Cup back to Perth, ending the New York Yacht Club's 132-year domination of the event.

Emirates Team New Zealand is not part of the consent process as they will be in the Viaduct Events Centre.