The America's Cup syndicates could be based at an extension to Westhaven Marina under a proposal going to Auckland councillors today.

Stop Stealing Our Harbour and Urban Auckland have drawn up plans to extend Westhaven Drive beyond the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to accommodate eight syndicates.

They have also produced a second option to spread the syndicates across three sites at Wynyard Quarter.

It strikes us as a win, win situation

The two lobby groups, who last year won an historic victory to stop wharf extensions into the Waitemata Harbour for port use, say the America's Cup is an opportunity to accelerate the transformation of the city waterfront.


They oppose plans for a 60m to 80m Halsey Wharf extension north of the Viaduct Harbour to house the syndicates, calling it short-sighted, lacking vision and requiring more reclamation than previously suggested.

"Many are talking about the America's Cup as an opportunity to leave a significant legacy. There is no need to further encroach on the harbour," says the presentation to councillors.

Julie Stout, a spokeswoman for Urban Auckland - a group of architects and urban designers - said extending Westhaven Drive was part of the yachting fraternity and a natural home for the syndicates.

"It strikes us as a win, win situation," she said.

The lobby groups' alternative option would see four syndicate bases on the western side of Wynyard Quarter at Beaumont St, and two each on either side of the Wynyard Quarter headland.

An extension to Westhaven Drive has been on Auckland Council's long-term radar, but like many waterfront projects it lacks funding.

Before Team New Zealand won the Auld Mug off Oracle in Bermuda, the Herald reported that secret planning was under way to dust off plans for the Halsey Wharf extensions, which had been mooted to provide a sheltered basin for superyachts at a cost of about $90 million.

In a presentation to today's council planning committee, headed Waterfront Legacy, the lobby groups said the Waitemata Harbour was an intergenerational asset.


"We have inherited a substantially diminished harbour, narrowed to over half its original width by a gradual, unplanned, ad hoc process that still continues."

The lobby groups said the choice was to continue reducing the harbour or pass on an intact harbour to future generations, saying preserving the harbour was paramount to achieving a great waterfront.

Team New Zealand chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge said it was too early to comment on anything to do with the event in Auckland.

"I'm sure there are a whole lot of people out there having discussions and thinking about the future but we are not there yet. It would be wrong for me to say anything right now," he said.

Shoebridge said Team New Zealand had still to meet with the challenger of record, Luna Rossa, and decide on dates for the event.

Team New Zealand, he said, would like to be involved in discussions with the Government and Auckland Council about planning for the event.

Speaking on TVNZ's Q & A programme on Sunday, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said the Government was more interested in the infrastructure components of the America's Cup than sponsorship of Team New Zealand.