Auckland, New Zealand – The cruise ship industry would be happy with a $6 million to $10 million terminal on Queens Wharf – much less than the $49.2 million one that forms part of a $97 million plan for the wharf.
A report by economic forecasters Covec said the industry had “stated a clear preference for a functional cruise ship facility on Queens Wharf”.
“Their requirements would be satisfied by a large two-storey shed-like structure that could be constructed at a relatively low cost of $6 million to $10 million [estimated],” the report said.
Another report by the international accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said spending more on a functional terminal would not deliver any significant extra benefits from the cruise ship industry.
The PWC report made other observations. It talked about minimising the “cannibalisation” of other commercial areas in Auckland from the Queens Wharf development and suggested exploring commercial opportunities between the terminal and a new $31.8 million marine events centre along the waterfront in the off-peak cruise period.
Cruise New Zealand chief executive Craig Harris said the industry had always wanted a functional cruise ship facility in Auckland, saying it was up to the city to provide the architecture.
The $31.3 million option includes refurbishing the two 1912 cargo sheds at a cost of $10.1 million and keeping them in the medium term.
Auckland Regional Council chief executive Peter Winder yesterday said the eastern shed was too small for a terminal, but could be used, albeit as a temporary structure that would be costly to replace in future.
The only option that provided enough floor was the $97 million design, he said.
Mr Harris said the industry needed enough space to process about 3000 people in each direction, about 15,000 pieces of baggage, customs, immigration and security.
“It’s like an airport terminal,” he said.
Some mayors say they have been told the $97 million plan is the Government’s preferred option. ARC chairman Mike Lee, who last year was against a gold-plated development, now sees considerable potential in the $97 million option.
Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey and North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams also like the design.
But Auckland City Mayor John Banks firmly opposes doing anything on Queens Wharf until the Super City is in place and a new masterplan is developed for the Auckland waterfront.
Manukau Mayor Len Brown holds the same view.
Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney, whose business group has begun a newspaper campaign against a quick-fix solution for Queens Wharf, said economic considerations were only part of the picture.
“No economic report should be used to run roughshod over longer-term aspirations for our waterfront.”
Mr Swney said 78.9 per cent of respondents to the campaign did not want the World Cup to influence hasty redevelopment of the wharf and 85.5 per cent wanted the Super City council and mayor to lead the wharf development in the context of the waterfront plan.