Mayors Reject $97m Queens Wharf Plan (Updated)


Auckland’s mayor John Banks  has announced to a news conference this afternoon that the city’s mayors’ (plural) forum has agreed not to rush into the government’s suggested $97m cruise ship terminal for Queens Wharf.

The mayors attended their collective Auckland mayoral forum this morning and decided instead to work on a longer term vision for the waterfront.

They also agreed to help out the Eden Park Trust Board in its financial crisis by underwriting the $40-odd million needed to get Eden Park development finished in time for next year’s RWC.

But the debate hasn’t ended as there’s still talk about what sort of activities should happen on the wharf during next year’s cup.

The view from Queens Wharf

ARC’s chief Mike Lee has been strongly in favour of a terminal for the growing cruise ship industry.

Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney thinks the mayors have got it right.

“When we rush things we make mistakes, ” he says.

The CBD business group’s online survey says over 80 per cent of Aucklanders want a vision for a broader central city waterfront than just party central.

“The great thing is that we can now focus our minds not on a rushed ‘airport by the water’ but on party central and 2011. That’s where we need to be spending our energy. We’ve spent ages getting public access to Queen’s Wharf, let’s use RWC2011 as a chance to get to know it before we go making irrevocable changes. One of the lower cost options for 2011 will give us that chance.  Let’s live on the other side of the red fence for a little and get the plan right.”

Swney says it makes no sense to knock both sheds over before the Rugby World Cup, because then we will be left with just a flat tarmac rather like we have on Captain Cook Wharf now.

“The way forward now is to work with options 2 and 3 with a view to making improvements for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, interim but decent changes for the cruise industry, and some spaces that Aucklanders can use and enjoy afterwards.

“We have a clear view that what happens on Queens Wharf should not duplicate the facilities and feel of the Viaduct, Princes Wharf, or the new $29million flexiform event space that is about to get underway on Halsey Street Wharf.”

Heart of the City’s view has been that supporters of the $97m option 4 have championed it as if it was the only improvement that could be made for the cruise industry. “It’s not,” says Swney “We can get on and make improvements on Princes Wharf for the cruise industry, any improvements on Queens Wharf for the Rugby World Cup will provide benefits to the cruise industry too, and in the near future we can look to build a dedicated cruise facility, but not one that’s rushed for a rugby event.”

Labour Leader Phil Goff said the mayors should be congratulated.

“The city’s ratepayers were facing a multi-million dollar bill to pay for what was turning into a white-elephant.”

He said the failure of the Government to secure agreement to transform Auckland’s waterfront into “party central” proves  National’s handing of preparations is a shambles,.

“When he announced ‘party central’ last year John Key said Queens Wharf would be the cornerstone of this Rugby World Cup phase of the waterfront development, and told his ministers to put ‘serious work into making it happen’. National has failed.

“This now means Auckland will be playing catch up to get a venue ready to host the tens of thousands of rugby supporters who will flock to New Zealand.

“The party central plan was ill thought out and was being rushed for one major event without consideration for the long term development of a stunning piece of waterfront.




  1. Matt L says:

    I think it is the right decision providing we don’t spend the next 10 years trying to decide what to put there. One of the priorities of the super city should be to get this vision sorted so we can actually build it

  2. Cam says:

    We will spend the next ten years and then what we put there will be a mess because we will be trying to appease everyone. This is Auckland after all.

  3. Johans says:

    The money would be better spent on investing on improving existing infrastructure we have already.

    What is the point of spending 97 million dollars on new development when we can’t maintain our exciting infrastructure?

  4. Ingolfson says:

    “What is the point of spending 97 million dollars on new development when we can’t maintain our exciting infrastructure?”

    With the exception of the rail and power systems, Auckland is doing pretty well in terms of infrastructure upkeep, as far as I can tell. And those two areas aren’t Auckland-controlled…

  5. John Dalley says:

    Listening to an interview earlier this week on National Radio, the commentator suggested that the cruise ship terminal should be on the next wharf over. Not sure if that is Capt Cook or what. His reasoning twas that this wharf would allow (with extensions) for two cruise ships to be berthed at one time and thus allow Queens wharf to be used as an open space. this would also stop the area to become closed in by princess wharf.
    Hi reasoning for this approach sounded pretty good to me.

  6. Jeremy Harris says:

    This is exactly what should have happened… Banks realises he is onto a popular thing here and is milking it…


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>