The 17th race of the America's Cup Match is scheduled for September 22nd. About 4 weeks away.
The first to win 9 races - I guess - will win the America's Cup.
Imagine if Team New Zealand wins. Who or what will be responsible for organising the public contribution to hosting the next America's Cup Regatta, which would be held in 2016?
Last time New Zealand hosted the America's Cup it was held in Auckland, and it was one of the triggers for the Viaduct development, and for the development of competing syndicate bases on land - some on Wynyard Quarter - others located around the Waitemata Harbour.
Some dates and facts from Wikipedia....
In 1995, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron syndicate Team New Zealand, skippered by Russell Coutts, first won the challenger series in NZL 32, dubbed "Black Magic" because of her black hull and uncanny speed. Black Magic then easily defeated Dennis Connor's Stars and Stripes team, 5–0, to win the cup for New Zealand. The run-up to the 1995 Cup was notable for the televised sinking of oneAustralia during the fourth round robin of the Louis Vuitton challenger selection series, with all hands escaping uninjured. The 1995 defender selection series also had the first mostly female (with one man) crew sailing the yacht USA-43, nicknamed "Mighty Mary".So you can see from this that New Zealand held the America's Cup - mostly in Auckland - from 1995 to 2003. Eight years. And during those eight years a lot of development occurred in and around Auckland's waterfront.
In March 1997, a person entered the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's clubroom and damaged the America's Cup with a sledgehammer. The damage was so severe that it was feared that the cup was irreparable. London's Garrards silversmiths, who had manufactured the cup in 1848, painstakingly restored the trophy to its original condition over three months, free of charge. In 2003, an extra 20 cm was added to the cup's base to accommodate the names of future winners.
At Auckland in 1999–2000, Team New Zealand, led by Sir Peter Blake, and again skippered by Russell Coutts, defeated the Italian Prada Challenge from the Yacht Club Punta Ala. The Italians had previously beaten the AmericaOne syndicate from the St Francis Yacht Club in the Louis Vuitton Cup final. This was the first America's Cup to be contested without an American challenger or defender.
During the Twelve-Metre era, the New York Yacht Club, citing the Deed language that the Cup should be "perpetually a Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries", had adopted several interpretive resolutions intended to strengthen nationality requirements. By 1980, these resolutions specified that besides being constructed in the country of the challenger or defender, a yacht had to be designed by and crewed by nationals of the country where the yacht club was located. Globalization made it increasingly impractical to enforce design nationality rules, and starting in 1984, the Royal Perth Yacht Club began relaxing this requirement. Numerous members of the New Zealand AC 2000 team became key members of the Swiss 2003 Alinghi challenge, led by biotechnology entrepreneur Ernesto Bertarelli. To satisfy the crew nationality requirements, New Zealand team members of Alinghi took up residence in Switzerland.
In 2003, several strong challengers vied for the right to sail for the cup in Auckland during the challenger selection series. Bertarelli's team representing the Swiss yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), beat all her rivals in the Louis Vuitton Cup and in turn won the America's Cup 5–0. In doing so, Alinghi became the first European team in 152 years of the event’s history to win the Cup.
Much of the Viaduct re-development and America's Cup syndicate base development in the period after the cup was won was politically managed by a local government entity known as: Auckland Regional Services Trust (ARST). This owned the Port Company and land which had become surplus then to Port requirements..... Looking back, what is interesting is there was no legislative Central Government intervention. There was some money...
Fast forward to Rugby World Cup. For a variety of reasons Central Government seized the waterfront planning initiative for this event. Auckland Regional Council was focussed on Wynyard Quarter planning. Auckland City Council was focussed on the stadium. Central Government wanted Party Central somewhere. Queens Wharf was an on-again, off-again political football, until Central Government pushed for its purchase in 2010 from Ports of Auckland Ltd.
Then Central Government foisted its Rugby World Cup Empowering legislation on Auckland. Purpose: "The purpose of this Act is to enable applications to be determined expeditiously for activities or facilities reasonably necessary for the proper conduct of the Rugby World Cup 2011..." and "empowers the Minister, subject to a recommendation of the Authority, to grant urgent approvals for activities and facilities in circumstances of urgency that, for good reason, were not foreseen...."
All pretty draconian stuff, but in hind-sight, given that Central Government also wanted to completely restructure local government in Auckland at the same time, probably rational. But it is partly why we now have The Cloud on Queens Wharf. It's also why Shed 11 got dismantled. Legacy infrastructure...
Auckland needs to avoid any action replay of this sort of Central Government "assistance" in the event Team New Zealand wins the America's Cup.
To avoid Central Government stepping in, imposing another piece of "Empowering Legislation", establishing a controlling "Minister of the America's Cup", and building another pile of embarrassing legacy infrastructure, Auckland needs to get organised, plan for this possible future, and show that it can indeed organise a piss-up in its own brewery. Which is short for: organise a fantastic America's Cup event in the Waitemata Harbour AND build a great party central for it AND leave Auckland with some infrastructure it will be proud of. Including:
- A more or less pedestrianised Quay Street.
- A Light Rail link between Wynyard Quarter and Queen Street.
- Vastly improved public amenity and places on Princes Wharf (consistent with consent permit conditions.)
- Pedestrian priority access across Quay Street to Princes Wharf and Queens Wharf.
Go to it guys. A little bit of "just in case" planning is called for.