New Zealand stands to enjoy big economic gains if it hosted the next America's Cup, an Auckland city boss said this morning, predicting it could be in the billion-dollar territory.
Brett O'Riley, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development chief executive, said the gains could be "enormous".
Boat-building and servicing, tourism, accommodation, waterfront development, overseas visitors and staging major events are just some of the gains in the next few years if New Zealand hosts the cup.
"You have an enormous opportunity for the New Zealand marine industry and in the same way The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit showcased the best scenery, so can the America's Cup.
"The only people who can really answer the question of where the bases will be are Emirates Team New Zealand because it all depends on the type of boats raced. And are we talking a single regatta or preliminary events? "
The economic benefits could be in the billion-dollar territory, he said, suggesting a range of places for the challenger bases, all in and around Auckland.
"Is this the opportunity to move the [Royal New Zealand] Navy out of Devonport, host it there?" he asked, referring to previous discussions to move to Whangarei.
"I don't know. Is that the best place to have it?
"Gulf Harbour could host it today, there's land there and a marina already in place. You have the space there."
Captain Cook Wharf near the bottom of Queen St off Quay St in the CBD was a less likely proposition, he said "because of the ferry movements across the harbour".
An extension of the Halsey St wharf was certainly talked about, he said.
"But it's un-funded and it's $100m. That's a lot of change. Should it be at the Tank Farm?" he asked referring to the Wynyard Quarter off Fanshawe St.
"I know that's certainly been contemplated.
"But before we start talking about the location, what class [of boat] is going to be raced? What requirements are there for the boats and bases?"
Sir Ralph Norris told Newstalk ZB he imagined the economic benefity for New Zealand could exceed $1b.
"There's no doubt the economic benefit that accrues for New Zealand, in particular Auckland, is going to be significant as far as a defence is concerned.
"It might even be a little higher than [$1b]."
Sir Ralph said he understood planning for a defence had already been underway.
"I get the impression from what I've heard over the last couple of hours that a lot of forethought has already gone into where the race will be held in Auckland, what sort of arranagements will be needed to be put in place the team bases and that sort of thing.
"I don't think they're going into that cold."
Peter Busfield, chief executive of the NZ Marine Industry Association, said Team New Zealand's win meant economic gain and more opportunities for the country.
He said he expected the win to inject up to $500million into the marine industry over the next few years.
"Winning the Cup in 1995 gave Auckland a new 'front door', with the building of the Viaduct Harbour. We must take this opportunity to think in an innovative way to make New Zealand an even more attractive country for our international visitors, as well as those of us who call it home," Busfield said.