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Where is vision to enhance the Viaduct Basin

9 October 2002

Media Release

Where is Auckland’s vision to enhance the Viaduct Basin area as a world renowned marine industry capital?

Asking that question, Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, said it would be extremely short sighted if Auckland City gave up the Viaduct Basin and land around Westhaven to property developers to build more apartments.

“The only threat to Auckland locking in the vision to be a world scale marine industry “hub” – for boat building, yacht racing and fishing, and marine industry conferences – is that we take a short term view and shoot ourselves in the foot and force the marine industry to go elsewhere.”

He was commenting on a Herald report of pressure from developers to turn the America’s Cup “syndicate row” into expensive apartments, even if Team New Zealand retains the Cup.

“My concern is not just about the immediate area of the Viaduct Basin but proposals for extending the apartment complexes across towards Westhaven, effectively forcing out a number of small-medium but highly creative value-added marine businesses vital to the marine industry’s global success

“It is stupid for Auckland to kill off what is in effect our major competitive and comparative advantage – a marine industry that is just getting into stride to earn millions of dollars in export earnings for New Zealand.”

“It is even more imperative that we retain the marine cluster in the downtown area if we happen to lose the America’s Cup. That industry will provide ongoing employment, and there is scope to build an international scale conference centre in the area – a facility that Auckland desperately needs.”

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Instead of forcing out the marine industry from the Viaduct area, our strategy should be to encourage increased productivity from the sector and for the City to provide as much infrastructure support and leadership as it can to lock in the world scale opportunities presented by the sector.”

Mr Barnett called on Auckland City Mayor John Banks and other regional Mayors to get strongly in behind supporting the marine industry expanding. “This is not just about the future of the Basin, but the regional and national economy.”

ENDS

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