Queens Wharf Left vs Right


Look Mum, there's the Party Central tent!

The Queens Wharf saga is now becoming a battle between Auckland politicians a few months out from the Auckland supercouncil elections.

Is John Banks going to be seen as the saviour who rides in on his white horse throwing the council’s promised $26m to save the sheds and make Party Central a success?

You could start to imagine that he seems to be trying to carefully stage manage such a scenario, with cryptic brief one line positive messages, while ARC Mike Lee and RWC Minister Murray McCully trade barbs.

Yesterday Banks said: “My position on the restoration of Queens Wharf has not changed since day one however the future of Queens Wharf is in the hands of the owners – the Government and the Auckland Regional Council.”

And refused to elaborate.

Tonight he has issued a statement that says just:

“My door is always open to the owners of Queens Wharf – especially the Government – to talk about making the Rugby World Cup a success for Auckland. Mayor Banks will be making no further comment.”

Notice no mention of Lee - just the government, which has insisted the RWC can’t be jeopardised.

Lee is standing for left-endorsed key central seat Waitemata.

It’s very disappointing if this messy saga turns into a typical Auckland leftie vs right wing cat fight used by politicians to inch further ahead in the polls.

But that’s what it’s starting to feel like.

The ARC hasn’t got a spare $20m to save the sheds but has promised to somehow.

But the Auckland City has.

But it also has some interesting options for party central that look attractive- like the new events centre and Aotea Square, about to re-opened and it will have a big TV screen for the occasion.

The ARC’s acting chair (Mike Lee is in China) Councillor Paul Walbran had this to say:

“The ARC is acutely aware of the limited time to ensure delivery for RWC, and is progressing the options agreed at yesterday’s council meeting with urgency.

The council is doing everything possible to ensure tight delivery timeframes for RWC are met, but is seeking a long term view from the Government for Queens Wharf.

“We are all aware of the time pressures on building the ultimate ‘party central’, however it is crucial that the venue has an additional use. For this reason, the ARC outlined yesterday our preferred option to retain and refurbish one of the historic sheds on Queen’s Wharf to act as a suitable party venue and as a cruise ship terminal.

“Fiscal prudence has been an utmost priority of this government; likewise we believe that now is the ideal time to ensure funds are spent wisely, ensuring the new venue on Auckland’s waterfront can be used for the Rugby World Cup and beyond.

ARC view of Shed 10

“The options we are exploring will preserve Auckland’s waterfront heritage, provide for its economy by better serving the growing cruise industry and it can still be delivered in time for the Rugby World Cup.

“Our architects were commissioned yesterday and are already working on the options for the wharf.

“We will continue working with the Government and expect to reach an agreement next week.”




  1. ingolfson says:

    I agree with you that Lee has some potential pitfalls here. However, the whole saga is so overblown. Everyone is so fixated on that place. One could think there was a holy grail of rugby buried on the wharf somewhere.

  2. Ian M says:

    What a joke it is alright. The funniest thing is that just around the corner is Viaduct harbour-seems a pretty decent ‘party central’ to me!

  3. anthony says:

    People seen to think having a Party Central would help the All Blacks win the world cup.
    People always dig thier heads into the sand whenever we talk about the fact we only ever won once or twice.

  4. Eric says:

    Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. I’ll be surprised if they get anything built by the time the RWC comes round.

  5. DanC says:

    Well I think the Queen Street Wharf being used for the Rugby World cup has come and gone. So what to do?

    The Viaduct should have floating screens in the middle and become party central. And the Domain? Victoria Park? They could have screens in huge tents, think Munich Beir Fest?

    The Captain Cook Wharf should have a cruise ship terminal built on it. Just use a tin warehouse for now and get the cruise ships coming in! When enough money has become available build a proper cruise ship terminal on Captain Cook Wharf with a temporary terminal on Queens Wharf during the build. Once complete Queen Street Wharf should be developed into a public space / ferry terminal / spill over cruise ship dock.

  6. John Dalley says:

    Like Trevor mallards stupid idea for a stadium on the water front, at the time i thought Smile and Waves was equally as stupid.
    I go with what most hospitality businesses said at the time that Party central was not needed. Like them i think that there is more than enough entertainment areas around Auckland to cope.
    If they need an open area downtown then what is wrong with the lighter basin? it was good enough for thousands of people for the Americas Cup so why not the World Cup?
    I also understand from newspaper reports that they are pulling down the Team NZ base and building some sort of event centre! so what would be wrong with this area?
    I think our dickhead prime minister and his equally thick minister of rugby Murray McCully need to save face after an exceeding stupid foot in mouth event.

  7. Andrew says:

    Meanwhile, up the road, the once majestic St James Theatre continues to rot.

  8. Anthony says:


    Queens Wharf:>

    Tell the ARC to move the ‘Queens Wharf Sheds’.

    Move shed (11) to Whynard wharf and dismantle shed (10).

    Can you do this this week, and you can help Auckland move on with the Rugby World Cup.

    Then Talk to Murray McCullay.


    Anthony :)

  9. Anthony says:

    Well to be simple here, it means we can’t build anything cool when Rugby World Cup is finished?
    Just have a nice clean slate.

    I also agree that there could be a lot of work, money to restore these sheds.
    Can we put this money into the Saint James Theatre.

  10. John Dalley says:

    Interesting picture on page A3 of this mornings herald.
    Could someone remind me why Smile and Wave suggested Queens wharf?
    looking at the potential room of the Event center and the promenade behind it.
    I would suggest it is made for the RWC and what’s more it is due to be completed 2 months before the Cup starts.
    One does not but wonder at the petulance of Murray McCully who as Bernard Ormsman points out should pick up his dummy and re-insert in mouth.

  11. William Ross says:

    There are much better places for a celebration in the middle of a cold wet winters night -which is when the event is on, something that doesn’t seem to be discussed by those suggesting we should have it on a wind swept wharf where drunken hoons will no doubt jump into the harbour or fall into it.
    The Vector arena would be a fantastic venue where there could be a big screen showing live and replaying matches, the new events centre looks a winner and is the right size and would be a good launching pad for it.
    $20m tarting up the old shed for it is criminal. Can’t we syphon a few dollars off that to finish the Onehunga platform!

  12. Chris says:

    NO party central on the wharf! I agree with Vector Arena. Perfect for a cold night. Invest in getting a mega giant screen in the arena, and use the rest on tourist hospitality/cleaning graffiti/or even Eden Park. The wharves should still be upgraded, but not for the purpose of a once ever RWC, but for many future generations. Upgrade them for general public like Wynyard.


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