The new waterfront operation at Sulphur Point will put Tauranga on the map as one of the largest marine precincts in New Zealand, says Peter Busfield, executive director of both the NZ Marine Industry Association (NZMIA) and its associated industry training organisation.
“When I was promoting NZ marine services overseas recently, a super yacht skipper advised that his yacht is coming for haul out at the new precinct later this year,” said Busfield.
“This will be one of many over the next few years and I predict that the precinct and Vessel Works will be full of vessels very soon.”
Addressing the official opening of the precinct in August, Busfield said he was pleased on behalf of the marine industry that the Tauranga City Council and the BOP Regional Council had supported the precinct and encouraged local marine businesses to buy freehold property within the area.
“This site will not only serve the interests of the Tauranga marine industry,” he said.
“I think you will be amazed at the number of boats that will come – not only from all over New Zealand, and from Auckland, which is lacking infrastructure like this, but from offshore.”
Busfield, who has recently been in Fiji promoting the New Zealand marine services industry, noted that the 15 super yachts moored there during his visit were just part of a fleet of 74 super yachts expected to pass through the port this year.
“I was previously in Palma de Mallorca [in the Balearic Islands, Spain], one of the biggest centres for super yachts in Europe,” he said.
“With facilities like the Marine Precinct, Tauranga is hopefully going to get good business from the European boats that will decide to stay longer in NZ for their refit and professional services.”
He added that successive NZ governments had made it easier for visiting offshore yachts, which could now stay for 24 months and access GST-free services. “That is all a good incentive for them to come to NZ and now to access the largest haul-out centre in the country.”
On top of that, the America’s Cup was likely to provide a huge boost to the industry, and the new facility could expect to benefit, said Busfield.
During the America’s Cup, as well as 25 police, marshalling and umpire boats, and its own 20 support vessels, Emirates Team NZ would also be hosting on the water between 800 and 1000 VIPs each day of racing.
“Emirates Team NZ works on the basis of having hundreds of smaller sponsors who become part of the family and will have to be entertained. That means eight to 10 ferries will be needed.”
In addition, the teams so far signed up from Italy, the US and the UK, will also have hundreds of VIPs to host, there would likely to be another 20 or so ferries needed, said Busfield, plus there would likely be more than one thousand media.
“There is a lot infrastructure involved and Auckland just does not have the required infrastructure to handle than number of vessels. So I am expecting that you will get some pretty good business leading up to the America’s Cup.”
Busfield said the NZMIA currently had about 200 companies listed nationwide, with 470 apprentices in training.
“With the growth nationwide, we are expecting to see about 600 apprentices in the next couple of years, and I’m sure that a lot of those new employees will come from Tauranga.”