by Jeni Bone
Following a report which declares the local industry booming, NZ boat builders fear their billion dollar contribution to the economy could be jeopardised by Wynyard Quarter and its plan for apartment development.
The current site. Independent commissioners are in the process of considering submissions.
The Marine industry's Market Economics Survey has valued the sector at $2.2 billion. Exports have grown 14 percent over the past two years and are expected to grow $1.18 billion by 2015.
NZ Marine chief executive, Peter Busfield claims that it could all be at risk if boat builders are not able to remain at the new Wynyard Quarter development adjacent to the Westhaven precinct. He believes the industry needs waterfront access to commission New Zealand-built super yachts.
Last week, Busfield made a plea for the marine industry to be able to remain in the new Wynyard Quarter development.
Busfield says the industry needs the waterfront access in and around Westhaven to commission New Zealand-built superyachts and to refit the world's growing but ageing fleet of existing superyachts.
'These are two of the fastest-growing sectors of the marine industry worldwide,' he says. 'We have a great reputation for building sailing superyachts and are currently the third largest builder of these multi-million boats in the world.
'It is a sector of the market that is almost completely recession-proof and should be a real export-winner for New Zealand. However, there is no point in being able to sell and build these lucrative vessels if we have nowhere to rig or commission them.
'The superyacht refit industry is another sector with massive potential for us. There are far more superyachts needing comprehensive refits that there are yards in Europe or North America that can accommodate them.
'Again this is a very lucrative market and we are building a very strong and enviable reputation for the quality of our work, however, the simple fact is, without waterfront access and the appropriate infrastructure at Westhaven, neither of these two potentially very lucrative sectors can continue to exist, let alone grow and expand as they should.
'We can only hope that our multi-billion dollar industry is considered more worthwhile than a few more cafes and apartments for downtown Auckland.'
Auckland City Council explains that the new Wynyard Quarter, on the eastern perimeter of Westhaven marina, is ideally located for the marine industry to service boat owners in the area and at the marina. The Council's proposed district plan changes allocates land on Wynyard Quarter for fishing and marine industry activities.
Artist's impression of the Wynyard Quarter precinct.
At present, public hearings are underway on the proposed changes and are waiting for the independent commissioners to consider all submissions and make their recommendations.
Insight from the 2008 Marine Industry Market Economics Report:
Current size of Industry: Total size: $2.2 billion Recreational: $1.9 billion Commercial $300 million Value of Marine Industry Exports $717 million 38% of Recreational industry Forecast to grow to $1.18 billion by 2015.
Industry growth: Up an average of 7.7% per annum over last two years Up 39% since 2003
Export growth: Up an average of 14% over last two years Strong across all sectors, especially superyachts, racing yachts & manufactured equipment NZ now 3rd largest builder of sailing superyachts in world Global superyacht sales continuing to grow very strongly.
Hitting Targets: Marine Industry is ahead of target to double 2005 turnover by 2020 2010 target met in 2008, two years ahead of schedule!
Skills & Training: Boating Industry Training Organisation continues to increase number of apprentices and trainees to meet demands of Marine Industry companies BITO added 20% more apprentices in 2007 + 17% more YTD in 2008 Demand for both skilled and unskilled staff remains high throughout.
Industry Infrastructure Under Threat:
Strong future forecasts dependent on industry securing adequate marine precincts at: Wynyard Point (for growth in refits and superyacht commissioning) Hobsonville (to allow development of a strong boat building cluster) Other key marine developments around the country.
Staying in New Zealand: Industry strongly believes it can continue to grow and prosper by manufacturing world class boats and marine equipment in New Zealand using a New Zealand based and trained workforce.
More at www.nzmarine.com