Controversial Auckland Queen's Wharf extension to go ahead

The controversial Auckland Queen's Wharf extension will go ahead after consent was granted on Tuesday.

Auckland Council sought approval to build a 90-metre mooring dolphin to accommodate large cruise ships.

The council's development arm, Panuku, says the $10 million mooring is vital, and will give the tourism industry in Auckland a $30 million boost over 10 years.

"Clearly the cruise industry is producing more larger ships, and they're wishing to come here more frequently," Panuku cruise ship advisor John Smith said in February.

"So unless we're in a position to berth them alongside, both Auckland will miss out and the rest of New Zealand will miss out."

But the plans ran into strong opposition from community groups which said it's part of an ongoing creep of infrastructure into Waitemata Harbour.

"We can't keep continuing to incrementally fill in the harbour," one person told Newshub during protests in March. "The harbour's small enough as it is."

"Over time, this harbour's halved in size. Years and years ago it was much wider," another said.

Today a panel of three independent commissioners decided that the wharf extension can go ahead.

In a statement, the commissioners admitted the extension could still have a range of adverse effects on the environment. But they said they are confident those effects can be avoided, or mitigated to an acceptable level.

Anyone hoping to appeal the decision has until the 15th of May to do so.



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