New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, was on hand last night to open the Auckland International Boat Show and welcome delegates to the Super Yacht Captains' Forum.
The show is underway at Auckland's Viaduct Basin and is the first major event into the new Events Centre. The show's footprint extents from the bars in the downtown Auckland to the bars and cafes in the new North Wharf, and in between there is a splendid mix of floating and shore based exhibits.
Following on from MC for the evening, Peter Montgomery, Key quipped that he never grew tired of hearing PJ's immortal words 'the America's Cup is now New Zealand's Cup' and said they he hoped in a few weeks time that he hoped the World Rugby Cup would also be New Zealand's Cup. 'If that happens I will download the words onto my iPod and listen over and over again!'
The Auckland International Boat Show has been moved to coincide with the Rugby World Cup and increased attendance is expected from people attending both events.
Key paid tribute to the quality and diversity of the NZ Marine Industry and underlined the NZ Government's desire to invest in the New Zealand marine industry, he urged to superyacht captains to consider New Zealand for their next voyage or refit.
Alluding to Auckland's recent issues with transport congestion on the opening night of the Rugby World Cup, Key suggested that travelling to future matches by the amphibious SeaLegs RIB, was the best way of beating the transport issues and getting on time to the rugby venue at Eden Park.
Also on show at the Cocktail Evening were the Volvo Trophy for the winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, the Louis Vuitton Cup held by Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and the Millennium Cup competed fior between super yachts on a regular basis. The Volvo Trophy is on display for the duration of the Auckland International Boat Show.