I would like to begin by acknowledging Hon Nicky Wagner,
Local MP Hon Ruth Dyson, List MP Nuk Korako, Deputy Mayor –Andrew Turner and my fellow councillors – Raf Manji, Phil Clearwater, Tim Scandrett, Deon Swiggs.
Banks Peninsula Community Board chair – Christine Wilson and deputy, Pam Richardson.
Chair of the CCHL board Jeremy Smith and Lyttelton Port Company chair Trevor Burt.
A special welcome also, to Tony Petrie, Cruise NZ.
This is a very exciting day for our city. I'm going to cut to the chase...today I am very happy to announce a new $56 million cruise ship berth at Lyttelton.
This is great news for the city, the region and the country.
The cruise industry looks at the total package that is Destination New Zealand and there has been a glaring gap in the Destination South component of that and that is Lyttelton.
In saying that I want to pay tribute to Akaroa. This special part of the Peninsula that came into Christchurch's boundaries just over a decade ago, has carried a huge load so that we were not lost to the cruise industry and that tourists could still experience the magic of this special part of the world.
The pressure on Akaroa has been tremendous and, although I think it will always be a destination for the boutique cruise ships, today's announcement will come as an enormous relief.
The new berth here at Lyttelton will be the first custom built cruise ship facility for Christchurch and will be able to accommodate some of the largest cruise liners from around the world, including the MS Oasis of the Seas which is 362 metres long, weighs 225,282 tonnes and carries around 5,400 people.
The development we are announcing here today will be even better than what we had before the earthquakes when cruise ships would berth at Cashin Quay 2.
In the year before the earthquakes, the 2009-10 season, 50 cruise ships visited Lyttelton - in the past year the number can be counted on one hand.
We have had to watch the rest of the country enjoy a tourism boom over the last 6 years. And although the valiant efforts of our Airport Company and CCT have really helped us keep our heads above water, we won't regain our share of that boom as of right. This is an investment in our future.
This decision not only brings 150000 cruise passengers back into the city per year, it also puts our city back on the map in brochures and cruise publications as a must-see city - a destination in our own right.
Finally I would like to acknowledge the tremendous amount of work that has gone into both the cruise ship berth and the wider Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan. Thank you to the working party which was set up to investigate options for hosting cruise ships in Lyttelton.
As part of the process a business case was carried out to determine the value of the cruise ship industry to the city and the region. And as a result of that work the decision was made to fund the project through the Lyttelton Port Company.
The cruise ship berth represents a massive investment in the future of Christchurch and the wider region. Cruise ships bring both vibrancy and economic activity into the city so it is great that Christchurch will have a dedicated facility.
Bringing cruise ships back is another step forward to revitalise Christchurch and also Lyttelton. Once again, we have been able to improve facilities to future proof the city rather than just replacing what was there before.
I've been repeating this quote. Never let a serious crisis go to waste - it's an opportunity to do things you didn't think you could do before. Out of every disaster comes opportunity and this is one hell of an opportunity.