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An Auckland businessman is proposing to bring ships to Lake Wakatipu and says it could help solve Queenstown's housing and hotel crises.

Jeremy Penrice​ is in talks with the Government over his plans to house locals displaced by new motorways and migrant workers on a cruise ship docked in the Auckland harbour.

He says he has also met with business people interested in the proposition for Queenstown.

He acknowledges there are constraints in getting the ships from Bluff to Kingston to launch but says there are modern engineering transport solutions including module carriers.

"Nothing is impossible."

"You're constrained by the size of the vessel you can bring up on the road but I believe that a vessel somewhere around 8000 tonnes would work.

"Rather than have a huge vessel, which would be near impossible and people wouldn't like it anyway, you could have lots of smaller vessels."

A solution for housing might include "potentially more suitable" barges while yachts could be used in lieu of hotels.

High class yachts could tie in with an America's Cup regatta in Queenstown, an idea floated by Russell Coutts, he said.

The planned Queenstown Marina could also be utilised.

"Queenstown is coming of age internationally and it's not enough to have a little old steam boat there anymore. It's time for some really classic and classy vessels to be gracing that lake."

He didn't think the Government would be interested in getting involved in a plan for Queenstown but he was aware business people were putting the idea before the Queenstown Lakes District Council and hoped it would get some support.

"It would have to be driven by business though," he said.

"The other concern is the consenting etc. What was put there would have to be pretty special. It's quite an iconic environment. We don't want to put a dog on there. It would be awful."

Queenstown Lakes District mayor Jim Boult said he questioned the practicality of getting a boat of any size to Lake Wakatipu.

"There's some challenging roads you would need to get it over and I wonder about the cost and viability of it.

"But if the gentleman behind it thinks he can solve those problems the council would welcome seeing an application for Resource Consent."

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust executive officer Julie Scott said it seemed an "unusual solution".

"It would be interesting to see how it will be serviced and connected into the town's infrastructure, the numbers, that type of thing."

The trust had 400 eligible households in the district on its waiting list, she said.

"It keeps growing so we are looking for other opportunities to build housing on land..."

What’s your take on this clever solution?

Written by Debbie Jamieson. First appeared on

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