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Graeme Lee, Northgate Business Park property developer, with Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson

Waikato – transporting New Zealand to the world

Open Waikato has developed a new freight and logistics prospectus to showcase the benefits to businesses in the sector of basing themselves in the Waikato district.

‘Open Waikato’ is one of several initiatives created by the Waikato District Council to manage and exploit economic growth within the region. Mayor Allan Sanson says the Waikato district has much to offer, being strategically located in the centre of the North Island’s prosperous ‘golden triangle’ (Auckland–Hamilton–Tauranga) and linked from north to south and east to west by the Waikato Expressway and major rail links to two major seaports.

“Our people provide a highly trained, resident workforce and have easy access to some of the world’s best training and research institutions. And while the Waikato is just a short drive from two major cities, our residents enjoy idyllic lifestyles in some of New Zealand’s most beautiful and historic locations,” Mr Sanson says.

With almost 50% of New Zealand’s freight travelling through the ‘golden triangle’, the Waikato district sits in prime position. The district produces export-quality food with rich fertile soils, and comparatively affordable land makes the Waikato district an appealing proposition for primary and secondary export businesses.

Efficient location

The new prospectus includes district and regional economic information, and also highlights Ports of Auckland’s Waikato Freight Hub development north of Te Rapa in Horotiu. The hub, which was blessed by Waikato-Tainui on 24 November 2016, will be a strategic connection to Ports of Auckland’s national supply chain network.

The Waikato Freight Hub will improve travel times and create cost efficiencies with the reduction of empty container movements and better utilisation of the North Island Main Trunk (NIMT) rail line with a new railway siding.

“Waikato’s proximity to the major ports in Auckland and Tauranga, coupled with our outstanding accessibility options from the Waikato Expressway and NIMT, means we offer a cohesive, efficient location to base freight and logistics businesses,” Mr Sanson explains.

“Here at the Waikato District Council we are very proactive to ensure we are investing in the right infrastructure to futureproof our increasing freight demand.”

Massive growth

The evidence of a growing district is easy to see. Dramatic landscape changes have taken place in Pokeno, Tuakau and Te Kauwhata in the past 10 years, with Pokeno poised to become one of the largest towns in the district in the next 10 years, according to 2016 population projections.

Horotiu has caught the eye of Auckland-based heavy transport business The Woodchip Company. Managing director Matthew McMahon states: “Auckland has become a difficult place to do business. Transport and driving are time-consuming and expensive. It will take as long for our truck to drive from Horotiu to Auckland as it can take to get from East Tamaki to Mangere in peak traffic.”

The strong economic profile of the Waikato district shows the massive growth over the past six years. The district outgrew the national average in business units by 0.4% up to 2.2% in 2015. The district contributes 
1.1% of the national GDP and the labour market has grown 2.5% in 2015. The GDP per employee is $118,875 which outstrips the national average of $95,998 and the population has continued to grow, up 3.4% in 2017, over the national 2.1%.

Nationally significant

Clive Morgan, Waikato District Council economic development manager, says the Waikato district has been growing steadily with the Auckland exodus and the gravitation north from Hamilton. “We are strategically placed, nationally significant and an obvious fit for the freight and logistics sector as a base,” he notes.

“We developed the freight and logistics prospectus to tell the story of the sector in our district. We have a vast number of businesses that require transport and logistics solutions and we invite operators to contact us about situating themselves appropriately.”

One example is Northgate Business Park, which is perfectly positioned to avoid traffic congestion going south towards Hamilton and creates significant cost and time savings between Auckland and Tauranga. “The completion of the Waikato Expressway and Waikato Freight Hub will boost these efficiencies even further,” Mr Morgan adds.

“The Waikato offers lifestyle and investment benefits and affordable land, and our customer-driven council is active in assisting small, medium and large-scale business development. The Waikato district is open for business!”

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