An influx of housing developments has placed the Waikato District as the third fastest growing district in the country.

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson said the the predicted population growth in the district had come sooner than expected.


"We understood a number of years ago that this growth would come, but not this fast," Sanson said.

It means the council is now trying to keep up with the surge of new residents. 


"It's one of those things that's putting huge pressure on the organisation to put infrastructure in, we're running to keep ahead of it."


Building consents for new residential dwellings have shot up with 54 per cent more than the 2014/15 financial year. 


While there's no doubt the demand for houses in Pokeno has taken off, Sanson said it's being felt district-wide. 


The more notable increases have been in Ngaruawahia, Huntly, Whangamarino and  Awaroa ki Tuakau wards.


This means, for the council, there is some serious planning taking place.


Its Futureproof Growth Strategy will allow room for more residential developments.


But Sanson said it's not just a matter of slapping houses on to plots of land.


"You've got to look 30 years ahead, you've got to look long term...it's making sure we can cater for the growth.


"We've still got to protect the productive value of New Zealand... at the end of the day we've got to protect farmers."


Ngaruawahia recently suffered the loss of its last bank, but it's not a sign of its demise like some may think, Sanson said. 


Sanson said it has created an opportunity for different businesses to set up shop. 


"I think rural towns in New Zealand need to re-invent themselves a bit.


"With a growing population you'll actually have a niche retailers coming into town... it just takes the right people with the right ideas."


Image source: Caitlin Wallace/Fairfax NZ

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