Businesses is booming in the Waikato District. It's one of the fastest growing districts in the country.
The rural face of the Waikato is changing and while there is no stopping it, the mayor is vowing to hold on to its pastoral roots.
Employment is up 3.5 per cent, the number of businesses has grown, too, at 1.2 per cent to nearly 9,500 - higher than national growth rate of 0.7 per cent.
And the district's population is at 75,3000 - up 2.3 per cent and higher than the national average population growth of 1.9 per cent.
Mayor Allan Sanson said the district's rural backbone must be maintained.
"The important thing is that we don't lose sight of our existing people and that we do maintain some of our rural feel and don't get sucked in to large scale ribbon development up the expressway," Sanson said.
Primary industries are still the biggest employers in the district but the construction industry has bolted, creating the most new jobs in the past year and making the biggest contribution to employment growth in the past decade.
And it seems there will be no end.
Manufacturing giant Sleepyhead are looking to move its Auckland operation to Ōhinewai, north of Huntly, and speculation is rife about where the district's first city will be located.
"It's quite encouraging, the fact that people are taking the opportunity to set up in the district, whether it's one-man bands or large companies like the ones we've been dealing with, it's a great opportunity for employment."
Waikato District Council are guided by the principle of growth paying for growth, said community growth general manager Clive Morgan.
"It's not going to stop," Morgan said. "The rate may change a little but given our location between Auckland and Hamilton, it's something that we need to gear up to deal with as effectively as we possibly can."
Staff are being recruited and council is working closer with its neighbours as businesses realise the value of Waikato's proximity to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, and as city dwellers who are escaping congestion.
"This is not just about the district - this is about the region."
Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive Chris Simpson said Waikato has a lot of land and development is not likely to encroach heavily on the primary sector.
Auckland is the main driver of the district's growth and development nodes around Huntly, Ngāruawāhia and Ōhinewai will be popular.
"We've got the land, we've got the space, we've got the infrastructure but more importantly we've got the value.
"The most important thing, especially for industry, is land," Simpson said.
Cities are confined by zoning laws and existing infrastructure forcing the hand of business owners.
"Either you have to knock down your buildings and start again or you start at a greenfields site and often it is cheaper to start at a greenfields site than knock down a property and start again."
Government needs to assist by speeding up resource consent decisions, he said.
"From local government, what they are really after is certainty over what they can and can't do in a particular area.
"For the simple things of getting the consents done in the organisation themselves faster is what they really, really need."