Ports of Auckland’s decision to build a major freight hub in the Waikato has jump-started massive investor interest in his district says Waikato mayor Allan Sanson. Freight, logistics and manufacturing companies interested in moving to Te Rapa Gateway Industrial Park are also driving Northgate enquiries.
The port company announced in February it had bought 33 hectares of land at Northgate Business Park at Horotiu to establish a major inland freight hub. The site just north of Hamilton was chosen because of its position next to the North Island main trunk rail line and Waikato Expressway
Since then, three new businesses have invested in Northgate with more expressing interest. Universal Precast, Speedwall Ltd and Waikato Chocolates have all purchased land and will join Northgate’s anchor tenant, Waikato Milking Systems on the 109 hectare site.
Northgate Developments managing director Graeme Lee said since the Ports’ announcement in February, “there has been a complete ramping up in enquiries.”
“The Port announcement was a real catalyst and I’m now getting solid enquiry from domestic investors and from overseas, especially now they know a rail siding is being established,” he said.
“I’m getting a lot of enquiry from Auckland. It’s common to hear that costs in the Waikato are a lot lower and that it’s just getting too hard to get around in Auckland to do business.”
Sanson said freight from any seaport would have access to the Waikato-based freight and logistics hub, making Northgate particularly attractive. His council was dealing with a noticeable increase in enquiries from potential investors, including through its business website, www.openwaikato.co.nz.
“Over the past six months, the number of consents we’ve issues for new dwellings has been higher than in Queenstown and that’s also reflected in business growth. The Waikato district is growing faster than most other parts of New Zealand and has been since 2013.”
Sanson also said Auckland-based companies were talking directly to his council about relocating south because of easy access to Auckland, the availability and cost of land and a strong local labour market. Many were sold on Waikato’s location and existing infrastructure, plus the council’s positive approach to encouraging growth and development, he said.