Ruakura Superhub open for business as TGH and HCC welcome Government ‘Shovel Ready’ investment

4 November 2020

7 October 2020 – Kirikiriroa-Hamilton, NZ. Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) and Hamilton City Council (HCC) have warmly welcomed the Government’s $40 million investment in a range of ‘shovel ready’ projects to help fast-track development of the ‘Ruakura Superhub’, comprising the Ruakura inland port and surrounding logistics and industrial precinct.

The investment through Crown Infrastructure Partners will take the form of a $20 million grant to be applied to public assets, roading and infrastructure and the balance by way of a concessionary loan. It was announced today by Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Maaori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

The Government’s investment will partially fund the critical transportation, bulk infrastructure and environmental protection works such as the Mangaonua Watercourse and a 10-hectare wetland.

These initial projects are estimated to directly create around 250 full-time equivalent jobs over a three-year period, not including jobs created by the port operation and planned logistics buildings.

Parekawhia McLean, Chair of Te Whakaakitenga o Waikato, the tribal governance entity for Waikato-Tainui, thanked the Government for its decision to invest in these shovel ready projects.

“This investment is a major statement of confidence. We thank the Government, as this confidence will rapidly flow through to our business community, wider community and our iwi. It also mirrors the significant investment from Waikato-Tainui in realising the vision for Ruakura,” says Ms McLean.

Hamilton City Mayor Paula Southgate said the Government investment provides critical support for one of the most important long-term projects for Hamilton city and the wider region, with far-reaching economic, environmental and social benefits.

“Waikato-Tainui and Tainui Group Holdings have driven this project with great vision and commitment, and I’m delighted we could partner with them on the shovel-ready application to jointly deliver enormous benefits to our city,” Mayor Southgate said.

“Today’s announcement illustrates how local and central government can work together with key regional partners to get great outcomes for our people. As a responsible council, we need to keep looking further ahead even as Ruakura develops, planning for the transport connections to keep our city moving and economy growing.” the Mayor said.

TGH Chief Executive, Chris Joblin, says the funding means the Ruakura Superhub will be fully open for business 1-2 years sooner than previously planned, bringing significant cost advantages to medium and large scale importers and exporters and offering them room to grow and reduced environmental impacts.

“With this funding confirmed we are now, jointly with HCC, moving ahead to finalise contracts and invite tenders from qualified contractors for construction work on these upcoming projects in the current earthworks season,” Mr Joblin says.

Today’s announcement follows June’s announcement of $16.8 million of funding from the PGF, which along with the shovel ready funding will unlock a total of $151 million of development projects by TGH, its Ruakura development partners and Hamilton City Council. This is in addition to the $100 million expected to be invested in logistics and industrial buildings over the next five years with the first new tenants likely to be announced shortly.

Ruakura is amongst New Zealand’s largest developments, spanning industrial, commercial, retail and residential development areas. Located at an emerging ‘sweet spot’ for New Zealand’s supply chain, it will be anchored by a 30-hectare inland port, with the first 17-hectare stage now in development by TGH and Port of Tauranga, in a 50/50 joint venture announced earlier this year.

The inland port will be serviced by high-capacity rail and roading infrastructure, with the East Coast main trunk rail line running along the Port’s northern boundary and the new Waikato Expressway on the eastern boundary. Initially, rail services will be provided by the existing MetroPort trains running between Auckland and Tauranga.

The Ruakura precinct is estimated to accommodate 6,000-12,000 jobs once it is fully developed (in around 2060) and will have significant social and economic benefits for Waikato iwi, Hamilton, the region and New Zealand as a whole.

Chris Joblin said that progress on the Ruakura project reflected the benefits of iwi, business, local and central government working together.

“We greatly value the collaborative approach with the NZ Government and Hamilton City Council. Our combined energies and resources are moving Ruakura ahead at speed as we track towards an early/mid 2022 opening for the Ruakura inland port component,” he said.