Council Economic Development
The South Waikato District Council sees huge potential in our district and is driven towards helping realise this potential. Outlined below are a range of techniques Council utilise to achieve their vision through economic development.
Economic Development Priorities
Pre-fabricated Homes Investment Prospectus
The South Waikato District Council (SWDC) and The South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT) have prepared a prospectus for investors and entrepreneurs involved in the Pre Fabricated home industry. We jointly recognise that the residential construction industry is changing the way in which homes are built in New Zealand, from predominantly onsite construction to a mix of pre fabrication and onsite assembly. This can range from frame and truss; to panels; pods and complete homes (volumetric construction).
We believe that the South Waikato is an ideal location from which to supply the North Island's future housing needs. Centrally located with excellent road and rail links we have affordable land and a strong labour market. We are situated at the heart of the New Zealand Pinus radiata forestry plantations with access to eight sawmills for supply of raw materials.
The Prospectus can be viewed or downloaded at the links below. It illustrates how the South Waikato could be the solution to your investment needs. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your requirements in more detail. Please contact the Economic Development Manager.
District Growth Planning
Population data indicates that since 1989, population decline has continued in the South Waikato District. In 2015 this started to change. Infometrics estimated accelerated population growth in the district with the number of residents increasing by 1.3% over the June year 2015-16. Also, a lack of housing supply has increased prices, with an average annual increase across the district of 33.5% in the year ending June 2017. This was the second highest rate of increase across all districts in New Zealand during that time. We are therefore working to improve the quality and supply of residential housing.
The 2017-18 Annual Plan has allocated funding for a district wide growth plan and a comprehensive assessment of our key infrastructure to ensure adequate capacity in our systems. This project has commenced in Putāruru with the completion of a growth plan, infrastructure modelling due in January 2018 and a district plan change to provide additional residential and business zoned land due for notification in early 2018.
Healthy Rivers Wai Ora: Plan Change 1
Water quality has consistently been identified as an issue for the people of the Waikato region. The Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1 is a response to addressing the complex issue of water quality facing the Waipa and Waikato rivers.
South Waikato District Council has raised concerns about the projected social and economic impacts of the plan change on the South Waikato. Council supports the aspirations of Healthy Rivers and what it is trying to achieve, yet we are seeking specific and important changes to this plan from Waikato Regional Council to ensure positive outcomes for the South Waikato and its people.
The South Waikato is at a cross road. Recent history has seen the South Waikato struggle with ongoing population decline and other demographic and economic issues. However, recent population growth, coupled with the changing nature and behaviours of the New Zealand population, means now is a great opportunity for the South Waikato to push its case as an attractive, prosperous, livable and sustainable area of New Zealand.
With competitive advantages through its central location, affordability and lifestyle offering, the South Waikato already has a compelling case as a destination for people to live, work and play. The problem is that this compelling case is not well vocalised and the awareness and perceptions of the District are not at the level they could be. Because of this, a key focus for the South Waikato District Council will be district promotions through marketing the district as a great place to live, work and play.
Collaborating with Stakeholders
South Waikato Investment Fund Trust
The South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIF Trust) is a $25 million local trust with a primary focus of economic development and facilitating economic growth in the South Waikato. The trust was developed when the South Waikato District Council moved $20 million into an external body. The initial $20 million came from Council selling the majority of its shares in Powerco in 1998.
The SWIF Trust is a major stakeholder and facilitator of local economic development. The South Waikato District Council will continue to work in partnership with SWIF Trust at both governance and staff level to achieve community and economic development outcomes.
Regional Economic Development
Waikato Means Business is the name of a 20 year economic development strategy for the Waikato region. The strategy was built with input from regional business leaders and aims to guide regional economic development policy, investment and activity. Waikato Means Business was initiated by the Waikato Mayoral Forum and is the regional body for economic development.
Also initiated by the Waikato Mayoral Forum was the Waikato Plan. The Waikato Plan is a collective voice of all the Waikato's councils and agencies about important issues that affect them now and over the next 30 years. The Waikato Plan will help identify opportunities and guide investment to agreed priority areas in a timely way.
Southern Waikato Economic Development Action Plan
Through the development of the Waikato Plan, a work stream associated with exploring and implementing economic development initiatives for the Southern Waikato emerged. Potentially this will be a plan that identifies and brings together initiatives across the South Waikato, Waitomo and Otorohanga Districts in partnership with Waikato Means Business and Government departments. We intend to participate in this project with a view to achieving tangible actions for the South Waikato District.
Local Economic Development Strategy
Post completion of the Southern Waikato Economic Development Action Plan (SWEDAP), a South Waikato Economic Development Strategy will be produced. Council has allocated funding for this to occur in the 2019/20 financial year. This method will help with an aligned approach from the Waikato Plan to the SWEDAP through to the South Waikato Economic Development Strategy.
Tokoroa Road Rail Terminal
The Tokoroa Road Rail Terminal is a testament to South Waikato District Council's commitment towards attracting business investment. The terminal is a public private-partnership between local business RJ Lincoln, South Waikato District Council, Kiwirail and the New Zealand Transport Agency. It was initiated to provide direct rail links to the Port of Tauranga, manage the increase in New Zealand's freight requirements and generate local economic activity.
The Tokoroa Road Rail Terminal includes a rail siding, hardstand area, local road connection and container loading and unloading facility that is managed by RJ Lincoln under a public-private partnership agreement with Council that ensures the facility is open to all businesses to use for export and import containers.
Fibre is the newest and fastest broadband technology currently available. Tokoroa has been upgraded with Ultrafast Fibre as part of the Governments first UltraFast Broadband initiative. Putāruru will also be upgraded in February 2018 as part of the Governments UltraFast broadband (UFB) expansion initiative. Ultrafast Fibre has already completed 3000kms of fibre optic network to 8 central North Island cities and towns and plans to connect a further 12 central North Island towns.
Tokoroa CBD Upgrade
The Tokoroa CBD upgrade (previously the Leith Place Development project) is a significant project for the South Waikato District Council. The project involves upgrading the CBD area of Tokoroa to provide an attractive area to encourage people to stop and visit the town. A new, vibrant place will be created for the enjoyment of visitors and locals in order to provide economic benefits for Tokoroa. The Tokoroa CBD upgrade is due to commence in mid 2018.
Putāruru, Tīrau and Arapuni Concept Plans
Town Concept Plans are at varying stages of development for our towns as a staggered approach is needed for their development.
In Putāruru, Council has worked with community groups Putāruru Moving Forward and Pride in Putāruru to progress a high level concept plan looking at how to depict Putāruru as a great place to live, work and play. Council is also partnering with local retailers to revitalise shop-fronts and refresh street furniture, encourage new business and develop concepts around residential growth planning.
Tīrau's Concept Plan is under review in partnership with the Tīrau Community Board. The first priority was to undertake a traffic and parking study which suggested changes and improvements to parking, directional signage, pedestrian crossings, gateway signage and a new iconic public toilet. Further work on the Concept Plan is now underway.
The Arapuni Concept Plan is to be reviewed in the 2018/19 year. A Ratepayers Association has been set up in the small township and the need for a concept plan has been recognised with most initiatives to proceed during Councils Long Term Plan.
Tokoroa's Concept Plan is programmed for review in the 2018/19 financial year.
Trade Training Programmes
The South Waikato District Council, local industry and Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology are in collaboration to provide Trade Training Programmes to develop work ready students in the transportation, distribution, engineering, welding and automotive industries. Council intends to continue this partnership and has recently completed a study into industry skill shortages within the district. This information will be used to tailor the programme to current skill needs.
Business Friendly Council
New Zealand is one of the easiest countries in the world to conduct business and the South Waikato embodies this approach. The South Waikato District Council is a pro-business local authority whose role as a facilitator of economic development means it is committed to providing a business friendly environment. Council does this by:
- Providing the Business Case Manager service to streamline all business interactions with various Council functions. Click here to learn more about the Business Case Manager service.
- Providing the Business Support Service to help businesses assess their needs and link them with relevant funding and support initiatives. Click here to learn more about the Business Support Service.
- Maintaining a solutions focused approach to all business and economic development interactions.
- Providing a business friendly District Plan, abundant and appropriately zoned land and discounted financial distributions.