Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato

  • Hon Phil Twyford
  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Māori Development Urban Development

The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.

The funding has been has been allocated out of the $3 billion the Government earmarked for shovel ready infrastructure projects to help get New Zealanders into work following COVID-19.

It is made up of a $20 million grant to Hamilton City Council and a $20 million loan to Tainui Group Holdings to assist with the funding and financing of the road and water infrastructure. Ports of Tauranga, Tainui and the Council are co-investing another $150 million so the project can start immediately.

Phil Twyford said construction of the inland port will create 250 jobs, with more jobs to be created through support for the port and logistics operations.

“The Ruakura Inland Port project will provide roading and water infrastructure to help develop freight and logistics operations as the critical first stage in what will be a major new centre for the Waikato and Upper North Island,” he said.

“A new road will connect the Ruakura Interchange and the inland port to North Ruakura. When fully developed, it will become an integrated urban development with homes, business services and research clusters sitting alongside it. 

“Ruakura is an agreed development priority area for the Hamilton-Auckland Corridor Partnership, and this project is a direct outcome of this ground-breaking new partnership between iwi, the Government and local councils. 

“Shovel ready infrastructure projects such as this will accelerate our economic recovery. All the consenting processes for the Ruakura development are in place and the projects are designed and ready to start,” Phil Twyford said. 

Nanaia Mahuta says the projects in the programme are sequenced to develop the inland port over the next four to five years.

“Once operational, the inland port is expected to create thousands of jobs and create significant social and economic benefits for Waikato iwi and the wider community.

“This project will also address housing and transport challenges facing the Waikato. A development of this scale and ambition is a first for the Waikato, and a major achievement for Waikato Tainui,” she said.

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Editor notes:

The $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund set out in Budget 2020 earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild. Cabinet then decided the key sectors and regional breakdown of funds with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principle. Announcement here.

These sectors are (excluding a $400m contingency)

  • Housing and urban development: $464m
  • Environmental: $460m
  • Community and social development: $670m
  • Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708m

The approximate regional breakdown is:

  • Auckland region                      $500 million
  • Bay of Plenty Region              $170 million
  • Canterbury                              $300 million
  • East Coast                              $106 million
  • Hawke’s Bay                           $130 million
  • Manawatu/Whanganui            $140 million
  • Northland                                $150 million
  • Otago                                      $260 million
  • Southland                                 $90 million
  • Taranaki                                    $85 million
  • Top of the South                       $85 million
  • Waikato                                   $150 million
  • Wellington region                    $185 million
  • West Coast                               $90 million

The IRG investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. They are in addition to the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme and existing Provincial Growth Fund investments.

All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.