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Auckland and Waikato closer economic relations

Auckland and Waikato District’s economic development arms are working together on joint economic development opportunities, outlined in an agreement signed today.

Auckland Unlimited, the economic and cultural development agency for Tāmaki Makaurau, and Waikato District Council’s Economic and Community Development Unit will work together to share information and support each other in growing their regional economies.

The agreement will focus on specific areas of collaboration, including inbound investment introductions in each other’s regions; sustainability and resource recovery initiatives; economic development opportunities for the Hampton Downs area; and using procurement for positive social impact.

Auckland and the Waikato District border each other, meeting at the Hunua Ranges and Bombay Hills.

Auckland Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, Waikato Mayor Allan Sanson, Auckland Unlimited Chief Executive Nick Hill and Waikato District Council Chief Executive Gavin Ion met to mark the start of the two-year agreement.

“This agreement positions us to make the most of economic opportunities that overlap our boundaries,” says Auckland Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, whose Franklin ward borders Waikato District.

“In my area, for example, the population is projected to increase by an additional 69,000 by 2048 due to major development like Drury, right on the doorstep of Waikato. We have similar and complementary sectors, like horticulture, livestock farming and transport equipment manufacturing.”

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson agreed, saying: “Over the last decade the Waikato district has experienced growth of 3% higher than the national average and we do not see this trend changing. This partnership with Auckland Unlimited underpins our commitment to growth and recognises the close geographical boundaries that will benefit both areas and the work we are doing as part of the Hamilton to Auckland corridor.”

Auckland Unlimited Chief Executive Nick Hill says there is much to be gained by areas working cooperatively and the economic development agreement is another example of Auckland forging mutually beneficial alliances with its close neighbours.

“Auckland Unlimited works with our Waikato and Northland tourism counterparts, to encourage our residents to visits each other’s regions, as well as showcase our attractions to visitors from other places in New Zealand. We’re looking forward to expanding our connections with our neighbours regions to an economic development focus.”

Waikato District Council Economic and Community Development Manager Julie Dolan said “the collaboration between Waikato District Council and Auckland Unlimited will maximise the opportunities for growth across our respective areas” noting that the teams were looking forward to working together.

Economic development representatives from each organisation will meet quarterly, share information and decide on joint actions or projects.

Areas of focus:

  • Introducing inbound investments inquiries to opportunities in agreed sectors in each other’s regions.
  • Working together to understand and progress economic development opportunities for Hampton Downs. Work to date includes an exploratory workshop, discussing options and opportunities for future economic development in the Hampton Downs area, from tourism and event use to green energy and waste recycling.
  • Considering opportunities to support private sector sustainability and resource recovery efforts through technology advancements and where possible collaborate on central government grant funding opportunities.
  • Social procurement and social enterprise: incorporating social procurement initiatives into all activities that we collectively pursue, to deliver positive social impact above and beyond the product or service being purchased. 



Pictured Left-right: Cr John Watson; Paul Robinson, Local Economic Development Manager, Auckland Unlimited; Nick Hill, CE, Auckland Unlimited; Auckland Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore; Pam Ford, GM Economic Development, Auckland Unlimited; and Cr Richard Hills.