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The growth of jobs in the Waikato district has been relatively slow. In 2001 there was 1 job for every 4.5 residents. In 2017 there was 1 job for every 4.2 residents. Jobs in the Waikato district are only providing work for half of residents who work (ignoring the unemployed), a shortage of 12,200 jobs.

Ideally Waikato district should be aiming to provide at least one job for every household.

Waikato’s competitive advantages – comparing with Regional North Island in jobs creation between 2001 and 2017:

  • Meat and meat product manufacturing: 190 jobs (22% more than expected)
  • Dairy product manufacturing: 148 jobs (92% more jobs than expected)
  • Specialised machinery and equipment manufacturing: 116 jobs (77% more than expected)
  • Sawmilling and timber dressing: 102 jobs (43% more than expected)
  • Non-building construction services: 119 jobs (48% more than expected).

Step 1: Retain existing wealth

This could be achieved by:

  • Reducing ‘leakage’ of income i.e. keep expenditure local
  • Reducing unemployment, particularly among young people.

Step 2: Create new wealth

This could be achieved by:

  • Generating growth in small businesses
  • Establishing and expanding business clusters related to the service and industrial sectors.

Step 3: Capture wealth from elsewhere

This could be achieved by:

  • Attracting wealthy residents
  • Attracting recreation and business visitors.

Visitor strategy

Day visitors offer great potential:

  • 2.3 million people already live within a three-hour drive of the district
  • 3.1 million people will be living within a one-hour drive by 2045
  • Domestic visitors spend $1,100m in the Hamilton and the Waikato Region annually
  • 4% are ‘day trippers’.

There is potential for the Waikato district to capture more of this.

Industrial land

Demand studies indicate a need for industrial land ranging from 240ha by 2045 to 440ha by 2061. Investigations as part of the Blueprint process show the potential for 460ha of industrial land by 2045.

This could be broken down as follows:

  • Food and clean production - 64ha
  • General industries - 86ha
  • Construction and utilities - 126ha
  • Warehousing and wholesaling - 124ha
  • Transport - 40ha.

For more detail on industrial land, see the full Draft Waikato District Blueprint and refer to section ‘Growth’.

Proposed initiatives under this theme:

  • Determine additional employment land needs
  • Determine future employment (land for office development) zoning opportunities beyond the Proposed District Plan
  • Determine additional retail land needs
  • Investigate the industrial land opportunities as identified in the Blueprint project
  • Investigate the clean production land opportunities as identified in the Blueprint project
  • Determine a youth into employment strategy, possibly in conjunction with existing entities in this space
  • Develop a visitor attraction strategy, preferably focussed on 1.5-hour attractions
  • Consider opening Council community centre kitchens for commercial purposes.