Tainui Group Holdings (TGH), the commercial investment arm for Waikato-Tainui, has welcomed the Government’s financial support through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for a roads package to activate the Ruakura Inland Port.
The $16.8m grant announced today by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will be matched by $16.8m from TGH and a $5 million contribution from Hamilton City Council (HCC). The investments will collectively fund a new city link to the expressway (Ruakura Road West) and a new port access connection. These roads will connect the Ruakura Inland Port, currently in development, to the new Waikato Expressway, and add much needed roading capacity for the rapidly developing Hamilton East.
Parekawhia McLean, Chair of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato, the tribal governance entity for Waikato-Tainui, acknowledged the Government’s decision to support the roads package through the PGF, describing the grant as the key to activating a development that would benefit all New Zealand.
“This timely investment by the Government, TGH and HCC will bring forward the transformational benefits of Ruakura for the country, our city and our iwi, and play a big part in the economic recovery of the Waikato after Covid-19, with work scheduled to get underway later this year,” says Ms McLean.
TGH Chief Executive Chris Joblin said the package of new roads will help unlock the wider Ruakura precinct and play an enabling role for the regional economy.
“These are key pieces of enabling infrastructure. 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 the roads package as soon as the new construction season opens in October this year,” Mr Joblin says.
Ruakura is amongst New Zealand’s largest developments, spanning industrial, commercial, retail and residential development areas totalling 490 hectares.
Located at an emerging ‘sweet spot’ for New Zealand’s supply chain, it will include a 30-hectare inland port, with the first 17-hectare stage now in development by TGH and Port of Tauranga, who announced a 50/50 joint venture 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 2061) and will have significant social and economic benefits for Waikato iwi, Hamilton, the region and New Zealand as a whole.
“It’s exciting to take these next concrete steps to bring Ruakura to life and we thank the Government and HCC for their proactive stance towards the roads package as key pieces of enabling infrastructure,” Mr Joblin said.