New Zealand’s first urban growth partnership between the Government, local councils and mana whenua was signed at a meeting of mayors, chairs and ministers in Hampton Downs today.
Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the Hamilton-Auckland Corridor initiative is an example of the Government’s strong commitment to working in partnership with councils, iwi and the private sector to improve the way our towns and cities grow and develop.
“Under this new partnership, we will strategically manage development between New Zealand’s fastest two growing metropolitan areas in innovative new ways.
“This is also the first time two regions in New Zealand have joined together with the Government to integrate and coordinate the planning and building of housing, transport and other supporting infrastructure and services. Waikato Tainui and the local councils are well-used to working together and I’m pleased central government is now to join them on this important project for both region’s future,” Phil Twyford said.
Also known as H2A, Hei Awarua ki te Oranga stretches from Papakura in the north to Cambridge and Te Awamutu in the south.
At the core of the Corridor are three key networks: the Waikato and Waipa Rivers, the Main Trunk Line and the Waikato Expressway.
Phil Twyford said the partnership’s work programme includes initiatives that could strengthen the Corridor connections. These include blue-green connections such as walking and cycling trails along the Waikato River to the Manukau harbour, new intercity rapid rail services and a new mass transit network for the emerging Hamilton-Waikato metropolitan area.
“Work is underway on a Cabinet-mandated business case for a modern, rapid rail line connecting Auckland and Hamilton that would unite two of the country’s largest labour markets,” he said.
Māori Development and Associate Housing Minister – and MP for Hauraki-Waikato – Nanaia Mahuta said an early priority would be to unlock Hamilton’s growth potential. “With its outstanding transport connections, plentiful land and the key role it plays in the region’s export economy, Hamilton is poised to become an even higher growth but affordable urban centre. I am pleased that Waikato-Tainui have been central to this approach all the way through.
“Strategic planning will protect and enhance the quality of both region’s natural environments, as well as their cultural heritage. It will also help boost the supply of affordable housing options to the communities that need them the most.
“This partnership aims to unlock the significant growth potential in Southern Auckland and the Hamilton-Waikato metropolitan area, underpinned by new rapid and commuter rail connections. The transport network will direct where much-needed housing will be developed and connect our people to growing employment opportunities in both the Waikato and Auckland,” Nanaia Mahuta said.