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Good to grow!

16 March 2023

Author: Eilish Emery, Senior Communications Advisor, REINZ

Getting caught up in the doom and gloom of the markets’ recessionary adjustment? Don’t. There are some exciting pockets of growth happening around Aotearoa that will bode well for our future.


Confidence in Northland’s commercial and industrial sector has peaked in areas like Whangarei and further north. There’s been a push for a deep-water port (Northport) at Marsden Point to take containers full-time to relieve pressure on the Port of Auckland.

In March 2022, Northport announced its process to become recognised as a container ship port. If this goes ahead, surrounding areas like Bream Bay, One Tree Point, Ruakaka and Waipu are expected to thrive. Approximately 1,500 new jobs could be created in and around Marsden Point, Whangarei and the wider Northland region to support the expansion of the port.

Other projects in the pipeline to stimulate a boost in Northland’s economy include the $240 million dry dock, the relocation of the New Zealand Navy base from Devonport to Whangarei, and significantly improved rail infrastructure. This will support other large-scale projects such as increased freight volumes.


Our city of sails has seen considerable growth over the last decade, with many new apartment buildings now gracing Auckland’s downtown skyline. While the current economic conditions have seen many central city developers pull back from their plans to build in the short term, once the market cycle turns back toward growth, Auckland’s vibrant centre will surely see more cranes and more opportunities for buyers.


Hamilton’s population of approximately 179,000 is expected to grow by 50,000 people by 2035. According to the Hamilton City Council, at least 18,000 new homes are needed across the city to meet that demand. There are several projects and developments underway to ensure this target is met. This includes the development of new sustainable communities in Peacocke and Rotokauri.

In Taupō, a geothermal power station plant is under construction — known as the Tauhara Geothermal Power Project — expected to be up and running in the second half of 2023. With it comes a plethora of employment opportunities enticing an increase of people moving to the region.

Bay of Plenty

In Opotiki, a major regional port development is underway to support economic growth. This is fundamental for housing in the short to medium term as it releases land for residential development along with supporting local industry and with it, employment. It will also enhance recreation opportunities and public access to the coast.


Extensive upgrades are being made to Eastland Port in Gisborne — considered its most significant infrastructure development in more than a century. Named the Twin Berth project, the infrastructure developments are in place to help support, future-proof and grow the economy of Tairāwhiti Gisborne. It will enable a coastal container service, supplying the capacity needed for a thriving forestry industry, presenting more opportunities for exporters and importers, and creating more employment opportunities across the region.


Construction is underway to develop a multi-million-dollar shopping complex in New Plymouth, including specialty retail stores, cinemas, offices, and a large hotel reflecting regional growth and investment into the region.

With significant population growth expected for New Plymouth over the next 25 years, the Government’s Infrastructure Fund and the New Plymouth District Council have contributed to the infrastructure needed for 300 new homes. This is expected to see more economic growth and employment opportunities.


New economic opportunities are bringing more people to cities such as Palmerston North. The establishment of major distribution hubs, the planned Manawatu Gorge Road and railroad, all supply ample employment.

Whanganui itself has gone through a period of growth and Fielding, a small country town, is attracting people wanting a lifestyle change. Martin, with its affordable properties, has seen an influx of people taking advantage of the price point in the town. In Sanson and Bulls, the development of new builds and subdivisions has shot up as they align for a further population bump to support an increase resulting from personnel transferred to the Royal New Zealand Airforce Ōhakea base from Whenuapai.


A predicted population increase over the next 30 years of 50,000 – 80,000 people is seeing the city plan substantially for future infrastructure the city needs now and in the coming years. One of the largest projects is the Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) project — a mass rapid transit, urban development and travel behaviour change initiative. This will allow for easier transport and flow from the southern and eastern suburbs. It aligns well with urban and housing development plans and will make the city streets easier and more accessible for all.


Richmond is known as Tasman’s fastest-growing area. A new community-based commercial development at Richmond’s Berryfield Crossing is seeing the building of several food and beverage businesses and a multiplex cinema. A new NPD service station has opened nearby, and Gibbons has plans to develop offices on another greenfield site next to the multiplex cinema.

There is another commercial development underway on Richmond’s Lower Queen Street called The Cube on Queen. Also, an industrial development on the other side of McShane Road will deliver a subdivision called Ashfield Park having 28 industrial lots.

In Marlborough, a new multi-million-dollar ferry terminal in Picton will allow for new, larger, greener ferries. Construction is set to begin in early 2023; it is expected to take at least four years to complete and bring 200 full-time construction jobs and 100 additional opportunities of indirect employment.

West Coast

A large-scale gold mine in Reefton promises to bring opportunities to locals whilst also attracting a workforce from outer regions. The Blackwater mine, found in the now-abandoned town of Waiuta, was once the largest producing gold mine in the Reefton goldfield. A loan from the Government will go towards the construction of a decline tunnel for underground drilling and is expected to create more than 100 jobs over the next ten years.


Over the next 30 years, it’s predicted that Christchurch will need more than 50,000 houses to keep up with its population growth. Christchurch City Council has been proposing changes to its District Plan to accommodate for continued growth and prosperity. The changes will affect how the city grows, the types of housing people live in, and how the city can adapt and respond to climate change and coastal hazards.


Central Otago/Lakes region has been actively planning for growth for a prolonged period. The Grow Well Whaiora Partnership between the Queenstown Lakes District Council, Kāi Tahu and the Government developed the Queenstown Lakes Spatial Plan — a long-term framework to ensure social, environmental and economic prosperity. The plan will see development occur primarily around existing urban areas of Queenstown and Wanaka, but growth could also happen in smaller surrounding towns such as Hāwea, Luggate and Kingston. This is offering a wider range of property types and price points for those who choose to live or invest in the region.


Previously, Invercargill had limited housing growth — but recent residential and commercial ambition has seen exciting and large-scale developments begin. A $180 million project to rebuild the city is in the first stage, which will see close to an entire block of the central city redeveloped to include new retail precincts, food and beverage outlets, and 650 car parks for city-goers. A project of this scale is expected to bring in more tourists and encourage more people to move to the region.

In addition, the acquisition and development of over 500 hectares of land in Awarua is set to become one of Australasia’s largest industrial projects. With road and rail connections to South Island ports and a nearby airport, the location will stimulate future economic growth for Southland.