Situated in the North Island, the south of the Auckland region; Hamilton city stands at the center of the Waikato region, one of New Zealand’s richest Agricultural regions with Agriculture dominating most of its economy but other industrial sectors such as manufacturing and retail are emerging thus providing a diverse investment environment in the city. With a vibrant, diverse and green heritage, the city is one of the fastest growing in New Zealand and is a global player in Agricultural production and innovation. It is the largest inland city, the fourth largest urban area and the seventh largest city in New Zealand and its Council projects that with its annual population growth rate of about 1.6%, the population will top 159,000 by 2016 from the 131,400 recorded in 2005.
Hamilton is New Zealand’s highest export region accounting for about 19% of the country’s total exports with key business clusters such as Agricultural Biotechnology, Light innovation, transport logistics, science research and education. It is regarded by exporters as NZ’s inland port and a major storage and distribution center. Under its Enterprise Training Program, coaching and business training workshops have been held for potential investors and entrepreneurs. Even though the funding for that project has been halted by the government’s Trade and Enterprise agency, it is developing a new scheme that will offer partial business training subsidies.
The city’s favorable investment policies as laid out by the city council have been crucial in attracting investments. For instance, it offers advance funding of new infrastructure in city growth areas with fair agreements between the council and private investment developers depending on the projects. Manufacturing and the retail industry have recently witnessed marked investments in recent years with the city’s Pacific Aerospace being the largest and the Max Clear Aviation that manufactures high quality micro light Aircraft. The British Flight training organization, CTC Aviation established their base in the region and trains over 100 pilots per annum.
Education and Research remain important to the city through the University of Waikato and the Wintec. The Ruakara research center accounts for most of New Zealand’s Agricultural innovations given Hamilton’s status as the largest dairy industry (Waikato) and its main source of revenue. However, with dairy prices surging and the restructuring of Fonterra, the largest dairy firm in the country, and the current drought facing New Zealand, farmers held a forum in Hamilton to discuss the next decade of dairying with Dairy NZ reporting that the industry is at crossroads and farmers should look beyond the next season.
20 May 2010