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Regional growth and development

On this page: Growth and development pressures, supporting regional economic growth

Growth and development pressures

The Waikato region is a dynamic region with increasing and changing demands on its natural and physical resources. Some of the key growth and development pressures are:

  • rapidly increasing population in parts of the region
  • spreading urban areas and rural residential development
  • increasing demand (including from the Auckland region) for services such as landfills, water supply, prisons and quarries
  • land use change such as conversions of forests to dairy farms
  • increasing freight and passenger transport on roads
  • increasing demand for the region’s energy resources and infrastructure
  • increasing coastal development.

What is the Waikato Regional Council doing about growth and development pressures?

The Waikato Regional Council is carefully considering how to respond to growth and development pressures at present. We are actively involved in several growth-related strategies currently being developed by district councils. 

Growth strategies

The Waikato Regional Council is involved in the development of growth strategies in the region. Growth strategies usually determine where and when residential, industrial and commercial growth should occur. They are powerful ways of directing growth so that environmental problems are minimised.

The Waikato Regional Council is a partner in the development of the following growth strategies:

  • Future Proof – a strategy for Hamilton city, Waipa district, Waikato district and Morrinsville
  • Shore Futures - a strategy for Kawhia and Aotea Harbours

A number of other districts already have growth strategies, such as the Taupo district. Others are currently developing them.The Waikato Regional Council is involved in the development of these strategies, as well as other territorial authority plans and strategies which manage growth.

Regional planning


The Regional Policy Statement (RPS) is an important document for managing the way we use our natural and physical resources. In this way it has an important role in addressing growth and development issues. The RPS is currently under review. Visit our RPS review page to find out more.

The Waikato Regional Council's  Regional Plan and Regional Coastal Plan provide rules to control resource use activities. These are also often important for managing potential environmental effects from growth and development activities.

Transport planning

Transport planning is a very important function of the Waikato Regional Council.

Regional growth and development can have adverse effects on transport systems. For example ribbon development along highways can result in the need for slower speed restrictions. Transport infrastructure, such as roads and public transport, is also needed to support new growth and development.  Find out more about how we manage regional transport issues.

The following map shows the key current and future roading projects in the northern Waikato region.  These are large and expensive projects. The New Zealand Transport Agency is increasingly requiring good land use planning before it will release money for such roading projects. Click on the image to view a larger, high resolution, version.
 
Waikato Strategic Corridors map

Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA)

UNISA is a long-term collaboration between the Auckland Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Northland Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council, Tauranga City Council and Whangarei District Council for responding to and managing a range of inter-regional and inter-metropolitan issues. Find out more.

Information and advice

We also provide a number of useful documents which can help those who are involved in growth and development activities. For example, the report 'Sustainable Subdivision Development – An Environment Waikato Perspective' has been developed to encourage sustainable subdivision practices in the region. The report provides helpful ideas and advice to district council planners, developers and earthwork contractors about how they can create more environmentally sustainable subdivisions.

Download the document below.

Sustainable Subdivison Development - An Environment Waikato Perspective
(1039 kb, 148 seconds to download, 56k modem)

Long Term Plan

Our Long Term Plan is also a very important document with respect to regional growth and development. It identifies the community outcomes which the regional community wants to achieve and describes what work we are doing towards these outcomes. It sets out how Waikato Regional Council is responding to growth and development related issues such as flood hazards, effects on air quality, waste disposal, transport, navigation safety and so on.

Waikato regional economic profile

This profile provides information so that everyone can have a shared understanding of the economic issues and opportunities facing the Waikato region and can take steps collaboratively to address these. You can read it here.

Supporting regional economic growth - competing globally, caring locally

The future of the Waikato region is increasingly dependent on our ability to respond to the major trend of the world becoming more
and more socially and economically connected. The social and cultural wellbeing of local communities is inextricably linked to the
regional and national economy which, in turn, is linked to the global economy.

The Waikato is already strong and an important contributor to the wellbeing of New Zealand, but there are opportunities for the
community’s and country’s wellbeing to grow. The region is home  to significant environmental resources and a source of prosperity
through export earnings. The Waikato is also a centre of culture and heritage and a community where all members are valued.

The Waikato region needs to focus on those opportunities that match its strengths, such as supplying the rapidly increasing global demand for food. However, because of our distance from markets and small size, this means focusing on exporting premium quality products (including tourism).

Critical success factors to achieve this vision are a high quality environment, innovation (including skilled labour), efficient supply
chains (including transport systems and compliance) and collaborative leadership.

Find out more about some of the projects we support or are collaborating with to help acheive this vision:

Waikato regional economic development strategy

Regional carbon strategy

National cycling centre of excellence (velodrome)

More information on this website

Publications - community and economy

Waikato Regional Council has written or contracted a number of reports and publications on regional community and economy issues. Read them here.

Environmental indicators

Our environmental indicators provide useful information about the environmental results of growth and development in the region. For example, information can be found on: