Auckland’s population is forecast to grow to 2 million over the next 20 years, necessitating a further 250,000 jobs within the region. Currently 34% of Auckland’s workforce, 240,000 people, are employed in businesses that operate in the construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and distribution sectors. In South Auckland, 43% of the workforce is employed in these industries; demonstrating the importance of the industrial sector to these communities (Statistics New Zealand).
Auckland is facing a looming shortage of business land. This has been identified in the Auckland Plan Discussion Document (Auckland Unleashed) released in March 2011, which identified that new greenfield capacity needs to be operational by 2021. Given the lead-times associated with the planning and infrastructure establishment processes, only projects that are well advanced, such as Drury South, will be able to meet this timetable.
Without the establishment of new industrial zones, Auckland will not have the land required for almost half of its assumed industrial job growth over the next 20 years. This translates to a lack of capacity for 26,400 industrial jobs by 2031. The Drury South project will go some way towards mitigating this imbalance, reducing the expected shortfall in the south by approximately 20 – 25%.
The Drury basin is well suited to these industrial activities given its proximity to the Drury Quarry, SH1 and the southern infrastructure corridor (power, gas, rail, telecommunications and water). The project avoids the high-quality soils in South Auckland and is close to the residential growth centres of Takanini, Papakura and Pukekohe.
Local Economic Development Strategy
In 2007 Papakura District Council adopted a new Economic Development Strategy.
One of the key recommendations in the Strategy was to provide further capacity for local employment and business growth. The Strategy suggested the establishment of a ‘construction cluster’ and ‘logistics and distribution hub’ to capitalize upon the district’s predominance in aggregate and construction related activities. This industrial centre could also create a nucleus around which to focus construction related education, research and training.
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Drury Quarry and the Stevenson Group
The Drury South project is designed to complement the Drury Quarry which has been owned and operated by the Stevenson Group since 1939.
The Drury South project does not involve expanding the quarry zone. Conversely, it proposes to reduce the western edge of the quarry zone, which would become part of the new industrial area. The Drury Quarry is regionally significant resource. It presently supplies approximately one-third of Auckland’s aggregate and has a remaining operating life in excess of 150 years.
As demand for aggregate increases so will the number of truck movements to and from the quarry. There is also likely to be more truck movements outside peak traffic times to avoid increased motorway congestion. A key concern for the quarry is the increasing amount of rural residential development in the area and the growing conflict between land uses.
The Drury South project is the product of the public and private sectors working together for three years to assess the potential to undertake an infrastructure project that can deliver upon key regional objectives. It seeks to align private investment with Council’s social and economic development aspirations through the provision of critical business and employment capacity in South Auckland.
The Drury South project will make direct provision for 6,900 jobs and facilitate an additional 12,200 jobs in the region. It is forecasted to make an annual contribution of $780m to regional GDP and facilitates flow-on annual GDP benefits of $2.3 billion. The construction of the site itself, as a one-off impact, will result in $620-$820m in regional GDP and provide for the equivalent of 8,700-11,500 jobs during its development.
Once operational, the project will reduce the forecasted 952Ha South Auckland shortfall in business land by 20-25% and help to protect one of the region’s principal sources of aggregate. The Drury South project will make efficient use of existing transport networks and protect the ecological and public access corridors along its boundaries and water ways. (All figures in 2008 dollars - Market Economics.)