Hamilton City Council says its biggest investment into a new local growth area is on track to deliver up to $80 million in interest savings for ratepayers.
The financial and economic benefits had by the city since unlocking Peacocke for new homes in 2018 was outlined in a staff report to the Strategic Growth and District Plan Committee.
Future development in Peacocke is made possible largely due to the $290.4 million Housing Infrastructure Fund package from central government to build the three waters and transport infrastructure required to support a new community. The package included a $180.4 million 10-year interest free loan and $110.1 million in Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency subsidies.
Committee Chair, Councillor Ryan Hamilton said the high-trust funding model enabled the city to get on with the job and is largely on track with milestones set out in the agreement with government.
“Receiving upfront investment from central government was a real game-changer for Peacocke and made it possible to unlock the area for future housing developments in a financially sustainable way for Council, the community and ratepayers,” said Cr Hamilton.
He said projected savings from the interest-free loans could be between $70 million up to $80 million and represent significant financial benefit to the city.
Other economic benefits outlined in the report include the creation of local jobs, with major project elements completed by medium-sized businesses both in Hamilton and around the country. Council says infrastructure projects for Peacocke have boosted economic activity to the tune of $242 million – equivalent to 20,000 full-time jobs for the first five years of the programme.
“It’s not just how Peacocke stacks up financially that makes it a game changer for the city, it’s also the social, environmental and cultural benefits that are a core part of the programme,” said Cr Hamilton.
“People and the environment have been at the heart of planning for the new community.”
Alongside the significant infrastructure programme, Peacocke is Council’s biggest neighbourhood investment in the environment. Work has already started to deliver new wetlands, protect habitats for native lizards and bats, restore 1.5 hectares of the Mangakootututuku Gully network and extensive planting of new trees.
The report acknowledges the programme has not been without its challenges. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic uncertainty and market focus on infill development created strong headwinds for residential developers. While housing delivery is tracking slightly slower than expected, several major developments are consented including a 1100-home residential development and 230-unit retirement village.
“We know the market has changed recently and it’s a tough economic environment for developers given the downturn in the housing market and the huge cost increases of materials and fuel. Some developers are being cautious while others are pressing ahead as best as they can to start developments in Peacocke”, said Cr Hamilton.
“We’ve been ambitious when it comes to enabling development in Peacocke and demonstrated we can deliver a complex and large programme despite local and global challenges.”
He said Peacocke was ready for the next stage of new homes with the updated structure plan in place now and key water and transport infrastructure on track to be completed by the end of 2023.