The Waikato region is a great place to do business.

It's one of the country's fastest growing regions, and is rich in natural resources and vital infrastructure.

Waikato is New Zealand's fourth largest regional economy, accounting for 10 per cent of GDP (around $20 billion).

It's also part of the all-important "golden triangle" — the geographic area between Hamilton, Auckland and Tauranga. According to Statistics NZ, it's expected that the GDP for the triangle will increase by 83 per cent by 2025.

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Our competitive land costs, soil quality, climate, and ease of transportation to-and-from Auckland and Tauranga are major investment attractions.

Our major city, Hamilton, is New Zealand's fourth largest, and I predict will be our country's second largest in 30 years' time.

The Waikato economy is diversifying, with manufacturing, IT, and logistics being key growth areas. By 2042, a quarter of land-based national freight movements in New Zealand will either travel within, to, from, or through our region.

Domestic and international visitor arrivals continue to increase, with around $150 million spent in the Waikato district per annum.

Our population is growing, largely due to economic and lifestyle factors. According to population projections from Waikato University, population growth in the Waikato district will be 26 per cent over the next 15 years.

Councils in our region are regularly issuing record numbers of building consents.
Our manufacturing sector continues to thrive. There are more than 2000 manufacturing businesses, employing around 25,000 people, many of whom are highly-skilled.
This sector is dominated by food processing and packaging, stainless steel and electro-technologies, and include a range of niche operations.

Most Waikato-based manufacturing companies are involved in the export sector, or supply other exporters. This, along with dairy, health, education and construction, provides our economy with a stable, resilient base.

Collaboration rates are high among Waikato businesses. There is a strong sense of collegiality and pride in our region. Our Chambers' of Commerce and Business Associations help foster this.

I believe that as a region we need to get better at telling our success stories. Hence, I am starting a bi-monthly briefing on key projects and developments in the Waikato region. This event will be called "Grow Waikato".

If you would like to attend, the details are: Tuesday, March 26, 4pm-5.30pm, The Atrium, WINTEC City Campus, entry from Ward or Tristram Streets (parking building available)
Guest speakers include Blair Bowcott, executive director special projects, Hamilton City Council who will focus on the Hamilton-to-Auckland Corridor Plan, outlining spatial intent along the transport corridor between Cambridge/Te Awamutu and Papakura, including the Hamilton-Waikato Metropolitan Spatial Plan Development.

The plan details a number of initiatives to better support residential, industrial and commercial growth and increased connectivity in a way that realises the corridor's social, economic, cultural and environmental potential.

Chris Joblin, CEO Tainui Group Holdings (TGH), will provide an update on current and future TGH projects, including Ruakura Inland Port.

RSVP by Friday, March 22 to melissa.white@parliament.govt.nz