The chairman of Northland Inc is leaving his regional economic development role to head a proposed $125 million data centre to be built at the Marsden industrial park.

Auckland-based Colin Mitten is part of a business group developing Aotea Clear Cloud Ltd (ACCL), a data centre they say will be equal to the best in the world and a first in the South Pacific.

The $125 million expected budget would be to set up eight halls which each each housed about 350 racks of computers. However, initially only two of those eight units are planned.

Mr Mitten, who has been chairman and was interim chief executive of Northland Inc, the economic development unit set up by Northland Regional Council two years ago, has advised the board he will not seek renewal of his contract at the end of his two-year term on June 30.


He will be chief executive of the new data company.

While Mr Mitten was in his double Northland Inc role he led the drive to increase the region's digital fibre and industry capability, with the goal of attracting international technology companies to the region.

Projects included signing an understanding with Hawaiki Cable to bring a 14,000km submarine cable to Northland.

If it goes ahead that trans-Pacific fibre-optic communications cable will come ashore at Marsden Point and carry massive amounts of electronic data.

Mr Mitten said the data centre could benefit from but was not dependent on Hawaiki Cable's plan and there was no formal partnership between the cable and data centre ventures.

ACCL had finalised its business planning and appointed chartered accountants Crowe Howarth to assist with fundraising, Mr Mitten said.

Northland Inc chief executive David Wilson said there was no conflict of interest between Mr Mitten's role as that organisation's chairman and the development of ACCL.

Mr Mitten's interest in the data centre occurred after Northland Inc's involvement in pro-digital and optic fibre initiatives, Mr Wilson said.


Also Mr Mitten informed the board as soon as that interest turned into a private business venture.

As chairman of Northland Inc Mr Mitten was paid $2000 a month and also received a daily consultancy fee for acting as chief executive in the organisation's first year of operation.