The country's first urban growth partnership will see co-ordinated development between Auckland and Hamilton, is set to be signed off by Government ministers, local mayors and mana whenua today.
The Hamilton-Auckland Corridor initiative is a Future proof initiative and will see the Waikato, Waipa, Matamata-Piako and Hamilton councils work with the Waikato Regional Council, Franklin and Auckland city councils work together with the Government and local Iwi to improve the way the area will grow.
Representatives from the New Zealand Transport Agency and Waikato District Health Board will also be present.
The parties would now work together on issues including housing and transport as well as walking and cycling trails and a rail service.
Also known as H2A, Hei Awarua ki te Oranga stretches from Papakura in the north to Cambridge and Te Awamutu in the south.
Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford said it's the first time two regions in New Zealand had joined together with the Government to implement such a plan.
"Waikato-Tainui and the local councils are well-used to working together and I'm pleased central Government is now to join them on this important project for both region's future."
Māori Development and Associate Housing Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the partnership aimed to unlock the "significant growth potential in Southern Auckland and the Hamilton-Waikato metropolitan area, underpinned by new rapid and commuter rail connections".
"The transport network will direct where much-needed housing will be developed and connect our people to growing employment opportunities in both the Waikato and Auckland."
Hamilton would be poised to become an "even higher growth but affordable urban centre", she said.
"Strategic planning will protect and enhance the quality of both region's natural environments, as well as their cultural heritage. it will also boost the supply of affordable housing options to the communities that need them most."
At the core of the corridor are the Waikato and Waipa Rivers, the Main Trunk Line and the Waikato Expressway.
Twyford said the initiatives could strengthen connections including walking and cycling trails along the Waikato River to Manukau harbour, new intercity rapid rail services and a new mass transit network for the emerging Hamilton-Waikato metropolitan area.
"Work is underway on a Cabinet-mandated business case for a modern, rapid rail line connecting Auckland and Hamilton that would unite two of the country's largest labour markets," he said.
The Future Proof Strategy is a 30-year growth management and implementation plan which kicked off in 2007 before being launched by former prime minister John Key and King Tuheitia in 2009.
It's aim has been work through challenging issues associated with growth including
future urban and rural land use, natural and cultural resources, roads and other essential
Focus areas include a business case for rapid intercity rail between Hamilton and Auckland and how to manage growth in the Papakura and Pokeno sub region.
Documents show there's around 23,000 houses and 11,000 jobs expected in the region over the next 30 years which would come at a significant cost in relation to associated infrastructure.
Spatial plans are also being worked on for Huntly and Pokeno given their strategic locations in between both major cities.
A "metro spatial plan" is also being drawn up for Hamilton Waikato metro area, a key part of which is confirming a transport network.