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By IRENE CHAPPLE

The Warehouse's Australian troubles have not dampened the company's appetite for expansion in New Zealand.

Manukau City Council last night approved the company's proposal to buy land in Manurewa for a 14,000sq m store.

The store is expected to cost about $10 million to build and will open in two to three years.

It will be 28 times the size of the original Warehouse and just over a third the size of Auckland's biggest shopping centre, St Lukes.

The Manukau store will also be slightly bigger than the company's superstore being built in Whangarei.

The approval comes just days after Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall stepped in as interim chief executive after the surprise resignation of Greg Muir.



It also comes days after pleas at the Green Party conference from former Tindall Foundation executive Warren Snow to slow the big-box retailing that he said was ruining small towns.

Mr Snow, who helped Mr Tindall establish the foundation, nte said chain stores were getting so large they dwarfed existing retailers and limited consumer choice.

Yesterday Mr Snow said The Warehouse's megastores would be the equivalent of 140 smaller stores.

"I would call it a poverty machine. It is going to destroy the opportunities for smaller business to survive."

But The Warehouse property director Glen Inger said smaller towns supported The Warehouse because it pulled in shoppers.

Manukau City Council deputy mayor Anne Candy said it was fitting that one of the city's major employers would be located next to the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, which is also being built on the site.