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Microsoft's $100 million+ data centre approved for Auckland

Microsoft has been granted consent from the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office (“OIO”) to advance its plans to open a datacenter region in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The OIO determined that Microsoft and the individuals who will govern the investment on the company’s behalf satisfy OIO’s requirements under the Overseas Investment Act. 

The OIO’s consent is subject to standard statutory conditions and Microsoft is fully committed to fulfilling them, the company says.

“OIO’s decision is an important step forward,” says Maciej Surowiec, Microsoft New Zealand’s government affairs lead. 

“One that will help Microsoft continue our mission to fuel new growth for our New Zealand customers as they accelerate their digital transformation opportunities.”

Microsoft announced plans back in May to establish its first datacenter region in New Zealand.

The New Zealand datacenter region will be the latest addition to Microsoft’s global datacenter footprint, which totals more than any other cloud provider at 60 regions announced, with Microsoft Azure available in over 140 countries around the world. 

The proposed data centre was announced by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on 6 May 2020, who described the data centre as a ‘significant investment’ which ‘serves as a signal to the world New Zealand is open for business and quality investment’.

The Minister of Finance Grant Robertson determined that the Investment is not contrary to New Zealand’s national interest, according to the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.

With the development of this new datacenter region, Microsoft said it aims to fuel new growth that will accelerate digital transformation opportunities across New Zealand. 

The company will also continue its investments in new solutions that support both New Zealand and Microsoft’s sustainability goals. 

In addition, Microsoft will add support for educational skilling programs to increase future employability opportunities for the people of New Zealand. 

“This significant investment in New Zealand’s digital infrastructure is a testament to the remarkable spirit of New Zealand’s innovation and reflects how we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible as a nation,” Vanessa Sorenson, general manager, Microsoft New Zealand, said at the time of the announcement.

“The Fletcher School’s Digital Evolution Index characterises New Zealand as a ‘standout nation’ demonstrating to the world what the future might look like. I’m confident this investment will help accelerate our digital evolution.”   

The new data centre will mean customers will have access to Microsoft’s cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, and Built-In Trust and Security portfolio.