The Minister for Primary Industries Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Food Safety Hon Jo Goodhew, MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne and Auckland Airport Chief Executive Adrian Littlewood today turned the first sod ahead of construction on a new multi-purpose facility for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) at Auckland Airport.
The move to the new 17,000+ square metre premises will enable MPI to consolidate much of its Auckland services under one roof and retain the convenience and benefits of an airport location.
The new MPI centre will comprise over 4,000 square metres of office space, significant storage and warehousing and kennels for up to 80 dogs. It brings together passenger and cargo clearance, export certification, compliance and inspection, fisheries operations and the National Detector Dog Centre into one location. MPI will retain its presence at Auckland port.
MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne says the new facility – for which fit out costs are being met within existing baseline funding - will create efficiencies and improve experiences for key customers and stakeholders.
"In protecting New Zealand from biological risk, we have a great interest in the international passengers entering through Auckland.
"In the 12 months to 30 June 2016, over 9 million international passengers passed through Auckland Airport alone. Our national detector dogs screen 100% of all incoming international passengers at peak times, so having our dog services located so close to the airport makes good sense," Mr Dunne said.
"We will have more space and better facilities to train our detector dogs, with simulated passenger halls and mail centre. This helps ensure our dogs are better equipped to screen the growing number of international passengers that pass through Auckland Airport."
"Around 400 of our Auckland staff who are currently distributed across 3 sites will co-locate in the new premises in late 2017 when construction is expected to be complete."
MPI will become the latest addition to Auckland Airport's world-class business park, known as The Landing. Located just 3 minutes from the airport terminals, The Landing comprises over 100 hectares of extensively landscaped development land and provides easy access to a range of social and leisure activities for staff.
Mark Thomson, Auckland Airport's general manager – property, says the airport company is delighted to be able to accommodate one of its key stakeholders at The Landing.
"As our annual passenger numbers continue to grow towards a projected 40 million by 2044, we look forward to supporting MPI in the vital work it does at Auckland Airport protecting New Zealand's biosecurity. Ours is a long term relationship and this new facility will provide an ideal base for MPI for many years to come."
Physical construction is due to start in February, with MPI scheduled to occupy the new premises from late 2017.