23 Sep 2021

Amazon Web Services to spend $7.5 billion on giant data centres in Auckland

2:02 pm on 23 September 2021

Amazon Web Services (AWS) plans to spend $7.5 billion to build data centres in Auckland, which are due to open in 2024.

 Amazon building in Santa Clara, California.

Photo: 123RF

The global giant said the investment would create 1,000 direct and indirect jobs and claimed it would add about $10.8bn to the local economy over the next 15 years.

AWS could not confirm how many direct, permanent jobs the data centres would create.

The centres would provide cloud-based storage facilities of digital data, so it can be accessed more quickly from New Zealand.

AWS's domestic customers included government departments, banks, power companies and universities.

There would be three separate data centres built across the Auckland region, the company said.

"This will give organisations in New Zealand that have data residency preferences to securely store their data right here in Aotearoa," AWS public sector country manager Tim Dacombe-Bird said.

He said it had already identified three potential sites for the centres that are geographically isolated so they can withstand natural disasters.

The locations were also selected because of their proximity to internet transit points and the ability to rum them on separate power grids, he said.

However, Daycombe-Bird would not disclose how much electricity the facilities would consume, other than to say that they would run on renewable electricity from 2025.

The project still needed approval from the Overseas Investment Office, but Dacombe-Bird said the government had been "very supportive" of the project in the discussions it has had with it.

"So while the government is supportive, we have not asked for, nor been offered, any incentives to build our [data centres] here in New Zealand."

Minister for Digital Economy and Communications David Clark said AWS' decision to establish data centres was a vote of confidence in the country's economic recovery from the pandemic.

"Our economic stability continues to create appealing investment opportunities despite the challenges facing all communities and businesses around the world.

"This will create job opportunities for industries like our construction sector, and bring long term benefits as we see the ICT sector and local innovators significantly grow into the future," he said,

Computing giant Microsoft announced plans to build a data centre in Auckland last year.

"Today's news means that the Government, local businesses and communities, will soon have access to the scale and security of two of the world's biggest cloud service providers, from here in Aotearoa," Clark said.

National Party digital economy spokesperson Melissa Lee said the investment would encourage more young people to pursue careers in the tech sector.

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