A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) proposal to build a regional service centre in Manukau appears to still be on the table, with the government department saying it will make an announcement in the next three months.
But it is still remaining tight-lipped on the project.
In October last year MBIE confirmed it had been in talks with Auckland Council development agency Panuku about developing what is currently a council owned car park in Manukau Station Rd. According to Panuku, the site can accommodate multiple towers up to 72 metres in height.
A spokesperson from MBIE said the proposed new Manukau hub was in line with the government's Workplace Strategy to manage workforce growth by operating service centres outside of the country's central business districts.
"The New Zealand Government Property Group (GPG), a branch within MBIE, ran a registration of interest for developers in Manukau in May and June 2020.
"A shortlist of providers has been concluded and this is being further refined, including seeking to understand how any development(s) would contribute to the rejuvenation of Manukau project being led by the council."
They said GPG was working with government agencies and Panuku to understand the likely demand. But any details on which other government departments would use the development and how many staff it would accommodate are still being worked through.
"The process for MBIE is ongoing and at this stage we do not have a definite timeline for awarding the final contract to any developer. However, we anticipate there will be further news in 2021."
In a brief statement on Thursday a spokesperson said it is still in talks with the Auckland Council's development agency Panuku.
"MBIE continues to engage with Panuku around the opportunity and is continuing to work with government agencies to reconfirm their requirements for office accommodation in the Auckland Region.
"We will look to provide a further update later in Q1 2021."
In September last year, minister of state services Chris Hipkins said the Labour Party was ready to "hit the go button" on regional state service hubs early in their next term if it was re-elected.
Hipkins said developing workspaces outside the main centres such as Wellington and Auckland cities would take pressure off existing offices.
The hubs would also be conducive to productivity by giving public servants more flexibility, cutting down travel time and reducing the amount of traffic.
In the Wellington region, places like Upper and Lower Hutt, Porirua and Kāpiti would be suitable for hubs because there were underutilised commercial areas and populations of public servants, he said.
Panuku was contacted for this story, but a spokesperson said they couldn't comment on the project.
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