Microsoft gains approval for $100m data centre in Auckland

Microsoft is one step closer to opening a data centre in New Zealand after the Overseas Investment Office granted consent to advance the plans.

The company plans to open a cloud-based data centre in Auckland which will enable both small and large businesses to store and process large amounts of data in New Zealand.

The value of the investment is yet to be confirmed but will exceed $100 million.

New Zealand's Overseas Investment Office said they were satisfied Microsoft and those involved in controlling the investment have the relevant business character and acumen and are of good character.

"The applicant has also demonstrated financial commitment to the investment," their ruling said.

In late August they granted consent for Microsoft to advance its plans, it was announced on Wednesday.

Microsoft New Zealand's Government affairs lead Maciej Surowiec said the decision "is an important step forward".

"[It's] one that will help Microsoft continue our mission to fuel new growth for our New Zealand customers as they accelerate their digital transformation opportunities."

Surowiec said the consent is subject to standard statutory conditions and "Microsoft is fully committed to fulfilling them".

Microsoft first announced plans to establish a data centre in New Zealand in May.

Jacinda Ardern attributed the investment to the country's "safe haven advantage" and the decision to "go hard and go early" on COVID-19. 

"This is a hugely welcome development," she said at the time. "It serves as a signal to the world that New Zealand is open for business and quality investment."

The investment was also welcomed by Spark and Fonterra.

"This is an exciting announcement," Fonterra's CIO Piers Shor said in May.

"It will bring even more cutting-edge technology to our co-operative and the New Zealand technology ecosystem. This in turn will help us leverage technology to create value for our farmer owners and unit holders, and Fonterra customers around the world."