Microsoft has cleared the first regulatory hurdle standing in the way of its plans to build a new datacentre region in Auckland.
The New Zealand Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has granted consent for Microsoft to buy non-sensitive land in Auckland for more than $100 million.
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 was subject to standard statutory conditions that Microsoft committed to fulfill.
"OIO’s decision is an important step forward; 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's government affairs lead for NZ, Maciej Surowiec, wrote in a blog post today.
The exact role of Canberra Data Centres (CDC), which operates the datacentres used for Microsoft's Australian cloud region, remains unclear with Microsoft appearing to buy the land directly.
"For security reasons, we do not disclose which facilities are owned and which are leased," Microsoft said in response to questions from Reseller News.
"Today, we operate more than 160 datacenters including both owned and leased facilities. Our experience has enabled us to develop industry-leading business practices, privacy policies, compliance programs, operational protocols, and security measures that we apply across our cloud infrastructure."
CDC registered a local subsidiary in February. Its major shareholder, NZX-listed Infratil, said in a presentation released last month that CDC had also announced the development of two hyperscale datacentres in Auckland.
It said the datacentres would have 20MW capacity and were forecast for completion in 2022.
Infratil has also been asked for comment.
The new datacentres and Microsoft cloud region was announced in May and will clear the way for some users, such as Parliamentary Services, to adopt cloud and systems such as Microsoft 365 while complying with New Zealand data sovereignty and security requirements.
The New Zealand region will be the latest addition to Microsoft’s global datacentre footprint, which totals more than 60 regions, with Microsoft Azure available in over 140 countries.