Microsoft has been granted consent to buy 6.5 hectares of land classified as sensitive because it is rural and more than five hectares.
The exact location of the land, to be used as a site for data centers, was withheld by the Overseas Investment Office in a decision released today. Microsoft already owns three significant lots of land in Auckland's Westgate.
The consent described the land as a vacant site, ready for development. The investment, which was also not detailed in the decision, would support two data centers currently under construction which were consented under an earlier significant business asset application.
The news comes shortly after ASX-listed data center developer NextDC bought land in central Auckland and as CDC Data Centres develops further facilities in Auckland's north.
The vendor of the site or sites was Malaysian-owned Neil Construction, based in Grafton, which has extensive landholdings all over the city.
The Overseas Investment Office said New Zealand would benefit from the deal through the introduction of significant capital, including around $180 million of initial investment into this site, and by creating 50 new full time equivalent jobs once the data centre was operational
It would also support 300 temporary jobs during construction.
Microsoft said the land would enable it to expand its cloud infrastructure in New Zealand.
"This development is a recognition of the long-term opportunity we see in Aotearoa, and a sign of commitment from Microsoft to continue to assist in powering the country’s digitalisation journey," said Maciej Surowiec, Microsoft's government affairs lead for New Zealand.
"New Zealand’s economy proves to be resilient despite global macroeconomic challenges and its growth potential, underpinned by strong democratic foundations and the rule of law, creates a favourable business environment."
Fonterra, the Accident Compensation Corporation, BNZ and Auckland Transport had all decided to move to Microsoft Cloud, Surowiec said.
"With around 80 per cent of NZ’s electricity currently generated from renewable sources, we are well-placed to make New Zealand’s datacenter region one of the most sustainable on the planet."
Last year, Microsoft inked an agreement with sustainable electricity retailer Ecotricity to ensure its data center region was powered by 100 per cent carbon free energy, using Toitū net carbonzero certified electricity sourced from solar, wind and hydro.