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Who to call when the chips are down? As former chief executive of Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ Inc.) and co-director of Ray White Southern Corridor, Champak Mehta has a lot on his plate. Business to Business spoke to this man about one of New Zealand’s most important primary industries and the burgeoning southern Auckland property market.

– You established Southern Corridor Realty group with your business partner, Prewett. Why the move into real estate?

Reece and I have both had long corporate careers that took us to live in far flung corners of the world.  We wanted to be business owners and had been exploring new challenges when the opportunity to join Ray White emerged.

Having developed a very strong affinity to the Franklin district [southern Auckland] during my time with PNZ Inc., it just felt right to work here and I quickly convinced Reece that this was the opportunity we’d been looking for.  

We moved quickly, completing our due diligence and owning the business less than three months later.  We’re particularly pleased that the legacy owners have chosen to remain engaged in the business and are excited at the vision we have to make Southern Corridor Realty the pre-eminent and most trusted group of real estate advisors in the region.

– Is the balance of rural and urban areas around the southern fringes of the Super City changing?

They are urbanising and that’s not necessarily a bad thing – if it’s done with foresight – as it leads to increased infrastructure benefits.  However, a concerted effort is needed to ensure that, if highly productive agricultural land is transformed into residential developments, additional agricultural land is identified and developed to replace it.

We’re seeing the south of Auckland bump up against northern Franklin.  This trend will continue.  We should see a city the size of Hamilton develop in the next 20 years within the boundaries of the Southern Corridor – that’s a significant development! In our opinion, there is no real estate precinct in Australasia that has the same huge potential for growth than the Southern Corridor.

– Is there a land shortage in Auckland?

No. We don’t have a land shortage in New Zealand – we are roughly the size of the UK in land area, with a [much smaller] population, smaller than Singapore.  We just have to ensure we use our land wisely and it’s employed in the most productive ways.

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Written by Ray White New Zealand

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