By Craig Zammit

WAKATU, New Zealand: Harvey Norman has gained council approval to build a new 18,000 square metres store in the New Zealand town of Nelson, Wakatu and expects the store to be open in September or October 2008.

The Nelson council approval allows two yet-unnamed smaller retailers to open along with Harvey Norman on the $15 million site, according to The Nelson Mail.

“It’s going to be a great investment for Wakatu and a great addition for the people of Nelson,” Wakatu Incorporation chief executive, Keith Palmer, told The Nelson Mail.

The Nelson location was chosen due to it being the only single site appropriate to house a Harvey Norman shop front, with the counsel also recognising that the use of industrial land for retailing would not affect the supply of industrial land in Nelson and Richmond.

The council showed through its decision that the historical zoning provisions did not adequately allow for the growth in demand of bulky goods retailers like Harvey Norman.

“The consent authority is satisfied for these reasons that the grant of consent in this particular case would not have any material effect on the ongoing viability of the city centre or city fringe areas,” Palmer said.

Harvey Norman general manager — electrical, David Ackery, last August told that the rush of store openings in New Zealand reflects the competitive nature of the region. 

“New Zealand is just as competitive [as Australia], there’s no question about that. You’ve got The Good Guys moving in and Dick Smith over there, and you’ve got JB Hi-Fi talking about moving in too.”

JB Hi-Fi announced in December last year that it would move to acquire 11 Hill & Stewart stores in New Zealand, which sell consumer electronics, whitegoods and small appliances.