Local Dairies – Hamilton East to Rototuna North

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Dairies in Hamilton East from Cobham Drive to Clarkin Rd were free to open where and how they felt it was right and convenient for them to do so until the 1960s. The average area serviced per dairy in this area is 0.6 square km. (60 hectares), which is equal to the area inside a circle with a radius of 440m, or about a 5-minute walk. North of Clarkin Rd through to Borman Road the average area serviced per dairy more than doubles to 1.64 km2 (164 hectares) which is equal to the area inside a 700m-radius circle or about a 9-minute walk. On the map below the actual spacing of dairies is not regular or predictable. Even though top-down planning would like to space local dairies to a formula, in the real world the local dairy spacing is ad-hoc.

The map above also shows local shops that have been repurposed; e,g, Hayes Common is now a café, the shops at the corner of Naylor St / Galloway St are now training rooms, and the Subway Building (Claudelands Road) is now dwellings. There is no new competition near these shops that has taken their local customers; each of the shops would have their own set of circumstances for being repurposed.

Four Square formerly a New World) Heaphy Terrace is an example of a small supermarket that sells meat, dairy products, fruit, vegetables, frozen food products, Lotto … all under a single roof. Within a few dozen metres are an independent dairy, a butcher, bakery and a Vege King. These shops have supplied this neighbourhood side by side for decades. What the Heaphy Terrace shops show is that competition does not reduce choice: it increases choice.

The local dairy customer is not the same as the supermarket customer. It’s hard to estimate the effect on the customer base of local dairies when a supermarket opens nearby, but as an example, Countdown Claudelands opened in 2015, and the dairies 300m each side of it are still trading.

The reason there are fewer local dairies north of Clarkin road to Borman Road is the district planning rules first introduced in the 1960s. In the chart above, the green section shows the 1860 planned area of Hamilton East, with the number of dwellings per dairy. The orange section is the time during which cars became more common, to the point they completely replaced horses on our streets, and the brown section covers the period after the introduction of the District Scheme/Plan.  Looking at the orange, from Peachgrove to Miropiko the average area per dairy is the similar to green area and on the map the dairies are well spaced. The introduction of the car did not reduce the economic sustainability of local dairies; it was the District Scheme/Plan rules that made them uneconomic.

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