Army basic training set to shift from Waiouru to Burnham

The New Zealand Army is set to shift basic training for new recruits from Waiouru to the South Island, downgrading the central North Island military camp.


Burnham’s Military Camp is situated south of Christchurch in the fast-growing Selwyn district.

Mayor Kelvin Coe said the influx in army personnel was good news.

“It is a positive development, and we welcome this news . . . We don’t believe it will add pressure but that it will complement the growth and development of the area.”

Selwyn’s estimated population is 53,800 and is expected to grow to 86,400 by 2040. The district has been one of the fastest-growing in New Zealand, recording 6.5 per cent population growth in the year to June 2015.

A new report shows the district’s GDP grew by 4.4 per cent in 2015, ahead of national GDP growth of 2.4 per cent and regional Canterbury growth of 1.9 per cent.

“The council has been and will continue to invest in new community facilities to support our growing population as growth continues,” Coe said.

Families wanting more opportunities and the need to base more soldiers near cities have largely influenced NZDF’s decision. The Burnham camp is 30 kilometres from central Christchurch and 6km from Rolleston, Selwyn’s biggest town.

Rolleston property developer Russell Lilley, who has lived in the town for 43 years, said the construction of a new motorway would make Christchurch more accessible.

“Rolleston’s a growing town and with the industrial area, which is meant to be one of the biggest in New Zealand, there’s going to be plenty of work for everyone. The infrastructure they have in place and are going to have in place is quite huge. So it definitely is a better place for families to move to.”

The town had already seen large shopping centre developments in recent years. Lilley said plans were in the works for another development behind Rolleston Countdown.

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