No IKEA In New Zealand Because Of “Traffic Chaos”

NZ has no IKEA

Lovers of good design at a reasonable price are to be denied an IKEA store in New Zealand, supposedly because of the “traffic chaos” the store would cause: Kiwis are to be denied something they want because they want it too much.

Nanny state obviously knows best for them,  ‘we’ll have no trouble here.’

The whole of New Zealand has a population of less than 4.3 million people. London (with all its congestion problems) has 7.5 million people yet manages to cope with a store that services not just London but much of the SE of Britain.

Honestly, if New Zealand can’t cope with a single department store how on earth is it going to cope with the Rugby World Cup in 2011?

We think the real reason for IKEA being kept out of NZ is that its reputation for selling desirable goods for desirable prices would be the death of many New Zealand businesses and product manufacturers.

Where in New Zealand could you kit out a flat for under $1,000?

Here’s how the news was broken to a devastated country:

“Kiwi fans of the Swedish furniture outlet IKEA face an indeterminate wait for the brand to arrive in this country.

Perth-based Cebas is the IKEA franchise holder for Western Australia and South Australia. It also holds the rights to open New Zealand’s first branch of the flat-pack furniture retailer. But despite rumours of an imminent launch, the company has decided not to proceed.

We have stopped looking for a site for the present time,” said the franchisee’s Auckland retail consultant Paul Keane, from RCG, after he received a call from IKEA putting the brakes on his firm’s site-hunting.

The company has faced setbacks in its almost four-year pursuit of a site. The Environment Court ruled in 2008 that the company could not be a tenant in Mt Wellington retail development Redwoods because of concerns its popularity would cause traffic chaos.

Hamilton then put its hand up in late 2009 to host an IKEA outlet. Its economic development agency invited IKEA scouts to visit the city, but the response was reported to be lukewarm from the Australian franchise owner.

Currently a Facebook fan page calling for a New Zealand IKEA store is “liked” by 5073 people.

The fan page includes a call for a petition, numerous threads on message boards which bemoan New Zealand’s sans-IKEA-status and even 66 people lobbying for a Wellington branch.”

There have also been rumours that North Shore City and eco-city Waitakere were considered as likely sites. You’ve got to hand it to IKEA, at least they tried.

We loved some of the comments that were left on the Stuff website about this report, here are some of them

This is utterly stupid. I’m a Kiwi currently living in Aus and I’ve just completely furnished a 2 bedroom apartment for $1300, including the couch. Get with the times NZ and sort out a place for Ikea. It’s needed there!

Scarlet Pumpernickle
Just shows how stupid the ENvironment court is. NZ is just so backwards – why do we always have to miss out on these things?

Vik Olliver
Why ship the stuff half-way around the world? Shouldn’t we be making it in NZ? It’s all CAD-CAM manufacturing anyway – feed it into a local machine shop and make the stuff here from local materials with local labour. Sounds a lot more environmentally friendly to me.

Such a shame they got turned down, but that stretch along Mt Wellington Highway can be chaos at the moment, let alone having an amazing store like that there. I live on the Ellerslie side of Mt Welly so thank god don’t have to use the Mt Wellington on/off ramps! However how can a Mitre 10 Mega be approved to be built at the already overly congested Lunn Ave and IKEA gets turned down for a store on the Mt Wellington Highway?

My home town in the UK turned down IKEA for the same traffic chaos reason. It went 20 odd miles down the road instead to Milton Keynes where their roundabouts could cope. The stores do have a huge catchment areas but Auckland already has traffic problems!

Stores like The Warehouse and Freedom would suffer but rightly so – Freedom’s prices are ridiculous and you can get the same thing in IKEA for a fraction of the cost. And The Warehouse quality is definitely not on par. IKEA offers more than both as well, with great opportunities to make your home your own – fabric, frames, the little things that give it different look. My suitcase is also full of IKEA knick knacks when I get the chance to visit a store. Disappointing to know we are no closer to our own store!

I went to Sydney, bought a kitchen at Ikea and shipped it back. Its on a par with Kitchen Studio for quality, but price wise, half it and throw in a weekend break in Oz. Definitely worth it. Ikea will shake up the marketplace here and that’s a good thing.

Every time I go to Sydney or Melbourne my suitcase is half full of Ikea purchases when I get home. I’d bring a bed and couch back if I could. And their Hong Kong store was a wonderland – like being in Wonka’s chocolate factory.  If they opened in Auckland (say, somewhere like Wairau Park?) it would be an annual pilgrimage…

I wish Ikea would actually come here. I sometimes find myself browsing their AU website and wishing i could splurge a little and buy everything i want. why do i feel like the ‘concern that it may cause traffic chaos’ is a half-arsed excuse?

Bring it on, and to those in the know Argos would do pretty well here too.

I would drive from Wellington to Auckland to buy furniture from Ikea if they opened there. and even with the cost of fuel it would be cheaper. And the choice would be greater. And the quality would be better. And then I could eat their delicious Swedish meatballs for lunch. And it would crack yet another NZ duopoly. Waiting for Godot… NZ is waiting for Ikea!

It’s cheap, cheerful, and is of much better quality than the ridiculously overpriced rubbish that is sold in New Zealand furniture shops. That’s what all the fuss is about.

Having grown up with Ikea stores, I can guarantee that it would do well here. It would be fantastic to have a branch in NZ and I’m sad to hear that it’s future here is now uncertain. It’s definitely more than a furniture store because it sells all the homeware that you could ever need. Ikea is great, especially for people setting up their first homes. It’s affordable, stylish and it’s all under one roof.

16 thoughts on “No IKEA In New Zealand Because Of “Traffic Chaos”

  1. This is typical of the land of the long and winded excuses to not have Ikea in NZ. It most certainly will out do all those pathetically over priced and substandard quality furniture stores not that there are that many in the long white cloud, Harvey Norman, Freedom, The Design Store are only for the rich & famous, Big Save not an ounce of saving here in fact prices are on par with a lot of Harvey’s, Target probably only option where you get what you pay for. Come on NZ/Perth Cebas stop the bull and give us Ikea who cares where its situated, NZ has so much untouched land you could even put it next to the cows & sheep and we’d still travel there, seriously their excuses or lack of make me so tired exclamation!

  2. Why the fixation with Auckland?
    Hamilton would gain far more from having an ikea both in local job generation, boost local economy, and is a better central north island location. I live in Rotorua, and an hours (and a bit drive) would also be the same from auckland, Tauranga and Rotorua. traffic congestion would be less of an issue, and serve a much larger catchment area.
    Although Aucklanders do not realise it, there is more to the north island than Auckland.

  3. This documentary series looks at Auckland’s transport problems, and exposes a number of “urban myths” about why it cannot be changed.

  4. It kills me to watch Kiwis point to the fact that they are small and not near any other countries when some chain store has problems opening here or some product is not available yet. Witness the launch of the iPad, they were yelling at Apple for not having stacks of iPads on the shelves in every small town in New Zealand, hadn’t they ever thought that the problem was not on Apple’s end? The problem was on the New Zealand distribution end. They always blame the big bad foreigner, but it is a New Zealand problem. Apple itself needed to have stores in NZ under its own control instead of permit its products to be distributed and sold by local chains. Chains which later blamed Apple for all the problems consumers had in accessing the units and obtaining post sales support.

  5. if you must come back, stuff the container with items you can sell. High tech and high end sports equipment for instance, furniture, jeans, running shoes, expat treats, things you can sell on trademe when you can’t find a job.

  6. As a Kiwi who has been living in Denmark for 14 years, my flat is full of great quality Ikea and Ilva (a similar company) furniture. Now that I’m moving back to NZ I’m pondering bringing it with me as the cost of furniture in NZ is rediculous. Had a look at the Myflatpack prices as they offer ikea furniture. Some of the things were 4 times what i paid here. Even with transport, thats just ripping people off.


    • An advice: don’t move back! do whatever it takes to stay where you are, trust me, I know what I’m saying

  7. I am from the Netherlands and sooo miss IKEA here. NZ needs affordable, yet good quality, fun design!
    I am utterly gutted by this news, I was really looking forward to an IKEA.

  8. although new zealand is a nice place, it is very greedy. you pay ridiculous prices for every day items and foods. IKEA would make the likes of farmers and freedom have to deal with competition and they would have to better the quality of their products. bring in IKEA and while on the subject why not have LIDL as well even argos is light years ahead of the warehouse.

    so kiwi’s stop being greedy buggers and lets have some competition here.

  9. I put an ikea kitchen in my house in Canada. It ROCKED! So nice to slam those cupboard doors – no noise! I want to do the same in NZ but I can’t. Get with the times NZ.

  10. Not only the furniture. I just returned from a trip to the U.S., and the housing, food and clothing are half the cost and twice the value of that in New Zealand. I am angered by Kiwis who simply come back at you with their superiority complex and say “well, if you are materialistic you will not like it here of course” because I am not a spendthrift. I do not buy designer clothing and do not buy makeup or cosmetics either. Or a lot of electronic gadgets. I’m a frugal person by the standards of Western nations. They are ignoring that if you have to work harder to meet basic living costs, then your quality of life will be lower. The pretty scenery does not make up for any of this. The Internet – 40 dollars usd a month unlimited gigs and data modem in the U.S. Here, limit of 20 gig and 130 nzd a month. 400 minutes of cellphone time for 20 usd. It was so depressing to go to the grocery store and look at the prices of fruit and vegetables for my children. Meanwhile these shabby Kiwis are shuffling around with their missing teeth and old jandals and patched board shorts loading up on cheap bread and eggs and thinking they live in paradise, wtf. I have to get used to the sight of all these shabby people again who are in a way worse state than supposedly “poor” people back in America. I had wanted to start a healthier diet on a New Years Resolution, and left the grocery store with a huge bill that would have been half that in the States, came home and started eating lunch, found a rat turd in my bread and the “blue” cheese turned out to be gray and fuzzy and moldy and no, I know what real blue cheese is supposed to look like and this stuff was actually “off”. I know that I would just face arguments if I took the food back, however, because if they hate anything, it’s giving up money, so I just picked and cut the bad parts out. There is no customer service ethic in New Zealand, and I know that after all these years. I also miss all the warm and friendly people in America. People that tourists come into contact with in New Zealand are likely to be friendly, but as a general rule, and warning for anyone who wants to live here, they form tight social cliques. When the real estate market lets me sell my house, I am leaving. I won’t look back.

    • Freedom Proposal!!!!
      I went to Freedom to quotas curtains for STUDIO !!!! apartment . Here is respond !!!!

      Our apologies for the delay in getting this quote to you.

      We have quoted you on 2 x sets of curtains hanging from ceiling to floor on cord drawn tracks, as we are unable to attach a track halfway down the window.
      For automated tracks for these windows it would be approximately $6000 on top of the price of the curtains. If you choose to go ahead with this quote we will come out to do a check measure on your windows.

      PLESE IKEA HELLP ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! from this RIP OFF!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Hello Erin. The demand for an Ikea in New Zealand is there, for certain.

    New Zealanders have been agitating for an Ikea store for years. However, reasons always seem to be found as to why the store shouldn’t be allowed to trade – traffic problems being the latest excuse.

    We think the motive is simple self protectionism on the part of NZ retailers, a great many of whom would see their businesses take a dramatic fall in sales if Ikea came along.

  12. I recently moved from the US to Auckland, and am greatly missing IKEA. For such a DIY culture, I’m surprised there isn’t a bigger public outcry for a NZ store.

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