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Latest News

Auckland Hebrew Congregation:

For the latest news from the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, click here.

Beth Shalom - progressive Jewish congregation in Auckland:

For the latest news from Beth Shalom, click here.

Auckland and New Zealand news:

Finding and applying for jobs

If you're thinking of coming to New Zealand to work for a few years, or maybe even to settle, you'll need a work or resident visa. To get that - you're likely to need a job. It's perfectly acceptable and legal to apply for jobs before you get a visa. Employers generally understand the situation, and when you get a job, will help you with your visa application. Just remember however you won't be able to start working, and earning, until your visa is approved.

This section has practical information to help you find a job in New Zealand. As you'll see, even if you're not yet in the country, there's lots you can do to get started.

Other skills and avenues

If your skills aren't on the shortage lists or you'd really like to go for residency, it may still be possible to get a visa.

For instance, you may be able to apply for residency as a Skilled Migrant. You may also be able to apply for a work visa if you're offered a job by an employer who can't find a local worker for the vacancy.

Job market overview

The unemployment rate now 5.5%.

The economic influences that have underpinned recent strong growth still apply - migration generating more demand. The government expects employment to remain strong over the next three years but to grow but at a slowing rate.

The job sectors driving employment growth are changing. Recent employment growth has been in manufacturing, particularly in Auckland, mostly in food production, machinery and equipment manufacturing, and textile manufacturing.

Nearly half (44%) of annual employment growth to June 2015 was in Auckland.

Skilled job vacancies advertised on three major internet job boards - SEEK, TradeMe jobs, and the Education Gazette increased by nearly 4% over the year to June 2015.

For the latest overview, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Market Update.

Job market & key industries

While employment conditions are expected remain strong, the Government forecasts target the growth rate for 2018 in identifying the shortage of skill occupations

More detail is in the Job Market Overview below.

There are many job openings for specialists in industries such as medicine, engineering and IT. But there are also opportunities to contribute more generalist skills.

Skills in demand

Some skills are in chronically short supply, and Immigration New Zealand has lists of skill shortages.

If you are offered a job in New Zealand which appears on a skill shortage list and you have the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work and residence visa will be easier.

This is because the Government has identified that employers need to recruit people from overseas to help meet demand for your skills.

A full list of current skill shortages in New Zealand can be found through site below:-

http://skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz

Other skills and avenues

If your skills aren't on the shortage lists or you'd really like to go for residency, it may still be possible to get a visa.

For instance, you may be able to apply for residency as a Skilled Migrant. You may also be able to apply for a work visa if you're offered a job by an employer who can't find a local worker for the vacancy.

Job sites to explore

Specialist sites - sites designed to connect offshore workers with NZ employers:

Other job sites - lots of jobs, but employers will not always be open to hiring from overseas:

NZ annual net migration was unchanged in November

NZ annual net migration was unchanged in November from a year earlier as fewer New Zealanders left while net foreign migration decreased.

Annual net migration was at 70,400 in the year to November, the same as November 2016, Statistics NZ said.

The figures show a net 1300 New Zealanders left, from 1900 a years earlier.

New migration peaked at 72,000in July year, and the latest figures continue the recent trend of reducing annual net migration levels, Stats NZ said.

There were 27,800 in then Novembher2017 year, compared with 22,900in the Nnovemnber2016 year".

More non-citizen migrants arrived in the latest year, at 99,500 from 95,100 a year earlier.

US net migration jumped 50 per cent to 2000 in the year, while UK net migration rose 20 per cent to 6500.

Short -term visitor arrivals, which included tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.7 million in the November year.

That was up 8 per cent from ma year earlier and a new annual record on an annual basis to 1.9 million.

NZ residents took 2.8 million trips in the year, up 10 per cent from the previous year, up- m10 per cent from the previous years, up 10 per cent from the previous year, with the biggest increases from people going to French Polynesia, Japan and Spain.

Getting Auckland back on track with light rail

15 December 2017

The new Government couldn't be clearer in showing how determined it is to do what it takes to get on top of Auckland's deep-seated transport problems - it will use enabling legislation to fast-track the mass public transit projects it has flagged it wants built with speed and urgency.

A revised Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) package is close to being signed off between the key sponsors, Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Mayor Phil Goff and deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore.

Light rail, or what some cities call a fast tram and others rapid rail, will be at the heart of the transport transformation facing Auckland over the next decade.

Auckland Transport has been assessing routes and undertaking design work, including patronage modelling and traffic-congestion impacts over the past two-three years, which means the project can "hit the ground running".

The network as broadly envisaged is now well known:

  • A light rail line from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill completed by 2021 and the America's Cup and APEC events, then, long-term an extension to Auckland Airport.
     
  • Light rail to airport and Mangere
     
  • A line to the North Shore taking advantage of the long-proposed third Harbour crossing that transport planners agree will be needed from the mid-2020s.

Other ramped up improvements to support an Auckland-wide mass transit network include upscaled feeder bus services to the main trunk rail and bus services, and much improved park and ride facilities.

A key outcome that Auckland Council in particular is wanting is to ensure the new rapid transit network hooks up with the three urban intensification areas set out in the Unitary Plan - Drury, West Auckland and Silverdale and long term Warkworth - where housing developments are already under way to provide 110,000 new homes and 50,000 new jobs over the next 30 years.

The existing transport infrastructure serving these areas is already heavily congested.

Light rail or its mass transit equivalent into these areas will be Auckland's 21st Century transformational circuit breaker!

$2billion-plus town centre, 2500 residences planned for Drury

17 December 2017

A new $2 billion-plus 2500-residence community with an entirely new town centre is being planned near Drury.

Charles Ma is heading the development of Auranga to be created on a 160ha site in South Auckland, 36km south of Auckland City.

"This will be $2b-plus project and 2500 residences will be built, from apartments to stand-alone homes, ranging in price from $585,000 to $1.5m," the Shortland St-based Ma said.

Initially 1350 residences were planned but other land purchases had been made and the scheme had grown to a proposed 2500 residences, Ma said.

Some of the land is already zoned for the project but other parts are not and a planning application is with Auckland Council, Ma said.

The site lies on the inner reaches of Manukau Harbour's Pahurehure Inlet, west of Drury village and Ma said 29.3ha of earthworks are now underway. Part of the land - an 84.6ha slice - has been zoned a Special Housing Area.

Resource consents have also been approved for about 400 residences and the civil construction contract has been awarded for the first stage, he said. The first titles are due to be issued later next year or in 2019, Ma said.

The civil engineer in his 20s has a degree from Auckland University and is chief executive of Made - Ma Development Enterprises - and chief executive of Auranga.

A major upgrade, with over $2 billion of infrastructure and developments planned. The more than $2b of public and private investment will be committed over the next 10 years.

Ma said that there would be wide footpaths and design features to minimise cars in residential locations.

Residential, commercial and retail uses were envisaged including a new village centre, school, retirement village and many hectares of public land, he said.

Although the site is far from the city's CBD, many new residents of Auranga will work in the area, he predicted. The scheme would take about a decade to complete.

New Sylvia Park restaurants opening in expanded dining lane

14 December 2017

Auckland foodies get an expanded multimillion-dollar dining precinct from today when four out of six new restaurants open in a suburban shopping mall.

And the two that aren't quite ready are expected to be open by Christmas.

NZX-listed landlord Kiwi Property will this morning officially open The Grove, its new $8.9 million dining lane at Sylvia Park, Mt Wellington, Auckland.

The new food offerings, a new town square, landscaping, dining pavilion and automatic canopy are part of that project on the ground floor of an $80 million, 10-level office block Kiwi is developing at the mall, where it has $200m expansion plans, including a new Farmers department store.

The new restaurants join the existing line-up of eateries, which have been operating for some years.

Grove diners will be sheltered by a 50m-long Teflon-coated canopy that automatically unfolds at the first spots of rain.

Auckland plans for Holocaust tribute

Auckland is getting its first ever Holocaust tribute in the form of a garden made using cobblestones from a Jewish ghetto.

The Auckland Holocaust Memorial Trust (AHMT) will begin designing a living landscape called the Garden of Humanity in the Auckland Domain after gaining the Auckland Domain's Committee's approval last week.

An overgrown pond outside the Winter Garden has been indicated as the likely spot and will have about 200 cobblestones built around the water.

The cobblestones were originally part of a street in a ghetto in Warsaw, Poland and were donated to the Auckland War Memorial Museum by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum five years ago.

The Ghetto was an important symbol of human triumph in the face of adversity, after its Jewish residents refused to be deported to the death camps and fought against German soldiers for nearly five weeks in 1943.

AHMT founder and Auckland resident Bob Narev spent two years in Theresienstadt concentration camp in the Czech Republic before being sent to Switzerland and the immigrating to New Zealand in 1947.

Narev said there was a growing interest in the lessons that could be taken from the Holocaust.

His wife and he were among the youngest Holocaust survivors, so other avenues to teach younger generations had to be explored Narev said.

"There's not many of us left to tell the story. We are excited about it happening here."

The garden would have the potential to show people what discrimination and racism and persecution could lead to, he said.

AHMT spokeswoman Nadine Rubin Nathan said it was surprising Auckland didn't have a public memorial for the Holocaust.

'We realise the Holocaust took place outside of New Zealand, but of course there was a massive impact on the home front," she said.

More than 11,000 Maori and Pakeha soldiers were killed in World War 11 and 26 New Zealanders were in concentration camps, she said.

It would be a reminder of the consequences of silence, apathy and bullying, she said.

The site has been approved, pending on the design presented.

NZ forecast for warmer than usual summer

Opposite to that of the northern hemisphere, New Zealand's balmy summer season runs from December to February.

Summer's on the way and this year, the heat is ramping up.

A preliminary forecast shows above-average temperatures for most of the country over summer.

The reason we have high confidence it's going to be warmer than average temperatures, is the ocean temperatures are higher than average around New Zealand, and north-easterly winds.

Rainfall is a bit more mixed. The northern and eastern part of the North Island we think that rainfall will likely be near normal or above normal.

For the west of the South Island we think that rain will be near normal or below normal.

For the North Island, this summer could bring more humid days than usual.

America's Cup: Team New Zealand's Peter Burling wins World Sailor of the Year award

5 December 2017

Team New Zealand's Peter Burling has been named as the world's best foiling sailor after winning the World Sailor of the Year award for the second time.

Burling picked up the award following his impressive performance within Team New Zealand's crew that sailed the mighty 50-foot catamaran to victory at the America's Cup in June.

The 26-year-old won the prestigious gong from Foiling Week, an organisation that holds foiling forums for innovation in the sport's development areas and regattas around the world.

The award ceremony was held in Garda, Mexico, but the sailing star couldn't attend as he was racing with Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race set to conclude in the Netherlands.

"It has been a really cool year up in Bermuda. It's awesome to get the accolade," said Burling at the awards ceremony via a video message from Cape Town where he has arrived following the second leg of the race.

"Thanks to the foiling community, it is obviously an immense honour to be given this award," he said, "It has been an incredible year pushing the boundaries with the America's Cup with the whole team over there, pushing the boats super hard."

"Definitely the improvements we made throughout that cycle were pretty amazing and then to be able to jump on a Moth and have a good bit of fun with so many other people doing the same thing and enjoying foiling around in Lake Garda, was pretty cool as well."

Nominees for the award included Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby, along with two French ocean sailors, Thomas Coville and Armel Le Cleac'h.

Burling has joined Sir Russell Coutts, who won the title in 1995 and 2003, as the only two Kiwis to have won the award twice.

Burling said he's excited to see the foiling game challenged once more by Team New Zealand's new 75-foot foiling monohull boat design, which was revealed in November, ahead of the 2021 America's Cup scheduled for Auckland.

"I am sure it will be pretty fast and we keep pushing the edge of technology and the edge of the sport ... something that is going to be really cool," he said.

"The future looks pretty exciting for foiling, a pretty cool concept for the next Cup boat, hopefully other teams will get behind it."

Monster ships could be heading for Auckland


Ovation of the Seas in Auckland last summer

3 December 2017

Auckland Council plans to install ''mooring dolphins'' off the end of Queens Wharf which would allow cruise ships more than 300m to berth rather than anchor in the harbour and their passengers and crew forced to take tenders to shore.

But a lobby group has pledged to fight the plans, saying they could become beach head for further reclamation and it questions the economic spinoff figures cited by the cruise industry.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships, which are up to 227,000 gross tonnes, could now be attracted to New Zealand.
The ships are bigger than the 169,000 tonne Quantum class ships such as Ovation of the Seas which called at New Zealand ports last summer and will return later this month.

Oasis class ships are 361m long while Quantum class vessels are 347m long.

The mooring dolphin structures would be between 80m and 85m linked to the end of the wharf by a gangway and are scheduled to be in place by the 2019-2020 cruise season.

Royal Caribbean's managing director Australia and New Zealand, Adam Armstrong, has criticised slow progress on the new facilities in the past but said he was happy the council had now committed to build them.

''It's three years later than we would have liked but there is light at the end of the tunnel,'' he said.

His company would look at New Zealand as a possible destination for its Oasis class ships as being able to berth at Auckland was critical for changeover stops where thousands of passengers get on and off the vessel. These passengers fly into a city and often stay on land before and after their cruise and are especially lucrative for local economies.

''I think at some point in the future would we put one of them into the region and look at which ports could take ships that size. I think it's absolutely possible.''

Cruise New Zealand chief executive Kevin O'Sullivan said becoming a major cruise hub would offer huge benefits to Auckland's economy.

The council says dolphins will allow larger ships to berth to the east of Queens Wharf and will also enable cruise ships to berth on the west of the wharf with the planned modifications to the ferry terminal as part of its waterfront plan.

They were one part of a ''phased solution'' for cruise infrastructure that could eventually result in Captain Cook wharf used as a cruise ship terminal.

The council says the cost of the dolphins would be recovered ''over time'' through cruise ship passenger levies imposed and collected by Ports of Auckland.

Cruise New Zealand says more than 236,000 passengers travelled to this country last season, and that figure is set to grow to 344,000 by 2018-19. Last year it said the cruise industry injected $484m into the New Zealand economy.

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (Ateed) uses Cruise New Zealand forecasts, which show Auckland is expecting 123 ship visits during the 2017/18 season, bringing with them an estimated 300,000-plus passengers, and contributing $245 million to the regional economy.

Estimates of cruise tourism's contribution are reported in terms of expenditure (direct spend), GDP (value added), and employment. Expenditure includes everything spent by passengers, crew and vessels.

Flood of apartments not enough to meet demand

25 November 2017

Auckland City's skyline is undergoing a rapid transformation as a record number of apartments rise from dusty holes in the ground and cranes work overtime - a building boom which has also been blamed for a drop in central Auckland median house prices.

More than 3500 city apartments are due for completion in the next two years - and there are more still rising in the suburbs.

Despite the current apartment boom, Evans and other property experts say thousands more are needed to help fill the rapidly-growing housing shortage in Auckland.

More than 80 per cent of apartments due for completion in 2018 and 2019 are pre-sold so will not enter the pool of housing stock.

New data from Colliers Real Estate estimate 2406 apartments will be completed in Auckland city and the city fringe in 2018 and close to 3000 will be completed in 2019.

There are also 4018 apartments due for completion in the greater Auckland area - outside the CBD - in the next three years.

The apartments range in price from $575,000 for a one-bedroom inner city apartment to more than $2m for high-end city fringe apartments.

Evans said despite the record number of apartments due for completion most had sold off the plans years ago.

"These numbers, even though they are record numbers, are in no way close enough to meet the current demand," Evans said.

"The apartment undersupply plus the shortage of new terrace and standalone houses means as at the end of 2017 there is a shortage of 40,000 new dwellings in New Zealand."

Evans said if the current population growth of 40,000 each year was maintained there would be a need for 15,000 to 18,000 new houses and individual dwellings per year.

Well known developer Ockham Residential has five large developments under construction and said demand continued to grow.

The company's developments sold-out before construction started, spokeswoman Maria Salmon said.
"People are really enjoying living in well-built developments but at an affordable price point.

Auckland Harbour Bridge to be lit up on anniversary weekend - Vector

24 November 2017

Pleasure boats will swarm the gulf, lightly-clad bodies will throng the beaches and parks and, on one of Auckland's most recognisable structures, the lights will go on for the first time.

The traditionally warm and settled Saturday of Auckland Anniversary long weekend, January 27, has been chosen as the launch date for a bold plan to illuminate Auckland Harbour Bridge with lights powered by solar energy.

The transformation of the 58-year-old coathanger-style structure will begin with the launch of Vector Lights - a six-minute specially-composed opening show sequence featuring original music and spectacular lighting effects.

The show, which can be synched via smartphone or radio, will start at 9pm and repeat every half hour until midnight, with an ambient light display in-between.

The opening show, which will reference Tama-Nui te Ra (the sun), Hikohiko (electrical energy), and Hei te Ao Marama (the future world of light), will also be streamed online at vector.co.nz/lights

Just as the Sky Tower shows its colours in support of various events throughout the year, the bridge will also be programmed to celebrate special occasions.

In between, the lights - 90,000 LED lights, which can be individually programmed, and 200 floodlights - will subtly frame its architecture.

The project - which will cost about $10 million - is part of a 10-year energy efficiency partnership between power company Vector and Auckland Council. Vector is paying most of the costs spread over several years and the council will fund digital programming of the lights for special events.

It is believed to be the first major bridge in the world to have all its lighting powered entirely by solar power from 630 panels installed on top of North Wharf in Wynyard Quarter.

Mayor Phil Goff said lighting the bridge would add vibrancy and interest to both those who call the city home and those passing through.

Generating the energy required by using solar power also highlighted Auckland's commitment to sustainable energy and tackling climate change.

"With the generosity of Vector in meeting most of the cost, we are gaining an asset for Auckland to make our city a more interesting and vibrant place."

Vector chief executive Simon Mackenzie said the light show would be an evolving showcase of new energy solutions.
These would illustrate what a more sustainable energy future could look like, he said.

Having a permanent lighting display on the bridge would also be a first for the NZ Transport Agency, which manages the bridge infrastructure.

International Travel and Migration:

Annual net migration was 71,000 in the September 2017 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. Migrant arrivals were 131,600 and migrant departures were 60,600.

"The annual net migration in September 2017 was lower than the record annual net migration of 72,400 reached in the July 2017 year," population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. "Compared to this peak, we had fewer arrivals and more departures in the September 2017 year."

In the year ended September 2017, net migration was mostly driven by non-New Zealand citizens, who provided New Zealand with a net gain of 72,600 migrants.

Migration of New Zealand citizens saw a net loss of 1,600 migrants.

Auckland's future population under new migration scenario

Stats NZ's latest projections for Auckland indicate a population growing from 1.6 million in 2016 to 1.9-2.1 million in 2028 and to 2.0-2.6 million in 2043. These projections are based on assumptions about the three basic components of population change - births (fertility), deaths (mortality), and migration.

For Auckland to reach a population of 3 million or more by then, it would need sustained fertility and/or net migration levels that are significantly higher than those experienced in recent decades.

Auckland is New Zealand's economic powerhouse, contributing 38% of the nation's GDP - ranked first in the world for ease of doing business.

In June 2017, New Zealand has an estimated population of 4,793,700, up from the 4,027,947 recorded in the 2006 census.

The median child birthing age was 30 and the total fertility rate is 2.1 births per woman in 2010.

America's Cup: What Auckland can learn from San Francisco and Bermuda

23 November 2017

Traditionalists still talk about the 2000 and 2003 editions of the America's Cup in Auckland as the high-water mark for regattas.

In Cup circles, a New Zealand accent is taken as an invitation to revisit the glory days in Auckland in the early 2000s when the city's freshly developed waterfront was given the ultimate christening.

You hear stories of BBQs at bases, of the shenanigans that went on in Syndicate Row, the crush of people that piled into the Viaduct each day, and the magical sight of the Hauraki Gulf crowded with spectator craft.

They'll try to recall the name of their favourite restaurants, that vineyard they visited on Waiheke Island, and inquire if the rowdy pub they frequented still stands.

But it is mostly the intangibles they reminisce about. The atmosphere. The vibe. The buzz.

"The atmosphere was outstanding," enthuses US America's Cup writer Diane Swintal.

"Auckland had it all: with the team bases right in the Viaduct area so fans could watch the boats go out (and some fan access areas at the bases themselves), all the restaurants, nightlife and hotels, and the ease of getting spectator boats, it really was the perfect America's Cup venue."

Bruno Trouble, the French yachtsman whose name became synonymous with Louis Vuitton Challenger Series, told the Herald after Team NZ's 7-1 win in Bermuda he had been hoping for a return of the America's Cup to the city of sails.

Even Jimmy Spithill, the vanquished skipper of Oracle Team USA, has sung the praises of Auckland as a venue.
"I started my America's Cup career in New Zealand, I've spent a lot of time in Auckland ... and let's face it, it's just such a fantastic venue for it, because people are just so into it and so passionate about it," Spithill told Newstalk ZB.

The America's Cup proved the catalyst for rejuvenating the Auckland waterfront. What was once a grubby fishing village - an assault on the eye and the nose - was transformed into a vibrant entertainment precinct, albeit one with far more Irish pubs than is representative of our population.

It energised the city, giving the waterfront back to Aucklanders. It should never have taken the America's Cup to achieve this, but it is a powerful reminder of the legacy hosting major events can create for a city.

In the years since the Auld Mug slipped from Team New Zealand's clutches after their disastrous defence of 2003, other host cities have been unable to replicate that heady atmosphere, particularly over the last two cycles.

Valencia, Spain, completely redeveloped their waterfront with great success, and managed to capture some of the fun and colour of a large multi-challenger event, but left a legacy of debt.

San Francisco had its photogenic bridge and moody Bay. It also only had three challengers, whose team bases were, in some cases, separated by an entire body of water - except for Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa, who shared a pier, because they discovered long ago that sharing is caring. Or, probably more to the point, sharing is sparing (cash). Step outside the village on pier 30 and there was little awareness, or interest, in the event.

Bermuda had its gleaming turquoise waters and that whole exclusive resort vibe going on. But it was too exclusive. Its remote location and limited infrastructure made it difficult for anyone without significant means to get there.
The day Team NZ secured the magic eighth win to claim the America's Cup - a Monday, local time - the event village was relatively sparse with only diehard Kiwi supporters who made the trek over, event staff, and friends and family of rival syndicates in the crowd.

Most of the local Bermudians were back at work, or tending to their estates.

There was also a disconnect between Hamilton, the main hub of the island, and the event village, which was situated on its western tip. Once the sailing had wrapped up for the day, there was no entertainment area in the immediate vicinity for the crowds to shuffle off to. It left visitors with an overwhelming impression that it was all a bit flat.

Thanks to Team NZ's heroics in Bermuda, Auckland now has an opportunity to recreate the (black) magic of events past, but it will take clever planning and bold thinking.

No city can do the America's Cup quite like Auckland does. But no city can get in the way of itself quite like Auckland does.

America's Cup could bring in $1b: MBie

21 November 2017

The America's Cup would give New Zealand's economy a boost of up to $1 billion - and create up to 8300 jobs, according to a new MBie report.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment this morning released its High Level Economic Assessment Evaluation report for the 36th America's Cup.

Its key findings include an estimated benefit of between $600 million and $1b to New Zealand's economy from 2018 through to 2021. MBie estimates hosting the event would also create between 4700 and 8300 jobs.

"The economic evaluation does not capture any of the broader benefits associated with hosting an event of this scale, including showcasing New Zealand to international audiences - and associated reputation impacts - high performance sport outcomes and participation and engagement of New Zealanders that may have 'feel good' effects [such as] increasing national identity and pride," MBie said.

Sectors to reap the benefits included services, manufacturing (mainly around boat building and super yacht refits), tourism, hospitality and accommodation.

The cost-benefit analysis ranged from 1.2 to 1.8.

"This cost-benefit ratio is for the economy as a whole; the costs included relate to all parties including, for example, the Crown, Auckland Council, syndicates, Emirates Team New Zealand, retailers and tourism providers."

The divergence in the estimated benefits reflected different assumptions about the number of syndicates that would compete, how many super yachts would visit and international tourist numbers.

However, MBie said its findings were in line with Treasury guidelines for studies of this kind.

"The study makes no assumptions around location or whether there are any incursions into the harbour or not. It does not, therefore, take account of any loss of value from reducing the available harbour space."

New Zealand net migration rises

22 November 2017

Annual net migration rose to 70,700 in the year to October, from 70,300 in the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.

The figures show 72,100 non-citizens arrived in the year, while 1,400 New Zealanders left.

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years, which made rising immigration a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and is blamed for inflating property markets.

Net migration peaked at 72,400 in the July year.

"Non-New Zealand citizen migrant arrivals continued to drive the high net migration levels," population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

"The fall in annual net migration from the peak in the July 2017 year was mainly caused by an increase in non-New Zealand citizen migrant departures."

The number of net migrants from Australia moved back into negative figures in the year, with 22 more Australians leaving than arriving, compared to 1900 net arrivals a year earlier.

Australia is the only country monitored which had negative net migration to New Zealand in the latest year.

Migration from the UK and South Africa had the biggest increases on a net basis, with UK immigration up 26 per cent to 6600, and South African immigration up 31 per cent to 5000.

There was a 13 per cent increase in work visas granted in the year, to 46,000, while student visa numbers dropped 4 per cent to 24,000 and NZ and Australian citizen arrivals rose 3.4 per cent to 38,000.

New Auckland settlement to rise on northern outskirts

13 November 2017

Infrastructure is being created for a new settlement to be built on Auckland's northern outskirts.

Contracting and development business Fulton Hogan is preparing the site ready for the creation of a new 3500-residential suburb and town centre south-west of Orewa.

Warren Frogley, marketing consultant for the developers, said earthworks were now well under way to create the first and second stages of Auckland's newest suburb, to be called Milldale.

Frogley said work building first homes should start in the next year.

A new town centre is also planned for the master-planned Milldale, with green areas and waterways, he said. Residences around Milldale's centre would be higher density, fanning out further to mid to lower density, Frogley said.

Frogley said Milldale would have natural features which would be enhanced, including as a long stand of Totora trees beside the origins of the Weiti River.

Significant infrastructure improvements have been made in the area to cater for its growing population, he said.
"Looking to the future, expansion is being made to water, power and broadband services. Improvements to roading and public transport are underway, with more planned," he said, citing new industrial, commercial and retail areas.

"The name Milldale derives from the Kauri that was milled from the land in the early 1800's, as far inland as Wainui," Milldale's web site says.

"The development is overlooked by Mt Pleasant to the west, bordered by Wainui Road and Orewa River to the north, and Pine Valley Rd and Weiti River to the south. The land between forms a natural valley, or dale.

A motorway interchange was opened two years ago for traffic to get on and off at Millwater.

Frogley said that would also serve the new Milldale community.

Air New Zealand takes top spot in ratings site awards

3 November 2017

Air New Zealand has been named airline of the year by AirlineRatings.com for the fifth year in a row.

The awards, judged by six editors with over 180 years' industry experience, combines major safety and government audits with 12 key criteria - up from nine last year - that include fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, product offerings and staff relations.

"In our objective analysis Air New Zealand came out No 1 in virtually all of our audit criteria, which is an exceptional performance," said AirlineRatings' editor-in-chief, Geoffrey Thomas.

The airline was being honoured for its record-breaking performance, multi award-winning in-flight innovations, operational safety, environmental leadership and motivation of its staff.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the award was testament to the huge effort from the airline's staff to deliver a world-class Kiwi experience on the ground and in the air.

"It is extremely rewarding to see their hard work recognised by such an experienced panel of aviation judges."
Last month the airline was named top airline in the world by luxury lifestyle and travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler.

New city near Auckland mooted

29 October 2017

A plan to build a new city with housing for 500,000 people on farmland to the south of Auckland has piqued the interest of the new Labour-led government.

The idea of a scale housing development at Paerata, a small settlement immediately to the north of Pukekohe, was presented in a discussion document at an Infrastructure New Zealand conference on Friday.

Pukekohe is known as the bread basket area of the Auckland region with its market gardening on rich volcanic soil.
New houses would be built near an existing rail connection, which would be electrified all the way to Auckland's CBD and have two lines, one for passenger trains and one for freight, Infrastructure New Zealand chief executive Stephen Selwood said.

Prefabricated housing could be used, he said.

He said the plan was a good fit with Labour's Kiwibuild policy, which seeks to build more affordable housing, and Labour's Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford was aware of it.

On Sunday Mr Twyford appeared open to the concept, tweeting let's plan for growth, building around transport infrastructure.

Mr Selwood told NZ Newswire the development would be so large it would be attractive to international developers who currently did not look at New Zealand.

The city could eventually extend northwest to Karaka and across the Pahurehure Inlet to Weymouth.

Mr Selwood said the concept had been floated by unsuccessful mayoral candidate John Palino and also drew from developments like Springfield, southwest of Brisbane.

"We have another million people expected to be in Auckland by circa 2050, " he said.

That was going to clog the city up.

The plan envisages initially about 30,000 houses. By 2050, there would be tens of thousands of homes serving a population of 500,000 people within 30 minutes of central Auckland.

He said some of the farmland was currently not zoned for residential and some was.

"The value of the land unzoned is about a tenth of the value of the land that is zoned. There is a real opportunity here for government, council and the existing landowners to partner," he said.

The city would be a mixed development with high and medium density housing. Some of the land had views of Manukau Harbour where less dense and higher value housing could be built.

The land is south of the flight path of Auckland Airport. Long term a harbour crossing from Karaka to Weymouth could open a new corridor to the airport.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff will travel to Wellington next week to meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Mr Twyford.

New Zealanders continue to return home in strong numbers from Australia

18 October 2017

For decades, Kiwis have been moving across the ditch in search for a better life in Australia. Now they're coming back, news.com.au reports.

A resurgent and more confident New Zealand continues to lure expatriates home in strong numbers as interest in the Australian economy begins to wane.

REFORMING ECONOMY AND OPTIMISM ABOUND

Queensland-based New Zealand citizen, Rachel Ellison and her husband have entertained the idea of a return home.
"New Zealand's economy is doing quite well and the optimism from friends and family at home is hard to ignore" she said.

"The country has been able to reform its tax system and the education system in New Zealand is one I would like for my daughter."

Ms Ellison highlighted the country's unitary government also stood out next to the federation style of government in Australia.

Rachel Ellison, a New Zealander, lives in Queensland but is thinking returning home with her husband and daughter
In more recent years New Zealand has become a magnet not just for returning citizens but for people all over the world.

In 2016, New Zealand recorded a net gain of 70,000 migrants and long term arrivals.

Interestingly, Australian citizens are migrating to New Zealand in larger numbers as well, with a record 3500 people moving across the Tasman last year, compared to 1600 in 2006.

ANZ economist Philip Borkin notes the number of New Zealanders returning to live effectively offset departing residents seeking to travel or work offshore; a big improvement from five years ago where the country was losing 30,000 citizens annually.

"New Zealand has in the last 10 years undertaken a pragmatic reform program against a backdrop of political stability which has seen the country's labour market participation rate now testing record highs," he said.

BECOMING COMPLACENT?

Australia's political gridlock, high housing costs and flat wage growth have also assisted the flight of the Kiwi.

New Zealand in the last decade has undertaken sweeping economic reforms including raising the country's goods and services tax while slashing personal and income tax rates.

New Zealand is rated as the 10th most desirable place to work and live according to Expat Insider Survey, while Australia has fallen to 34th on the same list.

In terms of returning residents and migrants with strong skills sets, the value placed on overseas experience and the knowledge gains that come with that is also well received.

This stands in stark contrast to Australia which places a greater value on local experience.

recently returned to Australia after almost 15 years in Hong Kong and Singapore, said that from a professional standpoint New Zealand had a lot to offer.

"On the surface it appears New Zealand places a greater premium on international experience than Australia does and its economy is benefiting from skilled migration and a more light-handed tax environment," he said.

New innovation hub in Auckland hopes to attract Kiwis from all over the country to tech sector

7 October 2017

The race is on to make Auckland a tech power-city and a new innovation precinct was unveiled yesterday in a step towards making that possible.

A new arm of Auckland's innovation precinct opened today in an effort to grow the 47,000 people in the city already working in the tech industry.

It was a first look at virtual hospital procedures including MRIs and X-rays which are all being trialled in an Auckland Hospital.

Revealed was the latest model of a virtual baby with a theoretical brain and central nervous system.

With already 47,000 people working in Auckland's tech industry, the expansion hopes to make it the technology epic centre of the Asia-pacific.

The new precinct is expected to inject close to 400 million into Auckland's economy by 2024.

Jacinda Ardern, aged 37, is New Zealand's prime minister

19 October 2017

Jacinda Ardern, the charismatic leader of New Zealand's Labour Party and a former advisor to Tony Blair, will become the country's youngest prime minister.

In more than 150 years after the maverick head of a small anti-immigration party praised her "extraordinary talent" and announced his bombshell decision to back her.

Mr Peters, a 72-year-old eccentric populist, had effectively left the nation in limbo during weeks of negotiations following the September 23 election but admitted that he only made his decision some 15 minutes before revealing it.

Appearing jubilant after the dramatic announcement by Mr Peters, Ms Ardern pledged to "build a fairer, better New Zealand".

Ms Ardern took over the party leadership - becoming its youngest-ever leader - less than two months before the election in September and admitted it was "the worst job in the world".

But she oversaw a remarkable turnaround in Labour's fortunes as her charismatic, relaxed demeanour captured the nation's attention in a phenomenon that became known as "Jacindamania".

Her sudden rise was likened to that of other youthful leaders such as Canada's Justin Trudeau and France's Emmanuel Macron.

Ms Ardern, who was raised as a Mormon but abandoned the faith due to its stance on homosexuality, earned a degree in communications before working as a policy advisor to Mr Blair and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark.

Ms Ardern is set to replace Bill English, the head of the ruling conservative National party, who took over as prime minister following the resignation last December of John Key, a popular leader who won three elections.

But the National party fell short of a majority at the election and won just 56 seats in the 120-member parliament. Labour won 46, NZ First won nine and the Greens won eight.

With the expected support of the Greens and NZ First, Ms Ardern's Labour party will be able to form a ruling majority. She has promised to address child poverty, housing affordability and decriminalise abortion.

New vehicle rise 4.5% in September

New Zealand new vehicles sales rose 4.5% in September to hit a new high for the month, eschewing expectations for a slowdown during the election.

Some 15,000 new vehicles were registered in the same month last year and the highest ever level recorded for a September month, according to the Motor Industry Association.

Passenger car and SUV registrations advanced 1.6% to close to 5000, while commercial vehicles registrations jumped 11 percent to nearly 5000, with both segments reaching their highest lever level for a September month.

New data out on Auckland: Economy, employment, migration strong

3 October 2017

New data shows how Auckland's economic growth, retail spending and migrant arrival numbers are outstripping the rest of New Zealand.

Employment is rising and migration is continuing to run so strong that Auckland got slightly more people than the entire rest of New Zealand in the past year.

The Auckland Economic Update for October, issued by Auckland Council research and evaluation unit analyst Ross Wilson, gave new information on how fast the city's economy is growing.

"In Auckland, real GDP for the year ended June 2017 was 3.4 per cent higher than for the year ended June 2016. In the rest of New Zealand, the annual growth was 2.5 per cent," Wilson's report said.

Auckland is spending up large. Real retail sales for the year ended June 2017 are up 4.8 per cent higher than for the year ended June 2016. The rest of New Zealand's annual growth was 3.8 per cent, data showed.

The city continues to be a migrant magnet, attracting 36,796 for the year ended August 2017, compared to 35,276 for the rest of the country, according to the report.

"In Auckland, real GDP for the year ended June 2017 was 3.4 per cent higher than for the year ended June 2016; in the rest of New Zealand, the annual growth was 2.5 per cent," Wilson's data showed.

Job growth is running strong throughout the city.

"In Auckland, the number of people employed in the quarter (not year) ended June 2017 was 4.2 per cent higher than in the June 2016 quarter. The unemployment rate in Auckland in the quarter ended June 2017 was 4.5 per cent," the data showed.

The total number of houses sold in the year to August was 23,161 and the city had a median city sale price of $840,000.

"The total number of new dwellings consented in the year ended August 2017 was 10,265. The real value of new non-residential buildings consented in Auckland in the year ended August 2017 was $1.831 million," Wilson's report said.

Tourists spent 7.4 million guest nights in Auckland

Residential consents hit 13 year high in August driven by Auckland

30 September 2017

New Zealand's monthly residential building consents rose to a 13 - year high in August with more apartments and retirement village units in Auckland driving gains.

Some 3166 new houses, apartments, townhouses, retirement village units and flats were consented in August, up 10% from earlier Statistics New Zealand said in a statement. Of that total, 2025 houses were consented, up 0.5 percent from August 2016, while consents for apartments rose 65 percent to 384 and consents for townhouses, flats and units dropped 10 percent.

Retirement village unit consents more than tripled in the month.

Auckland accounted for 1184 of the new homes consented in the month and 346 or the 384 apartments consented along with 124 of the 295 retirement village units.

Kaikoura rail rebuild largest since WWII

16 September 2017

The first freight train to travel on the main north line since the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016, has successfully completed its journey into Christchurch.

The rebuild, which has been the largest rebuild of rail since World War 2, saw the first train since the earthquake 10 months ago, roll into Christchurch on Friday.

KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy says that before the earthquake, KiwiRail was carrying one million tonnes of freight on the line for customers per year.

After the quake, freight has had to be moved south by road, which has put pressure on the inland route.
"It's meant additional costs for freight forwarding companies and it hasn't been easy for truck drivers," Mr Reidy said.

"While our initial services on the line will be low frequency and take place at night, to allow rebuild work to continue during the day, we estimate they will help take 2000 trucks a month off the inland route.

"Each tonne of freight carried by rail also represents 66 per cent fewer carbon emissions than when carried by road.

"I want to thank our people who have put in long hours and spent time away from their families to get us to this point today."

Biggest hotel development boom in NZ history

A hotel expert said investors are taking advantage of the tourism explosion that started in 2013.

Auckland is leading the way in the biggest hotel development boom in New Zealand's history, with nine projects under construction, totalling about 1400 guest rooms.

Colliers International hotels director Dean Humphries says there are also at least 30 pipeline projects in the early planning/ design and feasibility stages. If they go ahead it will give Auckland additional 3500 hotel rooms.

"This level of hotel development activity is unprecedented in the New Zealand context and is a reflection of the exceptional growth in hotel trading conditions over the past four years," he says.

"It is an exciting time in the industry - we have never seen this level of activity ever."

The latest market indicators to the year ended June show Auckland reached an average occupancy rate of 87% at an average room rate of $200.

Auckland's capacity is being strained to build additional new hotels over the next few years because the construction resources are being tied up with the significant infrastructural and private sector developments such as the International Convention Centre, City Rail Link and Precinct Properties' Commercial Bay development"

It is also evident there is also now a significant investment interest to develop the unfulfilled demand to cater for medium priced hotels.

Transport hubs the new frontier for developers

Transport authorities, retailers and property developers are set to unlock the commercial power of previously dormant transport hubs.

Auckland Transport (AT) anages more than 300,000 trips a day on its rail, ferry and bus net-work and that is expected to increase. The network comprises $16.5 billion of mainly road and public transport assets. The train stations, bus interchanges and ferry ports represent substantial value to be unlocked.

Part of the strategy is to lease as much terminal space as possible to retailers for grab-and-go coffee and food outlets, ATMs, cafes, restaurants and other services, such as drycleaners etc.

The central city transport hub, which is home to Britomart rail station and has nearby a major bus interchange, the ferry and cruise ship terminals and the soon to be up-and-running City Rail Link, is undoubtedly the focal point of commercial development in Auckland. One of the reasons Precinct Properties chose to build its $680 million Commercial Bay office and retail project on Quay Street was the waterfront site's transport options. The listed property company worked with AT and Auckland Council early onto achieve a cohesive and co-ordinated development.

Integrated transport

Another listed property company, Kiwi Property, is working with the council on plans for its holdings in the South Auckland suburb of Drury.

It has bought two land parcels, totaling 42.7ha, for $39.8 million, and secured agreements to acquire a further 8.6ha. The three greenfield sites are dose to the junction of the Southern Motorway, Great South Rd and the. North Island main trunk railway line, about 35km south of Auckland's CBD.

Kiwi Property chief executive Chris Gudgeon says the company plan is to develop a town centre, to complement the exist-big Drury town centre.

"We will work with the council and infrastructure providers to secure a town centre zoning providing for commercial and retail uses integrated with high, medium and low-density housing, all within walking distance of an integrated public transport node."

Auckland's $3.4 billion City Rail (CRL) tunnel link work begins

Work has begun on Auckland's $3.4 billion City Rail Link cut and cover tunnels.

The excavation involves digging 18 metres - about five storeys - at the deepest (southern) point using long-reach excavators above ground and, smaller machinery inside the reinforced trench.

This represents about 10% of the 3.45km length of the twin-tunnel underground rail link.

The tunnels will then be constructed with a cast concrete floor, walls and roof before the trench is backfilled.

The work will be undertaken progressively from Windham St at the southern end to Customs Street at the northern end.

Excavation at the southern end is expected to be completed by October this year and the northern end by the middle of next year.

Construction o f the tunnel box is expected to start late this year and be completed by late 2018.

CRL project director Chris Meale says the start of bulk excavation is another milestone for the project "This work marks a significant point in the construction process as we will start to see the tunnels taking shape," he says.

"It will be exciting and challenging work from an engineering perspective, as we build rail tunnels below groundwater level while maintaining surface level access to Albert St for foot and vehicle traffic.

Cut and cover construction is being used at each end of the CBL tunnels - between Britomart Station and the future Aotea Station and, later where it connects to the western line at Mt Eden.

Between Aotea and Mt Eden stations, the tunnels will be between 13 and 42 metres below ground.

The contract for the stations and bored tunnels is expected to be awarded late next year.

By spring 2019,this section of Albert St will be reinstated with a new road surface, bus lanes, widened footpaths and Street furniture.

The city rail link is jointly funded by the government and Auckland Council and is expected to be completed in 2023-24. Their joint venture company, City Rail Link Ltd took over the project on July 1.

The New Zealand economy in 2016

The New Zealand economy grew by 2.5% over the year to March 2016, following rapid growth of 3.4% the previous year.

Rental, hiring and Real Estate Services was the biggest contributor to growth, with value-added lifting 4.4%. The sector has benefited not only from higher levels of property sales, but population growth and better conditions for businesses have also pushed up property and machinery rentals. In a similar vein, GDP for the construction sector rose 3.6% lift over the March 2016 year.

A range of service-based industries experienced strong growth over the past year. An expanding population, coupled with better job prospects, pushed up value-added by retail trade by 5.6%. Professional, scientific and technical services (3.0%) and finance and insurance series (3.1%) also experienced rapid growth.

Another record-breaking year for domestic and international visitor spending saw GDP for accommodation and food services increase 5.2%.

Valued-added from agriculture, forestry and fishing climbed 2.8%, despite challenging conditions for dairy farmers. The standout performer in the primary sector was agriculture and fruit growing (6.8%), while sheep, beef cattle and grain farming (3.6%) also grew strongly. Some of this additional activity flowed through to rural contractors, with value-added from agricultural support services and hunting climbing 7.5%.

How fast has Auckland's economy grown?

This section measures economic performance in Auckland during the year to March 2016 and previous years. All GDP estimates are measured in constant 2010 prices.

  • GDP in Auckland measured $83,848m in the year to March 2016, up 3.5% from a year earlier. New Zealand's GDP increased by 2.5% over the same period.
  • Economic growth in Auckland averaged 2.2%pa over the last 10 years compared with an average of 1.8%pa in the national economy.
  • Growth in Auckland reached a high of 5.5% in 2003 and a low of -2.5% in 2009.
  • Auckland accounted for 37.5% of national GDP in 2016.

Auckland's train network hit 20 million trips last year

8 September 2017

It was a figure which wasn't expected to be reached for another 3 years.

Passenger numbers have steadily increased 20 per cent each year.

Growth had to come at such an unexpectantly high rate that Auckland Council needed to grant $207 million towards purchasing 17 new trains in order to meet the demand.

Forecasts from a joint Auckland Transport (AT) and Kiwirail plan are predicting rail patronage to drastically increase over the coming 30 years, with an expected 30 years by 2025 and hitting 60 million by 2045.

The Auckland Rail Development Programme (ARDP) outlined the infrastructure required to manage this high level demand.

ARDP's key initiatives include a completed central rail link, new park and ride facilities, and station enhancements at Newmarket, electrifying the Pukekohe to Papakura line and adding additional services from West to East.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said while 2045 was a while off, the city needed plans to prepare for the time when Auckland's population would reach 2 million.

Goff said we need light rail particularly from the city centre to the airport and right around the city.

NZ wine pops export cork

7 September 2017

The export value of New Zealand wine has hit a record high of 1.66 billion, making it the country's fifth-largest export.

New Zealand Winegrower's annual report showed that the value of wine exports had increased by 6 per cent in the 12 months to June 30.

Exports to US led the growth; passing $5-00 million in value for the first time and making Kiwi wine the third most valuable wine import into that country, behind France and Italy.

"With diversified markets and a strong upward trajectory, the industry is in good shape to achieve $2 billion of exports by 2020" said New Zealand.

Winegrowers chairman Steve Green "Our premium reputation remains the greatest collective asset fo5r New Zealand wine, and underlies our commands in global trade".

New Zealand's wine exports achieved an additional layer of protection this year with the introduction of official geographical indication legislation. The geographical Indications (Wine and Spirit) Registration Act first passed in 2006 allows wine regions to register with the Intellectual Property Office New Zealand and ensures wine of that area.

Building work on the rise

5 September 2017

The value of New Zealand building work rose in the June quarter with both non-residential and residential activities up.

The seasonally adjusted value of total building work rose 0.9 per cent in the three months ended June 30.

Residential work rose 1 per cent while non-residential work increased a seasonally adjusted 0.6 per cent in the quarter.

Non-residential building activity was down 0.7 per cent and residential activity shrank 0.4 per cent from the March quarter.

The actual value of all building work was $5.16 billion, up 4.9 per cent on the year.

Of that, the value of residential building work was $3.36b, up 7.6 per cent on the year while the actual value of non-residential building work was $1.8b, up 0.2 per cent on the year.

The value of all building work in Auckland was $1.95b, up 6.8 per cent on the year.

New Zealand beat England in 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup

29 August 2017

Soccer mad England turned on an all time viewing record as their women's rugby team was beaten by New Zealand in the final of the rugby world cup.

New Zealand's Black Ferns proved a hit on English TV, with their World Cup final on Sunday morning (NZT) smashing viewership records.

Of course, it helped that they were playing the heavily favoured and defending champion home team.

The keenly contested encounter - a 41-32 triumph for the Kiwi women - was watched by 2.6 million people at its peak on ITV1 and the programme averaged 2 million viewers, almost twice the number of a typical Premier League game on satellite channels Sky Sports and BT Sport.

While the result may not have gone their way, fans hailed the spectacle as a "fantastic game - supreme athletes" on social media.

Special note : New Zealand now are world champions with both their mens and womens teams.

Tourism boom keeping Air NZ, Auckland Airport in clover

24 August 2017

New Zealand's ongoing tourism boom is showing no sign of letting up and companies at the forefront such as Auckland International Airport and Air New Zealand are keen to keep riding the wave.

"The reality is that tourism has become our biggest industry," Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon told BusinessDesk. "It's 10 percent of our GDP, it's 12 percent our workforce, 17 percent of GST receipts and 21 percent of total export income. It's a really important industry for New Zealand and New Zealanders and all the country is involved in tourism in my view."

Auckland Airport CEO Adrian Littlewood told a conference call of investors that he remains confident in New Zealand's tourism prospects, with recent numbers indicating 120 million people in the world are actively considering a visit here. The airport, which is New Zealand's busiest gateway, recently embarked on a $1.9 billion infrastructure investment programme that includes a new runway by 2028 in order to cope with visitor growth.

Government figures show a record 1.9 million people arrived in New Zealand for holidays in the 12 months ended July 31. The number has almost doubled since 2002 when the number of holidaymakers reached 1 million for the first time.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment forecast total international visitor arrivals will hit 4.9 million in 2023, led by Australian and Chinese visitors. Total international visitor expenditure is tipped to increase to $15.3 billion in 2023 from $10.3 billion in the year ended June 2017.

Against that backdrop, there have been some concerns about capacity constraints, in particular during peak season times.

Luxon said about 96 percent of surveyed visitors say they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with their time here. Air New Zealand is focusing on trying to smooth out the inflows so visitors are spread more evenly through the whole year and is also working hard with local authorities to build new regional tourist attractions.

"We want to make sure they get to all regions of New Zealand," he said. The MBIE stats show lion's share of the regional tourism spend was in Auckland in the year ended June 30, accounting for 29 percent of total spending (both domestic and international) while Christchurch, Queenstown, and Wellington each made up 8 percent.
Air New Zealand also wants to attract higher-value visitors.

"We want to have higher spending, wealthier tourists, consuming richer, more premium experiences, and making sure this is a high-value industry," he said. There's room to add another $9 billion in the sector. Tourism generated $34.7 billion in the year ended March, according to the latest data from MBIE.

Auckland Airport's Littlewood said the move into higher value is already starting to happen with a "shift in Chinese passengers with increasing numbers coming from the free and independent travel category rather than coming here on group tours."

"We are working hard on tier 3 and 4 Chinese cities," Littlewood said. "That market is seeing New Zealand as a destination, there has been a shift away from attractions and shopping based experiences to cultural or natural beauty which is a positive."

Luxon said the 1,600 new hotel rooms coming on stream in the near future and the government's $100 million tourism infrastructure fund - much of which will be used to build toilets and car parks and to bolster programs crowded visitor hotspots - along with the $76 million investment in the Department of Conservation, will help strengthen the sector.

"The upshot and potential for New Zealand are really quite exciting still," he said. "I am very optimistic about tourism and New Zealand has a lot of what the world wants."

Record population growth of 100,000

22 August 2017

New Zealand's population has grown by more than 100,000 over the past year.

The record growth in the year to July brings the population to 4.79 million, Stats NZ said on Monday.

The bulk of the increase was people who were migrating (72,300), while births made up 28,100 new Kiwis.

While most migrants were arriving on short-term work and student visas, many of them extended their stay, adding to the population figures, population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

Half of the total increase was made up of people aged between 15 and 39.

This age group now made up 34 per cent of New Zealand's population, down from 41 per cent in the mid-1980s.

Meanwhile, the number of people aged over 65 had increased by more than 25,000 in the last year, with more than 30,000 people now aged 90 or older, Stats NZ said.

It's estimated the number of over-90s will reach 50,000 by the early 2030s.

NZ migration hits record in July despite more Kiwis leaving

21 August 2017

New Zealand annual net migration rose to a record in July, driven by foreign immigrants, with the biggest groups coming from Australia, the UK and China.

Annual net migration reached 72,400 in the year to July, up 3400 on the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Three-quarters of the record 132,100 migrant arrivals were non-New Zealand citizens, with 1100 more New Zealanders leaving the country than returning in the latest year.

There has been a net migration gain of 72,400 non-New Zealand citizens in the past year to July.

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years,with rising immigration a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and has been blamed for inflating property markets.

Migration from the UK had the biggest increases on a net basis, up 53 per cent to 6750, with net South African migration also up 50 per cent to 4862.

There was a 15.3 per cent increase in work visas granted in the year, to 45,397, while student visas dropped 9.9 per cent to 24,132 and NZ and Australian citizen arrivals rose 6.3 per cent to 38,740.

$700m convention centre project and hotel emerges from ground

10 August 2017

After almost two years of site and foundation works, building structures at the $700 million NZ International Convention Centre are rising and subterranean car parking levels and the basement of a new 300-room hotel are being completed.

Graeme Stephens, SkyCity chief executive, yesterday expressed satisfaction with Fletcher Construction's progress., despite announcing last month that it was behind the original schedule.

"It gets exciting from now," Stephens said yesterday of the site between Hobson St, Nelson St, Victoria St West and Wellesley St.

"I find construction sites painfully slow but when you get out of the ground... now, we see the structures emerging and it will go quickly. You will be able to see change every couple of weeks."

Five Fletcher Construction tower cranes are on the job, including one able to lift the heaviest load in New Zealand.

SkyCity provided a new image of the site in its annual report, also out yesterday with its result for the June 30, 2017 year.

Work started on the site before Christmas 2015, preparing for the convention centre, five-star hotel and dining/shopping lane linking Nelson St to Hobson St.

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