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Auckland and New Zealand news:
The Government's books are in healthy shape with a $5.5
10 October 2018
Speaking to reporters at the release of the Government's
June 2018 financial statements, Finance Minister Grant Robertson
stressed the importance of making sure New Zealand is prepared
for a "rainy day".
"Economists have been warning about growing risks in
the international economy, particularly due to rising trade
protectionism, which we need to be well-placed to face in
case this flows through to the New Zealand economy."
The books show the Government has a lot of headroom to deal
with any potential economic shocks.
Its surplus is $5.5 billion - that's $2.4 billion ahead of
A number of factors contributed to the surplus being so far
ahead of expectations, Robertson said. For example, Government
spending was 1.4 per cent below forecasts as of June 2018
because of "timing issues," according to the Treasury.
This was largely a result of things like lower than expected
spending across the education sector and less than had been
forecast being spent on the year-end family tax credit claims.
There was also "one off factors," Treasury said,
such as "timing delays" with Government initiatives
- such spending on the Provincial Growth Fund and social housing
expenses - being pushed out to the 2018/19 year.
Robertson said these factors will "reverse out"
over the next financial year.
Notably, the Government has met its Budget Reasonability
Rules four years early.
The self-imposed rules state the Coalition Government would
keep debt at below 20 per cent of GDP and to keep spending
below 30 per cent of GDP by 2022.
Corporate tax revenue was up, due to profits for both large
and small businesses being higher than the Treasury had forecast
in Budget 2018.
Mega container cranes arrive in Auckland to keep up with
city's rapid growth
9 October 2018
Three mega-cranes with a price tag of $60 million, this morning
sailed in on a ship into Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. The
cranes are the biggest in Australasia and weigh 2,100 tonnes
Each one is 82.3 metres tall - almost 20m taller than Auckland's
Built in Shanghai, the giant cranes, towering high above
spectactors' heads as it glided into dock at about 830am,
had been at sea for four weeks.
The trip was meant to be speedier but faced delays along
the way due to bad weather.
Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson told the Herald the container
cranes were truly a game changer.
"These three container cranes are all about meeting
the demands of Auckland."
"They can be remotely operated [and] in a first in the
world, they can lift containers out of the hold of a ship
at different heights," he said.
Each crane can lift four containers at once, weighing up
to 130 tonnes - which is considered to be a New Zealand first.
Gibson said it was quite an investment, costing $60 million
in total, but was "much needed".
Operations manager John Miller said they'd built a new wharf
that could take some of the largest cranes in Australasia.
"That allows us to turn the ships around quicker, regardless
of the tide and the amount of cargo they put on."
It will take a week to get the cranes off the ship it came
on, and a further five to six months before they can begin
Hollywood comes to Auckland - Auckland film studios booked
9 October 2018
Located in West Auckland, South Pacific Films is renting
out one of its studios for filming a US TV series The Wilds
and another for a Netflix adaption of 2014 Kiwi film The
Ateed Screen Auckland manager, Michael Brook said permits
for film on location doubled in Auckland last week, while
US dominated, he described a diversification of clients from
China and the UK.
An example was the Netflix production of The Letter for
the King being filmed at Auckland Film Studios the Amazon
Studio's TV version is being shot at an alternative location
outside of Auckland.
Auckland Film Studios is also a base for the mammoth task
of filming James Cameron's Avatar 2 and 3 sequels.
Kumeu Film Studios in West Auckland is shooting the live
action remake of the animated Disney film Mulan.
Studio West also in Auckland is fully booked out until mid
July 2019, filming the modern incarnation of US kids' show
A BBC adaption of the Kiwi Man Booker Prize winning novel
The Luminaries will also have its cast announced in
the coming weeks, and is set to be shot throughout New Zealand.
A joint German-NZ funded drama series The Gulf and
and a joint Danish-NZ drama series Straight Forward
are two Screentime NZ/Lippy productions.
The German network wants a show that looks and feels exotic,
so it's set in New Zealand and all the cast are New Zealanders.
Chief executive Philly De Lacey, Auckland production company
Screentime NZ said US networks were now more open minded about
what their audiences were willing to consume. Whereas now
you go in and if it's a good idea, they don't mind it's got
a New Zealand feel. In fact there are now some networks that
don't want US content, they want foreign content".
"Ten years ago if I went into the US and pitched a drama
series, they'd ask are Americans going to like this if it
is not about America?"
New Year message from our local Member of Parliament - Simon
9 September 2018
When we consider the state of the world, it is sometimes
easy to become disheartened. It can be tempting to dismiss
the troubles around us as too large to be solved by any one
person. However, there is, in Rosh Hashanah, a guide to resolving
humanity's most enduring problems.
Chairman Stan Rose (left) with Simon O'Connor
As you know, the shofar calls people to contemplate their
lives, to recognise their faults, and to strive to better
themselves. It is all too easy for us to become fixated on
our daily routines and to forget these more challenging re?ections.
Of course, it is precisely because these reflections are so
challenging that they are so valuable.
l believe that the path to a better world begins with each
of us recognising that no one is perfect and that we share
the potential to improve the world by contributing our own
self-improvement. If all people were encouraged to contemplate
their shortcomings and to strive towards greater personal
growth, humanity itself would more closely approach its full
The most remarkable element of this truth is that it does
not require universal acceptance to be effective. Each of
us is capable of making the world a tiny bit better and, as
such, each of us is responsible for making that improvement.
Perfection is an unattainable goal, but the pursuit of it
is a defining feature of the human spirit. Though I am not
Jewish, I find that many aspects of Rosh Hashanah speak to
the better parts of each of us and through us to the best
elements of humanity.
May this New Year be a sweet one full of health and happiness
for you and your families.
Member of Parliament for Tamaki
Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
Annual LIMMUD festival
One of the features of Jewish life in New Zealand is the annual
LIMMUD, a festival of Jewish Learning. This takes place in Auckland,
is volunteer run, and attracts around 300 people over a weekend.
Most attendees come from Auckland, with the balance coming from
smaller centres such as Hamilton, Wellington and Whanganui.
LIMMUD presents some 50 - 70 sessions over 1.5 days, attracting
a range of international and domestic presenters, speaking
on a wide range of topics from "Art and the Talmud"
to "Understanding Middle Eastern Conflict".
Children are cared for at onsite classes, and there is a
shuk where you can buy Jewish related books, art and items.
Kosher food is provided at lunches.
LIMMUD provides a space where a range of Jews can gather
to schmooze, learn, and eat in a warm supportive environment.
It's the one time of the year where Jewish identity and community
in NZ is affirmed and strengthened.
If you would like to explore this further check out the LIMMUD
website at limmud.org.nz.
New Zealand's net migration gain dips to three-year low
21 September 2018
New Zealand's net migration gain continues to fall from a
peak in 2017 but remains high.
New Zealand's annual net migration gain has fallen again
- continuing a downward trend, albeit at a gentle pace.
The annual inflow of people into the country has now fallen
from a peak of 72,400 in 2017 to 63,280 now. Migrant arrivals
were 129,100 and migrant departures were 65,800 for the latest
"The number of migrant arrivals in August was only slightly
lower than in August 2017, so it was the increase in the number
of departures that led to the fall in net migration"
said Statistics NZ population insights senior manager Brooke
Westpac's Ranchhod noted another factor weighing on migration
"is departures of non-New Zealand citizens". Longer
term he said he expected net migration would continue to gently
ease over the next few years.
Paranoid Silicon Valley magnates pour millions into New
Zealand doomsday bunkers
12 September 2018
In recent months, two 150 tonne survival bunkers journeyed
by land and sea from a Texas warehouse to the shores of New
Zealand, where they're buried 11 feet underground.
"Seven Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have purchased bunkers
from Rising S Co. and planted them in New Zealand in the past
two years", said Gary Lynch, the manufacturer's general
manager. "At the first sign of an apocalypse - nuclear
war, a killer germ, a French Revolution-style uprising targeting
the 1 per cent - the Californians plan to hop on a private
jet and hunker down", he said.
"New Zealand is an enemy of no one," Lynch said
in an interview from his office in Murchison, Texas, southeast
"It's not a nuclear target. It's not a target for war.
It's a place where people seek refuge."
The island nation, clinging to the southern part of the globe
2,500 miles off Australia's coast, has 5.7 million people
and six times as many sheep. It has a reputation for natural
beauty, easy networking, low-key politicians who bike to work,
and rental prices half those of the San Francisco Bay Area.
That makes it an increasingly popular destination not only
for those fretting about impending dystopia but for tech entrepreneurs
seeking incubators for nurturing startups.
"It's become one of the places for people in Silicon
Valley, mostly because it's not like Silicon Valley at all,"
said Reggie Luedtke, an American biomedical engineer who's
moving to New Zealand in October for the Sir Edmund Hillary
Fellowship, a program created to lure tech innovators.
Luedtke, 37, said people in California have asked him if
he's relocating as part of a doomsday contingency plan, because
"that's what the country is known for."
Such notoriety has made New Zealand's isolation, once deemed
an economic handicap, one of its biggest assets. The nation
allows emigres to essentially buy residency through investor
visas, and rich Americans have poured a fortune into the country,
often by acquiring palatial estates.
Billionaire hedge-fund honcho Julian Robertson owns a lodge
overlooking Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, the South Island's
luxury resort destination. Fidelity National Financial Inc.
Chairman Bill Foley has a homestead in the Wairarapa region,
north of Wellington, and Titanic director James Cameron bought
a mansion nearby at Lake Pounui.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tour of New Zealand confirmed
10 September 2018
Kensington Palace has confirmed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, will visit New Zealand later
The Royals will arrive in Wellington and visit Abel Tasman
National Park, Auckland and Rotorua between October 28 and
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the announcement.
"It's wonderful news that the Duke and Duchess are coming
to New Zealand as part of their first major tour outside the
United Kingdom. I know they will receive a very warm Kiwi
welcome wherever they go," Ardern said.
"I hope many New Zealanders will have the opportunity
to see the Duke and Duchess as they visit some of our beautiful
provinces and national parks, and experience our hospitality."
The pair got married earlier this year in May and the New
Zealand visit will be a part of their first major tour outside
the United Kingdom.
Both have visited the country separately in the past - Meghan
travelled around the country in 2015 and Harry has been here
previously on Royal duties.
Prince Harry visited the country in 2015, his Royal Highness
undertook an official Royal tour in May following an invitation
from the Government.
Revealed for Auckland's newest proposed skyscraper
6 September 2018
A shortlist of five designs has been revealed for a high-rise
that will be built at 65 Federal Street - a site close to
the Sky Tower in the Auckland central businesss district.
The designs were created by London-based architects Zaha
Hadid, locals Warren and Mahoney, and international firms
Woods Bagot, Cox Architecture, and Elenberg Fraser as part
of an international design competition run by Melbourne-based
property development company, ICD Property.
The architects each created two designs for the competition,
with the first design following current city planning rules
and the second showcasing what can be built with more liberal
planning parameters. The latter are pictured. ICD could not
immediately supply images of the "within planning rules"
The judges are Graeme Scott from ASC Architects, NZIA fellow
Julie Stout, ICD director Alice Smith and Greenstone Group
MD Phil Eaton.
The winning design will be announced in October by ICD.
The total budget for the development is expected to be around
$200 million, a rep for ICD says.
It is expected to be completed by 2022.
Migration - End July last year to this year
24 August 2018
It is now a year since the net inflow to the year ended July
showing the net gain of permanent migrants of 63,800 people.
The average over the past 20 years has been only 23,200.
There is a drying up of the net flow of people from New Zealand
to Australia and an increase in net immigration from the rest
of the world.
Over the past four years the net inflow of migrants from
the rest of the world (excluding Australia) averaged 66,100
a year, up from an average 39,700 over the four years before
In the year ended July, the net loss of people to Australia
was 1000, a turnaround from net gains of 500 the year before
and 1800 the year before that. But it is still a meagre and
Australia's unemployment rate is 5.3 per cent compared with
New Zealand's 4.5 per cent, and a Australian labour force
participation rate of 65.5 per cent there versus 70.1 per
So the gravitational pull of Australia may prove weaker in
the near-term future than in the past.
In the latest year, 46,500 permanent and long-term arrivals
were on work visas, up 2.5 per cent on the year before.
People in New Zealand on temporary visas as of June last year
saw 152,400 people here on work visas represented a 16 per
cent increase on a year earlier. It has increased at a compound
annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent between 2010 and 2017.
Of the 152,000, 36,700 - about one in four - were in the
essential skills category, up 17 per cent on the year.
Auckland's rapid growth according to Auckland Council's
16 August 2018
Auckland's population was 1,650,000 as at June 2017, 43,000
thousand new residents for the year.
GDP growth is healthy, construction is surging as the city
builds thousands of new homes and retail trade growth remains
well above inflation, according to the Auckland Tourism, Events
and Economic Development growth monitor and index for 2018.
"Recent years have seen enviable growth in population
and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as the rest of the world
and returning Kiwis have come to appreciate what Auckland
has to offer and have made the city their home." The
population may hit 2,500,00 by 2043.
Auckland is New Zealand's largest and most consistent source
of job growth. Around 190,200 jobs were added in the past
five years. Auckland's economy accounted for 38 per cent of
New Zealand's economic output.
Mission Bay $200m face-lift: Big housing and retail redevelopment
planned for popular Auckland beach suburb
12 August 2018
Developers have unveiled their plans to revamp Mission Bay,
to the concern of some locals.
Landmark waterfront buildings will make way for a $200 million,
multi-storey housing and retail development if a bold plan
to change the face of one of Auckland's most cherished beach
suburbs is approved.
Urban Legacy & Partners Limited, known as Urban Partners
and founded under the name Retail Holdings by brothers Haydn
and Mark Staples in 1983, will next week lodge a land use
resource consent application with Auckland Council to demolish
buildings and houses it owns on a 6527sq m block between Tamaki
Drive, Patteson Avenue and Marau Crescent in Mission Bay.
In their place, the company plans to build up to 100 apartments
and townhouses, a 2920sq m hospitality and retail space, up
to 265 basement and ground level car parks and a 955sq m cinema
complex with four or five theatres, all across seven buildings
of varying heights up to seven storeys.
Project director Doug Osborne, who has worked in the property
industry for more than 40 years, said the project would bring
"much needed" improvement to the commercial area
and create a lasting lifestyle legacy for a favourite spot
for Aucklanders and visitors.
Community interests were a priority, he said. "We've
put thought and care into a design that references elements
of the art deco flavour of Mission Bay while providing a mix
of hospitality, modern retail and recreational space for locals
The Apec squeeze: World leaders to take over Auckland
12 August 2018
A tourism leader is warning big events in 2021 will put
strain on Auckland hotels and need to be promoted carefully
to avoid damaging the sector.
The America's Cup will be sailed early in the year and that
November the Apec leaders' meeting will ''take over Auckland''
at a time when planned new hotels may not necessarily be finished.
It is estimated there will be 10,000 delegates and 3000 media
in the city for leaders week - the highlight of the Asia Pacific
Economic Co-operation event.
While the event's organisers are confident the city will
cope, Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts
said that even with if the reported new hotel developments
were finished in time, Auckland would struggle to accommodate
Apec and the usual number of visitors at that time of the
''For the government delegations they're talking about 9000
rooms - it's not far off requiring every possible hotel room
including those which haven't been built yet,'' he said.
There had been consultation on how to meet the demand.
''There are very strong imperatives to get it right because
it would be very embarrassing to not meet a basic requirement
such as having enough rooms for all these delegates.''
US President comes up trumps by signing off Kiwi Act
2 August 2018
United States President Trump has signed legislation that
will make it easier for New Zealanders to trade or invest
in the world's biggest economy.
The knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act or
Kiwi Act allows New Zealanders to apply for E-1 and E-2 trade
and investment visas.
"The Kiwi Act will increase trade and investment between
the United States and New Zealand and will benefit both our
countries" Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said in a statement.
She expects the legislation to be a "big boost"
to New Zealand businesses.
The E-1 and E-2 visas will allow New Zealander nationals
who qualify to enter the US multiple times over a two years
without having to apply for a new visa each time they enter
the US. The visas cover individuals seeking to engage in substantial
trade and investment activities in the US.
Arden said the US is important to New Zealand's interests
and the Act will help develop closer economic ties. She said
officials will now work with the US State Department to ensure
the Act can be implemented as soon as possible so Kiwis begin
applying for visas.
Auckland's inner suburbs could get modern trams as part
of a $10 billion rail package
28 July 2018
Several suburban areas in central Auckland stand to get modern
trams under a new route being considered by transport officials.
The Weekend Herald newspaper revealed that the suburbs of
Pt Chevalier, Grey Lynn, Arch Hill and Karangahape Rd are
on the route being considered by the NZ Transport Agency.
The route is part of a light rail project - the modern day
version of trams - from the city centre to West Auckland.
The option of taking trams off the northwestern motorway
at Pt Chevalier and running them along Great North and Karangahape
Rds is the third big change in as many weeks to a $10 billion
public transport programme of 'Think Big' proportions in Auckland.
A few weeks ago, NZTA chief executive Fergus Gammie said
the city's $6b light rail programme was likely to see trams
from the central city to Westgate extended to Kumeu.
This week, the Government and Auckland Council announced
plans to expand capacity on the $3.4 billion city rail link.
Both projects will add hundreds of millions of dollars to
Auckland changing to thriving city with $14 billion of building
Auckland's skyline would be transformed in the coming years
with a number of significant city shaper towers under construction.
It's going to be a very altered skyline.
In the near future as billions of dollars worth of construction
materialises the form of striking new skyscrapers is progressively
changing the face of the city.
Auckland's current construction boom has attracted $10b worth
of private investment in 7000 residential apartments and 167,000
square metres of commercial office space.
The last major building boom in Auckland was during the mid
1980s but that paled in comparison to today's development.
Just some of the major private developments set to change
Auckland's skyline include Commercial Bay, The Pacifica, Seascape
and One Market Square.
In the first quarter of this year there were 319 cranes operating,
a 14 per cent increase from the end of last year and a 219
per cent increase from 2014.
Building consents in Auckland have almost tripled since 2011,
from 4470 to 11,628 with residential consents the largest
contributor at 10,867. The city is changing dramatically.
Electric trains were moving more people than ever and the
Government's recent $28b proposal to supercharge Auckland's
transport network would be transformational.
Auckland City Rail Link to be upgraded
Artist's impression of Mt Eden station
24 July 2018
The City Rail Link is going to be bigger, and cost more,
because the original projections for use now look inadequate.
As planned, the CRL's underground rail lines will have a
capacity of 36,000 passengers per hour. That figure was expected
to be reached in 2045.
Now the Government/council joint-venture company managing
the project, has provided Auckland Council with new projections.
They show the 36,000 capacity will be reached by 2035 - just
10 years after it opens.
The CRL looks set to join other major public transport projects,
like the electric trains and Northern Busway, whose popularity
has outstripped the planners' expectations. Last year, Auckland
Transport's HOP card system was used more than 20 million
times - that target wasn't expected until 2021.
Speaking yesterday, Mayor Phil Goff said the choice was to
press on as planned, and retrofit the system later, or do
the extra work now and save money in the longer term.
"I think it's a no brainer to expand rather than retrofit,"
he said. "We have to learn the lesson of the harbour
bridge, which was full soon after opening and needed to be
upgraded with extra lanes very quickly. We've got to future
proof, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper and less disruptive
to do it now than to wait."
Consent given for 32-unit apartment block in Auckland's
upmarket suburb Orakei
23 July 2018
The developers of one of the very few apartment sites left
just outside inner city has now received Council approval
to build a 32-unit apartment block with unobstructed sea views.
OP Trustee got plans approved by Auckland Council to develop
the 7395ha site at 236 Orakei Road, calling the project The
Peninsula and planning 70 carparks.
The Council consent document said that all units are generously
sized with balcony areas, and that owners will also have access
to a large communal space.
"The building has been designed to meet the acoustic
and vibration standards of the Unitary Plan, particularly
in relation to the adjoining rail line," the consent
New Zealand's annual net migration drops
23 July 2018
New Zealand's annual net migration dropped in June as fewer
foreigners arrived and more Kiwis left, but remains high.
Annual net migration was at 65,000 in the year to June, from
72,300 in the year to June 2017, Statistics New Zealand said.
A net 66,800 foreigners immigrated to New Zealand in the June
year, while a net 1,800 Kiwis left the country.
The number of non-New Zealanders migrating here dipped 1.4
per cent from the year earlier, at 129,500 from 131,400 in
the year to June 2017, which is the first time that annual
figure has been below 130,000 since April 2017, Stats NZ said.
The number of non-New Zealanders leaving rose 9.2 per cent
to 64,500 in the year.
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 prices.
Increasing numbers of migrants came on work visas in the
latest year, up 3 per cent to 46,400 from the previous year
to June, with residence visa numbers down 17 per cent to 13,900
and student visas dropping 1.8 per cent to 23,600.
The United Kingdom remained the biggest source of work-visa
migrants, though that number dropped 2.5 per cent to 7,300
in the latest year, as did the second and third-largest sources
France and Germany which respectively dropped 3.7 per cent
and 8.3 per cent. The biggest increases in work visa arrivals
came from China, which rose 22.5 per cent to 2,300 in the
year, and the Philippines, which was up 19 per cent to 2,500.
China continued to be the biggest source of migrants on residence
visas, though that dropped 22 per cent to 2,700 in the year.
Chinese migration remained the largest on a net basis, with
8,100 of net arrivals coming from China, though that was down
21 per cent on a year earlier.
India was the second-largest source at a net 6,800, though
Indian net migration was also down 8 per cent from a year
Short-term visitor arrivals, which includes tourists, people
visiting family and friends and people travelling for work,
reached 3.8 million in the June year, up 3.8 per cent from
a year earlier.
Two new hotels announced for central Auckland
19 July 2018
A new Sudima Hotel of up to 200 rooms has been announced
for Auckland's CBD today, just two days after plans came to
light for a 225-room Indigo Hotel in the city desperate for
Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, the Auckland-based founder of the Sudima
national chain, said his latest Hotel would be developed on
the corner of Nelson St and Wellesley St near the NZ International
"It will have 180-200 rooms pending final design, a
gym, a rooftop bar and a separate restaurant and bar. The
hotel is scheduled for opening in the summer of 2019/2020.
Also this week, a new Indigo Hotel with 225 rooms was revealed
as being planned for 51 Albert St, site of the Macdonald Halligan
Motors building, subject to heritage preservation orders.
Developers 94 Feet said they planned to retain that building's
New Zealand CEOs are being 'kept awake at night' as a nation-wide
shortage of people with digital skills threatens local businesses
19 July 2018
A new survey shows more than half of the CEOs questioned
say they are struggling to find the talent their organisation
needs, with 62 per cent think New Zealand is lacking the digital
skills to stay competitive in the 21st century.
There is some evidence the problem is even more acute in
New Zealand having benefitted from reversing migration in
the past few years, the survey shows the country is still
grappling with serious talent shortages: "We are now
well past the point where strong data skills are nice to have;
they're now at the core of what is going to keep our businesses
ahead in 2018 and beyond".
This presents a great opportunity for new migrants who
meet the qualifications.
The shortages - data scientists, designers and programmers
being particularly hard to find - highlight the speed with
which the digital space is changing and developing (a report
released last year by the New Zealand Digital Skills Forum
showed that while 14,000 new jobs were created in the tech
sector in 2016, only 5,000 tech students graduated in 2015.
Business leaders are looking to get themselves fit for the
future - and this means getting digitally fit.
Almost 1300 CEOs from New Zealand and around the world took
part in the online survey - PwC's 21st annual CEO Survey -
held between September and November last year. The global
results were released at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland
Auckland's Statue of Liberty: Giant statue of Papatuanuku
the Earth Mother proposed for Bastion Point
15 July 2018
New Zealand's own version of the Statue of Liberty may soon
welcome visitors at the entrance to Auckland Harbour.
The structure of Papatuanuku the Earth Mother, proposed by
Ngati Whatua Orakei and part-funded by Auckland Council, would
stand 30 to 50 metres tall on the historic headland of Takaparawhau/Bastion
That would make it as big as, if not bigger than, the New
York icon, which is 46m.
The iwi has conceived it as Auckland's version of the Statue
of Liberty or the 30m Christ the Redeemer above Rio de Janeiro,
visible in lights at night from across the city, with stunning
views from downtown, the North Shore, and from ships and ferries.
Mayor Phil Goff said it "has the potential to be an
iconic symbol of Auckland".
"It will reflect the unique culture and identity of
our city and be enjoyed equally by Maori, the wider community
and international visitors," he said.
Auckland Council has approved $1 million in its 10-year budget
for initial design and development of the proposed structure
or "pou" - $100,000 for design in the current financial
year and a further $900,000 for initial development next year.
"It is anticipated that council funding will be supported
by other funding contributions," the council said.
Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust chairwoman Marama Royal said "conceptual
designs" were still being considered.
"While there is still a consultation process to go through
and a more detailed concept to be developed, Ngati Whatua
Orakei supports the idea of having a culturally significant
icon in Tamaki Makaurau that will be recognised across the
world," she said.
Air New Zealand partners with JetBlue Technology Ventures
in Silicon Valley
12 July 2018
Air New Zealand has entered a partnership with the innovation
arm of United States airline JetBlue Airways that has already
invested in flying cars and electric planes.
The airlines announced an international innovation partnership
around JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), the venture capital
subsidiary of JetBlue Airways, a Silicon-Valley-based company,
which incubates, invests in, and partners with early-stage
Among JetBlue Technology's existing moves has been an investment
in Joby Aviation, a startup that's developed an electric-powered
short hop vertical takeoff taxi and Zunum Aero, a US company
that's developing a hybrid battery powered plane capable of
flying up to 12 passengers more than 1000km by 2022.
Air New Zealand says the partnership with JTV gives it access
to emerging technologies and an entrance into the Silicon
Valley innovation environment.
''Together the two companies, along with future partners,
will build a network to better address changes coming to the
travel industry as well as improve efficiencies within the
existing infrastructure,'' the airlines said.
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said his
airline had a proud history of product innovation and the
new deal was part of the aim of redefining air travel.
New Zealand passport power
11 July 2018
New Zealand's global ranking of ''passport power'' shows
where Kiwis can enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access.
The Henley Passport Index shows that the number of countries
New Zealanders can enter visa-free has increased in the last
New Zealand has visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 182
destinations, up from 172 last year.
The index is based on data from the International Air Transport
Association.Among more than 40 countries where Kiwi passport
holders need visas are China (if staying longer than visa-waiver
periods) Vietnam and Russia.
Passports on the index that access the fewest countries are
from Afghanistan and Iraq - just 30 countries - and rank 102
on the list.
The so-called hermit state, North Korea, is ranked 94th with
visa-free access to 43 destinations, up from 40 last year.
Revealed: Auckland's new waterfront plans for America's
9 June 2018
When the horn sounds for the America's Cup in 2021, the Auckland
waterfront will be sporting a new, jazzed-up look.
Aucklanders will notice a big difference along the waterfront
from Britomart to Wynyard Quarter.
The Cup village will be dressed up around Hobson Wharf, the
Viaduct Events Centre - the home to Team New Zealand - and
on Wynyard Point, where there will be a pit row of challenging
teams. More than 80 superyachts will be moored up.
It will be the most inclusive America's Cup event ever, says
Team New Zealand, with a large area set aside at its own base
for the public, and sites for fans to be part of the action
on and off the water.
Between them, Auckland Council and the Government are spending
$212 million on construction and running costs for the Cup
- $114m from taxpayers and $98.5m from ratepayers.
On top of this, the council is pouring $55m of new money
and bringing forward $53m of expenditure on a raft of projects
to spruce up the waterfront for the Cup and Apec conference
As well as this is Commercial Bay at the bottom of Queen
Street. Costing $940m , this downtown shopping centre (with
120 shops) and 39-level office tower will feature a laneway
open 24 hours a day, H&M flagship store, stalls offering
$5 noodle meals alongside offerings from celebrity chefs and
a branch of New York restaurant Saxon + Parole.
Migrant numbers bolstering demand for property
21 May 2018
The number of immigrants to New Zealand is still relatively
high and bolstering demand for residential property but showed
annual net migration was slowing.
Annual net migration was at 67,000 in the year to April,
from 71,900 in the year to April 2017, Statistics New Zealand
Some 98,300 non-New Zealanders arrived in the April year,
up from 97,800 the year before, offset by a lift in the number
of non-New Zealanders leaving to 30,200 from 24,500, leading
to overall net immigration of non-New Zealanders of 68,100.
A net 1,100 Kiwis left in the latest year.
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.
Increasing numbers of migrants came on work visas in the
latest year, up 5.4 percent to 46,400 from the previous year
to April, with residence visa numbers down 14 percent to 14,300
and student visas dropping 0.6 percent to 23,700.
China continued to be the biggest source of migrants on residence
visas, though that dipped 20 percent to 2,800 in the year,
while the United Kingdom remained the biggest source of work-visa
migrants, up 0.4 percent to 7,400.
Rebuilding Commercial Bay bringing new life to the city
When it opens for business next year, Commercial Bay will
be Auckland's largest mixed use development.
By the time the first phase of the project completes, there
will be a 39,000sq m office tower and 18,000sq m of retail.
It will change the face of the central city.
Yet developer Scott Pritchard says its impact will be wider
than reviving the area where Queen St meets the waterfront.
Pritchard is the chief executive officer of Precinct Properties.
He says: "Commercial Bay is a response in a New Zealand
context to what we've seen in gateway cities around the world.
Retail is changing. Major retail brands want to position their
flagship stores in the city centre. For them, it is a challenge
finding the right location. Auckland has never had such a
concentration of top retailers in one location."
Creating that concentration meant seizing an opportunity
that won't come again.
It's unusual for a single developer to acquire this much
land in an important central position in Auckland.
Pritchard says it doesn't happen often anywhere in the world.
"We have investors that have exposure to all sorts of
real estate companies. To have someone who owns a couple of
city centre blocks that are right on the waterfront and on
the main street is rare. To be able to knit a number of high
rise buildings together along with a retail centre at the
base and to provide car parking and seamless links to the
rest of the city is also unique.
"We have been able to design this in concert with some
major infrastructure, that's the City Rail Link which is under
construction as well. Introducing accessibility and public
transport to the centre has been a major bonus.
Architect Blair Johnston leads the Warren and Mahoney team
working on the development. He describes Commercial Bay as
He says: "It is a true mixed-use project. It brings
together commercial, retail and transport in the first stage
and will later include a new city centre hotel. We don't often
see this intensity of land use. The power of such intensity
is that all the different uses will support each other."
Johnston views the retail component as being something not
seen before anywhere else in New Zealand - and something that
probably won't be.
NZ Super Fund wants to own and operate two of Auckland's
light rail projects
9 May 2018
Work is about to start in Auckland on two light rail lines,
not one - and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund wants to
build, own and operate both of them.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Finance Minister Grant
Robertson made the surprise announcement today. The ministers
said Cabinet has agreed that work should start on both lines
straight away, with an open tender process for the funding,
construction and operation of the lines.
light rail line will run from the central city to Mangere
and the airport.
The City to Mangere light rail line will run from Wynyard
Quarter, up Queen Street, across to Dominion Rd and down to
Mt Roskill, then to Onehunga and across the Manukau harbour
to Mangere, on through the industrial airport zone to a terminal
at the airport.
It will be a commuter line connecting the 55,000 households
already located on the route with the city's two-fastest growing
employment centres - the city centre and the airport precinct.
Tens of thousands more homes will be built along the route
in the coming decades.
The line will also provide a frequent and reliable public
transport link for airline passengers.
The second light rail line will be a northwest line, running
from the central city in parallel with the Northwest Motorway
to Westgate and eventually to Kumeu.
The northwestern line is also a commuter route, linking the
central city to existing suburbs like Te Atatu and the fast-growing
new suburbs of the outer northwest, including West Harbour
and Hobsonville. In time the route will be extended to Kumeu
and perhaps Waimauku.
This line is expected to follow the route of the Northwest
Motorway, in a similar way to the Northern Busway on the Northern
Both light rail lines should be in use well within the next
Unemployment rate drops to lowest in nearly a decade
2 May 2018
The strong labour market has delivered another drop in the
rate of unemployment from 4.5% - to 4.4%.
This takes those without jobs back to the same level as nearly
a decade ago in the boom leading up to the global financial
crisis in late 2008.
As unemployment figures dropped to near decade lows, employment
growth in this March quarter rose 0.1%.
The unemployment rate for men fell to 3.9% whilst women fell
New Zealand based Ohmio Automotion inks 150 unit autonomous
28 April 2018
Zealand autonomous vehicle developer Ohmio Automotion may
just have scored the largest deal for autonomous shuttle vehicles
in the world.
Ohmio inked an agreement to supply 150 shuttles to Korean
company Southwest Coast Enterprise City Development (SolaSeaDo)
in Seoul, South Korea, today.
However, the agreement is dependent on SolaSeaDo securing
a deal to build a large scale smart city in Korea. SolaSeaDo
is in the advanced stages of securing that contract and will
know later this year if it has been successful.
The shuttle agreement was signed by Mohammed Hikmet, the
founder of Ohmio parent company HMI Group, and SolaSeaDo president
Yoon Jin Bo.
“This is a significant development for Ohmio and a major
vote of confidence in what we have developed," Hikmet
The Ohmio LIFT is a 20-person autonomous shuttle that can
be extended to carry up to 40-passengers (the Ohmio LIFT XT1)
and operates on pre-determined routes without a driver. The
offering will provide services similar to a tram, but with
"virtual rails" and guided by a range of electronic
Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of HMI Technologies, said he was not
aware of any other commitment to deploy as many vehicles.
"We think this is the largest single deployment of autonomous
shuttles in the world,” he said, adding that SolaSeado was
"very confident" about that outcome of the smart
Ohmio has been developed by HMI in Pakuranga, Auckland, launching
the first demonstration in Christchurch last September, using
prototype vehicles to showcase the automated shuttles and
the robotic technologies underpinning them.
“These first vehicles were to show we had developed the know-how
to build an autonomous vehicle," Hikmet said.
"Since then we have been developing the Ohmio LIFT,
a vehicle that we expect will be used in a range of environments
such as airports, business parks and central city areas."
Ohmio's first sale was to Christchurch International Airport
Having recently met with potential investors and customers
in Asia and North America, Hikmet said there was a lot of
international interest in Ohmio.
And Australia's most loved brand is... Air New Zealand
19 April 2018
For the second consecutive year, Air New Zealand has maintained
its coveted spot as the number one most reputable company
- in Australia.
In the latest Corporate Reputation Index from Australia's
Reputation Institute, the New Zealand airline beat Qantas
and Virgin Australia, which came in third and fourth respectively.
Air New Zealand also trumped well-known major corporates
such as Toyota, Apple and Nestle.
The national carrier's general manager for Australia, Kathryn
Robertson, said Air New Zealand was determined to be Australia's
airline of choice.
"From our artificial intelligence powered chatbot Oscar,
who helps thousands of Australian customers get answers to
their questions, through to our $100 million lounge investment
programme ... Air New Zealand is focused on offering Australians
a better way to fly across the Tasman and beyond," Robertson
"We're thrilled to continue to be held in such high regard."
Earlier this month Air New Zealand announced an increased
Tasman schedule. From the end of October, Air New Zealand
will offer 15 per cent more seats across the Tasman year on
year, including two new routes from December.
New electric buses on Auckland's City Link service next
13 April 2018
Two electric buses will run on the City Link service in Auckland
from next week, only weeks after the city's first full battery-powered
bus hit the road servicing AUT's Northcote and Manukau campuses.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Associate Transport Minister
Julie Anne Genter launched the City Link buses today in a
joint project between the Government's Energy Efficiency and
Conservation Authority (EECA) and Auckland Transport (AT).
EECA is also involved with AUT and bus company Tranzit Group
in the 35-seater bus transporting hundreds of students a day.
Goff said compared to diesel buses, the new e-buses will
be cleaner, quieter and provide passengers with a better experience.
"Auckland is serious about leading the response to climate
change in New Zealand and internationally. Transport contributes
over a third of greenhouse gas emissions in Auckland and this
trial supports our efforts to lower emissions in our city.
"Last year I pledged with mayors from around the world
to work towards making our streets fossil-fuel free. As part
of the declaration I committed Auckland to procure only zero-emission
buses by 2025. Today marks a positive step towards achieving
that goal," Goff said.
Genter said electric buses are great news for people working,
visiting, and living in the city. They're better for the climate,
they're quieter, and keep the air we breathe clean, she said..
"It's great to see trials like this, which will help
local and central government learn and plan for large scale
deployment of zero emissions buses."
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter and Auckland
Mayor Phil Goff cut the ribbon on the city's first two electric
commuter buses. Photo / Auckland Transport.
Auckland Transport Chief Executive Shane Ellison said the
two buses will help AT develop a Zero Emission Bus Roadmap
"These buses will help us accurately estimate whether
electric buses meet the needs of our customers, what routes
they can operate on and, of course, whether they're commercially
"In January, we replaced some of our fleet vehicles
with electric cars. These 20 cars are performing well and
are just the beginning of the change to EVs for Auckland Transport,"
The supplier of the buses is Alexander Dennis/BYD.
ADL New Zealand general manager Tony Moore said the buses
for the trial are based on the Transport for London e-buses.
"We are working with progressive transport authorities,
cities and enlightened political leaders around the world
to introduce, emission-free transport solutions.
"The mayor has made it clear that Auckland intends to
lead the way in the drive towards a greener, cleaner environment
and the introduction of these buses is important in that journey."
Auckland Transport was awarded $500,000 from the EECA Low
Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund towards one of the buses
and charging infrastructure. Auckland Transport's contribution
towards the cost of the buses is $1.21m.
EECA is also funding the installation of 60 EV charging stations
at Auckland Transport parking facilities.
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