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Luxury brands debut at Auckland Airport

7 February 2019

A string of luxury retailers have made a New Zealand debut opening up shops in Auckland Airport's recently refurbished international departures terminal.

Luxury handbag brands Kate Spade and Michael Kors, along with Italian retailers Furla and Maxmara, have each opened their first New Zealand store in the terminal.

The Airport's luxury shopping precinct began opening in July last year, first with Michael Kors and jewellery retailer Partridge's Rolex store. Since then other brands such as Coach, Lacoste, Fossil, Montblanc and Boss by Hugo Boss have opened permanent stores.

Richard Barker, general manager of retail at Auckland Airport, said luxury was a segment the Airport was previously missing, and work to secure the new market entrants began over two years ago.

Auckland Airport carried out consumer research to identify what brands were most in demand and were missing from New Zealand's shopping arena.

"When we first did this research the likes of H&M and Zara weren't even in the country and those [brands] came up but their formats are too big for airports so we spoke to lots of brands and came up with the proposition of 'best of New Zealand and the world'," Barker said.

"We deliberately aimed for what is described ... as 'affordable luxury' that had appeal for [Kiwis] and international visitors."

Other luxury retailers such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton were considered but deemed too out of reach for most so the Airport selected "tier 2" alternatives, Barker said.

The revamped terminal is also home to All Blacks, Icebreaker and Whittaker's stores to service international visitors, he said.

The Airport's departures terminal has been going through expansion and refurbishment for close to three years. Part of the revamp was to introduce a new food and beverage offering, Barker said, including new eateries Better Burger, Mexico and Al Brown's Best Ugly Bagels. Next month, popular UK food outlet WonderTree will open in the terminal.

Around 10 million people went through Auckland Airport last year. This is expected to grow to 30 million in 2030 and 40 million in 2040.

Consent figures show Auckland new house building booming

30 November 2019

Consents were issued for more than 13,000 new homes in Auckland in the year to October - the first time that number had been reached since the 1970s, Statistics NZ said.

Home permits in Auckland briefly reached a similar high level in the early 1970s, when Auckland's population was less than half what it is now," acting construction statistics manager Dave Adair said.

Over the past year, only 48 per cent of consented new homes in Auckland were stand-alone houses (74 per cent across the rest of New Zealand). The remaining 52 per cent were apartments, townhouses, retirement village units, and flats.

Infometrics economist Gareth Kiernan said it was good news that consent numbers were growing after a soft patch in 2017.

"However, capacity constraints remain an issue in the construction sector in Auckland, even if they have become less critical in the residential subsector over the last year and become more problematic in the non-residential subsector.

"Although we expect further growth in Auckland consent numbers during 2019, we don't think consent numbers of over 13,000 can be sustained, and expect activity to pull back to around 12,000 consents per annum during 2020. This outlook is obviously problematic given the massive undersupply of housing in Auckland."

Cameron Bagrie, of Bagrie Economics, agreed there was no quick fix. "It took 20 years to get into this pickle in housing in Auckland and it will take another 20 to get out the other side.

He said KiwiBuild looked likely to take a "hellishly long time" to get up and running in a way that would make a dent in the city's supply problem.

"It's not as bad as it was but we're still struggling to keep up. We've still got phenomenal migration numbers and population growth and the lion's share of that is going into Auckland. It's heading in the right direction, the demand side is starting to peel back but there's still a miss-match."

America's Cup win to spark boat building boom

23 January 2019

Hosting the next America's Cup could inject at least half a billion dollars into New Zealand's yacht industry, an industry leader says.

The Marine Industry Association said that since Auckland last hosted the event in 2003, boat building had boomed. He expected another leap would come with the next one.

It is now widely recognised that New Zealand is on the brink of the largest construction boom in 40 years. 'Unprecedented growth' is expected over the next decade.

What is driving the boom? Auckland normally host about 50 super yachts per year. The America's Cup it is estimated would lift that number to 120.

The next Cup is expected to be worth several hundred million dollars to Auckland when the city hosts it, Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said.

New Zealand did need to plan for the wealthy yachting tourists, he said. "We know that we're dealing with a sport where it's the top end of town. These are also people who are investors, they're looking at the market, and they are looking to do business in other places around the world. So it's an opportunity for us to showcase ourselves."

For those not familiar with Auckland Boat Building industry including what is involved with servicing these overseas marine giants a grease and oil change is half a million dollars for a super yacht. They need a warrant of fitness every five years and New Zealand is probably the best place in the southern hemisphere to have that, and there can easily be a couple of million dollars for that service. Then at the same time if they want to change the decor of the vessel you can add another $3 million to that.

C-Tech managing director Alex Vallings said the Auckland-based carbon fibre specialist had been involved with Team New Zealand for 15 years, and the orders were pouring in after Bermuda. "We were just five people back then and we worked from a tin shed on a farm out in Waitakere. We were not so keen for the America's Cup sailors to come out and see our backyard operation at that point. Now things have changed though, we're in a new factory on Rosebank Road with 40 staff."

He said it all started when he heard people complaining about the quality of the sail battens at the start of the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race in South Hampton.

C-Tech has designed their version and took it to Team New Zealand. He said they tried it and liked it. "It kind of snowballed into an exclusivity agreement ... and at the same time we started developing the market into super yachts."

From its Avondale factory it made Team New Zealand's wing control system, parts of the dagger foils, the rudders, tubing, the fairings and the bicycle parts. Now the business has more than 22,000 patents and is the world leader in sail battens.

New Zealand extends its global diplomatic posts

New Zealand's new $50 million embassy in Beijing

14 January 2019

Whilst both powerhouses in the USA and China have seen an NZ diplomatic expansion, New Zealand's continued search for new and developing trading partners has seen now a global diplomatic reach.

The new Beijing (China) Embassy will have its largest diplomatic staff abroad.

Two new diplomatic post abroad are in Ireland and Sweden opening in 2018 . Stockholm (Sweden) it will act as a new base from which it hopes to improve relationships with the other Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

With NZ negotiating a free trade agreement with Europe, it made sense to have more influential friends in the Union.
The Dublin (Ireland) embassy has been in the planning stages for getting the go-ahead and now that Britain is about to leave the EU in anticipation that it was seen as inappropriate for NZ to have bilateral relationship managed by its London post.

New Zealand's diplomatic relationship historically has been a long one with one in six Kiwis claiming some Irish heritage.

In the pipeline is a new post is Colombia and also Sri Lanka.

The new embassy in Colombia reflects a change to a democratic country but also with an eye for NZ to join the Pacific Alliance trade pact of South American countries.

The new post in Barbados was designed to give closer links with the 13 Caribbean states with the post in Ethiopia developed to provide closer links to the 55 countries of the African Union.

New Zealand's embassy in Iraq was reopened after it closed in the 1991 first Gulf war.

NZ Minister of Foreign affairs Winston Peters has been a strong advocate to continue to develop the country's global export partners and see the development of its diplomatic posts a major building block to achieve those goals.

Ormiston's $200m shopping centre to create hundreds of jobs in South Auckland

8 December 2018

The rise of online shopping has influenced the look and feel of a $200 million shopping mall being built to service a new Auckland town.

Todd Property and Auckland Council redevelopment agency Panuku have started construction of a 4.5ha town centre in Ormiston, a new town in the south Auckland suburb of Flat Bush, which is expected to house a population the size Gisborne by 2028.

The town centre will feature 100 business tenants, a three-level parking structure and four anchor tenants, including The Warehouse, a Hoyts cinema complex, an existing Pak 'n Save, and an additional supermarket. Ormiston is 22 kilometres from central Auckland.

It will also include a gym, library and aquatic centre.

By comparison Auckland's largest shopping centre Sylvia Park is 24ha and has more than 200 stores.

Todd Property managing director Evan Davies said ground work started on the Ormiston town centre in October and development was expected to be completed by 2020.

The town centre, located next to Barry Curtis Park, was designed to integrate with the urban landscape via streets, alleyways and public open spaces, in contrast to traditional closed-in malls. The centre would have a focus on food and entertainment, featuring a dining lane, a food hall and restaurant precinct.

Auckland restaurant The Grove rated ninth best in the world and country's best

5 December 2018

Auckland's The Grove has been named the ninth best restaurant in the world and New Zealand's number one.

The results come as part of website Trip Advisor's 2018 Travellers' Choice Restaurants Awards.

The awards rank the world's best fine dining restaurants, with French eatery Au Crocodile rated number one, followed by Martin Berasategui and El Celler de Can Roca, both in Spain.

The Travellers' Choice Awards honour travellers' favourite dining establishments worldwide, based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions on TripAdvisor.

"Millions of diners worldwide rely on TripAdvisor to discover their perfect culinary experience. The 2018 Travelers' Choice restaurant winners are what diners consider the best-in-class, and we hope these leaders in hospitality will inspire others to try something new," said Bertrand Jelensperger, senior vice-president for TripAdvisor Restaurants.

Eight new challengers lodge entries for America's Cup

30 November 2018

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand confirmed today that there has been an additional eight notices of challenge for the next America's Cup.

The deadline officially closed for the 2021 event, today at 5pm.

New Zealand will host the 2021 America's Cup in Auckland after winning the title in Bermuda in 2017.

Only one of the entries is able to be immediately accepted with the other seven notices still being looked over.

"We are really encouraged by the level of interest that has been shown from around the world by the number of notices of challenge that have been lodged by today's deadline," said Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton.
"It has been a long time coming, but worthwhile to give potential teams every opportunity to enter what will be a huge global event for New Zealand.

"However, we must remain cautious and not jump to conclusions on the final number of teams. It is only when the acceptance process has been completed that we will know how many will compete in the Prada Cup alongside Luna Rossa, American Magic & INEOS Team UK."

Conditions of some of the challenges will require changes to the protocol, which is dependant on agreement with the Challenger of Record before each new challenger's participation can be confirmed.

"We understand there will be questions around what a conditional challenge is," said Dalton.

"To give some context, an example is where we might have a challenge that is conditional on there being an America's Cup World Series event in that specific challenger's country.

"This, obviously, is something that cannot be determined today and also needs agreement with the Challenger of Record."

The process of assessing the entries and conditions of the eight new challengers will start straight away with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Team New Zealand.

The Government and Council have been advised that a maximum of five challengers can be accommodated on Wynyard Point with three double bases and two singles.

Should less than three of the late challenges be accepted, the Government and Council will then have the option of not proceeding with the Hobson Wharf extension for the 36th America's Cup.

The top car accessory for 2019 might be an electric scooter

12 November 2018

Electric scooters are definitely a thing in New Zealand. They're also set to become a thing for motorists of all kinds as we move towards a future that many automotive brands are calling "e-mobility": where a car is just one element in a range of electric transport options you might use to get from A to B. Case in point: the Mi Electric Scooter just launched in New Zealand from the biggest Chinese brand you've probably never heard of.

Mi Electric Scooter can do 25kmh and has cruise control. Yes really.

Xiaomi, or just "Mi" in branding terms, is already an iconic brand in China and India. It's the world's fourth-largest mobile phone manufacturer (nine per cent of the global market) but also produces a vast range of electronics, most focused on the Internet of Things: everything app-controllable from a desk lamp to a rice cooker.

Mi opened its first store in New Zealand on November 10, at the Sylvia Park shopping centre in Auckland (with backing from electronics chain PB Tech). Over 1500 people queued to get into the store, which is the brand's first in Oceania.

Over 1500 people queued at Mi store in Auckland for opening day. More than 400 Mi e-scooters were sold in the Auckland store's first day, including 200 online in just 30 minutes.

What's the big deal? Apart from the fact that Mi is a big thing for those in the know and e-scooters are a craze - thanks partly to rentable app-enabled models like the Lime brand - the $699 Mi Electric Scooter is also a pretty smart piece of design.

When you're not using it, the Mi model can be folded in five seconds to fit in a cupboard or in the boot of your car. It weighs 12.5kg.

Air New Zealand does deal for autonomous air taxis

16 October 2018

Air New Zealand and Zephyr Airworks have signed an agreement to bring the world's first autonomous electric air taxi service to New Zealand.

The agreement between the national carrier and autonomous air taxi operator Cora signals the intention to form a long-term relationship to make autonomous, electric air travel a reality for all New Zealanders.

The air taxis produce no emissions and are self-piloted through software, so those using them as transport do not need a pilot's licence. No runway is required, either, because they take off like a helicopter. The current model has a range of about 100 kilometres and can travel at about 150kmh.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline was committed to embracing new technologies that made life easier, as well as understanding the potential of cleaner energy solutions for travel.

"Zephyr Airworks is leading the way in re-defining personal mobility to make it easier for all of us to get around. Zephyr Airworks' innovative technology and commitment to New Zealand make them an ideal partner for advancing the future of travel in New Zealand.

Zephyr Airworks chief exective Fred Reid said the company was delighted to be fostering a close relationship with one of the world's top-rated and successful airlines.

"Both companies see the potential for our airspace to free people from the constraints of traffic and its associated social, economic and environmental impacts.

"Through the development of their autonomous electric air taxi Cora, the possibility of getting from A to B quickly and safely, and also relieving the impact of polluting emissions, is very real indeed," he said.

"The announcement today is the start of a long-term relationship. We've been impressed with Zephyr Airworks' innovative and considered approach and our core values are aligned when it comes to delivering reliable, convenient and sustainable air travel that will benefit all New Zealanders."

The Government's books are in healthy shape with a $5.5 billion surplus

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 Budget forecasts.

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.

Each one is 82.3 metres tall - almost 20m taller than Auckland's Harbour Bridge.

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 operating.

Hollywood comes to Auckland - Auckland film studios booked out

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 Dead Lands.

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 Power Rangers.

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 O'Connor

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 potential.

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.

L'shanah tovah

Simon O'Connor
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 year.

"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 Theyers.

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 of Dallas.

"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 this year.

The Royals will arrive in Wellington and visit Abel Tasman National Park, Auckland and Rotorua between October 28 and November 1.

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" entries.

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 that.

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 exiguous trickle.

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 cent here.

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 chief economist

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 and visitors."

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 year.

''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 the programme.

Auckland changing to thriving city with $14 billion of building under way

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 said.

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 earlier.

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 accommodation.

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 Convention Centre.

"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 facade.

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 Auckland.

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 in January.

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 Point.

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.

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