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Auckland and New Zealand news:
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.
Immigration restrictions fail to dampen numbers as NZ hits
record net migration gains
29 March 2018
An unprecedented increase in arrivals of foreign nationals
last year has given New Zealand its highest net gain ever
recorded, despite the Government's efforts to restrict immigration
New Zealand had a net gain of 72,300 permanent and long-term
migrants in 2016/17 or 4.7 per cent more than the previous
year, according to the annual Migration Trends report released
It was also the seventh year-on-year increase for work visas
- with 152,432 temporary workers in the country on 30 June
last year or 16 per cent higher than the year before.
But the number of new international students had dropped
3 per cent, bringing the total number of student visa holders
to 75,578, or 1 per cent lower than the same period last year.
There was a growth of 34 per cent in study to work visas,
17 per cent in essential skills visas, 12 per cent in family
work visas and 8 per cent in working holiday scheme visas.
New work visa approvals were 8 per cent higher than the year
The high number of work visas reflected growing issues of
labour supply and a reliance on immigrant labour in some industries.
These temporary workers are important for two reasons, they
fill key labour shortages and they provide a pool from which
permanent residents come.
Migration Trends 2016/17:
- Net inward migration gain 72,300 (up 4.7 per cent)
- New student visa approval 75,578 (down 1 per cent)
- Temporary work visa holders in NZ 152,432 (up 16 per
- Permanent residence approval 47,684 (down 8 per cent)
Tourism spend in Auckland up
21 March 2018
The latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates released by
the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
show that tourism spend for Auckland is estimated to be $8.3
billion for the year to January 2018, up eight per cent compared
with the year to January 2017.
MBIE Manager of Sector Trends Mark Gordon says that of this
tourism spend in the year to January 2018, international visitors
spent $4.3 billion (up 10 per cent compared with the year
to January 2017), and domestic tourists spent $3.9 billion
(up six per cent) in that period.
"When it comes to the monthly expenditure, tourism spend
in Auckland for the month of January 2018 is up 12 per cent
compared with the month of January 2017," says Mr Gordon.
Guest nights hits record in January as visitors flock to
hotels and holiday parks
12 March 2018
New Zealand guest nights hit a record in January, rising
1.4 percent on the year with hotels and holiday parks in high
Total guest nights increased to 4.97 million in January from
4.9 million a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Of
that, international guest nights rose 3.1 percent to 2.2 million,
outpacing a 0.2 percent gain in domestic accommodation stays
to 2.9 million.
Stats NZ said January is typically the height of the peak
season for many accommodation operators and usually the time
when records are set.
"International guest nights also reached their highest-ever
level in January, even as international visitor arrivals dipped
slightly in the month," accommodation statistics manager
Melissa McKenzie said. "This may be because some people
who arrived in 2017 stayed on in January."
New Zealand has been enjoying a booming tourism sector in
recent years as low airfares made it easier for visitors to
travel to the remote South Pacific destination and the weakening
kiwi dollar has added to the nation's allure.
The occupancy rate across accommodation types lifted to 58.7
percent in January versus 57.2 percent a year earlier.
The figures show hotel guest nights rose 6 percent to 1.39
million in January from a year earlier, with international
stays up 4.9 percent to 736,000 and domestic stays up 7.2
percent to 652,000.
Hotel occupancy was 74.4 percent in the month, compared to
72.2 percent a year earlier.
Biggest knuckle boom crane in southern hemisphere arrives
9 March 2018
The only crane of its type in the southern hemisphere has
arrived in Christchurch to become part of the New Zealand
$1 million machine is the largest knuckle boom crane produced
by Palfinger with a 50-metre reach and able to work in confined
The owner of Hire Frankton, Ross McFaul the $1million crane
is the largest knuckle boom crane in New Zealand
He said the crane was highly versatile and easy to set up
for its size and reach.
"We can set up on the side of the road or in narrow
spaces between buildings with no disruption to traffic, or
elaborate traffic management plans.
"I could park this crane on the goal line of a rugby
field and it could pick up a 500 kilgramme weight on the half
way line with the boom parallel to the ground. That how much
reach it has," McFaul said.
The crane's extension boom and fly-jib have a reverse linkage
system that can reach through low door openings and work inside
The boom can even pass right through a building to operate
on the other side.
The machine is officially called a PK200002L SH, but McFaul
calls it "Jock", and is operated with a remote control
All the safety features can be monitored from the remote
control, he said.
The crane was built in Austria at Palfinger where it was
fitted and tested.
McFaul said getting Jock onto the roads because of concerns
about its size, and he thanked staff at the New Zealand Transport
Initially the crane will be based in Christchurch for rebuild
construction, maintenance and repairs, installation of new
plant, and possibly wind farm blade repair work.
Some of the first work has been carried out at the University
New York Times shines a light on 'laid-back' Auckland's
9 March 2018
Auckland's laid-back feel and sophistication are outlined
for readers of the New York Times, one of the world's
most influential news titles.
In the publication's 36 hours slot - "What to do when
you've got 36 hours to get to know a city" - travel writer
Elaine Glusac samples slices of the city's life and its treats.
She liked what she found.
"The New Zealand city is laid-back and outdoorsy, but
its sophistication shines in its expanding art scene, thriving
fashion industry and a new generation of chefs embracing native
But in an article devoted mainly to Auckland's natural treasures,
cultural and commercial attractions, and good coffee, Glusac
finds space to join the city's inhabitants in moaning about
She declares: "Close to one-third of New Zealand's estimated
4.5 million population lives in Auckland, a geographically
blessed - and traffic cursed - city spread over at least 50
volcanic cones on a North Island neck of land between two
Glusac's 36 hours took her on a swing through the Auckland
Art Gallery and the Auckland Museum, along Karangahape Rd,
the city's "counter cultural side", an America's
Cup sailing experience, part of the Coast to Coast walkway,
Britomart, Wynyard Quarter and Waiheke Island.
Impressed by the museum, she wondered at its full name.
"Devoted to the story of New Zealand from geology to
politics, the Auckland War Memorial Museum holds treasures
obscured by its title, namely the vast collection of indigenous
Maori art works and crafts."
For sustenance, Glusac delighted in an "edible landscape"
at one restaurant, Pasture, whose offerings included smoked
quince and butter aged "so it tastes like Camembert",
and in the "unusual dishes" such as spicy peanut
butter and carrot kimchi on toast at Orphans Kitchen.
"Coffee-crazed New Zealand is a country where you can
find a barista at a rural gas station. Espresso bars seem
stationed on every corner in Auckland."
The co-owner of Pasture, Laura Verner, said it was a nice
surprise to be featured in the Times and she hoped it would
be good for business.
"I had no idea Elaine was from the New York Times. We
found out months afterwards when she wrote to us to clarify
Verner said Pasture, which opened in August 2016, had hosted
many foreign visitors. It had a strong international following,
having featured in overseas publications and through social
What lies beneath: Auckland City Rail Link plans unveiled
3 March 2018
Three new stations will be built for Auckland's underground
rail line, the City Rail Link.
You cross the threshold. You arrive at the entrance to the
station, step inside and find yourself in a great public entrance
to a hall of sound and light; the station itself will be the
third and deepest on Auckland's new underground rail line.
In another of the stations, there are multiple entrances.
In this other station the ceiling also provides a sculptural
form that defines the space, this time, with hundreds of rods,
some wooden, hollowed, cut to different lengths so that you're
walking beneath a shimmering, undulating blanket.
The station in the heart of the central city, has the access
point for two universities, the midtown workplaces and the
arts and entertainment precinct of Aotea.
The light will change, by day appearing as if seen through
the raupo in the stream; by night, a constellation of stars
- sculptural possibilities in a constant state of renewal.
The rods represent the upward growth of crops, and also a
great population and an abundance of wealth. Many will be
notched, the light on the notches creating a pattern that
simulates the flow of water to the sea. There's a lot going
on in that ceiling.
For all the wonder of those two large stations, it's the
third, the smallest of the three that is the most surprising.
Mt Eden is currently an anonymous nothing space, a kitset
suburban station, blandly conceived for functionality and
The new design rethinks all that.
"The threshold begins," says the official blurb,
"with an open civic space that radiates out from the
station." It's a community space, a performance space,
a forecourt that holds the people in it as if in the palm
of a hand. As you enter the building itself you discover a
space defined not by its ceiling but by a wall of carved basalt,
curved in form, layered with taniwha, shimmering with water
running down its face.
If the city is in transit itself, changing the way it works,
railway stations can help. That's what Auckland is doing,
or going to be doing: unclogging the roads, confronting climate
change, embracing the multitude of meanings of community.
Stepping over those CRL thresholds will be a part of it.
In the 19th century they built great railway stations all
through Europe and America: glass and wrought-iron masterpieces
that celebrated the marriage of technology, art and personal
aspiration for all. It wasn't done by accident.
The creators of the undergrounds of London, Moscow, Paris
and elsewhere art to create lovely public spaces specific
to their location. The Paris Metro is lovely in the same way
the London Tube is lovely, but they do not look like each
other. What they share is a commitment to what designers call
a sense of place. That's what the designers of the CRL stations
Simon Bridges emerges as next National Party leader, Paula
Bennett his deputy
27 February 2018
Simon Bridges has emerged victorious from a caucus vote to
decide the next leader of the National Party.
Paula Bennett was elected deputy leader in a process that
saw two rounds of voting for both. Bridges cited "caucus
confidentiality" in refusing to reveal who ran against
Bennett for deputy, but sources have confirmed it was Judith
Speaking at a press conference after the vote, Bridges said
of his leadership "Yes, we'll hold the Government to
account and in that regard we'll be firm but fair," he
National would support the policies it saw as taking the
country forward, while opposing those it thought were regressive
or "treading water".
"We'll also be an alternative Government in waiting",
but he would not be laying out a full suite of new policies
immediately, he said. "New Zealand deserves better than
a Government that is just muddling along."
Bridges signalled a greater emphasis on the environment,
and has previously pointed towards the potential for working
with the Greens as a coalition partner after the 2020 election.
"Over time, we will continue to develop positive policies
for our economy, as well as education, health and law and
National's newly elected leader says his party will be an
alternative government in waiting.
Tractors cut a path to record trade
27 February 2018
For the year ended January 2018, the value of tractor imports
was up 51 per cent compared with the previous year.
In a sign of growing confidence within the agricultural sector
a big jump in tractor imports and other farming supplies has
helped boost total trade activity to record levels in January.
Goods exports were a record $4.31 billion for a January month,
up 9.5 per cent on last year, while imports surged 17 per
cent to a new high of $4.88b for that month.
Imports of mechanical machinery and equipment jumped 23 per
cent to $700m, elevating it to the largest import commodity
group for the month.
Stats NZ noted a strong lift in agricultural imports with
the value of imported tractors rising $27m - or 191 per cent
- in January from the same month last year.
For the year ended January 2018, the value of tractor imports
was up 51 per cent compared with the previous year.
The lift in imports of agricultural machinery did fit with
a picture of improving confidence in the sector, said ASB
rural economist Nathan Penny.
"The stars are aligning across the agriculture sector
in general," he said. "We are seeing pretty good
prices for most of the sectors within agriculture."
The rise in exports was led by milk powder, butter, and cheese,
the country's largest commodity export, which increased 8
per cent to $1.37b.
The value of meat and edible offal exports jumped 17 per
cent to $689m, while exports of logs, wood and wood articles
surged 26 per cent to $292m. Fruit exports fell 12 per cent
NZ ranked least corrupt country, again
22 February 2018
This is the third year in a row New Zealand has been named
the least corrupt country by the index.
New Zealand has once again been rated the least corrupt country
but Open Government Minister Clare Curran warns there's still
more work to be done.
On Thursday, Transparency International released its latest
Corruption Perceptions Index. New Zealand took out the top
spot, ahead of 179 countries.
This is the third year in a row New Zealand has been named
the least corrupt country by the index.
New Zealand was ranked in the top spot. Previous years was
in 2016, and 9.
In 2016, Denmark tied with New Zealand for the top spot,
it has now dropped slightly behind to the second least corrupt
country in the world, with a rating of 88.
Australia ranked 13, with a score of 77 out of 100. Canada
and the UK ranked eighth equal.
Auckland welcomes the Volvo Ocean race
21 February 2018
The Volvo Ocean Race sails into Auckland this week bringing
with it all the glamour and frivolities one would expect of
a competition of such prestige.
Right now, the six yachts – carrying nine Kiwi sailors, including
America’s Cup heroes Blair Tuke and Peter Burling - are duelling
down through the Pacific, from Hong Kong in a race for home
town honours and the bragging rights of leading the fleet
into Auckland for the 23 day stopover.
Burling and Tuke, who took New Zealand to America’s Cup victory
in Bermuda in 2017, are pitted against one another on separate
boats and due to arrive in Auckland around 27th February.
Peter Burling who is sailing with Team Brunel has watched
previous Volvo Ocean Race fleets come into Auckland says the
arrival into Auckland will be one of the highlights of the
epic nine-month race.
“It’s going be pretty cool to be part of Team Brunel this
time. I’m looking forward to seeing all the people on the
docks when we sail in to Auckland and I hope they will cheer
for us,” says Burling.
Tuke who is sailing with Mapfre says the Auckland leg is
one he has been looking forward to.
“I have not been home since late September. To sail into
New Zealand will be pretty special for myself and all the
Kiwis on the different boats.”
Won by Sir Peter Blake in 1990, Grant Dalton in 1994, and
Mike Sanderson in 2006, the Volvo Ocean Race (formerly known
as the Whitbread Around the World Race) is inextricably linked
to New Zealand sailing, with Kiwi sailors on every one of
the six internationally sponsored boats.
In this edition, Burling and Tuke face off against the first
Kiwi woman competitor in almost two decades, Bianca Cook,
sailing on Turn the Tide on Plastic.
Tank farm to go for America's Cup bases at Auckland waterfront
A deal has been struck to free up land on Wynyard Point and
pursue the possibility of a new option for the America's Cup
The Government and Auckland Council are pursuing an option
that provides for at least seven syndicate bases around two
basins in the Wynyard area with provision for restaurants
and bars, public viewing, and hospitality areas.
Dutch company Stolthaven Terminals has agreed to vacate its
southern tank farm site on Wynyard Point early.
The deal also clears the way for more land-based locations
for America's Cup bases and reduced the proposed extension
to Halsey Wharf from 75m to 35m.
Economic Development Minister David Parker says the proposal
is a win-win for all parties involved. "Our main aim
alongside creating a top-class venue for Team New Zealand
and the Cup defence in 2021 and, hopefully, beyond,"
Reducing costs and environmental impact while offering an
excellent venue for the Cup defence is the main focus of talks.
Parker said that he was very pleased to have proven that
there was an option that has less intrusion into the harbour,
gets rid of the tank farm early and is cheaper.
The Government and Auckland Council will continue discussions
with Emirates Team New Zealand.
City Rail Link above-ground opportunities identified
19 February 2018
Development opportunities for up to 20ha of new Auckland
CBD and fringe city floor space have been identified around
the $3.4 billion City Rail Link, as the time to award the
tunnelling and station contracts draws near to be approved
A City Rail Link spokesman said between 190,000sq m and 200,000sq
m of gross floor area was possible, including offices and
17,600sq m could be built, at the new Aotea station near
Auckland Council 41,000sqm, at Karangahape 320sq m and at
Mt Eden 5000sq m.
Big Street Bikers planning electric charging stations across
16 February 2018
Matt Weavers and his company Big Street Bikers are on a mission
to convert Auckland commuters from four wheels to two.
The electric bike company has partnered with energy company
Mercury to develop a public, solar-powered electric bike recharging
station in the Viaduct, with plans to roll out smaller versions
across the city this year.
The pilot scheme will run until the end of summer when Weavers
hopes to set up the next recharging stations, which will support
Auckland Transport's connected bike network plans.
Weavers says planning a point-to-point recharging system
across the city may seem ambitious, but the company is already
in talks with a number of major property owners and companies,
looking to have re -charger in their apartment buildings or
for their workers.
"We are seeing a lot more people using electric bikes
and it's a great solution to Auckland's traffic problems,"
"Our plan is to have these all around the city and there
are a whole lot of investors who are keen to put up some cash
which will help us roll it out."
Cycling has been growing in popularity with more than 1,000
new cyclists on the roads every month according to Auckland
Statistics from the government agency also showed 177,574
cycle trips were recorded in November 2017, up 19.4 per cent
on the previous year.
The main issue with electric bikes however was their cost,
"You could easily spend $8,000 on an electric bike so
part of what we're doing to alleviate that is selling them
"You can put down $250 and then pay off the bike at
$30 a week so it's a ride-to-own model and it works out cheaper
than the bus," he said.
The company's electric bikes are $2,500 to buy outright but
Weavers said electric bikes in general would become cheaper
as they became more popular.
Mercury chief marketing officer Julia Jack said the company
was excited to partner with Big Street Bikers to encourage
Kiwis to use electric bikes.
Plans to transform Cordis, Auckland into NZ's biggest hotel
in time for America's Cup, Apec
The Langham Hospitality Group plans to expand its Auckland
Cordis hotel to be the biggest in New Zealand by room count.
A new 16-floor tower is scheduled to be opened late in 2020,
in time for the America's Cup and Asia Pacific Economic Forum
(Apec), two major events scheduled to be held in Auckland
the following year.
The hotel is 10 levels at the moment and the expanded building
would include a private VIP entrance for a lift to the upper
The new tower will be connected to the existing hotel will
house an additional 250 premium rooms and suites, taking the
total to 650. The size of the new rooms will start from 32
square metres and the brand new Club Lounge will have panoramic
views of the harbour and the central city.
Auckland is suffering a shortage of hotel accommodation,
especially at the luxury end, and the Cordis expansion will
be welcomed by the tourism sector.
Event space at Cordis, Auckland will also be expanded.
The hotel currently has more than 2000sq m of event space
and there are plans to add about 400sq m that will offer natural
light and multiple configurations, allowing for more flexibility
in hosting events.
Franz Mascarenhas, managing director of Cordis, Auckland
said the expansion would meet the increasing demand for business
and leisure travellers visiting Auckland as a result of the
successful tourism campaigns.
''We also see more families and couples doing stay over long
weekends and special occasions.''
Work could begin as early as late this year. He would not
disclose the cost of the new development.
Auckland Airport's second runway to be louder and longer
15 February 2018
Auckland Airport wants to extend the consent for its second
runway to make it almost 1km longer. The second runway will
be built north of the international terminal.
The airport expects the second runway to be operational by
2028, when the current runway will reach capacity.
The project has been on the horizon for years. Consent for
a second runway was first approved in 2002, but the airport
now intends to build the runway further north and 833 metres
longer than what was consented.
Airport spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo said the extension would
further "future-proof" the runway and make it possible
for wide-bodied aircraft like the Boeing 787s and Airbus A380.
Passenger numbers are forecast to reach 40 million a year
by 2044, up from 19 million last year.
Auckland Airport has set aside $202m for the first five years
of the project and wants to raise landing fees to fund it.
While the cost of the new runway has not been finalised, $202
million has been set aside for the first five years.
Aviation consultant Irene King said the new runway provided
both economic and employment benefits to the region and would
sustain the airport for the next 30 to 50 years after it was
Bill English resigns as leader of New Zealand's national
13 February 2018
English made the announcement at a press conference at Parliament
with many MPs standing behind him. His wife Mary and sons
were also there.
On September 23 last year, English had also claimed the result
gave him a "moral authority" to have first go at
forming a government.
That result of 46 per cent (58 seats) later shrank to 44
per cent (56 seats) but National was still ahead of Labour
and the Greens' combined tally - albeit by just two seats.
The result followed a gruelling campaign as English, 55,
tried to counter what he described as the "stardust"
of Labour leader Jacinda Ardern by pushing his own record
of strength and stability and hammering at the uncertainty
around Labour's tax policy.
English rebuilt his famous financial reputation internationally
as well as being New Zealand's Finance Minister and deputy
to Key in the National Governments from 2008 to 2017.
English was handed the prime minister's job when PM John
Key resigned telling National's caucus English had the greatest
chance of returning National for a fourth term.
English's fame was enhanced by his skill and leadership through
the global financial crash and three major national disasters
handled with a quite calmness and assurance that became his
inimitably trademark style.
While Key had lent National his brand of pragmatism and "compassionate
conservatism" from 1999 to 2008, much of that was work
engineered by English especially in the "social investment"
Labour administration has inherited a booming economy
13 February 2018
New Zealand snared $600m more tax than expected in the second
half of 2017, according to statements released by Treasury
This includes a slightly larger than expected operating surplus
of $1.1 billion for the last six months of 2017.
This was more than three times the $311 million surplus predicted
and up from a wafer-thin $9 million surplus a year earlier,
the latest government accounts show.
When combined with higher than expected Crown entity results,
the surplus was $800 million more than forecast, Treasury
said on Tuesday.
Core Crown tax revenue was $37.2 billion for the six-month
period and was $597 million ahead of forecast, due largely
to source deductions tracking $300 million ahead of expectations
and GST $200 million ahead. Treasury officials said they expect
some of those gains to remain through to the end of the financial
year on June 30.
Overall core Crown tax was $600m higher than what was expected
in the Government's half-year economic and fiscal update,
released in mid-December.
Tax sent straight to IRD was $300m more than expected and
the GST take was and $200m more than expected.
Core Crown expenses were $39.6b - slightly higher than the
New Zealand's jobless rate falls to nine-year low
7 February 2018
The unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 per cent in the three
months ended December 31.
New Zealand's jobless rate fell to a fresh nine-year low
in the December quarter.
The unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 per cent in the three
months ended December 31 down from 4.6 per cent in September,
Statistics New Zealand said in its household labour force
That's the lowest level since the December 2008 quarter and
below the 4.7 per cent forecast in a Bloomberg poll of 12
Employment rose 0.5 per cent in the quarter to 2.61 million
and was 3.7 per cent higher than a year earlier. Economists
had expected a 0.4 per cent quarterly gain.
Regarding wage inflation, Stats NZ's said private sector
wage inflation rose 0.4 per cent in the quarter for a 1.9
per cent annual increase.
Public sector wage inflation was up 0.5 per cent in the quarter
for a 1.5 per cent annual gain, and across both sectors, wage
inflation rose a quarterly 0.4 per cent and an annual 1.8
per cent. In September it lifted an annual 1.9 per cent.
Dairy prices jump 5.9% at Global Dairy Trade auction
7 February 2018
New Zealand economists gauge as a barometer the Global Trade
Auction price index as a major indicator of the country's
So a jump of 5.9% and its economically trickle down affect
for the nation is greeted by economists from relief to back
Dry weather during much of summer was expected to make its
presence felt at the auction, due to diminished milk supply.
Fonterra has said that it expects production to fall by 3
per cent over this season, compared with last, due to drought
in parts of the country.
Lingering doubts about New Zealand supply conditions helped
drive dairy prices sharply higher at this morning's GlobalDairyTrade
auction, with the GDT price index gaining 5.9 per cent since
the last sale in mid-January.
Fonterra has said that it expects production to fall by 3
per cent over this season, compared with last, due to drought
in parts of the country.
ANZ rural economist Con Williams said the gains so far this
year in GDT prices would bring year-to-date milk price indicators
back in line with Fonterra's $6.40/kg milksolids forecast.
"The improvement was driven by lingering New Zealand
supply concerns and more price sensitive buyers filling the
Chinese post New Year void," he said in a commentary.
"Price sensitive buyers have also been aided by a lower
US dollar at recent auctions," he said. Williams said
supply developments in New Zealand would remain important.
ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny said today's strength
reinforced the banks' more optimistic 2017/18 milk price forecast
"On the production side, we expect the improved weather
will lead to production growth of 1 per cent compared to last
season," he said.
First shipment ever of NZ avocados arrives in China
7 February 2018
Horticulture has been on a steep growth trajectory in recent
years, driven mostly by a strong performance from the kiwifruit
and apple export sectors.
Now the first air freighted consignment of fresh New Zealand
avocados has landed in China, the Ministry for Primary Industries
The shipment follows agreement and signing of a protocol
on phyto sanitary requirements between New Zealand and China
last November, and a technical audit of New Zealand's regulatory
system for exporting avocados by Chinese officials in January.
MPI director-general Martyn Dunne said securing export access
for avocados into China had been a top priority for the horticulture
"Granting of avocado access is the culmination of substantial
work and negotiation over a number of years between New Zealand
and China, and we're excited to reach this milestone,"
New Zealand's avocado exports have boomed in recent years.
In 2016/17, New Zealand exported $155.5 million of avocados
into markets including Australia, Japan, Singapore, Korea
and Thailand - an increase of about $64m from the previous
New Zealand will compete for shelf space in China with fruit
from Mexico, Peru and Chile - the only other countries currently
benefiting from market access.
Net migration to New Zealand to the end of 2017 still above
Annual net migration to New Zealand from all countries was
at 70,600 in the 12 months to December, from 71,200 in 2016.
The figures, released by Statistics New Zealand yesterday,
show a net 71,100 non-citizens arrived in the year, while
a net 1000 New Zealanders left.
Stats NZ's figures, as the FT points out, show that 3614
people migrated from the United Kingdom in 2015 - the year
before the country voted to leave the European Union.
In the 2016 calendar year migration from Britain jumped to
5588 and in 2017 it reached 6371.
USA migration to New Zealand is up from 1286 in 2016.
Newmarket mall shuts this week for $655m rebuild
Westfield Newmarket, in the area where shoppers spend nearly
$9 billion annually, closes this week ready for a $655 million
Scentre Group said its last day of trading would be this
Thursday, the mall would be shut from Friday and it promoted
sales in stores.
Scentre acknowledged its presence in the suburb, saying it
got 5 million annual customers visits to the 31,592sq m Westfield
Newmarket which made $148.3m total annual retail sales.
"The centre is the largest retail complex in Newmarket
and caters to a trade area population of almost 534,000 residents,"
Its owns 309 Broadway - across Mortimer Pass from the mall
- as well as the mall at 277 Broadway. That takes up an entire
"Spread across two sites, a major redevelopment of the
buildings and land holding at 309 property s commenced ''
the centre says.
The total retail spend by the Westfield Newmarket total trade
area was estimated at $8.9 billion.
Retailers in Newmarket outside the mall fear 277's loss,
with its 1,244 car parks, Countdown supermarket and 112 specialist
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