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Auckland Hebrew Congregation:

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

Beth Shalom - progressive Jewish congregation in Auckland:

For the latest news from Beth Shalom, click here.

Auckland and New Zealand news:

Auckland Hebrew Congregation buys private school campus

The Saint Kentigern Girls' School property is a large piece of land - 1.24 hectares, equivalent to
three acres - on the northern slopes of one of Auckland's most affluent suburbs.

Auckland private school Saint Kentigern has sold its Remuera Road property to the Auckland Hebrew Congregation.

The school's board of trustees said on Monday it had reached an agreement to sell the current site of its girls' school and preschool, valued at $23 million.

The buildings, covering a land area of 1.24 hectares, included classrooms, science and technology blocks, a preschool, a two-level villa, an assembly hall, a large swimming pool with changing sheds, a tennis court and open spaces.

The buildings range in age from the original homestead in the centre of the site, built about 90 years ago, to the art block, constructed in 2001.

Saint Kentigern plans to shift its girls' school, which goes up to year eight, and co-ed preschool to new buildings within the campus of Saint Kentigern Boys' School on Shore Road in Remuera.

Those moves would be made in 2022 and early 2023 respectively.

The board said it understood the Auckland Hebrew Community would continue to use the Remuera Rd campus as an educational facility.

Board chair Dr John Kernohan said he was "particularly delighted to see that it would now continue to meet the needs of another faith-based community".

"Saint Kentigern has longstanding and warm ties with the Auckland Jewish community, making this outcome especially welcome."

City of cranes: Auckland's 98 cranes offer the best views

29 May 2019

Construction cranes rise above Auckland city - "It is the best view up the top."

That's one of the perks of the job according to CMP Construction crane co-ordinator Matthew Malangi - one of the hundreds of crane operators currently working in Auckland city.

Driving into Auckland it's hard to miss the sea of cranes rising either side of the motorway.

If you've ever wondered just how many there are in action, you're not alone.

The latest RLB Crane Index found there were 98 fixed cranes in Auckland as at February 25 - an all-time high. That's more than there are in any single city.

That's more than in any single in the USA, where Seattle topped the USA list with 59.

The job opportunities in Auckland's construction boom for those that have the skills and work experience in any of the occupations involved with construction. This provides an opportunity for those migrants to come on over and get a job offer and a work visa.

There is now a new Shortage of Skills list called Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL) detailing occupations to apply under once securing a job offer. This will assist in fast tracking suitable applicants to be able to secure a 3 year work visa.

If you can't locate the list on the Government immigration website contact the Auckland Jewish Immigration.

Job offer - US Tax Accountant

24 May 2019

Experienced Accountant with strong USA Tax expertise wanted! Put your USA Tax expertise to full utilisation. Great opportunity and great salary!

  • Auckland City based, close knit team specialising in US tax. Career advancement opportunities
  • Leading boutique US Tax Accountancy renowned for expertise, service & excellence
  • Great opportunity to become top renowned US Tax specialist. Advance your career

This leading boutique US Tax Accountancy firm is renowned for their expertise, service and excellence. They are growing their team of US Tax specialists; this is a great time to join the team with your US Tax expertise.

This close-knit team who have a wealth of US tax, accounting and business advice and knowledge seek a likeminded individual to join their team. In this role of US Tax Accountant you will undertake the following duties and responsibilities for a portfolio of clients:

  • Prepare annual financial statements
  • Prepare all types of tax returns
  • Business advisory
  • Forecasting and financial analysis
  • Provide timely and accurate tax lodgement deadline details
  • Ensure that clients are compliant with the various tax and financial regulations
  • Ensure client enquiries are attended to quickly with provision of up-to-date and accurate advice
  • Identify opportunities for value added services
  • Build and develop strong customer relationships

To be successful in this role we are seeking someone who has:

  • At least 3-5 years of solid accountant experience in a CA environment, specialising in US Tax
  • CA qualified or near qualified
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent numerically and technical skills
  • Ability to build strong client relationships
  • Strong commercial acumen

You will be joining a supportive and close-knit team where continuous learning, growth and development is encouraged. The business and team are extremely stable, are renowned as a leading boutique US Tax Accountancy firm for their expertise, service and excellence; they share their knowledge, expertise and experience. As a team they attend social functions together and are a strong family values based CA firm. You won’t look back when you join this team; apply now!

Email your Curriculum Vitae to careers@cavanagh.co.nz NOW!!

For other exciting opportunities, check out our website – www.cavanagh.co.nz

Essential Skills in Demand Lists – 2018/19 review

8 May 2019

Immigration New Zealand is implementing changes to skill shortage lists at the end of May 2019.

On 27 May 2019, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will update the Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) lists, and replace the current Immediate Skill Shortage List with the new Regional Skill Shortage List.

The lists are reviewed regularly to ensure they meet the changing needs of the labour market and to preserve opportunities for New Zealanders.

From 27 May the ESID lists will include the:

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL)
  • Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL) and the
  • Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL).

The new RSSL will replace the Immediate Skill Shortage list to ensure a regional approach to identifying skill shortages.

The outcomes of the LTSSL review are to:

  • add Aged Care Registered Nurse
  • amend ‘Construction Project Manager Roading and Infrastructure’ by extending the listing to include building Construction Project Managers

The outcomes of the Immediate Skill Shortage List review (that will be applied to the RSSL) are to:

  • add Early Childhood Teacher, Primary School Teacher and Secondary School Teacher

The outcomes of the review of the CISSL are to:

  • add Building Associate
  • amend Plumber (General) to extend the listing to all regions
To find out if your skill is on the shortage list, go to the Government website.

Auckland Airport's $5 billion spend-up will change the way we travel

4 April 2019

Auckland Airport faces the challenge of keeping more than 20 million passengers a year moving through one of the biggest building sites in the country.

As it scrambles to keep up with unprecedented expansion in aviation, it needs to build ''The Airport of the Future'' for the additional 20 million passengers forecast to pass through it during the next 20 years.

It's been likened to ''making your bed while stading on it'' - operating an airport for 55,000 passengers a day while hundreds of workers are rebuilding it.

Auckland is the gateway for more than 80 per cent of the 3.8 million overseas visitors and the bigger number of Kiwis who come into the country each year.

The tourism surge of the past five years has meant more airlines are flying here and more visitors wanting to fly domestically. In turn, the increase in the number of planes has meant more destination and price options for New Zealanders to fly overseas, which they're doing in record numbers.

The airport, and others in the tourism sector, has been caught out by the visitor influx which exceeded forecasts, requiring an accelerated building programme.

In the 10 years to 2027 the company will spend more than $5 billion on key projects and billions more in the following years.

The ''infrastructure deficit'' has been a long-running theme for the airport since it opened for operations in November 1965.

Within months of the ribbon being cut at what was a dual international and domestic terminal, it was quickly congested and overcrowded with passenger numbers running four years ahead of forecasts. It spurred what turned out to be a long and frustrating path to building a dedicated international terminal that opened in 1977 - eight years behind schedule.

The new international arrivals area will be as big as the departures rebuild.

After years of delays and protracted negotiations with airlines, agreement is near on the final shape of the project and should be known around the middle of the year. This new 80,000sqm terminal will be on the south eastern end of the international one bringing an end to the inconvenient walk or bus ride between the two. It creates a single front door whether travelling internationally or domestically.

Lovatt says it ''will be impossible to compare it with the existing domestic experience'' and it shortens minimum domestic-international connection times which is important for airlines. But there's a wait - work's planned for 2022-2027.

Highly-anticipated French beauty retailer Sephora setting up first New Zealand store

4 April 2019

French beauty giant Sephora could soon open it's first New Zealand store, with work on a three-storey Auckland site about to get underway.

Work on a retail space at 146-152 Queen St is tipped to begin within the coming weeks and the retailer is sparing no cost - reportedly splashing out millions for the fit-out, to the tune of more than $5 million.

The large store which will be housed in a heritage building will be similar in concept to other flagship stores it has located around the world. A source said there were rumours the fit-out includes an elevator, interesting lighting fixtures and elaborate signage.

The fit-out is understood to be as lavish as it gets when it comes to retail stores.

Sephora wants the store complete within a matter of months, which means it will likely be open in time for the Christmas rush.

Speculation of Sephora opening a New Zealand store has been rife for the best part of five years, though the retailer has remained tight-lipped on its plans for the New Zealand market.

The store will draw people from all parts of Auckland and will "become a destination for people from outside of Auckland as well", he said.

Sephora is hugely popular particularly with millennials who engage with the brand on social media. In the last few years the retailer has had double-digit growth in store sales and profitability, and is pushing into new markets such as India.

Website to recruit 40,000 young people into the Auckland Hospitality and Tourism industry

Auckland tourism and hospitality leaders have launched a website and campaign to recruit 40,000 young people into the industry - but they say the Government needs to step up as well.

There is a major effort to encourage new recruits to make an international career out of hospitality and tourism.

In Auckland alone, the number of jobs in the sector is expected to increase 27 per cent by 2025. There will be an estimated 76,000 Aucklanders working in the industry in the next three years - but that's not enough.

"We've got a lot of work to do to bridge that gap," says Steve Armitage, general manager at Auckland Tourism and Events (ATEED). "There's a huge opportunity for Auckland and a huge opportunity for our youth to get in at the grassroots level and develop a career pathway."

He muses. "When I was at school, there was no discussion about tourism as a career prospect. It was all about law, accountancy, the more traditional industries. You can't always have the fun that you can in other sectors."

Tourism and hospitality, he says, is different. It's eye-opening. It's fun. It's a chance to re-establish the human connections that are too often lost in our emoji-stilted reliance on social media.

"You get to meet and deal with a lot of really interesting people, you get to have a direct influence on the community you live in in a really positive way, you get to showcase that to people on a day-to-day basis, you get to share your stories."

ATEED's new Go with Tourism website (https://www.gowithtourism.co.nz) includes a "right fit" quiz to direct young people into the best training or career; and "success stories" of some inspiring young adventure tourism guides, chefs, web designers.

Global tourism will double by 2030, Briars says, and increasing numbers of people will take shorter, faster trips to places like New Zealand. "They don't expect silver service. We have to find our own New Zealand way of hospitality, professional but relaxed, and I think we are doing that. When they come to New Zealand, they want every single experience to be fantastic."

The tourism tidal wave

2 April 2019

As Auckland looks ahead to 2021 the future of Auckland's tourism leaders are investigating how the city is working to get its infrastructure ready for APEC and the America's Cup.

Auckland gets about 2.6 million international guests a year. And nothing tests the infrastructure like a "turnaround day" needed when it arises for one or more of the world's biggest cruise liners arriving, at the same time.

This could well be called the perfect storm. Adding to the congestion below the ground now happening is the CBD being dug up to build the new underground City Rail Link.

In 2021 - that will be the year the city will host the America's Cup, the APEC Leaders' Summit, Te Matatini, the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron's 150th Anniversary, the women's Rugby World Cup, the women's Cricket World Cup, and the men's Softball World Championship.

The city is already preparing for an upgraded passenger terminal and making an extra extension so that next year it will be easier to go and dock increasingly larger luxury cruise ships so there will be less congestion with the hotels and roads. The city council is supporting the continuing tourism boom.

However by 2025, the amount of money spent by visitors in Auckland is forecast to soar 85 per cent to $13.9 billion. The number of overnight guest nights will top 10 million, and 76,000 Aucklanders will be employed in the visitor sector.

If Auckland is to avoid becoming another "over-tourist" Barcelona, Venice or Dubrovnik, it also faces a massive cost to develop the infrastructure to sustainably integrate these visitors.

And the strategy calls for a cohesive approach to the city's development: for those who visit Auckland, for those who live in Auckland, for those who work in Auckland.

The Tourist industry will need to meet future challenges by far sighted planning as it comes to grip right now managing with difficulty the current six-and-a-half million people we have now let alone with certainty the much greater number of tourist projected arrivals expected progressively increasing over the next ten years.

Auckland beats US cities for crane numbers, NZ hits new national record: 195 giants, crawlers on-site

29 March 2019

Auckland outstrips every United States city with crane numbers and nationally, we have reached at an all-time high, according to the RLB Crane Index out today.

Auckland has 98 fixed cranes, compared with the busiest US city, Seattle with 59, the index found.

Nationally, we have 148 long-term tower, fixed and crawler cranes working as construction activity picks up pace and eight more cranes have been added since the end of last year.

This is the highest index since commencement the latest commentary said.

Chris Haines, a Rider Levett Bucknall Auckland-based director, said Auckland had more cranes than any US city, although New York only measured Manhattan "whereas we measure from Manukau to Albany."

Fletcher Construction still had the highest number of Auckland cranes for any one builder, he said. Haines said Fletcher had nine cranes on two Auckland's CBD sites: the $703m NZ International Convention Centre and the $1b Commercial Bay where New Zealand's tallest crane was in action.

Precinct Properties said last year its towering Eenie was nearly a quarter of a kilometre tall.

Haines said CMP Construction, headed by Ron Macrae, was the second-busiest builder in terms of crane numbers. It has six cranes up on its sites including the new $300m-plus Alexandra Park apartment projects at Greenlane, he said.

Haines said ASX-listed retail giant Scentre Group had five tower cranes on its $790m Westfield Newmarket site of 230 new shops including a new Countdown, David Jones department store, furniture and furnishings store
The record levels of construction activity across New Zealand is a good news story for both Auckland and New Zealand economies.

The record 98 long-term Auckland cranes highlighted strong activity continuing in the Construction industry.

The index listed new crane sites as including the Britomart hotel, Wynyard Quarter apartments at 30 Madden St by Willis Bond, Watercare at Rosedale, a Pakuranga retirement village, Precinct's hotel extensions at its 1 Queen St office block, Kiwi Property Group's Sylvia Park extensions, work at Dilworth School, Onehunga's Fabric apartments, America's Cup wharfs and bases and Manson's Fanshawe St project.

Haines said resources were being stretched and cranes had to be shifted to meet demand, coming from Christchurch to Auckland after the post-earthquakes rebuild and from overseas, he said.

Australian business Titan was now active in Auckland, Haines said, buying a new Jaso J265 internal climber luffer crane from Spain for the 38-storey Holiday Inn Express and Even Hotel on the Wyndham/Albert St corner.

December visitor numbers reach new heights

15 February 2019

There were 529,300 visitor arrivals in December 2018, the highest for any month, Statistics NZ said today.

December 2018's figure was 15,900 higher than December 2017, which was the previous record holder.

Visitor arrivals in the December 2018 month averaged 17,100 a day. That's equivalent to just over the population of Tauranga arriving every eight days in the month.

The United States led the increase in visitor arrivals for December 2018, up 4,900 compared with December 2017. Other changes were:
- Australia, up 2,300
- United Kingdom, up 2,100
- India, down 1,500.

Visitors stay for longer holidays in December. The median length of stay (half stayed longer than this time, half stayed less) for visitors arriving in December 2018 was 13 days. This compared with nine days for the 2018 year.
"Visitors tend to stay longer than usual in December months," population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said. "This is because more visitors visit family and friends, and fewer visitors arrive for business and conferences."
Annual growth still high but slowing

In the year ended December 2018 there were 3.86 million visitor arrivals. This was up 129,500 from last year.

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.

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