We offer free advice on immigrating to New Zealand
Home
Requirements
Profile sheet
Immigration NZ
Young people
Students
Links
Consulates
News
Immigration stories
Auckland
Contact us
 
 

Get the latest news hot off the press.
Published 5 times a year (you can cancel at any time).
CLICK HERE
TO SUBSCRIBE
Want to translate this web page?
Choose your language »

Latest News

Auckland Hebrew Congregation:

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

Beth Shalom - progressive Jewish congregation in Auckland:

For the latest news from Beth Shalom, click here.

Auckland and New Zealand news:

Kaikoura rail rebuild largest since WWII

16 September 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biggest hotel development boom in NZ history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transport hubs the new frontier for developers

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

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

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

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

Integrated transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The New Zealand economy in 2016

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

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

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

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

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

How fast has Auckland's economy grown?

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

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

Auckland's train network hit 20 million trips last year

8 September 2017

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

Passenger numbers have steadily increased 20 per cent each year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

NZ wine pops export cork

7 September 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building work on the rise

5 September 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tourism boom keeping Air NZ, Auckland Airport in clover

24 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Record population growth of 100,000

22 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NZ migration hits record in July despite more Kiwis leaving

21 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

$700m convention centre project and hotel emerges from ground

10 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Office drought set to be a flood

Auckland is a great city to live and work and now there is a realization of how fast it is likely to grow.

Auckland is in the grip of a drought, a dearth of office space in the central city - though experts see an abundance of prime office space on the horizon.

Things may be tight at present but, over the next 18 months, several major new developments will come on stream
The completion of Commercial Bay tower - the 39-level building being built on the site on the former site of Downtown Shopping Centre, expected to be finished in early 2019.

In the CBD there has been a flight toward quality office space, a pull to move toward the waterfront and increasing reluctance to stay in older, inefficient space that does not attract and retain staff.

But, as building projects come on stream, a spike in supply is predicted. The Commercial Bay development alone will add 39,000 sq m of prime office space to the market.

Precinct Properties is building the $850 million Commercial Bay tower and shopping centre at 11-19 Customs St West. It will rise from an 18,000sq m three-level retail precinct - unlike anything Auckland has seen, plus a station on the Auckland City Rail Link.

Commercial Bay will become the place to be: This and the other new buildings coming on stream have superior amenities, green technology and prime locations closer to public transport."

Over the years, the most desired CBD office space has migrated from north and south, or up-and-down Queen St, to east and west - along the waterfront.

Britomart brought the CBD down to the waterfront and the ASB pioneered the move to the Wynyard Quarter, attracting such companies as Bayleys, IBM and Datacom.

The coming surfeit of office space is primarily due to the fact Auckland remains a desired city standing amongst cities like Vancouver, Seattle and Sydney.

The Americas Cup and APEC leaders' summit (hosted by Auckland in 2021) will also see the city to the fore.

NZ rating will remain steady, says ratings agency Standard & Poor

New Zealand's economy has been growing "robustly" for quite some time and S&P expects that to continue, although "there are a few reasons it might start to slow down", said Craig Michaels, director sovereign ratings.

Mr Michaels said S&P does not expect to change its rating on New Zealand as the nation's solid growth is offset by its external vulnerabilities.

"We don't see the rating going anywhere anytime soon," he said. S&P's foreign currency rating for New Zealand stands at AA.

Mr Michaels noted that a key driver of economic growth has been migration into New Zealand, with a significant number of people returning or relocating from Australia.

Another key driver of growth has been strong household consumption, which is partly due to the migration story but also because households are feeling more confident to spend than they have for a long time, he said.

While growth is "sound and robust" it might be "a little bit slower than what you been enjoying for the last couple of years".

Mr Michaels noted the government still has significant room to move on fiscal policy if it needs to support the economy and the Reserve Bank "still has ammunition in its tank" should there be any more external shocks.

The central bank is expected to keep rates on hold at a record low 1.75 per cent at this Thursday's rate review.

Regarding the upcoming election, Mr Michaels said the outcome won't impact the rating as "we don't see major differences in terms of the broad fundamental economic policies" the parties have.

New Zealand's Crusaders hailed as one of 'most successful' sporting franchises

6 August 2017

The Christchurch Canterbury Crusaders were feted Sunday as "one of the most successful sporting franchises" as New Zealanders put aside provincial loyalties to praise the eight-time Super Rugby champions.

The Crusaders' 25-17 victory final over the Golden Lions in Johannesburg was the first time a team had crossed the Indian Ocean to win a final in South Africa.

It was also only the second time a team had won the championship on foreign soil after the Crusaders beat the ACT Brumbies in Canberra in the 2000 final.

New Zealand Herald writer Liam Napier pointed out the Crusaders had everything stacked against them in terms of travel, altitude and crowd.

"Harnessing the character of a city that has endured so much pain, the Crusaders defied it all," Napier said, recalling the devastating 2011 earthquakes in the Crusaders' homebase of Christchurch.

"For that reason alone the hat must be tipped to one of the most successful sporting franchises."

The game was watched in New Zealand in the early hours of Sunday and locals took to talkback radio and online discussions to express their delight.

Nearly 61,000 people packed out the Johannesburg stadium to cheer on the Lions.

The team has consistently been in the Super Rugby play-offs and ex-Crusader turned coach Scott Robertson said this title, the first in nine years, would put an end to the annual pre-season question fired at the Canterbury franchise.

"Every time people ask us about not having won the trophy for a while -- well now we won't hear that question for a while," he said.

Government details construction boom

3 August 2017

The construction industry in New Zealand is forecast to boom for at least another three years, creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

That's according to two reports released by two government ministers on Sunday.

Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says the National Construction Pipeline Report confirms New Zealand is experiencing its strongest ever building boom.

Construction work is forecast to be worth a total $244 billion over the next six years.

It grew eight per cent to $34 billion in 2016 and is now forecast to grow another 23 per cent to an overall peak of $42 billion in 2020. This peak is $5 billion higher than the 2016 forecast.

While Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith says the Future Demand for Construction Workers Report shows job are being created.

The number of people expected to be employed in construction is projected to increase by 10 per cent by 2022, adding about 56,000 employees, increasing the total construction workforce to 571,300.

"Demand for skills across the board is at fever pitch, but nowhere more so than in construction, which in the year to June employed over 18,200 more people across New Zealand, the second largest contributor to annual employment growth," Mr Goldsmith says.

Dr Smith says 196,500 homes will be built during the next six years, the largest in New Zealand's history, with 100,000 during the next three years.

"This report is welcome news for the issues of housing shortages, affordability and ownership because increased supply is the main solution," he said.

On Sunday government partner ACT said almost 630,000 new Auckland homes could be built by changing zoning distinctions between rural and urban land.

Unemployment falls to lowest level since 2008

2 August 2017

Unemployment is at the lowest level since 2008, new figures reveal.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.8 per cent in the June 2017 quarter (down from 4.9 per cent in the March 2017 quarter) Stats NZ says - the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008.

That was the start of the global financial crisis, when it was 4.4 per cent, and National had just been elected to office.

"In the June 2017 quarter, 3,000 fewer people were unemployed," labour market and households senior manager Diane Ramsay said.

Unemployed people are those who are available to work, and who had either actively sought work or had a new job to start within the next four weeks.

The unemployment rate for women fell to 4.9 per cent, with 10,000 fewer women unemployed - the lowest it's been since March 2009," Ramsay said.

In the year to the June 2017 quarter the labour cost index increased 1.7 percent, up from 1.6 percent in the year to March 2017.

Home consents near 2004 numbers

31 July 2017

More than 30,000 new home builds were consented to across the country in the 12 months to July, up 4.7 per cent on the previous year, according to official figures.

Annual new home numbers are nearing those last seen in 2004. Consent figures for houses, apartments, townhouses, and flats reached 30,453, for the year, with more than 10,000 of those in Auckland, the department said on Monday.

While fewer stand-alone homes were being built in Auckland, smaller dwellings were on the up. Auckland accounted for three-quarters of national new apartment units and nearly half of all townhouses, flats, and units.

Meanwhile, consents were booming in smaller centres as well.

Consent numbers were up 28 per cent in Otago and 20 per cent in Wellington.

ASB economist Jane Turner called the growth trend "particularly encouraging" in Auckland and Wellington.

"Looking beyond the volatility, we are seeing encouraging signs that residential building demand is lifting in Auckland and Wellington," she said in a note.

Auckland getting new electric trains

27 July 2017

Auckland Council has tagged on to buy $207 million worth of electric and battery-powered trains.

The council's finance and performance on Wednesday agreed in principle to buy the 17 trains but it will have to find $25m for an initial payment by September.

The council will also now have to find $50m from its capital budget and get a commitment from the New Zealand Transport Agency for 50 per cent of the capital and operational expenditure.

The decision came with a rebuke from committee deputy chairwoman Desley Simpson, who said it was disappointing the funding was not incorporated into the annual budgeting process.

"I appreciate the apology and commitment from Auckland Transport that we will be fully appraised of similar scenarios in the future ahead of time," she said.

It means electric trains will be running between the city and Pukekohe five years earlier than planned, says Mayor Phil Goff.

Mr Goff has said the new units will have major benefits for commuters living south of Papakura in the high growth areas of Drury, Paerata, Pukekohe and potentially Pokeno.

They can operate on lines not yet electrified and would allow the council to eliminate ageing and less reliable diesel trains.

Demand has increased by 17 per cent over the past year and Auckland is on course to achieve a record 20 million passenger trips a year within months.

Kiwi soars above 75 USc, highest in more than 2 years, as Fed flags balance sheet trim

27 July 2017

The New Zealand dollar rose above 75 US cents, to the highest level in more than two years, after the US Federal Reserve said it would begin reducing its bloated balance sheet "relatively soon".

The greenback fell against a basket of major currencies after the Fed's announcement.

The kiwi dollar reached 75.28 US cents, the highest since May 2015, and was trading at 75.12 cents as at 8am in Wellington from 74.38 cents late yesterday.

The trade-weighted index climbed to 79.10, well above the 75.8 average level the Reserve Bank forecast for the third quarter, from 78.53 yesterday.

The Federal Open Market Committee kept its target interest rate unchanged as expected at the end of its two-day meeting, saying "near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced" though it "is monitoring inflation developments closely.

David Croy said along with US dollar "disenfranchisement" the kiwi dollar has benefited from "fairly respectable domestic credentials in their own right".

The kiwi traded at 93.94 Australian cents from 93.95 cents yesterday. The kiwi gained to 64.06 euro cents from 63.74 euro cents and rose to 83.54 yen from 83.03 yen. It rose to 57.31 British pence from 57.01 pence and gained to 5.0722 yuan from 5.0124 yuan.

New wellness hotel for Auckland

26 July 2017

InterContinental Hotels Group's (IHG) wellness lifestyle brand Even is to be launched in Auckland in 2020, with a 200-room, 37-level hotel on part of the old site in the CBD.

This follows the signing of a partnership with financial specialist Pro-Invest Group that will mean the brand's debut for the first time outside the US.

The Auckland project will also include a Holiday Inn.

The partnership is aiming at a 10-15 hotel portfolio of Even Hotels, providing a holistic wellness experience, across New Zealand and is actively looking for sites.

IHG says health and wellness is one of the fastest-growing industries in New Zealand, making it the perfect place to grow the brand. The hotels are designed to help travelers "eat well, rest easy, keep active and accomplish more, making it ideal to better serve wellness-minded travelers."

IHG has 32 hotels in New Zealand and Australia under the InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Resorts brands.

The launch of the Even Hotels brand in New Zealand comes at a great time and is a strong fit to local consumer tastes and trends, IHG says.

The group is continuing its expansion in bringing new brands to this market and has established a strong hotel franchising model to provide owners and investors in New Zealand.

The Pro-invest Group's chief executive, Ronald Barrott says there is considerable growth in lifestyle services in both health and wellness and exercise. He says the growth reflects the importance New Zealand's place on personal health and wellbeing, making it the best time to launch Even Hotels.

June trade surplus $242 million, boosted by dairy exports

26 July 2017

New Zealand reported a higher-than-expected monthly trade surplus of $242 million in June as exports were boosted by dairy sales, especially to China.

The annual deficit in the year to June was $3.7 billion versus $3.8 billion in the 12 months to May. Economists had expected a monthly surplus of $100 million and an annual deficit of $3.7 billion, according to the median in a Bloomberg poll. The June surplus was the fourth monthly surplus in a row.

Overall exports to China were up 25.6 percent for the month of June against June last year to $1.0 billion while exports to Australia rose 0.9 percent to $672 million.

Imports from all sources rose 7.7 percent to $4.5 billion in June versus the same month a year ago. Car imports led the rise, jumping 31 percent to $505 million. New motor cars led this increase, up $86 million in value. This was 2,566 more new cars than in June 2016, Stats NZ said.

NZ near front of trade deal queue: Britain's Johnson

25 July 2017

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said that New Zealand could expect to be one of the first nations to ink a trade deal with London once Brexit was finalised.

Johnson, making his first visit to New Zealand, met Prime Minister Bill English for talks that covered trade, international security and Britain's ties with its former colony.

"These are two countries that really do think on the same lines on so many of the issues that matter to our people and to our electorates," Johnson told reporters after the meeting.

Johnson said Britain was keen to pursue free trade deals with New Zealand and other nations once its withdrawal from the EU -- scheduled for March 2019 -- was complete.

He said New Zealand would be "at or near the front of the queue" when Britain was negotiating the post-Brexit pacts.

"If I can make one thing absolutely clear, I'll say this until I'm blue in the face, Brexit is not, was not, will not be about Britain turning away from the world," he said.

"On the contrary, it is about wanting to keep great relations with our European friends and partners... (while) rediscovering and intensifying friendships and partnerships around the world."

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English meets the Jewish Congregation

 

13 July 2017

We had an amazing event last week hosting the Prime Minister Bill English at Auckland's Shule.

The good news as we heard as the Prime Minister talked of a 're-set' in the relations between New Zealand and Israel.

200 congregants listened to a very supportive Israel address by the Prime Minster and then answered some very searching questions primarily about NZ / Israel relations.

It was clear that the historical good relations had returned to normal with no mention of NZ's ex past Foreign Minister but much praise for new replacing Foreign Minister Mr Brownlee.

Photo at top - Prime Minister Bill English on the left.

Kiwis win off the field as Lions rugby tour brings in the bucks

10 July 2017

There may not have been a winner on the field, but Kiwi councils and hospitality providers are toasting to success at the end of the British and Irish Lions tour.

The Lions visited seven cities during their 36-day trip, taking their merry band of 20,000 vocal supporters with them.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) chief executive Brett O'Riley said the Lions tour has been a "huge success".

"The region has been awash with a sea of red and the 20,000 plus visiting fans have been the best guests making the most of the tourism experiences and food and beverage options throughout Auckland."

Auckland hosted two of the three tests between the Lions and the All Blacks, as well as the Blues' upset win against the visitors.

O'Riley said the series brought in 14,000 domestic visitors.

"While we don't have the full economic impact data in yet, the series is estimated to generate $26.7 million for the Auckland economy, and 165,000 visitor nights."

Hospitality NZ Auckland president Russell Gray said the series' deciding test being held days after the victory parade for Team New Zealand was a "windfall" for the city.

"I think Auckland experienced a bit of a one-off last week with the amazing America's Cup parade on the Thursday leading straight into a test weekend, and so that was probably bigger than anyone had anticipated.

"Everyone was in party mode and that flowed into the weekend."

Fans turn out to welcome America's Cup trophy to Team NZ

6 July 2017

Tens of thousands of joyful New Zealanders have braved a thunderstorm in Auckland to welcome home the America's Cup winners, who held the Auld Mug aloft on these shores for the first time in 17 years.

The Emirates Team New Zealand members waved at the crowd from the backs of vans for a slow, noisy procession down Queen Street to Waitemata Harbour, where they boarded a boat for a victory tour on the sea - dozens of yachts, sea kayaks and dingies floating by to catch a glimpse.

Many people skipped work and school on Thursday to watch the parade live, not wanting to miss out on the historic moment.

The parade started in sunshine and ended amid claps of thunder and torrential rain. Office workers pressed themselves against windows to watch and builders paused on their scaffolding high above the city to whoop and yell.

Seagulls swooped above the cheering crowd dancing to a brass band version of James Brown's I Feel Good. Some people had travelled from around the North Island to shout "Kiwi, Kiwi" and "Peter, Peter!" for helmsman Peter Burling, who, at 26, is the youngest person to ever win the America's Cup, and an instant hero for locals with his uncanny resemblance to Sir Edmund Hillary.

"I wanted to support the team, I felt so happy and excited when they won," said 14-year-old Ace Mead who missed school with her three sisters to attend the parade.

"I think the team won because they had courage and faith, and they had the whole country behind them. I got up to watch every game with my Dad."

Many of the team - dressed in black and blue tracksuits - looked worn out from their feat in Bermuda, but their faces cracked into huge grins as the crowd embraced them, throwing colourful streamers over their heads and waving handmade signs.

This week the government announced NZ $5m in funding for the team to try and keep their sailing talent in New Zealand, but today Australian skipper Glenn Ashby told TVNZ he had already received phone calls from rival teams trying to poach him.

"I think all the guys are highly sought after because we have been able to pull of something absolutely fantastic" he said.

A number of the sailors bowed their heads at the start of the parade to hide puffy eyes, blinking back tears they were unable to control. Having only arrived back in the country yesterday, they have yet to see some friends and family, and many said they were keen for a few quiet days to recoup and process before journeying south for parades in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

"Thank you for your display of what is best in our country," said the prime minister, Bill English, from a podium by Waitemata harbour, his grey suit drooping in the rain.

"You are a group of ordinary Kiwis who have done something extraordinary," he said, before giving cause for laughter with one of his characteristic stumbles: "You'll also be helping Kiwis get off the shelf ah, off the couch."

Ex-Team NZ boat builders joining Rocket Lab in Hawke's Bay

4 July 2017

Former America's Cup boat builders are to join rocket scientists in their work on launching more rockets soon from Northern Hawke's Bay.

In May Rocket Lab completed its first test launch from its site on Mahia Peninsula - becoming the first orbital-class rocket to lift off from a private launch site in the world.

Now the rocket maker - on track for a second test launch in the coming months - is employing workers involved in the Team New Zealand campaign for its advanced composites work.

"We're employing so many people at the moment it's hard to keep up," said Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck.

"I know last week in the Monday meeting I welcomed five new starters."

Rocket Lab's 17m-tall Electron Rocket is made of carbon fibre similar to that used in Team New Zealand's boat. Last week it was revealed that 40 workers involved in building the America's Cup-winning catamaran last year had lost their jobs at Southern Spars.

The composites team at the Auckland-based rocket maker is led by Ben Malcolm, who worked with Team New Zealand on the last boat for their Cup campaign, in San Francisco in 2013.

Including contractors and part-timers, there are about 25 in Rocket Lab's composites team, a third of whom had worked with Team NZ.

Mr Beck said top boat builders could transfer their skills to the space industry.

"It's really about craftsmanship. The America's Cup is very high end and has beautiful craftsmanship [but] not all boat builders would assimilate perfectly into building into space components," he said.

White House releases staff salaries - including Kiwi Chris Liddell's

3 July 2017

The Trump administration has disclosed the salaries of 377 White House staff, including Kiwi expatriate Chris Liddell.
The filing confirms the former Carter Holt Harvey, GM and Microsoft CFO is not in it for the money: Mr Liddell's salary is $US30,000 a year.

An earlier White House disclosure revealed his net worth was around the $NZ100 million mark.

Nevertheless, the New Zealander has big responsibilities:.

Mr Liddell is listed as assistant to President Donald Trump for strategic initiatives.

And in May, he was put in charge of the Council for American Technology, a group given the mission to drag the technology used by US government departments into the 21st century and make it secure.

The council, chaired by Mr Liddell, includes President Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and the secretaries of defence, commerce and homeland security among its members, along with the directors of national intelligence and the Office of Budget Management.

Auckland's Waterview tunnel opens

2 July 2017

The first cars are rolling through the country's newest and longest road tunnel in Auckland.

The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection, where twin 2.4km-long three-lane tunnels connect State Highways 20 and 16 opened to traffic early on Sunday morning after five years of construction.

It is hoped the tunnel will help improve traffic flows in the city blighted by congestion.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the tunnel is the biggest transport transformation in Auckland since the Harbour Bridge was opened in 1959.

"Wider economic benefits are estimated to be worth $430 million, through improved productivity and reduced travel time, and also include the creation of more than 18,000 jobs during the construction of the tunnel," he said.

The tunnel largely completes the Western Ring Route, a new 48km route linking the west of Auckland, Manukau, the city and the North Shore.

It aims to ease pressure on State Highway 1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Mr Bridges said.

In mid-July, a shared cycling and walking network will also open alongside the motorway.

Prime Minister Bill English earlier said the tunnel project was 60 years in the making with a gigantic boring machine dubbed Alice used to dig it out.

The 1.97km Lyttelton Tunnel, near Christchurch, was previously the longest tunnel in the country.

House consents at 13-year record in May, trend improving, Statistics NZ says

30 June 2017

Local councils across New Zealand approved 7 percent more residential building consents in May, with house consents at a 13-year high as the trend for new dwellings continues to increase.

The seasonally-adjusted gain in May followed falls in March and April, Statistics New Zealand said.

A total 2,794 new dwellings were consented, including 2,039 houses, the highest monthly number since June 2004. On an annual basis, dwelling consents rose 8 percent, with 30,645 residential buildings consented in the year.

"The trend for new homes is recovering after dipping in late 2016," prices, accommodation, and construction senior manager Jason Attewell said.

"It's more than double the level of the 2011 low point, and nearly back to the mid-2016 peak." The trend for new stand-alone houses is also rising, Stats NZ said.

In Auckland, the country's largest city, the lack of housing supply has been most acute as record migration drives demand.

Today's figures show 10,379 homes were consented in the year through May, up 10 percent from the previous year.


On an annual basis, the value of consents rose 12 percent to $19.3 billion. Residential consents increased 12 percent to $12.8 billion while non-residential consents advanced 11 percent to $6.5 billion.

NZ could reap $1bn from hosting Cup

27 June 2017

Boat-building, tourism, accommodation, hospitality and major events for New Zealand are just some of the windfalls the country could capitalise on in the wake of the stunning America's Cup win.

The head of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Brett O'Riley, says the gains could be massive.

"You have an enormous opportunity for the New Zealand marine industry and in the same way The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit showcased the best scenery, so can the America's Cup," he told the NZ Herald.

"The only people who can really answer the question of where the bases will be are Team New Zealand, because it all depends on the type of boats raced.

"And are we talking a single regatta or preliminary events?"

The economic benefits could in the billion-dollar territory, he said, a sentiment echoed by businessman Sir Ralph Norris.

Sir Ralph told Newstalk ZB the economic benefit would be significant.

"It might even be a little higher than [$1b]."

Sir Ralph said he understood planning for a defence was already under way.

"I get the impression from what I've heard over the last couple of hours that a lot of forethought has already gone into where the race will be held in Auckland, what sort of arrangements will be needed to be put in place.

"I don't think they're going into that cold."

NZ construction sector upbeat on infrastructure work, buoyed by Government injection

23 June 2017

New Zealand's construction sector is increasingly upbeat about the growing infrastructure market, which will get a boost from the government's planned $32.5 billion investment over the next four years.

An annual survey of sentiment in the infrastructure and buildings construction sector shows a split between the two sub-sectors, with those on the infrastructure side expecting increased spending over the coming three years, with 68 percent of respondents seeing a positive investment outlook and nearly 70 percent expecting more work.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce, who launched the report in Auckland this morning, said the sector is "positive" but is figuring out "how to handle that growth.

Joyce said lending curbs by the Reserve Bank and trading banks' tighter credit criteria were "having a bit of an impact" on the buildings side, but were "probably assuring that the boom we're experiencing is going to be a bit more sustainable than in the past," when the building cycle was propped up by more of a boom/bust thing".

Construction has been a major plank to the country's economic growth in recent years as the Canterbury rebuild and Auckland house-building stir activity, accounting for 6.25 percent of the economy from 5 percent five years ago and employing 250,000 people compared to 180,000 in 2012.

Joyce said the pipeline of work and government investment means the sector will continue to be a core part of economic growth in coming years and that a lot of effort was going in to make sure the industry can build capacity to meet that demand.

It's ours! Team New Zealand claims America's Cup after 14 years

27 June 2017

Team New Zealand claimed the America's Cup for a third time on Tuesday after securing a 7-1 series victory over holders Oracle Team USA.

It was a remarkable turnaround for the Auckland-based syndicate after suffering a defeat at the last regatta in 2013, giving up an 8-1 lead over Oracle in the process.

With a young crew led by Olympic gold medallist Peter Burling, Team New Zealand sailed, and cycled, their way through the qualifying series to reach the America's Cup final.

The finals went as follows:

Team New Zealand had a dominating day one with a 30-second in race one before thrashing Oracle by 1 minute and 27 seconds in race two.

Two more big race wins on day two put the challengers in a commanding position - a 3-0 lead heading into the five day break.

Spithill promised Oracle would be working every hour to get faster but that didn't seem to make a difference with Team NZ moving to a 4-0 lead with a two-minute victory in race five and finally finished 4-1.

Spithill finally had something to crow about as the much-faster Oracle boat claimed victory in race six to make it 4-1 at the end of day three of racing. Was another comeback on?

Not so fast. Burling yet again dominated the Australian in both starts in races seven and eight and held off a fighting Spithill to move Team New Zealand to match point at 6-1.

Team New Zealand then crushed Oracle in race nine to complete the victory.

New Zealand world's second most peaceful country

22 June 2017

With terror attacks and political uncertainty rocking the world, New Zealand appears to be emerging as a beacon of peace.

The nation has moved up two places in the Global Peace Index, now sitting in second place behind Iceland.

As a whole, the global level of world peace has improved - 93 countries improved with 68 deteriorating.

New Zealand was given a rating of 1.241 which is based on societal safety and security, ongoing domestic and international conflict and degree of militarisation.

Former prime minister and United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark shared the good news about New Zealand but added a warning.

"[Important] not to be complacent. NZ has its problems too."

First placed Iceland was given a rating of 1.111 by the review committee while Australia rose three places to 12th with a rating of 1.425.

The UK also rose six places and is now equal 41st most peaceful country.

But the United States suffered a big fall, down 11 places to 114th out of 193 countries.

The bottom of the list remains largely unchanged. Syria was named least peaceful country again this year, preceded by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.

Chinese, UK and Australian immigrants drive NZ net migration to new record in May

22 June 2017

New Zealand annual net migration hit another record in May driven by foreign immigrants, with most coming from China, the UK and Australia.

Annual net migration reached 72,000 in the year to May 31 versus 68,400 in the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Three-quarters of the 130,400 migrant arrivals were non-New Zealand citizens, with New Zealanders leaving and returning to the country almost balancing each other out in the last year. There has been a net migration gain of 73,000 non-New Zealand citizens in the past year.

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years as economic growth outpaced Australia's, meaning fewer locals moved across the Tasman. Rising immigration is shaping up to be a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and has been blamed for inflating property markets.

Chinese citizens accounted for 12 percent of migrant arrivals in the year, while 10 percent each came from the UK and Australia.

Annual migrant arrivals from India dropped 31 percent to 9,200 in the year, with a 40 percent drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens, which was offset by gains from the UK and South Africa.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.6 million in the year ended May 31, up 10 percent from a year earlier and a new annual record, Stats NZ said. Most came on holiday or to visit family and friends, and 40 percent were from Australia while 11 percent were from China.

David Jones tipped to be coming to Newmarket

21 June 2017

Staff at giant upmarket Australian department store chain David Jones have told a New Zealand retailer of plans to open in Auckland, according to a local source.

David Jones has made no official announcement about Auckland and today only trades from Wellington.

But the insider told the Herald that the well-established Australian chain was planning to open its second New Zealand store on the former Levene Extreme site on Newmarket's Broadway, after last year's Lambton Quay unveiling.

"David Jones has signed for Auckland. They are going into the new 277 development in Newmarket. This will be where Farmers are at the moment. The interesting point will be filling the retail spaces around David Jones with other tenants. It's signed and sealed but not been released to the media yet," the local retailer said, asking his name not be used because he has a close working relationship with the chain.

Kiwi Property plans $161m capital raising as Auckland expansion continues

19 June 2017

Kiwi Property Group, the largest property company listed on the NZX, plans to raise $161 million to fund expansion in Auckland as it sees strong growth continuing.

Kiwi Property is considering expansion and improvement projects at its Sylvia Park shopping mall in Auckland.

It is currently undergoing a $126 million development at Sylvia Park, adding parking and expanding the food court, and is looking at a further $200 million expansion involving new international retailers and a department store "as we move to realize our world-class town centre vision for that site."

More news »

Home | Requirements | Immigration | Young people | Students | Links | Consulates | NewsContact us

Free help for Jews immigrating to Auckland - email us at .

" With you all the way "

We will respect your privacy in collecting and handling personal information in accordance to the New Zealand Government Privacy Act 1993. We will not give your details to others without your consent.

^ TOP OF PAGE