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Kerre Woodham: Why would you stay in New Zealand?

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Mon, 24 Apr 2023, 10:08am

Kerre Woodham: Why would you stay in New Zealand?

Author
Kerre Woodham,
Publish Date
Mon, 24 Apr 2023, 10:08am

Is PM Chris Hipkins living in la la land? 

When the announcement was made that New Zealanders would have new pathways to citizenship in Australia, with citizenship now guaranteed after four years, Hipkins said he didn't think this would lead to an exodus of New Zealanders quitting the country and heading across the ditch. 

New Zealanders travel to Australia and live there regardless, he said. People go there for a wide variety of reasons. I don't think, he said, that guaranteed citizenship will make a significant difference to that calculation. 

He's right of course in that Kiwis have been going to Oz to make a better life for themselves for years. Traditionally, there's been a net migration loss from NZ to Oz. Nearly 30k New Zealanders left every year between 2004 and 2012. 3000 a year during 2014 and 2019. 

Then our borders were closed. 

But once they were open we were off again, and this time in greater numbers. 

In year to June 2022, there was a net migration loss of 8100 people to Australia, taking their skills, their determination, their optimism with them. They left, as Hipkins quite rightly said, for a variety of reasons. 

Some had family already there. Some were headhunted. Some went when they saw what they could be earning - nurses earn a minimum 24 thousand more than they do in New Zealand, primary school teachers 32 thousand dollars more, doctors and specialists nearly 70 thousand more. 

But it’s not all about the money. New Zealand is home. Connections run deep. It’s a huge wrench to upsticks and go and make a new life in a new land. 

But to stay here you have to feel like you belong here. That you have a place here. That you have a future here. Is that how you feel? I haven't heard so much I'm off to Australia chat since - well, since those years between 2004 and 2013. That might be just so much letting off steam. 

It will be interesting to see the figures next year. But really the question might be not why would you leave for Australia. But why would you stay in New Zealand.

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