Kiwis can count a new cohort of Australians in their mix, with rising numbers choosing to leave for New Zealand. (Source: 9 News)
30 September 2017 Charles Croucher – Political Reporter
The old saying used to be “will the last person out of New Zealand please turn out the lights”.
It was brought about by a trend lasting generations that saw migration from the Shaky Isles to the Lucky Country.
But that trend is over.
In the last 12 months – 25,000 people migrated from Australia to New Zealand.
David and Kylie Craig are some of those Aussies now making their home under New Zealand’s ‘long white cloud’.
“We lived in Sydney all our lives so coming over here was an opportunity to experience something different,” Mr Craig said.
“It is a beautiful country and the people here are incredibly friendly and welcoming – we could not have hoped for a better reception arriving into New Zealand.”
They live with their three children on a two-acre block just 10 minutes from the heart of Hamilton, New Zealand’s third largest city.
“To do that in Australia or to do that in Sydney you’re looking at an hour, hour-and-a-half outside of Sydney before you could even get close to anything like this.”
But it’s more than beating the traffic attracting Aussies across the ditch.
New Zealand’s economy is powering ahead.
“The more positive net migration flows in the last few years has coincided with a slight reversal of unemployment rates,” Kim Dunston from Statistics New Zealand told 9NEWS.
“So unemployment rates in New Zealand are currently sitting at around 5 percent, that compares with about 5.5 percent in Australia. If we go back five years, the New Zealand unemployment rates were slightly higher than Australia.”
But for Kylie Craig, proximity played a big factor in choosing New Zealand over Europe or America.
“It’s much easier for us to get home to family and so forth, it’s much easier for us to be here,” she said.
“If we needed to we can jump on the plane and be there in a few hours, whereas, other side of the world would have been a different story.”
The couple still proudly hang a Wallaby jersey on the dining room wall, but with three sheep in the backyard there’s no mistaking this for a home among the gum trees.
“We went and had lambs last year but we couldn’t bring ourselves to do what most Kiwis do and put them in the freezer.”
[Read the 9 News article].