March 10, 2015 The number of Australians choosing to live in Tauranga has outstripped those crossing the ditch from Tauranga for the first time since 1993. Last year, 635 Tauranga people moved from the city to Australia, compared with 679 Australian citizens who moved to Tauranga permanently, according to Statistics New Zealand. In 2013, 1050 people left Tauranga for Aussie. This is the highest number of Australians who have moved to Tauranga since records began in 1991.
The Western Bay of Plenty District also had a large increase in people moving to New Zealand from Australia. Last year, 279 Australian citizens moved to the region and 189 Western Bay residents crossed the ditch.
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dave Burnett told the Bay of Plenty Times Tauranga and the rest of the Bay of Plenty were attractive places to live.
“Our economy is steaming ahead really well and we’ve seen some really good growth figures in the Bay of Plenty which is some of the highest in New Zealand. I’ve no doubt that will increase as well and keep going.”
Mr Burnett said more companies were choosing to base themselves in the region, the kiwifruit industry was bouncing back and the infrastructure, such as the Tauranga Eastern Link, was being improved, making the Bay more attractive to migrants.
He said the Australian economy was heavily focused on hard commodities such as iron ore. A decline in demand for iron ore from China had caused a downturn in the Australian economy, which made New Zealand’s appear more favourable.
“New Zealand has been pretty attractive in the past few years. Dairy prices have remained fairly high, though they will be down this season. These soft commodities, dairy, wood, those sorts of thing, have generally done pretty well.
“I can see why people are coming back to New Zealand.”
Mayor Stuart Crosby said the figures were consistent with feedback he had received from agencies such as Priority One and major employers.
“There is [also] a return of people coming back from Australia, particularly in the 35 to 45 age group. People are coming back after spending some time in Australia, generally because our economy seems to be stronger and the lifestyle is better here as well.”
People coming from Australia were helping address a skills shortage in the city, Mr Crosby said, particularly in construction.
It’s all about the lifestyle
The lifestyle here is better.
That is the view of Kate Wilson and Chris Wimsett, who have moved to Katikati from Western Australia.
Both grew up in New Zealand, but moved to Kalgoorlie eight years ago after meeting in Te Puke.
“We moved back four months ago,” Miss Wilson told the Bay of Plenty Times. “We chose Katikati because of the business we bought; Northern Automotive was for sale and we wanted to be in the Bay to be close to family.
“My partner grew up in Te Puke and I lived there for two years before we moved to Australia.”
Miss Wilson said she and Mr Wimsett had always planned to come back to New Zealand.
“We didn’t want to stay there forever and we really needed to be closer to family. It was too far away and far too expensive to visit often from Kalgoorlie.”
Miss Wilson said the best part of living in Australia was the higher wages, which in turn meant they were able to do a lot more recreational activities.
But on the other hand, she believed that the lifestyle in New Zealand was better.
“This is the best decision for us.”
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