Australian election: Surge in NZ immigration website searches

7:34 am on 21 May 2019

Immigration New Zealand registered four times more website visits than usual from Australia the day after the Liberal coalition's general election win.

Signage for check-in at Auckland International Airport

The significant increase in visits to the Immigration NZ website may be a short-lived reaction to the Australian election result, a politics professor says. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

More than 11,500 people logged onto the Immigration New Zealand website and its information site New Zealand Now on Sunday, compared to fewer than 2500 the previous Sunday.

Google analytics also showed a spike in Australians searching the words 'moving to New Zealand', particularly those from Queensland.

The true level of interest in emigrating is difficult to gauge as Australian citizens do not need a visa to travel to New Zealand, although its visa-holders do.

The number who started the visa process, through registrations of interest, jumped from 20 to 715.

A national manager at Immigration New Zealand, Greg Forsythe, said the significant increase in website visits may not translate into the same number of people actually making the move.

Social media platforms have been busy with Australians discussing a move, their admiration for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and their disillusionment with their own country's politics.

Academics say the figures reflect frustration among progressives at the Liberal coalition's win.

Auckland University politics professor Jennifer Curtin, an expert in trans-Tasman politics, said the interest in emigrating could be a short-lived reaction to some voters' surprise and disappointment at Labor not winning.

That could fade, especially when the economic reality of moving to New Zealand became clearer, she said.

But the country and its politics were very attractive to Australian progressives and environmentalists, she added, many having already visited New Zealand as tourists.

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