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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: New Zealand
Posted: January 17, 2022 at 8:36 am
New Zealand, Mori Aotearoa, island country in the South Pacific Ocean, the southwesternmost part of Polynesia. New Zealand is a remote landone of the last sizable territories suitable for habitation to be populated and settledand lies more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Australia, its nearest neighbour. The country comprises two main islandsthe North and the South Islandand a number of small islands, some of them hundreds of miles from the main group. The capital city is Wellington and the largest urban area Auckland; both are located on the North Island. New Zealand administers the South Pacific island group of Tokelau and claims a section of the Antarctic continent. Niue and the Cook Islands are self-governing states in free association with New Zealand.
New Zealand is a land of great contrasts and diversity. Active volcanoes, spectacular caves, deep glacier lakes, verdant valleys, dazzling fjords, long sandy beaches, and the spectacular snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps/K Tiritiri o te Moana on the South Islandall contribute to New Zealands scenic beauty. New Zealand also has a unique array of vegetation and animal life, much of which developed during the countrys prolonged isolation. It is the sole home, for example, of the long-beaked, flightless kiwi, the ubiquitous nickname for New Zealanders.
Match the Country with Its Hemisphere Quiz
This quiz will present you with the name of a country. You have to decide whether its in the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere. (There will be no trickery with countries that touch the Equator.)
New Zealand was the largest country in Polynesia when it was annexed by Great Britain in 1840. Thereafter it was successively a crown colony, a self-governing colony (1856), and a dominion (1907). By the 1920s it controlled almost all of its internal and external policies, although it did not become fully independent until 1947, when it adopted the Statute of Westminster. It is a member of the Commonwealth.
The ascent of Mount Everest by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953 was one of the defining moments of the 20th century. In some ways, Hillary suggested, I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed.
Despite New Zealands isolation, the country has been fully engaged in international affairs since the early 20th century, being an active member of a number of intergovernmental institutions, including the United Nations. It has also participated in several wars, including World Wars I and II. Economically the country was dependent on the export of agricultural products, especially to Great Britain. The entry of Britain into the European Community in the early 1970s, however, forced New Zealand to expand its trade relations with other countries. It also began to develop a much more extensive and varied industrial sector. Tourism has played an increasingly important role in the economy, though this sector has been vulnerable to global financial instability.
The social and cultural gap between New Zealands two main groupsthe indigenous Mori of Polynesian heritage and the colonizers and later immigrants from the British Isles and their descendantshas decreased since the 1970s, though educational and economic differences between the two groups remain. Immigration from other areasAsia, Africa, and eastern Europehas also made a mark, and New Zealand culture today reflects these many influences. Minority rights and race-related issues continue to play an important role in New Zealand politics.
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Posted: at 8:36 am
In the wake of a massive undersea volcano erupting, New Zealands National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)announced a tsunami warning on Saturday. After a large volcanic eruption took place, New Zealand's emergency management agency issued an advisory and said coastal areas on the north and east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands are likely to witness "strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore." Notably, this is one of the largest eruptions of the Tongan volcano in its history,the agency said.
So far, there have been no reports of injuries or the scale of the damage caused by the volcano because of the disturbed communications with the island nation. However, videos circulating on social media show huge waves traveling ashore in coastal areas, destroyinghomes and buildings. Meanwhile, New Zealand military personnel are closely monitoring the situation and are prepared to reach out for rescue andassistance.
The images captured by satellite show a huge eruption above the blue Pacific waters. An alert notice was issued for all the archipelago and data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre recorded waves of 80 centimeters, said the Tonga Meteorological Services. Meanwhile, the local authorities in the island nations of Fiji and Samoa also issued alerts, warning people to not go near the shoreline. Meanwhile, the Japan Meteorological Agency stated there may be a slight surge of water near the Japanese coasts.
As per reports, police and military troops evacuated hundreds of residents to safer zones, including Tongas King Tupou VI, who was residing in his palace near the shore. In the series of volcanic eruptions, the explosion of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haapai volcano was the latest. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said late Saturday that it appears that the threat to American Samoa has passed, and minor sea fluctuations will also soon fade away.
Tonga is home to about 105,000 people. The volcanic eruption took place around 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital, Nukualofa. Earlier, in 2014 and 2015, a series of volcanic eruptions occurred in the area, and a small new island was created. However, the eruptions disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for a few weeks.
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Posted: at 8:36 am
SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand sent surveillance flights on Monday to assess damage in Tonga, isolated from the rest of the world after the eruption of a volcano that triggered a tsunami and blanketed the Pacific island with ash.
Australia's Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja said initial reports suggested no mass casualties from Saturday's eruption and tsunami but Australian police had visited beaches and reported significant damage with "houses thrown around".
Read more: Scientists struggle to monitor Tonga volcano after massive eruption
"We know there is some significant damage, and know there is significant damage to resorts," he said in an interview with an Australian radio station, adding that Tonga's airport appeared to be in relatively good condition.
One British woman was reported missing, he said.
The surveillance flights would assess the situation in outer islands where communication is completely cut off.
Tonga's deputy head of mission in Australia, Curtis Tu'ihalangingie, asked for patience as Tonga's government decides its priorities for aid.
Tonga is concerned about the risk of aid deliveries spreading COVID-19 to the island, which is COVID-free.
"We don't want to bring in another wave - a tsunami of COVID-19," he told Reuters by telephone.
"When people see such a huge explosion they want to help," he said, but added Tonga diplomats were also concerned by some private fundraising efforts and urged the public to wait until a disaster relief fund was announced.
Any aid sent to Tonga would need to be quarantined, and it was likely no foreign personnel would be allowed to disembark aircraft, he said.
The eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano triggered a tsunami on the shores of Tonga and cut off phone and internet lines for the entire island.
International communication has been severely hampered by damage to an undersea cable, which could take more than a week to restore, and Australia and New Zealand were assisting with satellite calls, he said.
Telephone networks in Tonga have been restored but ash was posing a major health concern, contaminating drinking water.
An eruption occurs at the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai off Tonga, January 14, 2022 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. Video recorded January 14, 2022. Tonga Geological Services/via REUTERS
"Most people are not aware the ash is toxic and bad for them to breath and they have to wear a mask," Tu'ihalangingie said.
The Haatafu Beach Resort, on the Hihifo peninsula, 21 km (13 miles) west of the capital Nukualofa, was completely wiped out, the owners said on Facebook.
The family that manages the resort had run for their lives through the bush to escape the tsunami, it said. The whole western coastline has been completely destroyed along with Kanukupolu village, the resort said.
British woman Angela Glover was missing after she was washed away by a wave when she and her husband, James, who own the Happy Sailor Tattoo in Nuku'alofa, had gone to get their dogs.
The husband managed to hold onto a tree but his wife, who runs a dog rescue shelter, and their dogs were swept away, New Zealand state broadcaster TVNZ reported.
The Red Cross said it was mobilising its network to respond to what it called the worst volcanic eruption the Pacific has experienced in decades.
Katie Greenwood, the Pacific head of delegation for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told Reuters up to 80,000 people could have been affected by the tsunami.
The damage was centred along the western coast, where there are many resorts, and the waterfront of the capital, Nuku'alofa, the New Zealand High Commission in Tonga said. A thick layer of ash remained across the island.
Scientists were struggling to monitor the volcano, after the explosion destroyed its sea-level crater and drowned its mass, obscuring it from satellites. read more
Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai has erupted regularly over the past few decades but the impact of Saturday's eruption was felt as far away as Fiji, New Zealand, the United States and Japan. Two people drowned off a beach in Northern Peru due to high waves caused by the tsunami.
More than a day after the eruption, countries thousands of kilometres to the west have volcanic ash clouds over them, New Zealand forecaster WeatherWatch said.
Early data suggests the eruption was the biggest blast since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, New Zealand-based volcanologist Shane Cronin told Radio New Zealand.
"This is an eruption best witnessed from space," Cronin said.
Reporting by Praveen Menon and Kirsty Needham; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel and Philippa Fletcher
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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New Zealand banks reject home loans over spending on Christmas gifts and pets as tighter rules hit – The Guardian
Posted: at 8:36 am
Banks in New Zealand are rejecting home-loans over minor frivolous spending, including a $187 Kmart Christmas shop and a daily drink bought at a corner store, and money spent on pets or petrol, pushing the government to investigate whether banks are overreacting to new finance rules designed to protect vulnerable borrowers from predatory lenders.
The Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA), updated in early December, requires all lenders to complete thorough checks to ensure loans are suitable and affordable for their customers.
But finance leaders and opposition politicians say the rules have compelled banks to take an ultra-conservative approach to lending, pushing homeownership further out of reach for many as the country battles a housing crisis.
There has been a sharp dip in home-loan approvals since the new rules were introduced from about 30,000 a month to 23,000 in December according to Centrix, a credit reporting agency.
One in five mortgage loan approvals appear to have been hit by the new CCCFA regulations. Consumers that were previously approved are no longer, its managing director Keith McLaughlin said, adding that this amounts to a decrease in lending of $1.9bn from November to December.
The chief executive of Financial Advice NZ, Katrina Shanks, said the new rules required banks and other lenders to go through an individuals spending habits with a fine-tooth comb. Entertainment, food (including take-aways), gym memberships, clothing, personal care, childcare and more are included. Before the rule changes, the banks had the ability to determine some of these costs as discretionary spending.
A December survey of Financial Advice NZs members revealed roughly 300 examples of lenders being restricted in the loans they could offer to would-be borrowers because of the rules, Shank said.
What has happened is the net is so wide on who this new prescription is applied to, that it has hit the average New Zealander. Most New Zealanders wouldnt be considered vulnerable, but the way this legislation has been written, it captures all New Zealanders.
The rules also make directors and senior managers of lending organisations personally liable for up to $200,000 if found to be breaking the rules, which has made banks extremely risk-averse, Shanks said.
The New Zealand Bankers Association chief executive Roger Beaumont told Stuff the law change meant banks had much less flexibility or room for lender discretion than was previously the case.
The minister of commerce and consumer affairs, Dr David Clark, has now asked the council of financial regulators to bring forward their investigation into whether banks and lenders are implementing the CCCFA as intended.
Banks appear to be managing their lending more conservatively at present, and this is likely due to global economic conditions. It may also be that in the initial weeks of implementing the new CCCFA requirements there has been a decision to unduly err on the side of caution.
Clark added that a number of factors affecting the market have occurred at the same time as the rule changes, including increases to the official cash rate, changes to how much a bank can lend against mortgaged property compared to the value of that property, and an increase in house prices and local government rates.
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Posted: at 8:36 am
A group of New Zealand's leading health professionals are pushing for the government to be better prepared for an outbreak of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
A group of experts suggest New Zealand needs an "explicit shift" from a suppression approach to mitigation. (File image) Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver
So far, there have been few cases of the highly transmissible variant in New Zealand in the community - the latest being an Auckland MIQ worker.
But Omicron has lead to a dramatic spike in cases globally, including in Australia where more than 100,000 Covid-19 new cases were reported each day for four days in a row last week.
University of Otago professors Michael Baker and Nick Wilson, doctors Jennifer Summers and Amanda Kvalsvig, and University of Auckland's Dr Matire Harwood said the government must "increase measures to delay the arrival of the Omicron variant to give more preparation time".
"We can expect an Omicron outbreak to be very intense."
They suggested an "explicit shift" from a suppression approach to mitigation, and upgrading the alert level system because "ultimately the traffic light system lacks an adequate range of tools".
Baker told RNZ this did not necessarily mean a return to a strict level 4 lockdown: "it might be alert level 3 - a lighter version of that with people working from home if they could".
The timing of the phased reopening of borders was "too early" in their view, despite the government already pushing the first two phases back to an unspecified end-of-February date.
It was also "necessary to greatly reduce the number of infected travellers arriving in [the country]", they said.
The group suggested an urgent tightening of pre-departure testing requirements, which were recently relaxed to allow travellers coming from some places to provide rapid antigen tests (RAT) instead of PCR tests.
"One option would be to add in a requirement for RAT at overseas airports immediately prior to departure, alongside the current PCR requirement 48 hours prior to departure."
There is a "much better chance" of delaying Omicron's arrival if New Zealand can "push the number of active border cases down to a more manageable number", ideally less than five a day, they said. And the use of RATs should play "an increasingly important role", but must be introduced "in a way that supports better decision-making and equity".
Now that RAT tests can be bought privately the group called for "a system that allows members of the public to upload the results of RATs to support ongoing disease surveillance".
Thorough advice and support must be provide for people to manage Covid-19 infection at home the group said, with overseas experience suggesting most of those infected with the Omicron variant could be cared for at home.
This advice should help people recognise if they are "seriously" sick and need additional help, what supplies they should have to manage symptoms, and guidance to minimise household transmission.
They warned that with an Omicron outbreak, "contact tracing will be rapidly overwhelmed ... and soon become ineffective" and measures seen in the previous alert level system might be the "main tools to 'flatten the curve' ".
The group said elimination of the Delta variant was "technically possible" and this would put New Zealand "in a better position if it could be achieved before Omicron starts to circulate widely".
In a briefing earlier today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand would move to the red traffic light setting if there was an Omicron outbreak.
"What I expect is over the coming weeks to be able to share with you some of the additional preparation that has been done over and above the work that we did on Delta, for the specific issue of Omicron and what it represents. We have the ability to learn from other nations and see the impact or the way that Omicron is behaving and prepare ourselves."
Ardern said this would mean changes including to the way testing, isolation and contact tracing was done, and the details would be shared in the coming weeks.
Posted: at 8:36 am
New Zealand began inoculating 5- to11-year-old children Monday with Pfizers pediatric COVID vaccine. More than 120,000 vaccines have been delivered to 500 vaccination centers around the country, the health ministry said.
Getting vaccinated now is a great way to help protect tamariki (children) before they go back to school, Dr. Anthony Jordan, Aucklands COVID-19 vaccination program clinical director, said in a statement. The evidence shows that while children may have milder symptoms, some will still get very sick and end up in hospital if they do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated also helps to prevent them from passing it on to vulnerable family members, he added.
The omicron surge has not yet peaked in the U.S., Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, warned Sunday on CNNs State of the Union. The next few weeks could be tough, he cautioned, but noted that there has been a drop in cases in some locations, including New York and New Jersey.
The new self-isolation period for people with COVID in England has been reduced from ten days to five full days. The new measure went into effect Monday.
This is a balanced and proportionate approach to restore extra freedoms and reduce the pressure on essential public services over the winter, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said. It is crucial people only stop self-isolating after two negative tests to ensure you are not infectious.
The Credit Suisse Group, a Switzerland-based global investment bank, has announced the resignation of its chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio, after an investigation revealed that Horta-Osorio had violated COVID-19 protocols, including attending Wimbledon tennis tournament finals in London in July.
I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally, Horta-Osorio said in a statement on the Credit Suisses website.
UNICEFs executive director said Saturdays shipment of 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccines to Rwanda included the billionth dose supplied to COVAX. Henrietta Fore said, With so many people yet to be offered a single dose, we know we have much more to do.
COVAX is the international alliance working to ensure that equitable allotment of COVID-19 vaccines to low- and medium-income countries.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Monday that it has recorded 328.1 million global COVID-19 infections and 5.5 million deaths. The center said 9.7 billion vaccines have been administered.
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Chinas choice of ambassador to New Zealand indicates focus on deepening economic ties – The Guardian
Posted: at 8:36 am
A new Chinese ambassador who has previously worked on the countrys controversial belt and road initiative (BRI) has arrived in New Zealand, prompting speculation Beijing is planning to focus on deepening economic ties with New Zealand as the two countries navigate growing diplomatic challenges.
Wang Xiaolong, who replaced former ambassador Wu Xi, previously served as director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministrys department of international economic affairs. In that role, Wang helped oversee the BRI which seeks to deepen economic ties between China and other countries and is a key focus of President Xi Jinping.
The initiative has prompted some scepticism from world governments, particularly those in the west, about Beijings motives, with claims the BRI is largely an influence operation. In December the EU announced Global Gateway, a 300bn infrastructure spending project aimed at countering the BRI.
Wang appears to be more of a peace-maker figure than the crop of wolf warrior diplomats in other foreign postings. In October he said that some decoupling between the US and China was inevitable, particularly over technology. He called for China to recognise not just the challenge posed by the US but also its own growing strength and the rise of our influence and power to shape the global narrative.
Given Wangs background, discussions about New Zealand involvement in the BRI could grow, according to Dr Jason Young, director of the Contemporary China Research Centre at Victoria University, who noted that the economic relationship between the two had held up really well compared to some other countries.
There was some New Zealand interest in the BRI under former prime minister John Keys centre-right National government. In 2017, China and New Zealand signed a memorandum of agreement to develop a plan for New Zealand involvement.
However that engagement stalled following the 2017 election of a Labour-New Zealand First coalition, which took a more sceptical view of the BRI amid reports that it involved debt-trap diplomacy, with some poorer countries unable to repay Chinese loans for BRI projects.
Last year, Wellington indicated a willingness to work with China on mutually beneficial BRI projects with an environmental emphasis. It remains unclear what that would involve.
Young said the New Zealand-China relationship has also come under pressure due to Chinas far more illiberal tendencies in recent years, including economic coercion of Australia and repressive policies in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
These challenges prompted New Zealand to criticise China more vocally than previously. It has occasionally signed on to criticisms of China issued by more hawkish Anglosphere countries Australia, the United States, Canada and the UK.
The government has expressed concern this could lead to trade repercussions. In an interview with the Guardian in 2021, foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta warned exporters to prepare for a potential storm of anger from China.
New Zealand officials have also become more cautious about the implications of growing Chinese aggression for the Indo-Pacific and New Zealand itself. A recent report by New Zealands Ministry of Defence warned that the country faces a substantially more challenging environment due, in part, to Chinas increasingly strong nationalist narrative.
Despite these challenges, New Zealands relationship with China remains relatively stable, said Young. If I were a guessing man, I would suggest [Wangs] focus will be on maintaining the relationship, in the sense of not having a deterioration like that [which] we saw in Australia.
Across the Tasman, government actions around Chinese political and economic interference sparked diplomatic conflict between the two countries, with China placing significant tariffs on some Australian exports. Recent Australian polling indicates 60% of Australians view China as a security threat.
Chinas embassy in New Zealand has been approached for comment.
Additional reporting by Helen Davidson
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Posted: at 8:36 am
Standing on a very empty Fox Glacier in early 2021. Pre-pandemic you needed to book heli-hikes well in advance because of their popularity.
As someone who has both lived in tourist towns and worked in the tourism industry for a decade, I have always had my finger on the pulse. Lets just say were in a bit of a coma, but one with an optimistic outcome.
Were coming on two years since our borders closed and the tourism industry was decimated here in New Zealand.
Deep down we all know that we cant stay closed off forever. Whether we like it or not, visitors will return to New Zealand, and likely in droves, especially as we now exist in the collective psyche as a place that did the pandemic right.
While individually none of us can wave a magic wand and change our current situation, we do have a choice over how we respond to the cards that weve been dealt. And with my glass half-full personality, Im totally embracing a New Zealand backcountry empty of international tourists.
Sunset over the Hump Ridge Track is one of my favourite tramping memories.
READ MORE:* Maruia Hot Springs: The reinvigorated retreat is perfect for a peaceful getaway* A perfect summer getaway in the Marlborough Sounds* Diving underground into one of New Zealand's oldest cave systems* Liz Carlson: An awe-inspiring glacial experience on Fox Glacier
This is going to be the summer of getting outdoors! At the peak of tourism in New Zealand, I found myself avoiding some places that were super crowded (hello Roys Peak) or felt that I missed out on certain tracks because the huts were booked out a year in advance (Milford Track, how you doing?).
Now theyre relatively empty and waiting for us!
We dont know how long this coma will last with no international visitors, so we might as well take advantage and enjoy an empty backcountry this summer.
So many of the most popular backcountry huts remain empty or quiet these days.
A month ago, I was looking to get away for a few days and take advantage of an incredible weather window in Fiordland.
On a whim, I checked the iconic Routeburn Track Hut availability and saw that bookings were wide open. It was the same situation with all of the Great Walks; even the popular Milford Track had space, which I also eagerly booked.
Two days later, I found myself dusting off my tramping pack and walking under perfect clear blue skies along one of New Zealand's most beautiful walks.
Its never been a better time to get out and explore our own backyard, especially in the reserves and national parks.
Normally, the Great Walks book up a year in advance. Between the closed borders and the North Island lockdowns, the huts were maybe half-full at the most.
There was comfort and camaraderie between everyone those days on the track, and a collective feeling that something rather special was happening perhaps a glimpse into the New Zealand of decades ago.
Whether youre a seasoned tramper who enjoys a real challenge or someone looking to get out in nature more regularly, this is a fantastic season to give it a go without worrying about crowded huts or busy trails.
Use this summer to tick off some of the tramps and adventures that have been simmering in the back of your mind.
Im already planning my adventures in the backcountry this summer, including some harder tramps and missions.
With fewer people on the trails, it means you have to be more cautious than ever, especially as a solo tramper. While you can definitely never depend on someone finding you if you end up in a pickle (always carry an EPIRB/beacon and always share your plans), now it is even less so with fewer trampers out and about.
This means its really important to be safe and plan accordingly when youre heading off the grid, especially with most of our national parks out of mobile range.
Between DOC and Mountain Safety Councils Plan My Walk app, I carefully plan my adventures as safe as possible. No one wants to be winched off a mountain by rescuers.
Staying safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Face coverings are mandatory on all flights and public transport. Proof of vaccination and vaccine exemption may be required in some venues under the traffic light system. Follow the instructions at Covid19.govt.nz.
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Posted: at 8:36 am
After a year riddled withturmoil and uncertainty, New Zealand seems to have entered2022 with a relatively better outlook. An improvement inleading economic indicators suggests that the Kiwiland maysee better times ahead as recovery is on the way. The recentrevival in major economic indicators has provided somerespite from the dismal scenario seen last year after theDelta variant caused global wreckage. In a way, the economyhas much to look forward to in the new year.
NewZealand has set a global example in curtailing the spread ofthe COVID-19 pandemic. The countrys stringent measuresagainst the virus helped it stand back on its feet followingthe 2020 recession. However, soon after, the Delta variantunfolded rapidly, causing major unrest in Auckland. Theresult was a slowdown in business activities, which opened anew can of worms for retail, manufacturing, travel, andconstruction sectors.
However, the central banksdecision to increase interest rates came perfectly timed,prompting a cool off in the overheated economy. With severaleconomic indicators suggesting a gradual recovery, furtherrate hikes can be expected in the monthsahead.
Against this backdrop, let us discuss some keymarket trends reflecting the resilience of the NZeconomy.
November 2021 was a month packed withpromising market forces, the most prominent being rise inemployment numbers. As per Stats NZ, the number of filledjobs rose 0.4% month-on-month in November, representing anaddition of 9,395 jobs. The substantial increase in jobs wasseen in the construction sector and professional, scientific& technical services domain, where jobs surged by 8.6%and 8.2%, respectively.
A major chunk of these newlyfilled positions belonged to Auckland residents, where thenumber of filled jobs increased by 4.7% relative to November2020. Moreover, the Bay of Plenty recorded the largestyearly jump of 4.9% in the number of filledjobs.
Notably, the ANZ monthly economic indicator alsohinted at the sharp recovery of the countrys labourmarket from pandemic-induced disruptions. The InfometricsMonthly Employment indicator suggested thehigher-than-expected resilience at the tail end of prolongedDelta restrictions and indicated earnings rising at thefastest pace on record. The rise in wages can be credited tothe additional bargaining power achieved by the workersamidst the lack of a skilled workforce.
Supplyconstraints have sent property prices to new all-time highsover the last one and a half years, urging many to take atimely exit from the market. However, the latest reportssuggest that new dwellings have risen at a record-breakingrate in New Zealand. Stats NZ reported that new dwellingsconsented finally rose by 0.6% in November 2021, afterdecreasing by 2.1% in October. Relative to November 2020,new dwellings consented surged by 26% to 48,522dwellings.
Notably, 2,126 new stand-alone housesconsented in November alone. Additionally, Canterbury sawthe sharpest hike of 30% in new dwellingsconsented.
The rising work-from-home culture hasredefined how people view their housing needs. The demandsurge has created space for multi-unit homes like townhousesand apartments, which can accommodate many homebuyerswithout compromising on private space.
Apart fromincreased residential housing needs, the previous year alsoenhanced the requirement for sufficient equipment and estatefor the healthcare sector. Among non-residential buildings,hospitals and nursing homes saw the biggest spike in newdwelling consents.
GOOD READ: IMF-emerging economies must prepare for Fed policytightening
As per Stats NZ, New Zealanders spent anadditional NZ$543 million in the retail industries inNovember 2021 alone, compared to October. The momentumcontinued in late December and early January when shoppersflocked the markets for holiday celebrations.
Retailsales are generally the earliest to spike with increasingconsumer confidence in the economy. As soon as restrictionseased, consumers crowded the markets, cooling off somepent-up demand for goods and services. Additionally, theholiday season added to the consumer frenzy, providing theperfect setup for consumers to relieve their long-builtdemand.
The period between year-end and New year wasmarked with heavy core retail sales, which broke recordsseen in pre-Covid times. Thus, the markets are experiencingbooming demand, with shoppers quenching their longstandingneeds to buy consumer goods.
The NZ economy seemswell-positioned to take on any additional challenges ahead.A slowdown in economic activity could seep in because of thefast-spreading Omicron variant. However, buoyant demand islikely to keep the businesses afloat and prevent anyunprecedented havoc in the economy.
GOOD READ: WorldInequality Report2022
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Posted: at 8:36 am
The cyclone is expected to hit later today. Photo / MetService
Cyclone Cody is expected to pass east of New Zealand later today, with the latest guidance that it won't make land but some effects will still be felt.
The potential impact of Cody has been significantly downgraded from several days ago when it was feared the storm could brush past or even hit the East Cape.
MetService said this morning the cyclone was currently over waters to the northeast, and was expected to pass far east of the East Cape on Monday as it heads southwards, before moving further south towards the Chatham Islands on Tuesday.
"The risk of heavy rain has diminished as the system tracks well east of New Zealand. However, the risk of severe gales about exposed parts of eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne remain," the forecaster said.
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Hazardous conditions were still expected about the exposed eastern coastlines of the North Island, where large easterly swells, significant sea surges and rips and coastal inundation were possible.
Last night parts of Northland's east coast were hit by huge waves that caused significant damage at Tutukaka Marina. Civil Defence Northland said it believed the waves may have been created by the combined effect of Cyclone Cody and a huge volcanic eruption in Tonga last night.
It has warned people on the east coast to stay away from the water today as strong, frequent surges were continuing and surges could hit previously calm areas.
MetService this morning said there was still a strong wind watch in place for Bay of Plenty east of ptiki and Gisborne north of Tolaga Bay, valid from 3am Monday to 12am Tuesday.
But a heavy rain watch for Gisborne and the Wairoa District has been lifted as heavy rain is no longer expected.
14 Jan, 2022 09:19 PMQuick Read
14 Jan, 2022 04:00 PMQuick Read
Gisborne Civil Defence emergency manager Ben Green said on Saturday they want to be prepared for any scenario.
"We're probably as well set up as we can be going into what's hopefully potentially just a glance of the system coming through."
Green said they had been doing courtesy calls to make sure people in remote areas of the region are aware gale-force winds, intense rain and high seas were likely.
He said they were treating it as a worst-case scenario, particularly with people holidaying in remote coastal areas.
River levels are being monitored and there's been additional cleaning of sewers and stormwater pipes, he said.
The transport agency, Waka Kotahi, said people should be prepared for large swells on low-lying coastal roads, as well as heavy rain and severe gales.
This kind of weather can cause slips, with debris and trees falling on the roads.
Waka Kotahi's national journey manager, Helen Harris, said high-sided vehicles need to be particularly cautious in those types of conditions.
She said drivers of high-sided vehicles should consider not travelling until the severe weather dies down, even if the roads are open.
Crews will be monitoring the situation closely and will close roads if the weather gets too dangerous.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) is also urging the beach-going public to take much greater care on northeastern beaches and prepare for closures as category 1 Tropical Cyclone Cody nears.
Northland's patrolled surf beaches are at Ocean Beach, Whangrei Heads, Waip Cove, Ruakk, and Mangawhai Heads on the east coast and Ahipara and Baylys Beach on the west coast.
SLSNR lifesaving operations manager James Lea is warning beachgoers and holiday-makers to remain vigilant as large waves and strong rip currents create dangerous swimming conditions.
"With forecasted strong winds and a lot of energy pushing into eastern beaches this weekend, it will be extremely important to maintain your safety and safety of others this weekend. Strong surf and large waves will create strong currents," Lea said.
"There will be a lot of water moving which would easily knock you off your feet. Keep a close eye on young children be able to reach them quickly, see them at all times and stay well away from the water.
"We also ask that storm-spectators and rock-fishers take extra care if spending any time on the rocks this weekend. Large swells can easily knock you off and into the dangerous water.
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