Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Claire Trevett: Impending Brexodus looks towards our shores

Johnson's entertaining but nonetheless undiplomatic ruminations about foreign leaders have been well-aired since he was appointed Foreign Secretary. Photo / AP
Johnson's entertaining but nonetheless undiplomatic ruminations about foreign leaders have been well-aired since he was appointed Foreign Secretary. Photo / AP

As Britain's new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ponders a worldwide tour of contrition, New Zealand can stand proud as the only country he has not offended.

Johnson's entertaining but nonetheless undiplomatic ruminations about foreign leaders have been well-aired since he was appointed Foreign Secretary. Johnson himself pointed to a "rich thesaurus" of insults, but said they had been misconstrued "through what alchemy I do not know": "It would really take me too long to engage in a full global itinerary of apology to all concerned."

New Zealand will not be on that itinerary. For a start, it is hard not to appreciate a man with such a turn of phrase. In the past, Johnson has been our Great Defender - fighting for the rights of New Zealanders to live and work in the UK and praising our vibrant ways. That may prove helpful given new British PM Theresa May had a very flinty attitude towards Commonwealth immigration as Home Secretary. However, nowadays New Zealand may be reluctant to open the doors to Britain.

If tweets about Brexit and the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency are to be believed, a great exodus will arrive any moment now. When the Government drew up its "mass arrivals" legislation to cope with the possibility of boatloads of asylum seekers landing here, little did it think the arrivals would be from the UK and US.

Those planning such a move may want to do their research first. One issue is whether they can afford a house. On that front, the good news is the Government has finally revealed its housing policy for first home-buyers. The bad news is the policy is for first home-buyers not to buy a home at all.

It is the Spray and Walk Away Policy: it advises first home-buyers to walk away and check again in a few months' time.

It was first announced by Finance Minister Bill English, who urged first home-buyers to "be patient". That was reinforced by Housing Minister Nick Smith, who said it was not the best time for a young family to buy in Auckland.

Prime Minister John Key is also engaged in a game of ping-pong with the Reserve Bank. Key told the Reserve Bank a fortnight ago to "just get on with it" and deal to investors pushing up demand in Auckland's housing. In return, the Reserve Bank's deputy governor told the Government to do its own dirty work and to overhaul immigration policy. This week, the Reserve Bank announced it was "consulting" on further LVR restrictions, mainly targeting investors. The Reserve Bank's definition of "consulting" appears to be akin to North Korean President Kim Jong Un's - although only the investors will be moaning about that. It also announced the changes would take place from October but expected banks to adhere to "the spirit" of them immediately.

Despite all that, those who have spoken of moving here include comedian Billy Crystal who said a Trump presidency would be an incentive to buy in New Zealand. Crystal is in town, ostensibly for comedy shows. Given Trump was confirmed as the Republican Presidential nominee yesterday, the Overseas Investment Office may want to stay alert.

There are good reasons Britons and Americans are turning to New Zealand for refuge. Whether they are accurate reasons is another question. The Huffington Post did a round-up of reasons to move to New Zealand which made it sound like a big, sandy, hippy commune. BBC Earth also pitched into the sales job, revealing the hitherto secret dating techniques of New Zealanders. It has promoted its new series New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands with a series of tweets including: "When he has found her, the male kiwi will chase the female around poking her rear".

If new arrivals try that out, they may find out about our mythical jails as well.

- NZ Herald

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Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor and joined the Press Gallery in 2007. She began with the Herald in 2003 as the Northland reporter before moving to Auckland where her rounds included education and media. A graduate of AUT's post-graduate diploma in journalism, Claire began her journalism career in 2002 at the Northern Advocate in Whangarei. Claire has conjoint Bachelor of Law/ Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Canterbury.

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