Rotorua residents flocking to Oz

By, Kristin Macfarlane

Rotorua residents are packing up their homes to move permanently across the ditch in the hundreds every year, searching for better money.

On average, 17 people a week are leaving Rotorua for Australia.

According to figures released to The Daily Post by Statistics New Zealand, close to 1000 Rotorua people packed their gear and headed across the ditch to live.

Over the past couple of years, the number of people leaving Rotorua for Australia has been increasing.

Last year, of the 1181 people who moved from Rotorua to another country, 908 of those people - including 332 aged 19 and under, 315 aged 20 to 34 and 262 aged 35 plus - moved to Australia.

In 2010, 723 people left Rotorua to live in Australia compared with 425 in 2002.

However, Rotorua MP Todd McClay says even though large numbers were moving out of Rotorua and heading overseas, plenty were coming back to the city.

According to the figures, of those who moved last year, 447 were female while 461 were male. In 2010, 362 females made the move compared with 361 males and in 2002, 197 females and 228 males.

Each year, those aged under 15 are the biggest age group to have made the move with 91 in 2002, 183 in 2010 and 220 last year.

The next largest age group is the 20-24 age group, with 61 people in that age group making the move in 2002, 122 in 2010 and 156 in 2011.

The figures also reveal 254 people moved to Rotorua from Australia last year, 287 in 2010 and 231 in 2002.

Rotorua's Sam Cameron spent a couple of years in Australia, living in Sydney between 2009 and the end of last year. He said he initially moved there to play rugby before getting a job in construction which paid up to A$80,000 ($100,000).

He said that was a low wage for Australia and he had many family members including his mother and sisters as well as friends still living there because they were paid more there than living in New Zealand.

While living in Sydney he would come back to Rotorua once a month because of the direct flights to and from Rotorua. However, he eventually came back to be closer to his young son but admitted he would still be there or move back if his son would move too.

"If I could I would definitely go back straight away."

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said people had moved over towards Australia because of hard times in New Zealand because of the recession, looking for money and opportunities.

However, he said many people were returning to Rotorua and New Zealand because they found that most industries - other than mining - in Australia were facing the same recession.

"People are coming into my office who move home and saying it's not as great over there," Mr McClay said.

He said people chose to move back to Rotorua because of the city's lifestyle opportunities, health and education.

"I'm extremely positive for Rotorua."



The number of people who have moved from Rotorua to Australia:

2011 - 908

2010 - 723

2002 - 425

The number of people who moved from Rotorua to another country:

2011 - 1181

2010 - 1013

2002 - 795

- Rotorua Daily Post

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