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Top 3 reasons to give up citizenship

Many people around the world give up their citizenship for various reasons. Let’s look at the top reasons for giving up your citizenship and taking up citizenship of another country.

This article is not about a particular country’s citizenship such as US citizenship or UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France or Singapore.

US citizenship passport

In this article, we will look at some of the countries where people are rapidly giving up their citizenship, and reasons for it.

Before that, let’s appreciate that the prospect of giving up citizenship divides people in two categories:

1. The emotional ones

2. The practical ones

The emotional ones: Many people I have spoken to are emotionally attached to their citizenship. It is a sign of their identity, or part of their identity. Giving up citizenship, is like renouncing your parents, one person told me. Another said, citizenship is a privilege. It is something to be proud of, and should not be traded for anything.

In the emotional category, there is one minority extreme – the disgruntled emotional. They are so politically fed up of their country that they would give up their citizenship at the first opportunity.

The practical ones: This article is largely about this type. These pragmatic wanderers would consider the pros and cons of giving up their current citizenship for a more favorable nationality. There’s little or no emotional bond with citizenship for these people.

Here we will not discuss the emotional reasons for keeping or renouncing citizenship.

Here, we will only consider reasons that practical people are considering for renouncing their citizenship.

1. Tax

This one applies to the US citizenship.

Americans are giving up their citizenship in record numbers. About 10 years ago, only 500 US citizens gave up their citizenship. In 2013, that number was SIX times as high – at 3000, according to International Tax Blog.

Why? Because the United States probably the only country in the world which taxes its citizens wherever they live in the world. So, a US citizen could be living in Italy for 20 years, and could still be expected to pay US tax on income earned outside the United States.

This is not the case for most countries. For example, if you are a Brit living in Canada, you will have to pay only Canadian tax, not UK tax. You will not be taxed twice. This is not the case for American citizens.

When the global economic recession peaked in 2008, the US administration decided to come down heavily on tax evaders. The US government wanted to crack down on Americans storing their wealth in Swiss bank accounts.

As a result, they wanted to know the overseas assets and bank account details of all American citizens.

While this was intended to stop tax evasion, the crack-down affected honest American bank-account holders too.

Many Americans have now started to renounce their American citizenship. In fact, the queue for renouncing the US citizenship in Switzerland is so long that there’s a waiting list, according to a media report.

It is felony under the US law if an American citizen living abroad fails to pay US tax on their income overseas. The US government has treaties with most countries for extradition of US citizens from other countries if they fail to pay tax to the US government.

Wait. It gets worse. There is the 2010 enactment of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

Under FATCA, many financial institutions outside the United States will need to report to the IRS (American tax department) the account details of the US citizens.

Uncle Sam has made it hard to escape the IRS.

Obviously, the easiest solution for many non-resident American citizens was to give up their American citizenship, rather than pay double tax.

2. Marriage and divorce

Most foreign nationals who marry an American citizen choose to take up American citizenship. In doing so, they renounce their existing citizenship. This is because the United States requires a person to go on oath ‘renouncing’ their original citizenship. However, the US administration does not explicitly seek the person to give up their original citizenship.

This is another reason why people give up their original citizenship and become “naturalised” citizens of the United States. If you were not born a US citizen, then you can acquire U.S. citizenship through naturalization.

For naturalization, you must be A. 18 years of age or older, and B. a permanent resident of America for five years. Spouses can apply for US citizenship after three years of marriage to a US citizen.

However, spouses may fall out and marriages may end. In such instances, a spouse may want to leave America. The US government allows naturalized citizens to retain American citizenship, even after they leave America and reclaim their original citizenship.

But a spouse may consider giving up US citizenship, so as to avoid paying taxes to the US tax department, on income earned outside the United States.

3. Travel

This is the third most common reason for giving up your existing citizenship.

Many people have a love for travel, and would be keen to make at least one overseas trip a year.

However, if you are a citizen of a country from Asia for example, you will need visa to visit most countries popular with tourists.

visafreePassport

But citizenship of certain countries give visa-free entry to most countries around the world. And if an avid traveller has a choice between keeping their original citizenship with limited visa-free entries, and choosing citizenship of a country that opens visa-free doors to more destinations, the choice becomes obvious.

The countries that offer visa-free entry to 170 countries or more, are:

  • The United Kingdom, Sweden and Finland. (visa-free entry to 173 countries)
  • The United States, Germany, Denmark and Luxembourg (172 countries)
  • Belgium, Italy and Netherlands (171 countries)
  • Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Portugal and Spain (170 nations)
News Property

Is NRI income from Indian assets taxable?

Mohit has a three-bedroom apartment in Noida which is rented out for Rs 35,000 a month. He also has a share in agriculture land that was once owned by his father and uncles. He gets income from the land too.

The rental income from the flat and from land is deposited in Mohit’s bank account in India.

Does Mohit need to pay tax on this income in India? Is income earned by NRIs on assets in India taxable?

NRI tax on property income in India

As per the Indian Income Tax Act 1961, all income earned or accrued from any asset in India is taxable in the country. Mohit will need to pay income tax on both – rental income from the flat as well as income from agriculture land.

It doesn’t matter whether the income is earned by a resident Indian or a non-resident Indian.

It is mandatory to file income tax returns if the total income earned in India exceeds Rs 200,000. Mohit’s income from the Noida flat alone is Rs 420,000. So he need to file the returns and pay tax.

Mohit’s income from agricultural land is exempt from tax. So he will not have to pay any tax on agricultural income. However, income from agricultural land will need to be declared in the income tax returns.

Because Mohit’s income is less than Rs 5 lakh, he can file his IT returns either in paper form or electronically. For those whose income exceeds Rs 5 lakh duriing 2013-14, cannot file paper returns. They will need to file their income tax returns electronically.

As per a directive issued by the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT), all persons, whether resident Indians or NRIs, whose income exceed Rs 5 lakh per annum, will need to file their returns electronically. This rule is applicable from this financial year – 2014-15.

The due date for filing returns for 2013-14 financial year is 31 July 2014.

Do NRIs have to pay advance tax on income in India?

Any person, whether resident or NRI, whose tax liability is likely to exceed Rs 10,000 in any assessment year is required to pay advance tax.

Failing to pay advance tax will attract an interest of 1 percent per month.

Can I claim exemption for my income in India?

Yes, Indian government is kind to allow exemption for certain types of income, in a bid to encourage savings and investment.

The exempted income includes:

  • Dividends and long-term capital gains from equity shares and equity mutual fund
  • Interest received on the NRE and FCNR accounts
  • For rental properties, an ad hoc deduction of 30% of net annual value is excempt as repairs and maintenance expenses
  • For rental properties, mortgage interest is also exempt

What if I sell my apartment in India?

If the apartment is more than three years old, long term capital gains tax will be applied on it, unless you use the sale proceeds to buy another property (either land or house). The long term capital gains tax is quite heavy – 20 percent of the transaction amount.

Can I transfer house sale proceeds to US?

An NRI who sells his house/land in India may repatriate funds received from sale to the United States, as long as he has paid tax in India. Income from sale of immovable property attracts long term capital gains tax. So non resident Indian will need to pay the tax and obtain a certificate from a chartered accountant.

Who is an NRI as per income tax rules?

India’s tax department will consider you a non-resident Indian if:

  • You lived outside India for 182 days or more during the previous year.
  • You did not live in India for more than 60 days during the previous year; and again for a combined 365 days or more during the previous four years prior to the previous year.
I am a non-resident Indian (NRI) and have a piece of agricultural land and an apartment in India. I earn agriculture income and rental income from these two. Do I need to file income tax return? If yes, kindly advice on the procedure. Also, can an NRI buy agricultural or farmland in India?Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Money/RnWrp4KRtUwM8iTL31p52L/Income-arising-from-Indian-assets-is-taxable-for-NRIs.html?utm_source=copy
I am a non-resident Indian (NRI) and have a piece of agricultural land and an apartment in India. I earn agriculture income and rental income from these two. Do I need to file income tax return? If yes, kindly advice on the procedure. Also, can an NRI buy agricultural or farmland in India?Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Money/RnWrp4KRtUwM8iTL31p52L/Income-arising-from-Indian-assets-is-taxable-for-NRIs.html?utm_source=copy
I am a non-resident Indian (NRI) and have a piece of agricultural land and an apartment in India. I earn agriculture income and rental income from these two. Do I need to file income tax return? If yes, kindly advice on the procedure. Also, can an NRI buy agricultural or farmland in India?Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Money/RnWrp4KRtUwM8iTL31p52L/Income-arising-from-Indian-assets-is-taxable-for-NRIs.html?utm_source=copy
I am a non-resident Indian (NRI) and have a piece of agricultural land and an apartment in India. I earn agriculture income and rental income from these two. Do I need to file income tax return? If yes, kindly advice on the procedure. Also, can an NRI buy agricultural or farmland in India?Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Money/RnWrp4KRtUwM8iTL31p52L/Income-arising-from-Indian-assets-is-taxable-for-NRIs.html?utm_source=copy
Business Lifestyle Money News Work Abroad

Can you save $2550 by carpooling?

The week beginning 9 June marks Kiwi Carpooling Week in New Zealand, and Auckland Transport wants to encourage drivers to consider car-pooling as an environment-friendly gesture which also saves money.

carpooling effect

I asked Auckland Transport – does carpooling really save money? Do they have any numbers to support the claim?

Auckland Transport believes carpooling helps us in saving costs of petrol and parking.

And these savings can be as high as $2550 a year.

They provided some numbers:

If two people carpooled for a 15km journey, this is what their daily costs would look like:

  • Petrol prices = $1.50 each
  • Parking cost = up to $9 per day each
  • Total daily cost = $21 for two people
  • Savings per person = $10.50 per day; $52.50 per week (carpooling 5 days); $210.00 per month (carpooling 5 days a week for 4 weeks); $2,550 per year

Yes, you could save up to $2,550 annually by carpooling, and put that saving into paying off your mortgage sooner.

Auckland Transport has even provided an online cost calculator so you can figure out how much you could save – www.letscarpool.govt.nz

But what’s the biggest hurdle to carpooling? Timing. Each person has their own time to go to work and come back from work. Also, because of the location constraint, commuters are limited to consider their own work colleagues as co-passengers, which also means you would typically carpool with people you get along with.

Auckland Transport helps you with the first part of this problem – finding a car buddy.

You can visit the site to find people living and working near you who are looking to join a carpool, or talk to you friends and colleagues about setting up your own.

Just put the starting point, destination and journey date and the website will find suitable rides for you.

Already, nearly 5000 Aucklanders have signed up on the website for carpooling, which increases your chances of finding the right carpooling partner.

What if you don’t find someone that lives nearby and works near your workplace? You will need to be a bit flexible.

You don’t need to carpool all the way to work. Consider sharing a car to a central place, and jumping on a train or bus from there.

Also look at the larger picture. With more people carpooling, there will be fewer cars on the road, less traffic congestion, and less pollution.

And there is the benefit of human interaction, instead of shuffling through mundane radio stations.

Having another person in the car makes your journey more enjoyable and interesting, says Auckland Transport’s Manager Community Transport Matthew Rednall.

Need more reason to carpool? “Another benefit of having two people in the car is that you can use some transit lanes.”

Carpooling could be a good opportunity to network with other professionals which could open up doors for the next big job opportunity or business potential.

Business Immigration News

How to spot immigration scams

New Zealand is a country of dreams for many poor families in rural India, who see the Land of Long White Cloud as their escape destination from years of toil and turmoil.

Migrate to Australia

In their desperation, these migrants are willing to go to any length to secure a visa to New Zealand, a visa to their dreams.

Which makes these migrants highly gullible to immigration scams that promise quick visa to New Zealand, along with a job offer.

Such scams have resurfaced as the net migration to New Zealand is expected to grow this year.

Scammers phone Indian nationals living in New Zealand claiming to be from Immigration New Zealand. They demand payment to a Western Union account in India and threaten deportation.

What makes this scam unique is that the scammers have managed to make their calls appear to have come from the official Immigration New Zealand contact centre number.

Jarrod Rendle is concerned at the number of people being caught out by this scam. He leads the Advice, Information and Education team at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

“The callers are quite persistent and aggressive and they have personal details of the person they are speaking to which makes the caller think it could be genuine.”

“The calls also appear to be coming from the Immigration Contact Centre number, but in fact they are not. We call this practice a caller id spoofing scam,” says Jarrod.

Immigration New Zealand first posted a warning about the scam on its website on 30 October 2013. Since then almost 300 Indian nationals have reported being called by the scammers, with reported losses of close to $65,000, according to figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Last year New Zealanders lost $4.8 million to scams. This year, this number has already reached $1.7 million.

How to protect yourself from falling prey to immigration scam

Knowing about the common types of scams and the typical red flags can help avoid being scammed, advises Jarrod.

Remember, banks, Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue will never email, call or SMS people to ask for information or money to be sent using money transfer services.

If you receive one of these calls do not pay the money. Contact the New Zealand Police or report the call to Scamwatch.

An official Facebook group by the ministry runs real-time scam alerts.

Don’t get scammed

  • If you find the call suspicious, hang up immediately.
  • If it doesn’t seem right, be cautious, double check details first.
  • Do not pay money to anyone you have never met.
  • Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions. Your personal details are also very valuable to scammers, they will use your details to take out loans or run up debts if they can.
  • Warn others. If you have been targeted by a scam, report it straight away to Scamwatch, and help prevent others from becoming the next scam victim.
Business Loans Money News

Want to earn $8000 from home? Get ready to be scammed

“A single mother earned $8000 from Google Adsense in one month. Find out how!” says an internet advertisement,  targeting unsuspecting prospects.

New Zealand is hit by many internet scams, with the latest being ‘work from home‘ or ‘part-time’ job scams, which typically target students or at-home mothers.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” says an internet security expert.

Because the jobs are advertised on typical job portals where genuine employers post job ads, job-seekers often trust these scammers.

How It Works

New Zealand’s Consumer Affairs department explains the scam: You see an ad in a spam email, or on a website banner, and it is just the kind of work you are looking for:

  • working from home
  • good rate of pay
  • not much work.

Don’t fall prey to these scams, because fraudsters are either trying to steal your money or your identity.

These scams try to use attractive job ads as a gateway for:

  • money laundering
  • pyramid schemes
  • or upfront payment fraud – a scam which asks you to send money upfront for a product or ‘reward’ later.

Protect yourself from employment scams

Look for employment through well-known recruitment websites or reputable recruitment agencies, advises Consumer Affairs. Also it helps to be suspicious for anything that sounds too good.

Here’s what you can do to spot a scam:

  • Be suspicious of online ads promoting the opportunity to work at home – most of them are scams.
  • Contact your bank if you have received money into your bank account that you believe to be illegal. If you have any problems, contact the Banking Ombudsman for guidance.

Report scams

Another mistake people make is they keep quiet if they have been a victim of a scam. Who in their right mind wants to be seen as stupid, or greedy or both?

However, this only strengthens the odds for scamsters to succeed.

If you have been affected by a scam, please report it to Consumer Affairs’ Scamwatch. Your personal details will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Consumer Affairs have even created a Facebook page where New Zealanders like you and me are reporting new scams almost every day. Head over to the Facebook page for some entertainment, if nothing else. You will be surprised at the ingenious ways used by some scamsters.

Other frauds and scams in New Zealand

Other than employment scams, Kiwis are fallen prey for credit card scams, ATM skimming, dating scams, computer hacking, identity scams and phone scams.

Identity theft

With people putting pictures of themselves and their family on social media, identity theft is one of the easiest thefts that could happen to anyone onliine.

One Kiwi lady found a picture of her horse on a horse-trading website. A picture of her horse was stolen and published with a “For Sale” advertisement in an overseas market. She managed to get the website to take the picture down, only to find another advert spurring up somewhere else, almost instantaneously, the lady said in a post on the ScamsNZ FB page.

Travel scam

Another person reported Air New Zealand scam, where scamsters (obviously not from Air New Zealand) call up and offer heavy discounts on Air New Zealand airfares.

Air New Zealand has been contacted by people who had received automated phone calls claiming to be from Air New Zealand offering “significant credits” to be redeemed on Air New Zealand bookings, the airline’s spokesperson Brigitte Ransom, told Stuff.

Air New Zealand has confirmed that it is not offering any special discounts on international travel via automated phone calls.

In fact, holiday scams and air ticket scams are common in New Zealand. In 2013 alone, as many 63 Kiwis lost $38,000 to travel scams, says Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise spokeswoman Peta Baily Gibson.

Lonely? your love is waiting

Many New Zealanders have fallen trap to a Facebook predator, only to find the imposter to be much older, or with criminal intentions. Online predators often target younger girls, or even boys, who are vulnerable and trusting.

“Go online for the right reasons, ignore those who write in capital letters and weed out those who can’t even spell their own job title,” advises Andrew Bonallack in the New Zealand Herald.

Tax refund scam

How many of you have dreamt of taking a windfall from Inland Revenue in the form of tax refunds? I know. I have too. But that’s where the good story ends.

Many people have reportedly received a door knock from someone claiming to be from the tax department and offering a tax refund.

Has anyone ever heard of tax guys going door to door offering refund checks?

“Just to be clear, Inland Revenue will never telephone, email or knock on your door regarding your tax refund,” Inland Revenue’s group manager customer services, Eleanor Young, told media.

“Neither will we ask for your credit card details or monetary payment in order to receive your refund.”

The scamsters are so bold that they have even used official logos of major brands and government departments, including Inland Revenue.

Consumer Affairs department offers ready guide to use in case you suspect a scam or have been a victim.

 

 

Loans Property

Will LVR home loan restrictions go by Christmas?

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s indication that the loan restrictions (LVR) imposed last year will be eased toward s the end of 201 has come as a relief for many first-home buyers as well as home sellers.Buy House auckland new zealand

This is welcome news for provincial New Zealand, where the restrictions
have had a significant impact on an already weak market, says Hayden Duncan
Chief Executive Officer of Harcourts New Zealand, one of the leading real estate agents.

“In the Central, Wellington and South Island Provincial regions average sale prices remain in the $300,000s and have done so for a number of years. LVR restrictions were not needed here and have prevented first home buyers achieving the dream of home ownership.”

“In Auckland and Christchurch the overheated markets are the result of
simple low supply and high demand.”  Hayden suggests fast tracked
and quality construction in these two cities as the best way to sensibly
moderate rising costs.

The restrictions will go at the right time as New Zealand expects net migration to grow in the next 12 to 18 months.

“The divergence in the annual budgets with spending slashed in Australia and tax rates rising, versus scope for tax cuts here in New Zealand down the track will reinforce the massive switch in Trans-Tasman migration flows underway,” says Tony Alexander, chief economist of Bank of New Zealand.

“Before the end of this year it is likely that for the first time since 1991 there will be a net gain to our population from Trans-Tasman flows.”

However, the reserve bank governor’s comments come with caveat. “Before removing them (LVR), we want to be confident that the housing market is responding to interest rate increases; and that immigration pressures are not causing a resurgence of house price pressures. It will take some time to gain this assurance. At this stage we consider the earliest date for beginning to remove LVRs is likely to be late in the year.”

That’s a tall order, and the removal of LVR remains a speculation at this stage, and Tony Alexander believes that it is unlikely that the LVR restrictions will be relaxed by the end of the year.

“The rules are doing the job of about 0.25% – 0.5% worth of official cash rate rises. Were the rules to be removed then the OCR would need to be that amount higher than would otherwise be the case.

“Given that rising interest rates lift the Kiwi dollar and that this is something the RB would like to avoid, one condition which would have to be met is a falling NZD. Is that likely?”

The Reserve Bank had introduced the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions in October 2013 to help lower house prices, and avoid the risk of a housing bubble building up.

New Zealand banks were given a six-month window to comply with the new speed limits restricting new high-LVR lending at no more than 10 per cent of their total lending.

A high-LVR loan is where the loan is more than 80 per cent of the value of the property.

However, banks over-estimated their LVR lending and applied stronger breaks resulting in high-LVR loans falling to 6%, much below the apex bank’s 10% target.

The high-LVR loans were as high as 25% in September 2013, just before the restrictions were applied.

Business Lifestyle News

Property market bullish after Modi win

Property investment India

Property prices are likely to surge following Modi-led BJP’s re-sounding victory in India’s general elections.

 

The prospects of a stable government at the centre have given rise to improved outlook for the real estate sector in India.

Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party swept away the 2014 general elections with a thumping majority.  Markets reacted almost immediately, with Sensex jumping by 2000 points during the early morning trading on 17 May – the day election results were declared.

The real estate sector of the country has welcomed the results of a majority-led government which comes into power almost after two decades of various coalition governments.

The global economic recession, and uncertainty of unstable government, had crippled India’s real estate sector for rental as well as sale of property.

Property prices reduced by as much as 8% in the country’s capital region – Delhi-NCR – during 2013, compared 2012, reported property website 99acres.com.

Even average rentals for 3BHK flats reduced by 6% cent during the fourth quarter of 2013 against the previous quarter. Rentals have fallen by 7% during 2013.

However, the real estate industry has high hopes from the new prime minister, and expects  better legislation to improve the sector.

Buy house India

Kamal Batra, chairman, Buniyaad Real Estate

“There were a few bills that were standing on the verge of a decision which now will definitely form and parallel we will see new laws been formed that will allow a smoother flow of work in the sector at all levels,” says Kamal Batra, chairman of Buniyaad, one of the leading property brokers in India.

“The election period had paused the market for a bit for the investors; which now will change significantly. The end user market on the other hand will keep on flourishing as the demand increases and interest rates drop.”

The property market would also like to see regulations being streamlined for the construction industry.

Pankaj Kumar Jain, director, K World Group

“In particular, NCR’s real estate market will benefit from fast-tracked approvals for new projects, which will increase supply and in turn keep the city’s property rates rational,” says Pankaj Kumar Jain, Director, K World Group.

Housing affordability and social housing will be the focus for the new government. “The BJP is in now in a position to boost affordable and mid-income housing projects, which would have positive ramifications for a city like Ghaziabad and NCR,” says Pankaj.

However, Kushagr Ansal of Ansal Housing doesn’t expect any change in the market for property buyers. “The market for end user was neither affected earlier nor will it get affected now. It is just that the demand will increase at a macro level.”

Many builders continue to be extremely bullish about the real estate market in India, and buying property in India is likely to get more expensive. “Real estate sector has grown despite the gloomy economy situation and projected to grow exponentially,” says  Suninder Sandha, Director, Horizon Concepts.

“Indian residential real estate price is poised to grow at a 10-12% over next year. There is a paradigm shift towards commercial sector too and with more bank loans available at a good rate coupled with leasing options the demand among investors has gone sky high.”

However, no government has a magic wand which can solve all problems at once, says Anuj Puri of JLL India.

“Reforming the economy is a gradual process, and we need to be patient. A stable government at the centre has potential to boost the sentiments and in return, attract foreign money.

“However, we cannot expect property prices to display the kind of sharp upward movement that were achieved before the Global Financial Crisis. Any such movement – or reduction in cap rate – is, as we believe, at least 12-18 months away.”

Business Money News Work Abroad

NZ job market strong

highly skilled jobs in Auckland

highly skilled jobs in Auckland

Good news for job hunters and those seeking a change of job. The number of job listings on the Trade Me Jobs site has increased by 21% year-on-year.

The website had 50,000 roles listed in the first quarter of 2014. The growth in jobs is in all major locations in New Zealand.

Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury are seeing positive growth, says Peter Osborne, head of Trade Me Jobs.

“With more roles being advertised, Kiwis hunting that dream job are looking well-placed to consider their next career move.

Trade Me analysis  is in line with similar report from Westpac McDermott Miller (PDF file) which found that employment confidence is at an all-time high since the recession.

“The New Zealand job market is looking very rosy.”

Highest salary jobs are in Auckland

The Auckland region remains the powerhouse of the national job market, said Mr Osborne. “The City of Sails saw a 20% boost in job listings when compared to the same period last year, with central Auckland and Manukau experiencing significant jumps in year-on-year growth.”

For the first time, average salary in Auckland is higher than Wellington. In fact, those working in central Auckland could expect the highest average pay of the country, taking home an average annual salary of $72,302. This was ahead of previous leader central Wellington ($70,234), and New Plymouth (61,143).

Canterbury job listings were up 24% on the same time last year, with Christchurch city’s available roles also ticking up 24%. “It’s been a long process, but the rebuilding efforts in the area are still the primary motivators for activity in the employment market,” says Peter.

Jobs in Auckland Jobs in New Zealand

IT guys highest paid in New Zealand

“The need for skilled IT workers is reflected in the sector’s dominance of average pay packets,” Mr Osborne said. “Four of the top five are filled by IT architects, IT sales, IT project managers and IT managers, all taking home an average pay packet between $128,000 and $134,000 a year.”

Sectors seeing increased listings this quarter when compared to the same period last year included IT sales (up 166%), journalism (up 156%) and retail department manager roles (up 131%).

Peter says there was plenty of opportunity for employers too with recent research commissioned by Trade Me Jobs finding that 45% of employees were willing to relocate for a new job. “Employers should be confident there are plenty of potential candidates willing to consider the right role even if they’re not on the doorstep.”

More than half of employees (62%) cited better pay as their primary motivation for considering moving to a new location, but other factors included being made redundant, career development and a desire to relocate. “With the surge in job listings, now is a good time for anyone contemplating that next great role to put their thinking into action.”

Peter says Wellington was recently revealed as the most desirable New Zealand destination to head to for a new job. “We saw 18% of respondents choose the capital, while the Bay of Plenty was next with 14% of the vote,” he said. “The job market in Wellington is in good shape for new arrivals, with a 26% tick up in advertised roles on a year ago.”

NZ jobs by sector

Surprise down south

“We saw a huge lift in advertised roles in Southland, with a 41% increase,” he said. “We saw good growth in agriculture, trades, and healthcare. Jobs out on the pasture aren’t in short supply either, with advertised roles for farming up 113%.”

The number of roles advertised in the Taranaki region also lifted significantly, up 16% on a year ago.

Mortgage forcing employees to look for greener pastures

“As mortgage rates rise, so too does the desire for a better pay check at the end of the week. With perceptions of job opportunities markedly improving, and recent signs that firms are looking to step up their hiring efforts, it’s becoming a job hunter’s market.

“High salaries in IT are great for people working in those sectors, but research has also shown they are among the least likely of professions to move roles. Combined with a real skills shortage, this can only mean that IT professionals will continue to dominate the high salaried roles in the foreseeable future and in contrast to many other sectors the industry will find it increasingly difficult to land good, experienced IT staff.”

Business Immigration News Opinion

Hugh Pavletich: NZ’s bubble economy is vulnerable

australia mining jobs

(In this opinion piece, Hugh Pavletich of Performance Urban Planning (Christchurch, New Zealand) agrees with Jesse Colombo who argued in Forbes that New Zealand’s economic bubble with end in a disaster.)

The recent Forbes e-edition article by Jesse Colombo assesses the New Zealand economy “12 Reasons Why New Zealand’s Economic Bubble Will End In Disaster”, seems to have created quite a stir, creatingextensive media coverage in New Zealand.

The major Fairfax article by Michael Field “NZ bubble ‘going to burst’ “ stimulated a remarkable 500+ comments.

It didn’t take too long for the politicians to react, with Acting Finance Minister Steven Joyce downplaying it, unhelpfully personally attacking Mr Colombo, with Labours David Cunliffe and David Parker largely agreeing with Mr Colombo’s assessment.

Mr Colombo’s initial assessment (a comprehensive report is to follow) was from a financial experts perspective.

Let’s consider whether Mr Colombo is correct from a structural perspective.

January every year the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey is released, with the 10th Annual Edition released 20 January this year.Normal (and therefore affordable) housing markets do not exceed 3.0 times gross annual household income (Median Multiple), requiring mortgage loads of about 2.5 times.

A clear structural definition of an affordable housing market is …

“For metropolitan areas to rate as ‘affordable’ and ensure that housing bubbles are not triggered, housing prices should not exceed three times gross annual household earnings. To allow this to occur, new starter housing of an acceptable quality to the purchasers, with associated commercial and industrial development, must be allowed to be provided on the urban fringes at 2.5 times the gross annual median household income of that urban market (refer Demographia Survey Schedules for guidance).”

“The critically important Development Ratios for this new fringe starter housing, should be 17 – 23% serviced lot / section cost – the balance the actual housing construction.”

“Ideally through a normal building cycle, the Median Multiple should move from a Floor Multiple of 2.3, through a Swing Multiple of 2.5 to a Ceiling Multiple of 2.7 – to ensure maximum stability and optimal medium and long term performance of the residential construction sector.”

Since the creation of the housing production industry by Bill and Alfred Levitt following World War 11 , when new starter suburban housing was put in place for about $US100 per square metre all up (serviced section and house construction … 80 square metre units on 700 square metre lots for $US8,000), there has been no mystery (other than for politicians and bureaucrats who find truth “inconvenient”) about how to supply affordable housing.

Starter housing on the fringes of the affordable North American metros costs all up about $US700 per square metre … refer Andrew Atkin’s superb … THE REAL DEAL POSTER ..

What is required to restore housing affordability is outlined within Section 4 of Christchurch: The Way Forward. It is simply about ALLOWING affordable land to be supplied and financing infrastructure properly.

Recently Australian Federal Senator – elect Bob Day (major Australian production house-builder and former President of the Housing Industry Association of Australia) explained the issue most eloquently, within a video interview with Business Spectator … Bob Day on affordable housing and jobs for young people … Business Spectator .

As explained recently within “China: Big Bubble Trouble”, new starter semi-detached housing was being supplied pre World War 11 in London for slightly over 2.0 times annual household incomes. They were building way more new housing on a population basis through the Depression years in the United Kingdom than they are today.

Through these eras too, it was normal for households to have just one income earner, as the male was seen as a “loser” if he was unable to financially provide for his family. The social pressures were quite significant.

As eminent Hoover Institution economist Thomas Sowell said “We have spent the past few decades replacing what works with what feels good”. In a 2009 interview (video) Mr Sowell described the causes of the 2007 Global Financial Crisis … Thomas Sowell on the Housing Boom and Bust – YouTube .

During early 2009 this writer explained why economists have such a poor understanding of housing bubbles with … Housing Bubbles And Market Sense . Most wouldn’t know a house market from a horse market internationally … although thankfully … Australian and New Zealand economists are generally now well informed. Importantly, they are constructive contributors to politically progressing this serious issue.

So what did this year’s Demographia Survey (data 3rd Qtr 2013) find with respect to New Zealand’s major urban markets ?

Auckland housing at 8.0 times annual household incomes; Tauranga 6.6; Christchurch near 6.0; Wellington 5.5; Napier-Hastings 5.4; Dunedin 5.2; Hamilton 4.8 and Palmeston North 4.5.

Another useful measure of housing affordability is the relationship between Total Housing Stock Value and Gross Domestic / State / Metropolitan Product, which should not exceed at “tops” 1.5 times … ideally 1.2 times.

September last year James Gruber writing for Forbes “3 Warning Signs Of A Bloodbath Ahead” , incorporated a graph (requires updating) illustrating the ratios of Total Housing Stock Value to GDP for Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States …


Not surprisingly, it mirrors the Demographia Survey.

As a further check, Greater Houston with its population of about 6.1 million has a Gross Metropolitan Product of near $500 billion (in contrast to New Zealand with a population of 4.5 million and a GDP PPP of about a paltry $US140 billion … some $NZ210 billion ).

In relative terms, this is due to a history of poor quality public policy and a seriously degenerate public service culture at central and local level (a further recent example of gross incompetence … Error Prone Bureaucracy ). Little wonder then, that New Zealanders had the highest GDP per capita in the world in 1920 (refer Angus Maddison Historical GDP Per Capita Tables ), but today, ranks about 46 … between Italy and Slovenia .

Because of its degenerate public service, not surprisingly, New Zealand has the worst traffic congestion problems in the developed world too .. New Zealand Has Worst Traffic: International Data | Wendell Cox | Newgeography.com

Rather amusingly, at current exchange rates in $US terms, New Zealand’s generally poor quality housing stock is “worth” more than the stock of Greater Houston !

New Zealand is a country that has been bureaucratically buggered. A textbook case of “institutional failure” at central and local level. The “rock-star” label is clearly nonsense.

New Zealand’s current economic activity is being “juiced up” due to a China Bubble Boom and the excessive costs of the Christchurch earthquake recovery. Bureaucratic incompetence has meant this painfully long recovery will be a $NZ40 billion exercise, when it should have been in the order of $NZ15 billion.

Sadly it would appear, The Broken Window Fallacy is not understood by economic commentators, in that the Christchurch earthquake recovery (with some flooding problems due to Council incompetence with poorly maintained drainage infrastructure … in the main) is simply the replacement of the capital stock.

The latest figures from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand indicate the New Zealand housing stock has a “value” of some $NZ716 billion … roughly 3.4 times its GDP. It should not exceed 1.5 times ($NZ315 billion … ideally 1.2 times ($NZ252 billion). This suggests there is something in the order of $NZ401 and $NZ461 billions of bubble value in New Zealand housing. It takes about 25% of mortgages incorporated within this bubble value to fuel it … some$NZ100 billion through $NZ115 billion of at risk bubble mortgage value.

The problem is the New Zealand Banks only have a capital base of about $NZ29 billion (RBNZ figures).

Currently, the major international concern is China … and its transitioning from a panicked and manic investment frenzy following the 2007 Global Financial Crisis (triggered by the North American urban planners … no doubt the Chinese Communists are not grateful). China is slowing, as explained within a recent Financial Times article Do Chinas Qtr1 GDP Numbers Gloss Reality? .

Information from the Chinese National Statistics Bureau (comment on article thread) illustrate the extent of the massive residential overbuilding and abrupt falloff in sales and new construction so far this year …

” “In the first three months, the floor space under construction by the real estate development enterprises accounted for 5,470.30 million square meters, up by 14.2 percent year-on-year, decreased 2.1 percentage points over the first two months. Of which, the floor space of residential building construction area was 3,932.06 million square meters, up by 11.4 percent. The floor space started this year was 290.90 millions square meters, down by 25.2 percent, and the pace of decline narrowed 2.2 percentage points. Specifically, the floor space of residential buildings started in the year amounted to 212.38 million square meters, down by 27.2 percent. The floor space of buildings completed stood at 185.20 million square meters, went down by 4.9 percent, and the pace of decline narrowed 3.3 percentage points, of which, the floor space completed of residential buildings stood at 139.10 million square meters, went down by 7.3 percent.”
>Does it say ‘it has bottomed out’? Is this a soft landing? -25%(prior -27,4%)”

At say 60 to 80 square metres each (plus common area), in number of unit terms, how many have been put in place in China over recent years ? What is the build rate per 1,000 population per annum for the Chinese metros ?

It would appear China could be described as Ireland by 300 … or even 500 times … with much greater “multiple stretch” in the former. And that’s without considering the commercial and infrastructure over-spend and mal-investment.

The Irish bubble collapsed at much lower Median Multiples than those currently prevailing in China, New Zealand and Australia.

Ireland is no doubt an excellent “case study” for Australian and New Zealand policy makers, as they are assessing the consequences of the bubbles collapsing in their own countries. They will be well aware that there has been no sustainable bubble in history.

Mr Colombo assessed the New Zealand economy from a financial perspective. This “structural check” indicates Mr Colombo is correct.

Business Lifestyle News

NZ’s rabbit pizza sold out

Hell New Zealand pizza
Hell New Zealand pizza

Hell Pizza’s billboard in New Zealand, made of real rabbit fur, created outrage in the country.

Once New Zealanders got over the shock of Hell Pizza’s billboard made of rabbit fur, they were so quick to grab a bite of the new rabbit pizza, that the outlet  sold out the product within three weeks of the launch.

On the back of the rabbit pizza, Hell recorded the highest ever week sales in the store’s 18-year history.

Wellington-based Hell tried to source more wild rabbit from its Southland suppliers; however, weather conditions defied the professional hunters.

Rabbits were first released in New Zealand by Captain Cook in 1777. They are considered a pest and can be hunted all year.

“We initially thought that 600kg would suffice, but soon realised that demand for the product was far greater than we forecast,” says Hell general manager Ben Cumming.

In the short time, Hell sold 6,562 pizzas which the restaurant equates to around 13,000 Kiwis trying the rabbit pizza.

Set up in 1996 by  Callum Davies, Hell has branches in the UK, Korea, Canada and India. In 2006 it was sold to the franchise Tasman Pacific Foods which owns Burger King.

Hell Pizza is known for its controversial marketing campaign – in 2006, the pizza outlet marketed their Lust Pizza with 170,000 free condoms.

Rabbit Food Facts

  • The USDA has stated that rabbit is the most nutritious meat known to man. It has about half the amount of cholesterol of chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or lamb and 33% less sodium than chicken.
  • Rabbits will produce 6 pounds of meat on the same feed and water as a cow will produce 1 pound of meat on the same feed and water.
  • Two rabbits can produce nine million kittens in three years
  • “Easter Bunny Syndrome” is a phrase used to describe people that happily eat other meats but have an aversion to rabbit due to the “cute” factor. (Source: Yahoo News)

 

News Property

Indian elections slow down property market

While Indians go out to vote in the world’s largest voting exercise, the real estate market is eagerly waiting for the outcomes of India’s general elections.

The activity in the property market in India has slowed down in the lead up to what is being described as the most consequential elections in India’s post-Independence history.

Buy sell property in India

Over the last few quarters, political uncertainty has considerably weakened buyer confidence in many regions, says Venkat Iyer of India Real Estate Forum based in Australia.

“A decisive win for any of the alliances will fortify the outlook of the homebuyer and the property market will see a return of buyer demand due to the boost of confidence,” says Venkat.

“Post elections, if the road to recovery is unhindered, property buyers may very well re-enter the market in good numbers.

However, Venkat’s response is very cautious. “At present, the key factors at play on the Indian real estate are unsold inventory, absorption and interest rates. It is unlikely that these factors will change immediately post polls, regardless of which party wins.

“Over the longer term, what will matter most to the real estate sector are a hard relook at FDI in housing, REIT legislations and the effective implementation of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill.

However, it is not just the political stability that will decide the course of progress for the property market.

“With the incoming government, there are other economic contingencies like employment, interest rates and infrastructural changes (motorways, new connectivity, rail projects etc.) that will have a substantial effect on the Indian real estate market.

Venkat is hopeful that whoever wins the elections will follow through on their election promises. “All the political parties are making strong assertions that their leaders will deliver continuous years of prosperity through active growth and development plans. But the real impact and competence of any new changes is something that only future can tell!

Venkat is appealing to Indian voters to vote diligently. “If India truly wants to become a developed nation and drop the tag of a ‘third world’ or a ‘developing nation’, citizens need to choose a leader who promises and delivers clean and transparent governance with a people-centric approach.”

India has gone to vote on 7 April. More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise. Voting will be held in nine stages, which will be staggered until May 12, and results are due to be announced on May 16, 2014.

Business Study Abroad

PM’s scholarship open for NZ execs

Study at Harvard

New Zealand-based senior executives and business owners keen to gain international exposure can expect to get government funding through the 2014 Prime Minister’s Business Scholarships.

The recipients of last year’s 10 scholarships studied at prestigious international institutions such as Stanford, INSEAD (The Business School For The World), Harvard, and the London Business School.

Study at Harvard

The scholarships are designed to grow skills and business capability to make New Zealand firms more internationally competitive, says Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

“The knowledge gained from the world’s top business schools by our senior executives will benefit the companies they return to and in turn, help to grow the New Zealand economy and jobs,” Steven says.

“Our distance from overseas markets and the size of our economy can be a challenge to firms wanting to enter international markets. The scholarships help to develop the global mindset of our business leaders.

“Many of our smaller companies can have difficulty when expanding into overseas markets because they lack the knowledge or contacts.

“These scholarships provide an opportunity for recipients to learn best international practices and develop valuable networks they can bring back to their business. I encourage smaller firms to apply for the scholarships.”

Applications for Asia-Pacific learning institutions are given preference. This region offers the most potential for New Zealand to increase exports and build networks and distribution channels.

The scholarships cover up to 50 per cent of course-related costs. Applications for the scholarships close on 30 April. For more information, visit the ministry’s website.

What does the scholarship cover

The government will reimburse half of the course costs and other study-related costs.  All study-related costs can include:

  • course fees
  • airfares (economy)
  • accommodation
  • other costs such as textbooks.

 Who can apply

Applicants must be:

  • New Zealand citizens or permanent residents
  • working in a New Zealand-based registered company which is looking to internationalise or intensify their operations overseas
  • applying for a course relevant to their work (minimum of four weeks) at an internationally-recognised institution
  • returning to their business after the course.

(Photo credit: Rachael Voorhees)

 

Business Global Indians Immigration Lifestyle News

Ethnic people urged to join govt boards

Ethnic people in New Zealand

 

Do you believe you could make a difference to New Zealand communities? The Office of Ethnic Affairs in New Zealand is urging ethnic people to nominate themselves to be considered for appointment to government boards, committees and advisory groups, including those of Crown companies.

Ethnic people in New Zealand

The positions give an opportunity to contribute to the prosperity and strength of New Zealand’s economy and communities.

The OEA is consulted by agencies that support the Government’s appointment of candidates to more than 400 state sector boards and committees. The OEA provides an avenue through which ethnic people can register their interest and availability to take up board appointments.

Minister Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is requesting people from the Indian communities to express their interest to be considered for these roles on the boards.

“As the face and heart of New Zealand becomes more diverse, it’s crucial that leaders in ethnic communities play a more active role shaping decision-making,” says Kanwaljit.

“It’s important every New Zealander feels inspired and has the opportunity to step into leadership roles in our neighbourhoods, workplaces, on boards and in broader decision making authorities,” says the New Delhi-born minister.

KanwaljitBakshi“This is one of the reasons I aspired to become a Member of Parliament. As a country we are extremely proud of our diversity and it’s increasingly seen as a competitive advantage on so many levels particularly when it comes to business.

“That’s why we’re working to make sure that we create the best culture and environment possible for this exchange of knowledge and skills.

“The 2014 series of EthnicA conferences, which began last weekend, help do just this;  stressing the importance of diverse leadership for New Zealand’s success.

“Migrant businesses are a wealth of international knowledge for other New Zealand businesses. Likewise migrant businesses are able to learn and feed off New Zealand businesses that have an institutional understanding of operating in our domestic environment.

“These conferences are part of a fantastic pool of programmes organised by the Office of Ethnic Affairs (OEA) to tap into New Zealand’s ethnic diversity and find new avenues to develop and strengthen leadership across the board.

“At the event a range of speakers told experiences operating ‘in two worlds’ because to be successful we have to learn to navigate and balance both the demands of our working life, with the demands of our home or community life.”

Who could apply to be considered for the board roles

In order to be considered for board roles, you need to display at least one of the following characteristics:

  • have held a position on a board or committee at any level
  • have been elected to a board or council position
  • have a leadership role in a corporate environment, professional association or community group
  • are a director of a business
  • have good networks/connections within your community or a particular sector
  • have corporate, legal, accounting or financial expertise or experience
  • experience in managing commercial assets

For more information, visit OEA website.

 

Business Work Abroad

NZ, India two ends of a book – Peter Dunne

“Two ends of a book’, is how New Zealand’s Minister of Internal Affairs described the ties between India and New Zealand.

PeterDunne

 

Minister Peter Dunne, while was speaking at India New Zealand Business Council’s seminar, ‘Business Beyond Barriers’, reiterated the need for increased economic, cultural and sporting ties between the two countries.

The India New Zealand Business Council held its second chapter of a series of seminars – ‘Business Beyond Barriers’, on 26 March. H.E. Mr. Ravi Thapar (Indian High Commissioner to NZ).

The Council Chair Sunil Kaushal shared how the members have been continuing to expand their business ventures into India without an FTA being signed between both the countries.

“(An) FTA is just one of the tools to increased trade and not the only tool,” said Sunil, stressing that more focus should be towards moving on with trade to be done between businesses in New Zealand and India.

Peter said it was important for New Zealand to recognise the potential of the Indian economy and work to have closer ties.

Ravi Thapar, India’s new High Commissioner to New Zealand, took charge in January and is since meeting crucial people and organisations that can make a difference to the bilateral relations.

Ravi shared insights about various fields that India-New Zealand can collaborate in. “We should work with the positives of both sides, like taking New Zealand’s IP and using India’s market footprint,” said Ravi, while emphasizing that India’s market footprint is huge and creates great potential for New Zealand companies to work with.

Taxation in the vast Indian market can be very complicated and can sometimes be a daunting task, said Greg Thompson, National Director, Tax at Grant Thornton NZ Ltd.

Earlier the council members also called upon the Indian High Commissioner at his office in Wellington and discussed collaborative areas between both the countries. Aviation, Education, IT, Agri were some of the sectors that were discussed including the need for a direct or code share flight between both the countries which will enhance tourism and trade.

Money News

ATM PIN scam hits New Zealand

bank scam, atm pin

New Zealand Police are warning people to be wary about a scam that involves people being asked to think of a 4-digit number to receive a hamper full of groceries.

The victims are people who have had their wallets or purses stolen a few days earlier and unbeknownst to them, this is an attempt to get the pin number to their EFTPOS (debit) and credit cards.

Investigations are underway into two cases that have recently occurred on the North Shore and involve the following;

1. The victim has their wallet or purse stolen. In both cases the belongings have been stolen from work places, eg reception desk and behind a shop counter, by offenders who distract the victim’s and take their wallets or handbags.

2. Hours later the victim receives a fraudulent phone call from a woman claiming to be calling from Countdown supermarket. The caller says to the victim that they have won a grocery hamper worth $500. The caller is very convincing and tells the victim that they need to provide a 4-digit security number, so that when they go to pick the hamper up from the supermarket, they can tell the staff the 4 digit number, and that will identify them as the winner.

3. The victim then thinks of a 4-digit number and gives this to the caller. However, as many people might do, they provide a number that is the same one they use as their pin number to their EFTPOS or credit card. There is no hamper and Countdown are not running any promotion of this type, nor do they ask winners to ever provide a security number.

4. The fake caller is actually the person who stole their wallet hours earlier, and the criminal goes on to try and withdraw money from the victim’s account, using their stolen cards and the 4-digit number provided for the supermarket hamper.

Police are following strong lines of enquiry, but are warning the public that the offender/s are very convincing; “Because the callers aren’t outright asking for your pin number, it’s easy to be tricked. A lot of people, if asked to think of a 4 digit number, would give the same number they use as their pin, because it’s easy to remember” says Constable Damian Albert, North Shore Police.

“It’s possible that the offender/s have used other business names with similar scenarios, and we’d like to hear from anyone who has had their cards recently stolen on the North Shore and has then experienced this type of phone call’ says Constable Albert.

“It’s also a message to the wider community to never give out a number that you use as a pin number, for another purpose.”

 (Photo credit: Catatronic)