A recent Sydney Morning Herald report has New Zealand calling for 50,000 IT workers from Australia and moreover, 2014 is the first time that more Australians have relocated to New Zealand than the reverse which has been the trend for many years.
The report says that with New Zealand's economy pumping, it expects to create 50,000 new jobs by 2017, many of them in ICT. These include multimedia designers, project managers, web developers, database administrators, security specialists, testers, software engineers, developers, programmers, enterprise architects and telecom engineers.
Jeff Knowles, the general manager for Peoplebank in NSW, said ICT workers could expect remuneration in New Zealand to be commensurate with what's on offer locally: "Any downside on salary/rates is likely to be made up with a lower cost of living." Moreover, most Australian permanent residents can live and work in New Zealand without a visa.
But this is not the first or the second time this has occurred.
In 2012, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that hundreds of Australian jobs have been shifted to New Zealand as local producers try to avoid the impact of high wages, a soaring Australian dollar and restrictive labour laws.
This article explained that Woolworths is the latest to transfer jobs across the Tasman. It recently transferred 40 contact centre jobs to Auckland. Imperial Tobacco has also announced it will move cigarette manufacturing from Sydney to New Zealand.
Further, it noted that the International Labour Organisation says Australian manufacturing workers earned more than $US35 an hour in 2008. In New Zealand the rate is under $US20 an hour. The base pay of $60,000 a year can leap to $100,000 when overtime, payroll and other costs are included whereas New Zealand's lower levels of unionisation, ability to operate outside traditional daytime hours, and greater use of seasonal employees make it attractive.
I found in our family archive an article dated 18 May 1939 from the Sydney Morning Herald entitled: "Skilled men for N.Z. - Many Sydney applicants. Railway Expansion".
In 1939 Australia was expecting war. The nation had gone onto a defence footing and every skilled man and, later, woman became part of the workforce to help defend our country.
My mother was quite astute in her reflections and wrote many articles which have been filed away and which we still have. Her writings were not published but she kept them, with some thought that possibly they might gain some credibility in the years to come.
1939 - wanting 100 fitters in New Zealand
The article in question reads as follows: "Mr E T Spidy, superintendent of workshops for the New Zealand Government railways, engaged in Sydney yesterday 21 fitters, three boiler makers, one turner, and one coppersmith for work in the Dominion. If skilled men are offering, he will engage at least 100 more tradesmen."
The New Zealand Railways at that time were in the process of initiating an enormous expansion of locomotive construction along with rolling stock as part of a nationwide industrial expansion. In effect, New Zealand was likewise preparing for another world conflict.
The article goes on to state that this railway expansion can absorb 600 skilled 'men'. At that time there was an acute shortage of tradesmen with an additional comment which read: "No skilled man is unemployed in New Zealand".
The men would receive 5 pounds, 10 shillings a week. In NSW tradesmen were being paid 5 pounds and three shillings a week for a 44 hour week.
Initially they sought 26 fully skilled workers from Australian industry which was itself struggling in the preparation for war was significant, and New Zealand's intention was for 100 and offering them a higher rate of pay.
76 years later Australian jobs created in New Zealand
As evidenced these 76 years later, it still retains a cautionary note although the entire world has become smaller and expatriates live in many different countries. Australian and New Zealanders are now in some measure accustomed to such situations as there is regular migration between both nations. There is even consideration to negate the use of pass ports between Australians and New Zealanders when travelling to and fro.
In the Old Testament we witness not only the nomadic life of the Hebrews, but we note that Abraham relocated regularly. In the New Testament, Paul's missionary journey's around lower Europe became second nature to him, and the basis of Christian missionary field-work today.
Numerous Ministers have relocated from New Zealand to Australia not least Hillsong pastor Brian Houston and 3C church leader Phil Pringle. Mark Tronson recounts when as the Australian cricket team chaplain touring New Zealand in 2000 with the Australian cricketers, he spoke at numerous men's breakfast and dinners, universities and high schools, where several of the Ministers (pastors) were Australians who were serving in the Lord in New Zealand.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html