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Migration hits another record

Annual net migration in the year ending June 2017 reached a record high of 72,300, Stats NZ said today. Migrant arrivals hit 131,400, and departures were 59,100.

Compared with the 12 months ending June 2016, this means net migration rose by 3,200.

“Annual net migration has been steadily increasing since late 2012 when we had more departures than arrivals,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

“Over the past three years, annual net migration has been consistently hitting record levels due to an increasing number of non-New Zealand citizen arrivals.”

Migration in the last year was mainly driven by non-New Zealand citizens, with a net gain of 73,600 arrivals.

Departures of New Zealand citizens outnumbered arrivals, and Stats NZ measured a net loss of 1,300 citizens.

Of the 33,500 New Zealanders who left the country in the June 2017 year, 61 per cent went to Australia.

Arrivals from Asia fell 5.2 per cent to 42,975, driven by a 31.5 per cent decline in Indian migrants.

However, long-term European arrivals rose 12.1 per cent to 31,094. The highest increases were seen in the UK, up 11.9 per cent to 15,166 migrants, Germany, up 13.3 per cent to 4,592 arrivals, and France, up 11.8 per cent to 4,432.

Migration from South Africa also heavily increased in the last 12 months, up 57 per cent to 1,869 arrivals.

Visitor arrivals surged in June, up 17 per cent to 230,100. UK and Irish visitors accounted for 10 per cent of visitor numbers.

“June 2017 had the second-highest number of monthly UK and Irish visitor arrivals for a June month ever,” Dolan said.

“The highest was in June 2005 when arrivals reached 28,200, which also coincided with the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.”

Compared to June 2016, visitor arrivals were up 10.2 per cent. The number of visitors on holiday rose 12.3 per cent to 209,024, the highest segment increase, followed by visitors attending conferences and conventions, which rose 10.7 per cent.

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ComCom to crack down on lending

Responsible lending is one key priority for the Commerce Commission for the upcoming year, according to a new report.

Chairman Mark Berry said that while there were a number of areas the Commission would always regard as a priority, the organisation would also focus on several “priority focus areas” in 2017 and 2018, which have been published for the first time.

“We will focus on responsible lending (including online lending) and credence claims,” Berry said.

“Despite the number of investigations and cases we have taken, our intelligence suggests some lenders are still failing to comply with responsible lending principles.”

The Commission’s announcement that it would take a hard line on responsible lending follows an update to the official Consumer Credit Fee Guidelines on June 30.

Numerous finance companies have been charged by the Commerce Commission for failing to comply with the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) by enforcing unfair fees.

Most recently, Acute Finance Limited was fined $22,000 by the Commerce Commission for unreasonable mandatory fees on their loans.  

“By failing to comply, these lenders are not only breaching the law, they are potentially putting people at risk of hardship,” Berry said.

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Shares down for Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson’s shares have decreased to more than a one-year low after cuts were made to its shipments.

The manufacturers shares were down by nine per cent at $47.17 on Tuesday morning and for the full year, the company expects to ship between 241,000 and 246,000 motorcycles in comparison to 262,221 in the previous year.

Due to decreased popularity, the motorcycle maker is also planning on cutting production in the second half of this year.

According to David Beckel, an analyst from Bernstein Research, the decrease in sales is related to a lack of interest in motorcycles is waning for the new group of consumers born between 1980 and 1990.

“We are downgrading Harley-Davidson to ‘market-perform’ based on increased conviction that motorcycle demand in the United States is in the throes of secular erosion,” Beckel said.

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Porsche may discontinue diesels

According to an announcement by Porsche chief executive Oliver Blume, Porsche could discontinue diesel-fuelled cars in the near future.

Blume said in an interview at the Nuerburgring motorsports complex in Western Germany, that the company was looking into the issue and had not made a firm decision either way yet.

He said that the car manufacturer would offer a mix of combustion, plug-in hybrid and purely battery-powered cars.

Diesel-powered vehicles still make up approximately 15 per cent of global sales for Porsche, while they make up 35 per cent of sales for BMW vehicles.

Meanwhile, Porsche is spending $(US)1.2 billion in overhauling its main Stuttgart plant in order to build its first battery-only vehicle. The four-door Mission E saloon is due to be released in 2019. This will contribute to a projected plan for battery-only vehicles to account for a quarter of Porsche’s sales by 2025, according to Blume.

Porsche sales rose six per cent to a record 238,000 cars in 2016 and the company may deliver another zero-emission model off the Mission E platform, at its Zuffenhausen factory in the near future. Blume told Reuters an electrified version of the top-selling Macan SUV was also possible.

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Falling petrol prices help stabilise CPI

There was no change in the consumer price index (CPI) in the June quarter, and was down 0.1 percent after seasonal adjustment, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The annual inflation rate was 1.7 per cent, down from 2.2 per cent in the year ending March 2017.

“Household basics like rent, food, and electricity all hit consumers’ pockets harder this quarter,” prices senior manager Jason Attewell said.

“Offsetting these price rises were falls in domestic airfares and petrol prices – which fell on average by 4 cents a litre.”

Transport prices fell 1.3 per cent, spurred on by a fall in domestic airfares (down 14.5 per cent) and petrol (down 1.9 per cent). Car rentals also saw seasonally lower prices for the quarter.

The purchase of vehicles was static, down 0.1 per cent compared to the previous quarter, but up 1.4 per cent when compared to June 2017.

The average price of a litre of 91 octane petrol was measure at $1.86 in the June 2017 quarter, down from $1.90 in March, but up from $1.78 in June 2016.

Falling transport prices offset an increase in food, which rose 0.7 per cent in the June quarter, and housing, which increased 0.8 per cent.

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Auto industry leads job boom

Wages for auto industry jobs grew 5 per cent.

New Zealand’s red-hot employment market shows no sign of running out of steam, according to the latest market report from Trade Me.

New job listings on the website were up 12.3 per cent year-on-year, the fourth consecutive quarter with double-digit growth in new listings.

“The job market has experienced unbelievable growth over the last year, and we’ve seen listings up in every region across the country which is very rare,” said Head of Jobs Jeremy Wade.

“Every region around the country, excluding the Bay of Plenty, is outpacing our three main centres for the second quarter in a row.”

The West Coast had the increase in year-on-year job listings, up 53 per cent, followed by Marlborough, up 47.4 per cent, and Gisborne, up 38.6 per cent.

The slowest job growth was in Canterbury, up 4.7 per cent, Wellington, up 6.4 per cent, and the Bay of Plenty, up 8.9 per cent.

Automotive was one of the strongest-performing industries, with 31.1 per cent growth in jobs ads. This was surpassed only by manufacturing and operations, up 32.5 per cent, and transport and logistics, up 32.8 per cent.

In their analysis of over 72,000 vacancies listed on the website in the second quarter of 2017, Trade Me reported that many sectors finally saw rises in wages and salaries following years of stilted growth.

Wade said sectors that were in demand for new staff were starting to offer new money. “We’re not seeing the wage growth we expected yet, but we’re starting to see some green shoots in what has been a pretty barren landscape for Kiwi job hunters,” he said. “The sectors needing people the most are starting to offer more.”

“The 13 sectors with the highest growth in new listings have all had jumps in wages, with automotive roles (average pay up 5 per cent year-on-year) and construction (up 8 per cent) leading the way.”

Auckland City was found to have the highest average earnings, at $71,725, beating Wellington, which had average listed wages of $66,853, for the second quarter in a row. Whakatane came in third, with an average wage of $59,982.

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Waterview Tunnel opens

The $1.4 billion Waterview Tunnel was opened over the weekend, providing a 48 kilometre motorway alternative route, by linking the Southwestern and Northwestern motorways.

The Waterview Connection will provide an alternative route for transport and ease pressure on State Highway One and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the opening of the Waterview Tunnel is the most significant change in Auckland’s transport system since the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959.

“The Waterview Tunnel will transform the way people and freight move around the city, providing more options and a more efficient, resilient and reliable transport system.”

He says that this has been a priority project for the Government because of the significant contribution it will make to NZ’s economic growth and prosperity.

“The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection is New Zealand’s biggest and most complex roading project ever with the twin tunnels completing a key link in the Western Ring Route.

Economic benefits are estimated to be worth $430 million, through improved productivity and reduced travel time, and also include the creation of more than 18,000 jobs during the construction of the tunnel.

“Investing in Auckland’s motorway system in this way will reduce the cost of doing business throughout the country and plays a strong role in supporting Auckland’s growing population,” Bridges says.

In mid-July another two community amenities will open as part of the project.

Auckland’s cycling and walking network will expand further with the opening of the Southwestern Shared Path alongside the motorway between the southern end of the tunnel and the Maioro Street interchange.

Te Whitinga (Hendon footbridge) will also open to connect the suburbs of New Windsor and Owairaka.

The Waterview Connection links the Southwestern (State Highway 20) and Northwestern (SH16) motorways – providing a 48 kilometre motorway alternative route that will ease pressure on SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

“This has been a long awaited and eagerly anticipated piece of transport infrastructure envisioned decades ago. It’s fantastic that New Zealand’s biggest and most ambitious transport infrastructure project is now open to vehicles,” Bridges says.

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POAL wins best Seaport

Ports of Auckland (POAL) has taken first place as Best Seaport in Oceania for the second year running.

POAL was voted into the finals by customers and industry peers at the Asia Cargo News’ Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain (AFLAS) Awards; the only New Zealand port to be selected as a finalist amongst three Australian ports (Port of Melbourne, Port of Brisbane and Sydney Ports).

“I am so proud to accept the award as the best port in our region on behalf of our team. It is a fantastic achievement for Ports of Auckland and testament to the hard-working people that keep our port running 24/7. We have a world-class group of people working here, doing their best for our customers and Aucklanders” said Ports of Auckland Chief Executive Tony Gibson.

The awards recognise leading air and shipping lines, air and sea ports, logistics providers and other industry professionals. Ports of Auckland was the first recipient of the ‘Best Seaport in Oceania’ award when the category was introduced in 2016, and the only recipient in this category to date.

This year, thousands of Asia Cargo News readers cast votes across award categories such as Best Seaport, Best Container Terminal and Best Airport. Asia Cargo News reported votes in the thousands – a record number of votes were submitted this year.

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Dennis severing ties with McLaren

Ex McLaren-boss, Ron Dennis is selling his shareholding of the business.

The deal, which totals £275m sale is due to be announced this week and will mean that the two arms of the company will be combined.

Dennis was put on leave last December after a legal battle with his fellow shareholders. He has since moved to join the Ministry of Defence’s Innovation Advisory Panel.

The business man has been the boss of McLaren for 35 years, however in recent years, his relationship with fellow investors has soured.

However, the recent performance of the F1 team cast a shadow over the entire McLaren brand, and relations between Mr Dennis and his fellow investors – Mansour Ojjeh, his long-term business partner, and Mumtalakat, the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund – soured badly.

“I am disappointed that the representatives of TAG [Mansour Ojjeh] and Mumtalakat [his business partners] have forced through this decision to place me on gardening leave, despite the strong warnings from the rest of the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business,” Mr Dennis said in a statement last December.

“Ultimately it has become clear to me through this process that neither TAG nor Mumtalakat share my vision for McLaren and its true growth potential.

It was unclear on Thursday night whether Mr Ojjeh and Mumtalakat are buying Mr Dennis’s stake or whether it is being sold to a third party.

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McLaren records profit

McLaren Automotive has accelerated to a fourth consecutive year of profitability.

The autonomotive manufacturer posted a profit of £9.2M from an annual sales revenue of £649.8M in 2016. This gave McLaren Automotive a fourth consecutive year of profitability in only six years, since start of sales in 2011. This was an increase in profit before tax of 70 per cent compared to the £5.4M reported in 2015.

An operating profit of £65.8M in 2016 was the company’s highest ever, standing at 10 per cent of turnover and representing a 180% increase over 2015.

“The positive financial performance in 2016 was underpinned by a 44 per cent increase in sales revenues and is further proof that McLaren Automotive’s growth plans are both achievable and sustainable,” said McLaren Automotive chief executive officer, Mike Flewitt.

In its first full year of production, the Sports Series family accounted for 2,031 deliveries, the majority of which came from the recently-introduced McLaren 570GT and 570S models. The McLaren 675LT Coupe and Spider models both sold out in weeks and in total 1,255 Super Series cars were sold in 2016.

The Super Series also continued its success story thanks, in large part, to the McLaren 675LT Coupé and Spider models. Having both sold out in a matter of weeks, the limited production, even more driver-focused and higher-performance derivatives of the Super Series started production in mid-2015 but continued through 2016. In total, 1,255 Super Series cars were sold in 2016.

In March 2017 the second-generation McLaren Super Series, the new McLaren 720S, was launched. The new car generated immediate customer interest and some 1,500 orders have been taken to date. A new convertible Sports Series model, the 570S Spider, was announced on 14th June 2017 and makes its world debut this week in the UK at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

“The McLaren Automotive business continues to perform strongly, with 2016 returning a fourth consecutive year of positive financial results,” said McLaren Automotive chief financial officer, Paul Buddin.

”Profit before tax was up by 70% to £9.2M, from our highest-ever operating profit of £65.8M, an increase of 180% over 2015. These results were driven by vehicle sales totalling 3,286 in 2016 – 99% up year-on-year and another record – and significant growth in revenues from McLaren Special Operations (MSO) and McLaren Automotive Aftersales operations.”

During 2016, McLaren Automotive invested £129.1M in new projects, across the Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series product families. The Track22 Business Plan sees McLaren investing an industry-leading percentage of turnover (20% in 2016) in R&D activities over the period of the plan.

This will take the company towards its objective of producing more than 4,500 vehicles annually by the end of 2022, with at least 50% of these cars featuring hybrid powertrain technology. The Business Plan also includes the development of a fully-electric powertrain for a concept car to evaluate its possible use in a future Ultimate Series. In 2016, the early prototype stages of the development work commenced.

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Damaged McLaren sold at auction

A McLaren sport’s car that was written off just 150 metres after the Point Chevalier on-ramp in Auckland, has been sold for an undisclosed sum.

The 2015 McLaren 650S crashed in April 22, this year, and was being driven by 57-year-old executive, Heng Loon Chee who pleaded guilty to careless driving in Auckland District Court in May.

Manheim.co.nz auctioned the vehicle over the internet on the morning of June 27, but would not confirm how much it ended up selling for or who it was sold to.

Manheim New Zealand national salvage manager Michael Fernandes told the NZ Herald that the vehicle was being sold online “to allow the global salvage market to partake in the auction and not miss the opportunity to own this diamond in the rough”.

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