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Unemployment falls to a nine-year low

December Quarter 

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.5 per cent in the December 2017 quarter, down from 4.6 percent last quarter, Stats NZ said today.

“This quarter’s unemployment rate is the lowest since the December 2008 quarter, when it was 4.4 percent,” labour market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.

“However, the underutilisation rate was just over 12 percent –reflecting about 340,000 New Zealanders with potential to work more. This measure is just as important as the unemployment rate.”

Underutilisation is a measure of the potential labour supply and unmet need for work.

The unemployment rate for the December 2017 quarter remains considerably above New Zealand’s lowest unemployment rate, which was 3.3 percent, recorded a decade ago in the December 2007 quarter, immediately before the global financial crisis.

Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, December 2008 to December 2017. Source: Stats NZ

December yearly

Annually, employment increased 3.7 percent, with men and women contributing almost equally to the increase. Nearly one-quarter of employment growth came from 25–29-year-olds, while just over one-fifth came from the 30–34-year-old age group. 

In the year to the December 2017 quarter, unadjusted employment (as measured by the HLFS) increased across a number of industries. The key contributor was the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industry – up 25,900 (8.5 percent). 

Approximately one-third of the increase in employment for the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industry occurred in Wellington.

Most of this growth was seen in the sub-industries: architectural, engineering, and technical services (up 4,600); and building, cleaning, pest control, and gardening services (up 1,700).

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Biggest motoring stories of 2017

Here’s a look back at the most trending stories of the year:
1.  2 Cheap Cars paid $320,000 for employment breaches 

2 Cheap Cars Limited was ordered to pay a $70,000 penalty, and was liable for upwards of $250,000 in arrears, following a Labour Inspectorate investigation.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) made the order after the Inspectorate uncovered serious breaches of minimum wage, holiday pay, and record keeping.

2. OPTIMUS announced ownership of NZ auto firms

Japanese holding company, OPTIMUS Group Co., Limited confirmed to staff and stakeholders that it collectively owns several major companies in the auto service industry in Japan and New Zealand.

Although the holding company has been in existence since January 2015, it only announced its ownership of these various companies July this year. 

3. $250,577 raised at AHG charity dinner

Automotive Holdings Group (AHG) raised a record $250,577 at their annual charity dinner in July, with the process to be shared by the Camp Quality and Cure Kids charities. 

Last night’s record-topping fundraiser, held in the John Andrew Ford and Mazda showrooms, brings the total raised by AHG to over $1.2 million.

Guests dining in the John Andrew Mazda showroom


4. Police arrested Trade Me fraudster

Richard Mark Wallace was arrested by Police in April due to numerous complaints of fraudulent Trade Me vehicle sales. 

At least 16 customers were left out of pocket after paying a 50 per cent deposit to Wallace, who claimed to import cars from Japan.

Trade Me head of trust and safety Jon Duffy said some customers have received partial refunds, but the majority received nothing, and at least $55,000 had been taken.

5. Mazda2 updated for 2017

The Mazda2 received another upgrade earlier this year and according to Managing Director of Mazda New Zealand, David Hodge, the 2017 version is easily “the most impressive small car on the market.”

The new 2 also came with standard autonomous emergency braking, a feature that has been seen on most new vehicles this year.  According to Mazda is standard on only one other car in the light VFACTS segment, the Skoda Fabia. 

Mazda2 Soul Red

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Women’s World Car of the Year 2017 winners:

Hyundai’s Ioniq has been awarded the Women’s World Car of the Year 2017 award.

The Hyundai Ioniq was the clear winner at this years Women’s World Car of the Year award, along with winning the Green Car category as well.

The jury, consisting of 25 established women motoring writers from 20 different countries, including New Zealand’s Sandy Myhre, CEO of Women’s World Car of the Year and Jacqui Madelin.

The jury chose the Mazda CX-5 as the Family Car of the Year, the Ford Fiesta as its Budget Car, Peugeot’s 3008 as it’s SUV/Crossover and the BMW 5-series as the Best Luxury Car.

There was a close contest between the new Honda Civic Type R and Mazda MX-5 RF for the Best Performance Car, but Honda managed to take the crown.

The Holly Reich Dream Car award – dedicated to the memory of Holly Reich, one of the original judges for the Women’s World Car of the Year since its inception seven years ago – saw the McLaren win its second consecutive victory, with the 720S winning this year.

Women’s World Car of the Year CEO, Sandy Myhre, said at the occasion, “The car that wins the Supreme award has gone through a rigorous test by 25 judges from 20 different countries that are on the panel of Women’s World Car of the Year. It’s a democratic process and cars that have won categories and the supreme winner really have to stand out.”

This year 420 cars were on the first nomination list, whittled down to the top 60. Judges then must vote on those cars by allocating points. Voting is by secret ballot and audited by international accountancy company Grant Thornton from their Auckland office.

“This year, the Hyundai Ioniq was a standout.  It’s always a tight competition but there were a couple of cars that were ahead of the others in their category, notably, the Ford Fiesta and the BMW 5 Series,” said Paul Kane, Partner of Grant Thornton.

This is the eighth edition of the Women’s World Car of the Year Awards.


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Our man at Tokyo show

Tokyo Motor Show 2017 was a spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed. I’m pleased I had the opportunity to attend on the media-only days as, I understand, the public days are crazy, writes Malcolm Yorston.


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Mazda2 updated for 2017

The Mazda2 has had another upgrade and according to Managing Director of Mazda New Zealand, David Hodge, the 2017 version is easily “the most impressive small car on the market.”


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