New Zealand earthquakes trigger tsunami warnings

  • New Zealand sounds tsunami alerts after being hit by three powerful earthquakes
  • Benefits of immigrating to New Zealand – how does it compare to the UK?
  • NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Arden lifts COVID lockdown restrictions in Auckland

Thousands of coastal residents in New Zealand and neighbouring islands scrambled to higher ground on Friday after three powerful earthquake tremors triggered tsunami warnings.

Residents were ordered to evacuate, and there were reports of traffic gridlocks as tsunami warning sirens sounded.

Tsunami alert sirens blared after an 8.1-magnitude quake struck near the uninhabited Kermadec Islands, north-east of New Zealand.

The third tremor, which followed quakes measuring 7.4 and 7.3, was one of the largest to hit the South Pacific in modern history, sparking fears that waves of up to 10ft could hit the coasts.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said that frightening waves could not only thrash New Zealand but other Oceanic islands.

“People must leave beach areas and stop all water activities, and should not pick their children up at schools to avoid creating traffic jams,” emergency services spokesman Alexandre Rossignol told public radio in New Caledonia.

Thirteen hours after the most significant wave passed, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) lifted tsunami warnings and told residents that it was safe to return back to their homes.

New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, and other regions of the country were also under threat from the initial tremor. Residents were advised by civil authorities to steer clear of beaches and coastal areas.

According to GeoNet, more than 60,000 people felt the earthquakes, with some 280+ people reporting “severe” shaking and 75 residents describing the tremors as “extreme”.

Aftershocks are still being recorded in the South Pacific, and a fourth, 6.5 magnitude tremor struck the area at 12.12pm local time.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre also said that Antarctica and South America might witness smaller tsunami waves on Friday.


Migrating to New Zealand: How does it compare to the UK?

If it’s in your plans to immigrate to New Zealand, you might be wondering how the country compares to the UK and the pros of living in the “Land of Kiwis”, especially following the latest news.

New Zealand has long been a popular destination for emigrating Britons, famed for its picturesque scenery – from scenic coastlines to lofty mountain peaks offering breath-taking views and deep fjords carved by ancient glaciers in the South Island.

Not to mention the country’s low crime rate, excellent quality of life and accessible public health system – making New Zealand an appealing destination for individuals and families,

The Land of the Long White Cloud also has a lot in common with the UK, with the most obvious – the English language. Beyond that, the two countries are related through their similar values, shared history and the Commonwealth.

People who emigrate from the UK to New Zealand have often praised the Kiwis dynamic work-life balance, friendly nature, infrastructure and cultural attractions.

Relaxed lifestyle with an excellent work-life balance

According to the latest economic survey from the OECD, New Zealand ranks above the global average for quality of life. The average life expectancy in the country is higher than in the UK.

HSBC’s 2020 Expat Explorer Survey of forty countries places New Zealand third overall in the league table, behind only Singapore and Switzerland for living, working aspirations and mindset, while the UK ranks 28th.

The OECD also ranks NZ above average for subjective well-being, health status, housing, environmental standards, income and wealth, personal security, education and skills, among other measures.

Even in New Zealand’s more populated cities, residents are never too far from a beach, national park or other amenities, offering expats great recreational opportunities.

NZ also has a temperate climate, boasting warm and dry summers through December to February and mild, wet winters.

Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand’s most populous city, Auckland, is the country’s leading commercial hub and offers individuals a wide range of opportunities to advance their career.

The metropolitan city makes it a great place to visit, study, live, work and invest. At the same time, its beaches offer individuals plenty of places to escape the city’s bustling activity.

While the overall cost of living in New Zealand is more expensive than in the UK, Auckland’s cost of living, which is believed to be NZ’s most expensive city, is cheaper than London.

Wellington, New Zealand

New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, is the country’s political core and the creative heart of the country.

The small city, perched on the harbour’s edge, boasts first-rate film studios, innovative professional theatres, the national opera and budding young street performers.

It is often described as “the most liveable city in the world” with its excellent schools, transportation links, beachfront and forested suburbs – it’s a popular choice for both families and professionals seeking a great work-life dynamic.

We will now change tack and address the other alert in New Zealand – the coronavirus situation, which Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has downgraded.

NZ Prime Minister lifts lockdown restrictions in Auckland

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden lifted Auckland’s level three lockdown on Friday and put the rest of the country into level one alert after authorities said that the latest COVID-19 outbreak had been contained.

According to official data, no new coronavirus cases have been reported since February 28th. PM Arden said that it was only right that lockdown restrictions are lifted at the end of the week (March 7th.)

However, the news has done little to help the New Zealand dollar (NZD), which has struggled against a host of major currencies, particularly safe-haven assets such as the US dollar (USD).

The New Zealand dollar to US dollar (NZD/USD) exchange rate is trading 0.6% lower ahead of the weekend at USD 0.7133, and foreign exchange (FX) analysts forecast further downside in the currency pair in the near-term.

Meanwhile, the British pound to New Zealand dollar (GBP/NZD) pair is trading near weekly highs at NZD 1.937 and could hold firm amid expectations for a robust economic rebound in the UK.

While rising Treasury yields has pushed the US dollar (USD) higher against pound Sterling (GBP) and renewing demand for risk-off currencies, the low-yield Japanese yen (JPY) remains unappealing to investors despite being a safe-haven currency.

At the time of writing, the British pound to Japanese yen (GBP/JPY) exchange rate is trading slightly lower at JPY 149.768, compared to the 0.5% loss being nursed in GBP/USD.