- U.S. Applications for New Zealand Citizenship Jump 70 Percent
Wellington, New Zealand (AP) -It’s one thing to talk about changing allegiance to another country when a new president is elected. It’s another thing to go ahead and do it.
But that’s exactly what seems to be happening, at least in one distant corner of the world.
In New Zealand, the number of Americans who applied for a grant of citizenship rose by 70 percent in the 12 weeks following the election of President Donald Trump when compared to the same period a year earlier, immigration records obtained by The Associated Press show.
Figures also show the number of Americans who obtained a New Zealand work visa in January was up 18 percent from a year earlier, as was the number of Americans who visited the country.
In New Zealand, a grant of citizenship is the pathway for people without a family connection. Among those Americans with a New Zealand parent, citizenship applications after the election were up 11 percent from a year earlier.
In response to an AP freedom of information request, New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs said that in the two days after the U.S. election in November, the number of Americans who visited its website to find out about citizenship was up more than tenfold from the same two weekdays a month earlier.
To be sure, the total number of Americans applying for New Zealand citizenship remains relatively low. The country is more than 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) from the mainland U.S. and is perhaps best known for its majestic landscapes. Farming remains central to the economy, with sheep outnumbering the 4.8 million people by about six to one.
Trump made a brief reference to the country during the election campaign when a New Zealand television reporter asked him what the election would mean for the South Pacific country.
“Say hello to Bob Charles. I love Bob Charles,” Trump replied. “Do you know who Bob Charles is? Your greatest golfer.” Charles won the British Open in 1963.
Some Americans living in New Zealand say their friends and family have been asking them about moving there since the election.
Alanna Irving, 33, a technology startup entrepreneur from San Francisco, moved to New Zealand six years ago and has since married a kiwi, as the locals are known.
“It’s an extremely livable place and you can see and palpably feel the difference in how society is organized, and what people prioritize,” she said. “New Zealand is a place that cares about equality, I think more. It’s less individualistic, more community-minded.”
She said that a friend of a friend was so disturbed by the outcome of the election that he immediately jumped on a plane and flew to New Zealand to check it out as a possible place to live. Irving said his visit exceeded his expectations.
“So that was really symbolic to me that there were people in the United States who feel like things are going in a very different direction than they want for their future, or for their children, and they’re looking to New Zealand as perhaps an alternative,” she said.
Most Americans who apply for New Zealand citizenship must first live in the country for five years.
Cameron Pritchard, an immigration consultant at Malcolm Pacific Immigration in Wellington, said the increase in citizenship applications could be a result of people wanting to feel more settled in their adopted country, given the uncertain nature of the world.
It’s about “getting a bit more security or really making a longer-term decision that New Zealand is the place they want to call home,” he said.
He said his company noticed a big spike in inquiries from the U.S. during the election.
“It’s been more of a flurry of excitement initially than anything that’s translated into a huge avalanche of numbers,” he said.
Irving said she plans to apply for New Zealand citizenship this year and doesn’t foresee ever returning to live in the U.S. She said she misses the excitement that some U.S. innovators and companies can offer, although technology allows her to stay connected with that world.
But, she added, there’s one thing she misses that can’t be replicated online: The great Mexican food that’s available in the U.S.
By the numbers:
Americans applying for New Zealand citizenship by grant:
Nov. 8, 2016, to Jan. 31, 2017: 170
Nov. 8, 2015, to Jan. 31, 2016: 100
Americans applying for New Zealand citizenship by descent:
Nov. 8, 2016, to Jan. 31, 2017: 203
Nov. 8, 2015, to Jan. 31, 2016: 183
Citizenship-related visits to Department of Internal Affairs website from the U.S.:
Nov. 8 to Nov. 10, 2016: 4,146
Oct. 4 to Oct. 6, 2016: 305
Work-visa arrivals from the U.S.:
Jan. 2017: 254
Jan. 2016: 216
Visitor arrivals from the U.S.:
Jan. 2017: 34,240
Jan. 2016: 28,992
Source: Department of Internal Affairs, Statistics New Zealand
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.
The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.
In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.
SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.
The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.
“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.
“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”
COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom
Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.
He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.
The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.
“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.
“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.
“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.
“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.
“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”
He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.
“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.
“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.
“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.
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