A small town in southern New Zealand has too many jobs, not enough workers and plenty of affordable housing, but despite recent media reports they’re not paying people to move there.
Kaitangata, with its population of 800, is struggling to fill hundreds of vacant agricultural jobs. A recent story from the SFGate seemed to suggest the mayor of the small New Zealand town was offering more than $160,000 for job seekers to relocate.
The story went global and Kaitangata’s mayor, Bryan Cadogan, received a flood of calls from struggling middle class workers around the world eager and willing to move to New Zealand for a free house, according to the town’s website.
The mayor’s response: We’re not paying people to move here.
“There is currently a story that has been published by overseas media that we are paying people $160,000 to move to Kaitangata and people should ring the Mayor about it. This is NOT TRUE.”
The website goes on to explain that moving to Kaitangata involves more than just jumping on a plane to New Zealand; immigrants must first be authorized to live and work in the country, says the town’s website.
“People are not being paid to move to Kaitangata and you should not contact the Mayor about it.”
The confusion seems to center around the home and land package being offered by the mayor and local housing authority. The catch is, they’re selling it, not giving it away.
The House and Land Package being offered by the small New Zealand town is worth $160,000 USD or $230,000 in New Zealand dollars, but that’s the sale price not an offer of free money.
The story about the small New Zealand town and their efforts in encourage immigration definitely got the world’s attention. The mayor received 5,000 phone calls and thousands more messages were sent through email and social media.
Thousands messaged from Britain, seeking more information on moving to New Zealand; they cited the recent Brexit vote and the country’s upcoming exit from the European Union as their motivation for leaving the country.
Some Americans also made inquiries into the small scenic New Zealand town situated a mere eight miles from the ocean, and many cited political concerns over Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as their main concern.
Unfortunately, the New Zealand town isn’t paying workers to relocate, but they would like the world to know about their lush pastoral landscape, the island’s peaceful green hillsides and slow paced rural lifestyle.
The New Zealand town’s mayor also wants to advertise the vast array of open jobs, affordable housing and amazing scenic views. The town also needs more than just farm workers. A nearby coal mine is still operational and the city is also in need of specialists.
“If you are genuinely interested in the house and land packages in Kaitangata, which are on sale for $230,000 or want to know more about working and living in our district, and if you live outside of New Zealand the first thing you will need to do is check out our immigration rules to find out if you’re eligible to live and work here.”
If you were hoping for $160,000 in free land, houses and money to move to New Zealand and work in the farm industry you’re out of luck, but the area is still beautiful and boasts plenty of job opportunities.
Anyone who is willing to foot the bill to pay for a house should contact the New Zealand immigration office to see if they qualify to live and work in the country.
Sorry, there’s no free ride to New Zealand.
[Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images]