Finding a voice for the missing million

group ekcIn 2013 Kea held the Every Kiwi Counts survey which asked 12,000 expats about their connection to New Zealand and their life offshore. We’re doing it again at www.everykiwicounts.com, and here’s why it’s important.

As the face of New Zealand and those who call themselves Kiwis continues to evolve, so should our insights and learnings. With an estimated 1 million Kiwis living offshore, there’s the equivalent of our biggest city – one fifth of NZ’s population – who care about the future of Aotearoa. Now, Kea is asking international students, returned expats and the group of those we affectionately call ‘friends of NZ’ to complete the survey so we can share our voice as a borderless nation.

From the EKC findings in 2013, we know expats continue to command big dollars overseas and the pull of ‘brand New Zealand’ and a desire to connect with home resonates with Kiwis offshore. Findings from the June 2015 OECD report showed economic growth has been faster in NZ than in most other OECD countries in recent years. With that in mind, why do 1 million Kiwis choose to live elsewhere?

From our 2013 survey we know over 30% of them live overseas for better job prospects. We know over 8 in 10 have a tertiary degree, and almost all of them received their tertiary education in New Zealand. We know half of our expats are earning in excess of $NZ100K per year, while here in NZ under 10% are earning that. And we know around half of them plan to come home to live. But we also want to know what they think they’re coming home to. If they’ve left, why come back?

It’s with insights like this we can represent people in our ‘borderless nation’ and plan for a future which takes them into account. With trending discussions about Auckland’s property, the value of New Zealand’s education, our nation’s image offshore and how your surname defines you as a citizen, there are learnings to be found from anyone and everyone who considers themselves a Kiwi.

So help us start a real discussion about New Zealand’s future, property market, education, current affairs, investments, economy and people by asking those who aren’t sharing their voice otherwise. We know these advocates of Aotearoa are representatives of our nation offshore, and it’s time to represent them back home.