Australia a magnet for unskilled - study
Last updated 16:48 02/12/2009

New research has proven what many Aussies long suspected – Australia is a magnet for New Zealand's most unskilled workers.

An analysis of census figures has revealed for the first time that New Zealanders who migrate across the Tasman are far more likely to work as machine operators and labourers than as professionals.

The research also showed that these less skilled workers are more likely to stay in Australia for life.

The findings were released as part of a New Zealand government investigation to lift New Zealand wages into line with Australia's and to stop the heavy trans-Tasman migration.

Wellington demographer James Newell found that 2.8 per cent of employed people in the Australian census were born in New Zealand.

These Kiwis make up 4.3 per cent of all machinery operators and drivers in Australia and 3.4 per cent of all labourers. They make up only 2.4 per cent of all professionals.

It also showed indigenous Maori New Zealanders are also more likely than non-Maori to have crossed the ditch.

"Net trans-Tasman population loss is skewed towards New Zealand-born without professional qualifications or skills," Dr Newell concluded.

Queensland sociologist Mary Power said the revelation supports Aussies' widely-held belief that only the poor and less skilled New Zealanders make the crossing.

"There's definitely a feeling among Australians that New Zealanders occupy our working class suburbs," said Dr Power, of Bond University.

"Especially because the Maori people are so distinct and visible on the streets, in Brisbane particularly.

"And this study seems to support that."

She said her research had proven this was actually a "myth" and the migrating Kiwis came from all walks of life.

But Dr Newell stands by his findings.

He said it was not yet clear if this was happening because Australia was more attractive to the less skilled, or whether they were going there only because they could not get into other countries.

The new findings come hot on the heels of other research released by the taskforce showing why Australia is so appealing to New Zealanders.

The study found that Aussies live longer, in bigger houses, with more money and more leisure time.

In fact, Australia scored better on every test of living standards except one dubious marker showing New Zealand had more McDonald's burger bars.

The imbalance is clearly getting to the Kiwis who on Wednesday exclaimed on the front page of their New Zealand Herald "even their Christmas parties are better than ours".

From here.