More Britons interested in moving to New Zealand after Christchurch massacre
The number of British citizens interested in moving to New Zealand has increased by almost 50 per cent since 50 people died in a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch.
The number of applications from Britain jumped from 505 to 753 – a 49 per cent increase - in the 10 days after the attack on March 15, according to figures from Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
The increase in registrations from Britain was second only to those from the United States, where there was a 72 per cent increase – from 674 to 1165 over the same period. The third highest increase was from South Africa.
Globally, there was a 33 per cent increase in the number of applications to live and work in New Zealand. The agency received 6,457 registrations of interest from March 15 to 24, compared to 4,844 for the preceding 10 days.
There has also been a surge of interest from predominantly Muslim countries despite their faith being targeted by a lone gunman during Friday prayers. There were 333 registrations submitted from Pakistan, 165 from Malaysia, 82 from Bangladesh, 66 from Morocco, 63 from Indonesia, 59 from Egypt and 59 from Turkey.
These were not visa applications but registrations of interest, said INZ assistant general manager Peter Elms.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is thought to be a chief reason for the sharp rise in interest, as she has been widely praised for showing strong empathy with the victims.
She led a memorial service in Christchurch on Friday for victims of the attack, which was also attended by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
An estimated 23,000 people attended the service at Hagley Park, according to local media.
British singer Cat Stevens, also known as Yusef Islam, performed ‘Peace Train.’
The names of the 50 victims gunned down at Masjid Al Noor mosque and Linwood Mosque were read aloud by members of the Muslim community Interfaith Society, and free headscarves were given away. Local media also reported a heavy police presence.
Survivor Farid Ahmed spoke at the service. His wife was murdered during the attacks, but he maintains that he loves and forgives the suspected attacker, Brenton Tarrant.
“If our heart is full of love then peace will start from here,” said Mr Ahmed.
Ms Adern has vowed not to utter the gunman’s name.
Speaking at Friday's service, she said: “The world has been stuck in a vicious cycle of extremism breeding extremism and it must end."