Amber Simm, 25, travelled to Thailand to have breast
implants. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Kiwi women eyeing up a pair of new breasts are taking
advantage of cosmetic tourism jaunts to the Gold Coast where
they pay just half of the domestic price and recover in
However, local experts warn the practice - that some
businesses say has increased by 40 per cent since 2011 - is
risky and can have long-lasting health effects.
Australian company CosMediTours launched its Gold Coast
Breast Academy this month.
"We've got hundreds of inquiries already and online
applications," said marketing director Greg Lemon. "We got a
strong response from New Zealand and we knew we would."
Prices started at $7447 for a breast augmentation including
plastic surgeon, anaesthetist and implants at a private
hospital. An $8633 package included nine nights' stay in a
luxury resort including transfers, meals and nursing. Flights
were not included.
Treatments in New Zealand ranged from $11,000 to $14,000.
Mr Lemon said early indications suggested at least 20 Kiwi
women a month would buy the "boob job holidays" as the
company, that also offers jaunts to Thailand, moved cosmetic
tourism closer amid the country's political turmoil.
"We've been sending Kiwis to Thailand for the last four or
five years and probably send about 10 a month there but it's
a lot further away."
One Auckland-based business that takes clients to Thailand
said it has had a 40 per cent increase in business in the
past three years.
Jo Houstan owns Auckland-based Beautiful Escapes which takes
groups of men and women to Pattaya for cosmetic surgery. She
said the busiest time was between April and October when
groups of up to 20 would travel.
Liposuction and facial, neck and breast lifts for women aged
between 45 and 55 were popular.
New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons president John de
Waal said it was risky to put price before health.
"Making compromises for price is perfectly fine if you are
buying a handbag or a used washing machine because you can
throw it away and buy a new one. With cosmetic surgery you
can't do that."
He said it was important to know a doctor's qualifications,
undergo procedures in a safe environment and receive
Mr Lemon said the procedures were R-18 and subject to
stringent medical and mental health screening.
An ACC spokeswoman said since 2005 the agency had accepted
fewer than four claims and declined six related to breast
reconstruction or implant treatment injuries that occurred in
- By Morgan Tait of the New Zealand Herald