Thousands eye NZ move after Supreme Court ruling

Abortion rights activists demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court in Washington this week. Photo...
Abortion rights activists demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court in Washington this week. Photo: Reuters
Thousands of Americans have visited New Zealand immigration websites in the wake of the Supreme Court's controversial decision on abortion law.

The Supreme Court struck down the Roe v Wade decision overturning a 50-year-old decision that legalised abortion on a federal basis, meaning that individual states are now able to ban the procedure.

Since then, one of the two main government websites has recorded a 443 percent increase in visits from the United States.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) said it recorded 45,235 visits to New Zealand Now from the US in the last week compared to 8319 from April 19 to 25.

Its website views, combined with those for Immigration New Zealand itself, reached 77,000 - almost quadruple the April comparison number.

"The New Zealand Now website is a government website managed by INZ which focuses on providing information for people interested in moving to New Zealand to work or invest," acting general manager of customer engagement and education Stephanie Greathead said.

Analysis through Google shows the search term Immigration New Zealand peaked in America on Saturday night, as Americans digested news that the overturning of the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling made access to abortions all but impossible in at least 18 states.

Nevertheless, it is still below the tracking numbers of 'move to New Zealand' registered when Donald Trump was elected president.

That spike in interest was followed by a jump in US investors and migrants - although INZ pointed out the increase in website numbers this week, as well as capturing repeat visitors, do not reflect visa applications that have been made, or people actually moving here.

The Trump and Brexit votes, both in 2016, were however followed by increases in work and residence visa applications.

Britain and the United States accounted for more visits to the Immigration website after the 2016 presidential vote than the next 13 countries combined, including China and India.

A recruitment agency told RNZ this week it is has been flooded with inquiries from US doctors wanting to come here following the abortion ruling, especially GPs and obstetricians.

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