Richard Dawkins is one of the latest to consider a move to New Zealand following the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote.
A combination of both events has led to an upsurge in migration to New Zealand according to the latest figures.
‘Move to New Zealand’ became the top Google search term in the days after the Brexit vote, with 998 British registrations with the immigration office on the day of the result. That compared with 109 the day before.
According to official figures net migration to the country from the US increased by 65 per cent in 2017, with net migration from the UK rising from 3,614 in 2015 to 6,371 in 2016.
While a quarter were originally New Zealand residents returning to the country, the statistics suggest a significant increase in interest following the key votes in the US and UK.
This week British scientist Richard Dawkins said he was one of those considering the move, and is surprised there hasn’t been an even bigger interest.
Speaking to The Project in New Zealand he explained: ‘America had just gone mad, and Britain had gone mad in a slightly less dramatic way with Brexit.
‘I thought about half the population of America and half the population of Britain would love to go to a country where intellect might be appreciated. So I thought New Zealand might be an ideal country – low population. I would love to be invited to New Zealand and to live here, and for others to live here too.’
Dawkins has claimed that science would be hit ‘extremely hard’ by recent political decisions. ‘In the one case, by the xenophobically inspired severing of painstakingly built-up relationships with European partners; in the other by the election of an unqualified, narcissistic, misogynistic sick joke.
‘In neither case is the disaster going to be short-lived: in America because of the non-retirement rule of the Supreme Court; in Britain because Brexit is irreversible.’
Sociologist Professor Paul Spoonley previously told the New Zealand Herald that he expected to see a rise in British expats ‘who are tired of a narrow-minded Britain and who want to experience something quite different.
‘New Zealand is very different, it is multicultural, very tolerant and it’s got a good lifestyle and a more temperate climate.’
In 2016 Hillary Clinton was invited to move to the country following her election defeat to Donald Trump.
‘I must say I really did appreciate the offers. Gave them some thought, but I’m going to stay put because we have work to do in my country as well.’