06 November 2004
By ANN-MARIE JOHNSON
Inquiries from Americans wanting to move to New Zealand have "exploded" since George W Bush was re-elected president.
The Immigration Service's website had 10,300 hits from the United States the day after the election. Usually it gets 2500 hits a day.
And the phones of its US marketing directors in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, have been ringing nonstop since the election.
Marketing director Don Badman said there had been up to 300 telephone calls and e-mails a day.
"We've been doing this for 11 months and it's been building up to about six to eight calls a day, but from Thursday it's exploded. It really started picking up from 11pm the night of the election."
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that many Americans were inquiring about moving to New Zealand, Australia and Canada as a result of the election.
A Canadian website is reaching out to help weary liberal Americans, asking Canadians to marry someone from south of the border.
"Open your heart and your home. Marry an American. Legions of Canadians have already pledged to sacrifice their singlehood to save our southern neighbours from four more years of cowboy conservatism," jokes the site,
set up by a Toronto humour magazine.
To convince Americans to come on up, the site mentions that Canada is a liberal utopia with universal health care and, in some provinces, gay marriage. "We envision a movement where everyone wins: Freedom of expression and a politically convenient marriage with love and igloos for all."