NZ Migration Boom Hits Record High

The New Zealand migration boom has hit a record high, with a net gain of 43,500 people in the year to August. The migration flood into New Zealand is set
20 Sep 2014 12:05
NZ Migration Boom Hits Record High
Marika Yalimaiwai(sixth from left) carries his son with members of the Jittu Boxing Club at the Raiwaqa basketball court in Suva on July 19. 2020. Photo: Simione Haravanua

The New Zealand migration boom has hit a record high, with a net gain of 43,500 people in the year to August.

The migration flood into New Zealand is set to hit a net gain of 50,000 late this year or early next year, economists say.

The new peak in migration had been driven by more arrivals, including many Kiwis returning from Australia, and fewer people leaving New Zealand for Australia, Statistics New Zealand said.

There were strong gains from migrants from India, with a net gain of 8400 in the past year, China (6800) and Britain (5400).

Nearly all regions were getting more migrants, but were led by Auckland, ANZ economists said.

A key factor in the high net migration was the big drop in people leaving the country, and more than a quarter of long-term arrivals were New Zealanders returning from overseas, ANZ said.

The annual net loss to Australia fell to just under 6500, a 19-year low, compared with a 27,000-person exodus in the previous year.

The job market has picked up in New Zealand, with more than 80,000 new jobs in the past year and as many more expected in the coming 12 months as the building boom continues in Canterbury and Auckland especially.

The Australian job market has become worse, with unemployment recently reaching a peak of 6.4 per cent before dipping to 6.1 per cent last month.

In New Zealand, unemployment is down to 5.6 per cent and expected to fall towards 5 per cent late next year.

Surging net migration would support the housing market and boost spending in the economy, Westpac economists said.

However, the surge in net migration is set to be temporary.

Improving Australian job prospects next year should entice more Kiwis back across the Tasman and stem the flow of Australians heading to New Zealand.

The Reserve Bank this month said it assumed strong migration would have a lesser impact on the housing market than in the past.

Westpac said interest rates had the biggest impact on house prices, with migration playing a “supporting role”.

“Nonetheless, at its current record-setting levels, strong net immigration is providing a considerable growth impetus to the economy and will still be giving the RBNZ pause for thought,” Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said.

“Although the RBNZ has signalled it is firmly in wait-and-see mode for now, it still will be keeping a watchful eye on how the housing market responds to the very strong net immigration flows we are continuing to see.”

Statistics New Zealand population statistics project manager Susan Hollows said: “New Zealand had its highest-ever net gain of 43,500 migrants in the August 2014 year.

“The previous high of 42,500 migrants was in the May 2003 year.”



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