Record migrants and tourists arriving in NZ
Posted on December 29, 2015
Migration flows into New Zealand continue to surge, with the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand showing a net gain of 6300 migrants last month.
Net migration has been regularly breaking records since August 2014, when it surpassed the previous highest net gain of 4700 in February 2003.
November 2015 had a seasonally adjusted net gain of 200 migrants from Australia – the eighth month in a row to show an increase. Before April 2015, the last net gain in migrants from Australia had been more than 20 years ago (in June 1991).
In the 12 months to November 2015, 63,700 net migrants arrived in New Zealand. That figure set new records for the last 16 months.
Statistics New Zealand said the migration gain was driven by both more arrivals and fewer departures.
Departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia fell 12 per cent in the November 2015 year, down to 21,300. This is less than half the record 48,800 departures in the December 2012 year.
The net gain of 400 migrants from Australia in the November 2015 year was the second month in a row with an annual net gain of migrants. Before this, there had not been an annual net gain of migrants from Australia since the November 1991 year.
Michael Gordon, senior economist at Westpac, said the ongoing net immigration gains will cause New Zealand’s annual population growth rate to reach its highest pace since 1974.
“High population growth is helping to maintain a semblance of strong GDP growth. But at the same time, the preponderance of people in the labour market is keeping wage growth lower than it would otherwise be.
“We expect that net immigration will remain strong for some time yet. But the current strength will eventually moderate. Many of those who arrived on student and temporary work visas will start to leave over the coming years.
“In addition, the balance of transtasman job opportunities is now shifting, with Australia reporting strong jobs growth and a lower unemployment rate than New Zealand. If this trend continues, New Zealand will eventually become a less attractive destination.”
Chris Tennent-Brown, senior economist at ASB, said the strong inflow of migrants would support labour capacity, and contain wages.
“Housing demand and retail spending will also remain supported by the inflows, particularly in Auckland,” he said.
“The record level of tourist inflows over the past year are also a contributing factor to the lift in retail spending over the past year, and boosting service exports, as we saw in last week’s Q3 Balance of Payments.”
Record number of tourists
In the tourism sector, a record 3.09 million people visited New Zealand in the 12 months to November, the highest ever annual recording of arrivals.
A boost in visitors from China and Australia contributed to the record amount of visitors. The 36,700 visitors arriving from China were the highest-ever for a November month, twice as high as November 2013, and up 35 per cent from November 2014.
Kiwis departed on 182,400 overseas trips in November 2015, up 4600 (3 per cent) from November 2014.