More Kiwis returning home

April 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

migrationmarch2014

The number of people migrating from Australia to New Zealand continues to grow. If this trend keeps up, we may end up with a net inflow for the first time in our history.

Stats NZ reported:

New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 3,800 migrants in March 2014 – the second-highest gain on record. The highest was in February 2003 (4,700), when a large number of overseas students arrived to study at New Zealand universities. Net has been positive and mostly increasing since September 2012. The increase since then was mainly due to fewer New Zealand citizens leaving for Australia, as well as more non-New Zealand citizens arriving.

In the March 2014 year, migrant arrivals numbered 98,000 (up 14 percent), and migrant departures numbered 66,100 (down 21 percent), resulting in a net gain of 31,900 migrants. This is the highest gain since the January 2004 year (33,300). The highest net gain ever recorded was 42,500 in the May 2003 year.

In the latest year, New Zealand had a net loss of 12,900 migrants to Australia, well down from 35,500 a year earlier.

This is what Labour calls failed neo-liberal policies.

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33 Responses to “More Kiwis returning home”

  1. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    This post is written as if there is only 1 factor, New Zealand and ignores the equally important factor of what’s happening in Australia. The mining boom is over.

    You could just as equally write, Kiwis flee Tony Abbots right wing horror state. It may not be true, but it’s just as valid as the story presented here.

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  2. redqueen (582 comments) says:

    Good to hear yet more good news, but the real question is whether we can actually absorb the net migration change. Unless we start actually building new houses and in sufficient numbers, this is just going to ‘stabilise’ house price inflation. Equally, given our continued appauling savings rate, this may just cause a further deterioration in our current account and net investment position. So we should keep the sparkling white wine on ice until we see how this actually plays out (and I don’t say that to be pessimistic, I’ll be very happy if we start saving more, build more houses / restructure our stupid land restriction laws, and get a boyant economy to boot).

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  3. duggledog (1,589 comments) says:

    No we can’t absorb the migration – not to Auckland or Christchurch either, for starters and those 2 cities are where many people will want to go obviously.

    Auckland is as much of a disaster as Chch thanks to decades of ill thought out or non existent planning for future infrastructure. The tunnels in Pt Chev and the ring route should have ben done years ago during the boom in Clark’s admin but no, the money went on paying off debt due to ideological reasons and the ever-growing state and beneficiaries’ lifestyles.

    In a couple of years once all the new houses are built you will be lucky to get to work anywhere in Auckland in under two hours. They haven’t even decided if or when they’re going to do a 2nd harbour crossing! The Chinese would have built a new bridge and a tunnel by now.

    And yet before Auckland Council even get started on this the ratepayers are already 7.5 bn in debt

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  4. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    This is what Labour calls failed neo-liberal policies.

    Could you outline for us which NZ government policies in particular you think were responsible for the downturn in Australia?

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  5. EAD (1,323 comments) says:

    Alan – I’m surprised you’ve been given 5 downticks (although no need for the ad hom attack on Prime Minister Abbot)

    The pundits can spin it however they want, but the reality is that as China slows down and the mining boom unwinds in Australia more New Zealanders will return home as there is simply not the work there once was any more.

    It is also the consequence of the UK tightening their Visa requirements – eliminating the highly skilled Visa, leaving Kiwis the option of either a 2 year working holiday with all the attendant work restrictions or the more administratively burdensome work sponsorship. I’m in London at this very moment and a clear sign that their are MUCH less Antipodeans over here is the fact their is now only 1 walkabout pub(Temple) and no Redback (not necessarily a bad thing IMHO) :)

    Being so far from the rest of the world, young New Zealanders are almost born with a sense of wanderlust – if you restrict their length of time available for them to be overseas or reduce the availability of well paid, low skilled work overseas then of course there will be statistics like the above.

    Ironically, one of the first things you notice when you are overseas is the quality of journalism and coverage of affairs (there is nothing better than reading the Telegraph every morning and the Spectator on the Weekend) and hackneyed coverage above is case in point why I cringe when I’m exposed to the NZ MSM (although that is cringingly left-wing in the most part).

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  6. mikemikemikemike (331 comments) says:

    Where is the third stat that shows how many of those are coming back straight into work and not going onto some sort of welfare?

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  7. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    i’m not surprised at my down ticks, anything that doesn’t slavishly follow the party line get’s down ticked, it’s become worse in election year. (The Abbot comment was ironic)

    It’s just partisan shouting, as an undecided voter I find it very disappointing.

    Agree on the journalism, I mostly read the overseas press these days, like you Telegraph is a favourite.

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  8. Southern Raider (1,831 comments) says:

    Govt needs to find some way to redirect migrants out of Auckland. There are many cities in NZ that could easily absorb 50,000 plus more people with no real impact on existing infrastructure. Those cities also have very affordable housing

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  9. georgedarroch (318 comments) says:

    “It’s the economy, stupid.”

    People go to Australia for higher wages and better weather, and large cosmopolitan international cities. Those things still remain, but if you can’t find work, or if you’ve been laid off and are unable to access welfare for any length of time (hard working people who want to work do need to use the dole occasionally), then the equation isn’t so good.

    The Abbott Government is hardly popular. They managed to convince the population that the last government was undesirable (fair enough,it’s politics), but have very quickly squandered their lead. The PM himself now has a negative opinion rating. They’ll struggle to drop the perceptions they’ve created.

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  10. NK (1,257 comments) says:

    Oh, it’s the Abbott government. How silly of us not realizing that. If that’s true then I guess they’re all coming home because of the Key government? I mean, if the reason they’re leaving is the PM, then to be consistent you have maintain the same for why they’re returning.

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  11. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    The migration numbers whilst not massive are still fairly large, net gain for the year of around 25,000 people.

    Net migration numbers hide a lot of truth about demographic changes, always look at the gross numbers. It’s about 100,000 arrivals, 75,000 departures.

    Of the 25,000 net arrivals 12,500 stayed in Auckland, 300 in Wellington.

    You can’t easily redirect these people to the provinces, Auckland is what they want, only the truly desperate will accept having to live in Palmerston North, those with options will go elsewhere and they are the people we want.

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  12. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    @NK, no one said it was the Abbott government, people have just said, it’s complex and there are lots of factors globally that drive migration. Claiming it’s all “pull” from a resurgent NZ as this post does is ridiculous and I’m sure DPF knows this.

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  13. eszett (2,430 comments) says:

    More likely is that Australia is not the land of easy money and carefree lifestyle after all.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11242231

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  14. Viking2 (11,569 comments) says:

    redqueen (346 comments) says:
    April 24th, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Good to hear yet more good news, but the real question is whether we can actually absorb the net migration change. Unless we start actually building new houses and in sufficient numbers,
    ===========================

    The shortage of houses is a fallacy. There are plenty of houses to go round, except perhaps i9n places where people want to live rather than can afford to live. As of right now there are thousands of houses, hundreds of apartments, hundreds of retirement units on the market and if the price lifts a bit more in the regions as opposed to Auck and CHCH then their will be a whole lot more.
    Lots still not selling simply because the price is still to low in many area’s.
    We all shouldn’t live in Auckland. Why would you want to anyway?.

    Still this last month has mopped up another 900-100 that have been sitting around. We need another 12 months of this immigration before we reach a sensible equilibrium.

    We should bear in mind that a good portion of the numbers is students on student visa’s. That’s merely temporary immigration so the important number is the permanent long term arrivals. Which are somewhat less.

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  15. bushbasher (16 comments) says:

    I got my rates bill in the mail yesterday. It is $500 for the quarter, so $2k for the year. My parents rates bill is $5k a year. I live in Dunedin, my parents live in Auckland. Yes, I’ll admit their house is worth a lot more than mine, but in Dunedin I don’t have to listen to helicopters fly over head all day long, it takes a total of 10 min to drive into town AND find a park, rush hour lasts 20 minutes (might take two phases to get through a set of lights). We have beautiful unpolluted beaches, ski fields, National Parks, it dosen’t rain as much as Auckland. To top it off we usually get a couple of bonus public holidays every year when it snows. Love snow days! No, the jobs don’t pay as much as they do in Auckland, but my mortgage is only $200k and I live in a fancy suburb.

    Dunno why anyone would want to live in Auckland (where I grew up BTW).

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  16. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @Alan – load of rubbish – the bare fact is that people are coming home to New Zealand because it is a better prospect – they aren’t being kicked out of Australia. Your smokescreen of blaming the Australian government and mining jobs being lost is completely irrelevant – and you have no credible evidence to prove either of those points.

    I highly doubt you were ever going to vote National in the first place, as you seem to have a massive chip on your shoulder – trying to negate every positive piece of economic news with thinly backed up excuses is always an obvious sign of that.

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  17. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @bushbasher I live in Auckland in a 265 square metre house with 5 bedrooms and two offices, and 1000 square metre grounds and my rates bill is $1900 per year, and most of the towns out here have enough infrastructure that I only have to go into the city once or twice a year for social occasions.

    We also get brilliant weather up here, compared to the nasty cold you have to put up with for months on end.

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  18. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    Sean’s right, Alan – how dare you interrupt a National Party propaganda message with your facts and logic?

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  19. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    No doubt you’re up with the play on this Milt. So what were those stats from 1999 to 2008?

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  20. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (895 comments) says:

    Matt says all these Kiwis are returning because they know there will be a Labour-Green-Mana-DotCom communist-socialist government in place on September 20th. Deputy Deborah is also excited….

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  21. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @Psycho Milt – what facts? He listed a couple of assumptions, that they were coming home because they lost their mining jobs and because they don’t like the Australian Prime Minister.

    He didn’t have anything to back it up with though – not even a statistic of how many Kiwis have lost their mining jobs over the period.

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  22. anonymouse (722 comments) says:

    If this trend keeps up, we may end up with a net inflow for the first time in our history.

    Thats not strcitly true, there were a number of months at the end of 1990 and beginning of 1991 where there was net positive migration from OZ to NZ, and for the year to 30 June 1991 there was a net inflow from OZ of 1910 people,

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  23. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    Peter highlights that we have a relatively high rate of natural increase in population.
    But we also have a large and persistent outflow of NZers (large by any comparative
    international standards). That outflow should best be seen as a rational response to
    perceived opportunities – those abroad are better than those here. Outflows of New
    Zealanders should generally act as a stabilizing force, helping to rebalance the
    economy. Economies with slow growing populations need to devote a whole lot
    smaller proportion of their real resources to simply maintaining the capital stock per
    worker.
    Based solely on the fertility and migration choices of New Zealanders (each
    presumably behaving fairly rationally), our population growth would have been
    growing only quite slowly since the mid 1970s. As it is, our population growth since
    1990 has been second or third fastest in the OECD. What changed? Migration
    policy did in the early 1990s.
    And 80% of our population growth in the last couple of decades has been the net
    inflow of non NZ citizens – thus almost purely a matter of discretionary policy
    choice. Government policy interventions can act to stymie successful adjustment –
    and I believe this to have been the case in NZ over the last two decades. Our negative
    NIIP position is larger, our real exchange rate is higher, our real interest rates are
    higher, and our capital stock per worker (and associated perceived business
    opportunities) are lower than they would have been if we had simply let the selfstabilising
    behavior take its course. As John McDermott’s slides showed earlier, that
    adjustment was working prior to the mid 1980s.
    Among policy and analytical circles in New Zealand there is a pretty high degree of
    enthusiasm for high levels of immigration. Some of that stems from the insights of
    literature on increasing returns to scale. Whatever the general global story, the actual
    productivity track record here in the wake of very strong inward migration is poor.
    In an Australian context, the Productivity Commission – hardly a hot-bed of
    xenophobia or populism – concluded that any benefits from migration to Australia
    were captured by migrants and there were few or no discernible economic benefits to
    Australians. And that was in a country already rich and successful and with
    materially higher national saving and domestic investment rates than those in NZ.
    But very little of the global discussion of migration has factored in the sort of specific
    circumstances New Zealand has found itself in. With relatively low national savings
    rates, and with a relatively well-educated and skilled domestic workforce, it isn’t
    obvious that applying a lot more labour to the situation was the route to success in
    trying to reverse decades of relative economic decline (a very different situation say
    from Singapore with lots of savings, bringing in people to utilize that domestic
    resource).
    Labour typically needs capital – houses, roads, factories, shops, offices – and it has
    long been recognized that the demand effects of new labour outweigh the supply
    effects for the initial period. But we have had not just one wave of new labour, but
    repeated waves of new labour, with the numbers if anything generally tending to trend
    upwards. Real non-tradables labour and resources need to be used to build the new
    capital stock. That will have required the OCR (and the domestic interest rate) to be
    higher than otherwise throughout the last two decades.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/downloads/pdfs/mi-jarrett-comm.pdf
    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/reviews-consultation/savingsworkinggroup/pdfs/swg-report-jan11.pdf

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  24. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    @ Sean

    “I highly doubt you were ever going to vote National in the first place, as you seem to have a massive chip on your shoulder – trying to negate every positive piece of economic news with thinly backed up excuses is always an obvious sign of that.”

    It’s called “balanced perspective” :-)

    Here’s credible evidence of the end of the Australian mining boom, http://www.mining.com/australias-mining-boom-is-over-92134/

    The graph comes from the Australian Government, is that good enough for you?

    btw, I never once blamed the Australian government, read what I said carefully

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  25. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    While immigration played a key role in house inflation in the three years after 2001 (Reserve
    Bank 2007), it is unknown to what extent on-going immigration continued to drive price rises.
    The housing boom has meant good profits for many New Zealand companies supplying
    materials and building services, but it implies investors would rather invest in their country’s
    homes rather than its businesses (Bollard 2005). The high returns for property has attracted
    finance and reduced the capital available for productive investment (Moody, 2006). The
    consequence is investment is going in to industries with limited capacity to increase per capita
    incomes. For example, real estate and building are domestically bound and do not have the
    market potential of export industries. They also have less opportunity to increase productivity
    through new processes and products. The irony is, as these sectors grow, they have incurred
    skills shortages which in turn has increased demand for skilled immigrants. The Department
    of Statistics ‘Long Term Skill Shortage List’ of 28/3/2006 includes carpenter/joiner, plumber,
    electricians, fitter and turners, fitter welders; all indicative of a nation building its
    construction/property sector.

    There is a danger that a sector of the economy is being augmented that is totally reliant on a
    small domestic economy. Not only do these industries have limited potential for per-capita
    growth but ‘deriving growth via factor inputs such as labour places pressure on infrastructure
    such as transport and land supply, and ultimately have a further negative impact on growth
    (ARC 2005). Finally, as the sector gets larger, it gains in lobbying/political strength and can
    lobby for immigration regardless if it is the best interests of the economy as a whole. This
    could be seen in Canada where the development industry has lobbied hard for high sustained
    immigration levels (Ley and Tutchener 2001).

    Growing Pains
    Dr Greg Clydesdale
    Excommunicated.

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  26. Jack5 (5,158 comments) says:

    DPF’s post includes:

    …we may end up with a net inflow for the first time in our history…

    Surely not the first net Australian inflow in our history?

    Think of: the very early sealing, flax trading and whaling days, the steady trickle of escaped and paroled convicts, the flow of volunteer “fencibles” and other volunteers brought to settle here during the land wars, the massive inflows during the gold rushes, and the 20th century years when the NZ economy was stronger than Australia’s.

    So many NZ’ers, pakeha and Maori, have in their ancestry one or more people who came from Australia.

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  27. Fentex (1,038 comments) says:

    If this trend keeps up, we may end up with a net inflow for the first time in our history.

    According to this data from Statistics NZ we had Nett inflows in ~1999 and 2006.

    Though I think in context DPF meant solely from Australia (because there’s been at least two very notable inflows in these islands history with people no one could overlook).

    It may be true of our recent (post-gold rush) history that it’s a first when considering Australia alone, but I suspect in the heady days of Otago’s gold fever we also would have had a nett inflow from Oz.

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  28. Viking2 (11,569 comments) says:

    DPF’s post includes:

    …we may end up with a net inflow for the first time in our history…

    Surely not the first net Australian inflow in our history?
    Think of: the very early sealing, flax trading and whaling days, the steady trickle of escaped and paroled convicts, the flow of volunteer “fencibles” and other volunteers brought to settle here during the land wars, the massive inflows during the gold rushes, and the 20th century years when the NZ economy was stronger than Australia’s.

    So many NZ’ers, pakeha and Maori, have in their ancestry one or more people who came from Australia.

    =====================

    So long as we don’t get a New Labour Party made up of Queer Australians that are also pacifists running away from their country like we did in the early 30’s. That gave a us Savage and a bunch of pacifists in a the first Labour Govt. and it all went downhill from there until Douglass days only to return when Clark took it back.

    On present performance a repeat is very likely.

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  29. Unity (611 comments) says:

    They will get a shock at the cost of housing when they do get back here, if they haven’t done their homework in advance. Also, we would need to restrict immigration because there aren’t enough jobs as it is. Immigration is what has driven up house prices and lack of cheaper housing in Auckland.

    Also, with apartheid now being practised in this country, they will get a huge shock at how things have deteriorated racially. It might be enough to make them want to quickly return to Australia or wherever they are coming from. We had only been out of the country for 7 years in the early 1990’s and were shocked at how things had deteriorated when we got back and that was only a handful of years after Geoffery Palmer re-wrote the Treaty and invented 5 new Principles that weren’t in the original. It is at least 10 times worse now.

    I feel sorry for them.

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  30. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    No doubt you’re up with the play on this Milt. So what were those stats from 1999 to 2008?

    Who cares? Migration flows to and from Australia have little to do with who’s in government. There’s a lot of migration to Aus when they’re doing well and a lot of migration back here again when they’re doing badly – the government’s influence over that is pretty much 0.

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  31. Jack5 (5,158 comments) says:

    Re Viking2’s 10.38:

    So long as we don’t get a New Labour Party made up of Queer Australians that are also pacifists running away from their country like we did in the early 30′s…

    Bob Semple? Harry Holland? Michael Joseph Savage? C’mon Viking2!

    These weren’t the sort of guys to run away, and I hadn’t heard they were homosexuals. What’s your source for that?

    If these guys were pacifists it wasn’t because they didn’t believe in war, it was because, as they saw it, they wren’t going to put workers’ lives on the line for oppressive capitalists.

    These guys were a different type from today’s academic, Utopian lefties. A lot of people who now support National might well have voted Labour for fighters like this in the economic conditions of those days.

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  32. Viking2 (11,569 comments) says:

    Jack5, you really don’t too much dio you. Savage was queer as robertson only back then you made sure no one knew. You can Take that as confirmed. by the way. Close family contacts.

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  33. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    Welcome home Kiwi.
    What’s been happening?
    Well:

    When New Zealand moved to increase the numbers and skills of immigrants in the 1980s
    and 1990s, policymakers appear to have considered that these changes had the potential
    to have major beneficial impacts on the New Zealand economy, reinforcing the gains from
    22
    the other liberalising and deregulating economic reforms undertaken during that period.
    At that time, it was considered that skills-focused inward migration could: improve growth
    by bringing in better quality human capital and addressing skills shortages; improve
    international connections and boost trade; help mitigate the effects of population ageing;
    and have beneficial effects on fiscal balance. As well as “replacing” departing
    New Zealanders and providing particular help with staffing public services (for example,
    medical professionals), it was believed that migration flows could be managed so as to
    avoid possible detrimental effects (such as congestion or poorer economic prospects) for
    existing New Zealanders.

    Since then, New Zealand has had substantial gross and net immigration, which has been
    relatively skill-focused by international standards. However, New Zealand’s economic
    performance has not been transformed. Growth in GDP per capita has been relatively
    lacklustre, with no progress in closing income gaps with the rest of the advanced world,
    and productivity performance has been poor. It may be that initial expectations about the
    potential positive net benefits of immigration were too high.

    Based on a large body of new research evidence and practical experience, the consensus
    among policymakers now is that other factors are more important for per capita growth
    23
    and productivity than migration and population growth. CGE modelling exercises for
    Australia and New Zealand have been influential in reshaping expectations.

    So we’ve got the downside of population growth but the benefits are still to bless us- just try to appreciate diversity!

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