Net migration lower than thought

Stuff reports:

Have you heard the one about New Zealand’s booming migration?
Turns out, we might not have quite as many people heading to our shores as we thought.
Statistics NZ has switched to using outcomes data to measure migration, instead of the old intentions-based measure. It says this is a more accurate way of showing what’s really happening.
The data now comes from information from border crossings, showing how long people actually spend in or out of New Zealand rather than what they said they were going to do on their passenger cards.

But by this metric, in the year to October 2018, estimated migration was 45,200 people – not the 61,800 it would have been with the old data.
“Not only is net migration lower than we previously thought, but it’s heading down slightly faster. The gap between the old and new data has widened from around a 2500 person difference in the year to September 2014 to an over 17,000 person difference in the year to September 2018,” said Infometrics economist Brad Olsen.

This is a quite significant difference. And Steven Joyce shares on Twitter interesting background to how it came about:

If you read the entire thread a lot of it came about because overseas students would be counted as a long-term arrival (intending to stay a year or more) but leave just before the 12 months were up and then would be counted as a short-term departure and hence inflate the net migration figures.

Officials were somewhat resistant to the change saying any impact would be minor, but Ministers persisted and in fact the data showed a very significant change.

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