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October migration slows as residents hop the Tasman

Monday 22nd November 2010

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New Zealand's population in October grew at a slower rate than the previous month as more kiwis chose to seek their fortunes in Australia.

Seasonally adjusted net inward migration was 680 for October, down from 1,030 in September, according to Statistics New Zealand. The decline was due to a 6.6% increase in the number of residents leaving the country, with 6,610 departures in October, the highest level since January 2009. For the year to October, permanent and long-term departures rose 3% to 70,100.

"We expect net migration to remain relatively subdued over the next year," said ASB economist Jane Turner. "Employment growth in Australia continues to outperform the recovery in New Zealand, and will continue to attract New Zealanders across the Tasman."

Short-term overseas visitor arrivals fell 1% to 184,900 in October, compared to the same month in the previous year, the first decrease since May.

In October, visitor numbers from Korea rose by 1,492 to 5,425 compared to the same month last year, while the number of Chinese arrivals rose by 1,014 to 8,650. The numbers represent only a partial recovery from previous declines, having peaked at 10,200 Korean visitors in October 2006 and 9,600 Chinese visitors in October 2007.

Visitors from Australia fell to 81,200 in October from 87,676 in the previous year, which the department said was due to a shift in school holidays in New South Wales, which straddled the September and October months. The country also saw few visitors from the UK, down 14,800 from 16,600 previously. For the October year, annual visitor numbers rose 3% to 2.5 million, with almost half of them arriving for a holiday.

"The strength in the NZ dollar has provided a major headwind for this sector," said Turner. "The weakness in the New Zealand dollar against the Australian dollar, along with the high number of Australian visitor arrivals, should provide some offset."

New Zealand residents departed on more short-term overseas trips, up 2% to 180,600 compared to the same month in the previous year, the highest number of departures for the month of October. Kiwis took more trips to China, Malaysia and the US, up around 700 each, but fewer to Thailand, which fell by 800.

For the October year, New Zealanders departed on 2 million overseas trips, up 4% from the previous year, the highest level for departures ever. Australia was the most popular destination, with 966,400 trips, followed by 97,400 trips to the US, and 96,300 to Fiji, with also most half of the trips being holidays.

BusinessDesk.co.nz



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