21 Jul 2010

Growth in migration continues to slow

5:41 pm on 21 July 2010

Migration fell to a 19-month low in June as fewer immigrants arrived and more people moved to Australia.

Statistics NZ says New Zealand gained a seasonally adjusted 70 people last month, compared with a downwardly revised gain of 240 people in May.

For the 12 months ending in June, there was a net gain of 16,500 permanent and long-term migrants, compared with the 12,500 the previous year.

More than 1800 people left for Australia in June, up from slightly more than 1100 last June, taking the total for the year to nearly 16,000.

Migration has been falling steadily since January and ANZ economist Khoon Goh says it's possible New Zealand may lose more people than it gains in the months to come.

Economist Philip Borkin, from Goldman Sachs JBWere, says a continued decline in immigration figures could hurt consumer spending and the housing market. It could also mean a shortage of skilled staff.

Meanwhile, Statistics NZ says 2.5 million visitors travelled to New Zealand in the 12 months to June, up 3.7% on the previous period.

It is the first time visitors have exceeded 2.5 million.