21 Oct 2011

NZ departure numbers rise

10:18 pm on 21 October 2011

More people have left New Zealand long term than arrived, with most heading to Australia.

Official figures show a seasonally adjusted net migration loss of 660 in September, compared with a revised gain of 720 in the previous month.

ANZ Bank senior economist Sharon Zollner, says the trend of people shifting to Australia has returned after August's blip.

However, she says the New Zealand labour market is now showing signs of strengthening while the employment situation in Australia is sending mixed messages, so a turnaround in the situation can be expected over the coming year or two.

More people continue to leave earthquake damaged Christchurch.

Since the February quake, some 5500 have left the city, compared with 3300 in the same period a year earlier.

On an annual basis, there was a net gain of 773 permanent and long term migrants, the lowest in 10 years, compared with 13,914 in the previous September year.