22 Mar 2012

More New Zealanders heading across Tasman

6:02 am on 22 March 2012

The exodus of New Zealanders to Australia to live and work continues.

Statistics New Zealand says a net 39,100 people headed across the Tasman in February - a record high.

Overall, Statistics New Zealand says a seasonally-adjusted net 440 people left the country in February, compared with a revised 620 in January.

On an annual basis, 4068 people left - the largest net loss since August 2001.

Despite the gradual economic recovery here, Deutsche Bank's chief economist Darren Gibbs says New Zealand is still losing most of its migrants to Australia which continues to attract people looking for work.

Visitor arrivals fall

Separately, the number of visitors to New Zealand fell 3.4% in February compared with a year ago.

This was partly due to fewer travellers from China and Hong Kong, because the Chinese New Year holiday fell in January.

Mr Gibbs says the high New Zealand dollar means the country is expensive to visit.

He expects arrivals from the US and Europe to continue to be weak for some time.

For the year, the number of tourists rose about 2.2% to 59 million people.