24 Apr 2012

Slight migration gain in March

10:42 pm on 24 April 2012

New Zealand has posted a small monthly migration gain, but the flood of people heading to Australia shows no signs of abating.

Statistics New Zealand figures show long-term arrivals outnumbered departures in March, with a seasonally-adjusted net gain of 130 migrants.

It is only the second monthly gain since the February earthquake last year.

On an annual basis, New Zealand lost 3400 people to other countries, with a record net 39,500 heading across the Tasman.

ASB economist Jane Turner says New Zealand's labour market is expected to improve over the next year, which should reduce the rate of departures.

"Over the last year we have recorded quite a large outflow which reflects two things: first, the Canterbury earthquake, and also New Zealand's higher unemployment rate, particularly compared to Australia's.

"Over the coming year we do expect our labour market to improve and this should hopefully keep some more Kiwis back at home."

Meanwhile, visitor arrivals rose 11% in March, compared with a year earlier, with more Australians travelling here due to school holidays and Easter being earlier than usual.