1 Feb 2013

NZ exodus to Australia slowing

9:32 pm on 1 February 2013

The exodus from New Zealand to Australia has slowed from the record levels of last year.

New data from Statistics New Zealand shows the net loss of migrants to Australia in the year to December was nearly 39,000 down from the record of 40,000 in the 12 months to August 2012.

In total, 53,676 people left for Australia, and 14,900 people arrived from Australia.

In both directions, most migrants were New Zealand citizens. But due to net gains of migrants from Britain, China and India, net migration was zero with new arrivals equalling departures.

Opposition parties say the continued exodus of young New Zealanders across the Tasman is an indictment on the Government's failed economic policies.

Labour leader David Shearer said the latest figures show it is the largest number of people to depart for Australia in any calendar year since records began in 1978 and New Zealanders are voting with their boarding passes.

Mr Shearer said it is shocking that more than 40% were aged between 18 and 20 and showed that the Government is failing to provide young New Zealanders with the opportunities they need.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said the Government is needs to give exporters a fair exchange rate.

Separately, the number of visitors to New Zealand fell 0.1% in December, compared with the same month a year earlier, with more tourists from China, Germany, and Japan and fewer from Britain and Australia.

For the year, the number of visitors fell 1.4% to 2.57 million.