Immigration numbers reach new records

1:39 pm on 22 June 2017

The number of people coming to visit or live in this country is continuing to reach new highs.

Immigration to New Zealand.

Immigration to New Zealand. Photo: RNZ

Official figures show annual net migration at 72,000 in the year to May.

Three out of four of the migrants arriving were non-New Zealand citizens, especially from China, Britain and Australia. Many New Zealanders are also returning home.

Migrant arrivals numbered 130,400 and 58,400 departed over the year.

For the month of May, there was a net gain of 5900 people, which was slightly above the month before.

A record 3.6 million tourists visited New Zealand in the year to May.

Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said he expected to see more of the same in the near-term.

"New Zealand's economic conditions remain relatively positive."

"Policy changes in Australia mean that the main destination for New Zealanders travelling abroad now looks less welcoming," he said.

Mr Ranchhod said any immigration policy change here following September's general election could affect the outlook.

NZers heading to Australia are increasingly born overseas

An increasing proportion of people leaving New Zealand to settle in Australia were born abroad.

About one in four citizens moving across the ditch in the year ended April originally came from overseas, a third from Asia and another third from Pacific islands.

A Statistics New Zealand report on so-called 'backdoor migration' to Australia shows almost 5000 people who emigrated there in the year ended April were born overseas.

It said Australian data indicated the proportion may be slightly higher.

But it said the figures showed the proportions leaving for Australia were similar to the overall overseas-born share of New Zealand's population - which stood at a quarter in 2013.

It was also similar to the proportion of overseas-born New Zealand citizens migrating to other countries.