Labour says New Zealand youths are heading to Australia in droves because they can't get a job at home - not because of the sun on the Gold Coast.
Finance spokesperson David Parker said a correlation between youth unemployment and migration figures in the year to June 2012 showed thousands of young Kiwis were leaving because of the failed job market, not the lure of the Lucky Country as claimed by the Government.
"Every time a job is lost in New Zealand a boarding pass is printed at the airport,'' he said. ''This is direct evidence that National is turning Generation Y into Generation OZ."
AAP reports figures from Statistics New Zealand showed 53,904 people departed permanently for Australia in the year to August 2012.
Of those, 40% (21,733), were aged between 18-30. The number of unemployed aged 20-24 stood at 29,500 in the second quarter this year.
"This is the equivalent of the entire student body of a major university such as Victoria or Otago leaving the country in a single year,'' said Mr Parker.
"National keep making up excuses for the exodus. One day it's mining in Perth. The next it's the sun on the Gold Coast. But the truth is clear. It's the lack of jobs here."
He said National came to office promising they would stop Kiwis waving goodbye to their loved ones.
"Four years on they've failed to deliver and record numbers of Kiwis are fleeing in droves."