Tauranga exits still at 1.5%

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The number of Tauranga people migrating to Australia has fallen but still represents 1.5 per cent of the city's population leaving annually.

The figures for those crossing the Tasman to seek a better life have risen dramatically in recent years but that trend has been checked.

The Bay of Plenty Times reported last year that numbers leaving Tauranga had doubled in the preceding three years and were still rising. However, figures from Statistics New Zealand show a fall in the latest year-on-year numbers.

The figures leaving Tauranga over the last three years were 1190 in the year to January 2011, rising to a peak of 1702 in 2012, but dropped back to 1577 in January 2013. This represented a fall of 125 (or 7 per cent).

Western Bay statistics showed a similar pattern. Numbers leaving over the last three years were 352, 537 and 503 respectively. The latest year-on-year figures showed a drop of 34 (or 7 per cent).

Tauranga National MP and Cabinet Minister Simon Bridges told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that New Zealand could retain people by creating new economic opportunities.

"I'm happy to see the figures come down a bit, but they are still relatively high. I think if you want to keep people in New Zealand and Tauranga it's about creating economic opportunities.

"Some of the biggest drivers of Australia's economy are oil, gas and mining, and we need to be open to similar areas such as oil and gas exploration, intensive farming and aquaculture, which the left oppose."

However, Mr Bridges said he was optimistic about the future.

"I was reading an Infometrics report on economic growth and it predicted growth of over three per cent in 2014 on the back of healthy export incomes and more stable global conditions."

The Statistics New Zealand data represented permanent and long-term departures to Australia - defined as those departing for an intended period of 12 months or more.

Tauranga ranks fifth nationally in terms of actual numbers leaving. Auckland is top with 18,313; then comes Christchurch with 3325; Wellington with 1875 and Hamilton with 1778.

In terms of percentages of population, those leaving represented 1.5 per cent of Tauranga's citizens and 1 per cent of Western Bay residents.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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