New Zealanders continued to abandon their home country for Australia, with the speed of annual departures accelerating to a record 53,000 last month.
New Zealand lost a net 39,100 people to Australia in the 12 months ended February 29, 4,100 of whom left in the month of February alone, Statistics New Zealand said today.
That's the biggest-ever annual net loss to Australia, as just 13,900 people crossed the Tasman to live in New Zealand, though short of the monthly record of 5,000 in February 2001.
People have been quitting New Zealand for Australia for years as they seek higher wages and a better standard of living across the ditch, and in 2008 the National Party won office campaigning on a promise to stem the outflow.
Against all nations, New Zealand lost a seasonally adjusted net 400 migrants in February, taking the annual outflow to 4,100. New Zealand has lost more migrants than it gained in 11 of the past 12 months, since the February 22 earthquake in Christchurch.
The number of short-term visitor arrivals fell 3.4 per cent to 259,000 in February from the same month a year earlier, as fewer Chinese and Hong Kong residents visited due to the earlier Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.
On an annual basis, short-term visitors rose 2.3 per cent to 2.6 million people.