The number of New Zealanders packing their bags and heading to Australia accelerated in April, with a new record number of annual departures at 53,462.
Some 4,500 people left New Zealand for Australia in April for a net loss of 3,500 in the month, according to Statistics New Zealand. That took the annual net loss to 39,800, almost 13,000 more than the same annual exodus a year earlier.
"Annual outflows to Australia have been at record levels since the November 2011 year," Statistics NZ said.
The overall loss of migrants in April was 2,300 for an annual outflow of 4,000. That annual figure was made up of 83,800 new migrants arriving, and 87,800 leaving.
People have been quitting New Zealand for Australia for years as they seek higher wages and a better standard of living across the Tasman. That diaspora has been captured in a controversial NZ On Air-funded reality TV programme, The GC, which follows a group of young Maori who emigrated to Queensland's Gold Coast, and has been likened to popular MTV programme 'Jersey Shore'.
The number of short-term visitor arrivals fell 1.1 per cent to 196,700 in April, led by a 23 per cent slump in European tourists, especially Germans, Irish, and Spaniards. Asian visitor numbers climbed 35 per cent in April from a year earlier to 11,600, with a rebound in the number of Japanese tourists after last year's earthquake and tsunami.
On an annual basis, short-term visitor numbers rose 3.9 per cent to 2.6 million.
Foreign tourist spending was flat in the year ended March 31 at $5.64 billion, according to government figures. That was put down to a rise in the number of cheap Australian visitors and falling numbers of big-spending Japanese and Korean tourists.