Migration, tourism boom continues in June

By Sophie Boot

Indian holidaymakers rose 14pc to 3,500 in May and were up 15pc  to 23,900 in the year. Photo / Doug Sherring
Indian holidaymakers rose 14pc to 3,500 in May and were up 15pc to 23,900 in the year. Photo / Doug Sherring

New Zealand's booming migration extended its run of posting new records in June, though economists say it may have peaked, while tourism numbers also continued their strong growth.

Annual net migration reached a new record 69,100 in June, rising from 68,400 in the year through May, and marking the 23rd month in a row that the annual net gain in migrants has set a new record, Statistics New Zealand said. At the same time, overseas short-term visitor arrivals reached 3.31 million in the year ended June 30, up 11 per cent on the year earlier.

A swelling population stoking more activity and record inflows of tourists have helped offset the impact of a rural sector reeling from weak dairy prices.

At the same time, a rising population has posed problems for policymakers by fuelling demand for an already-stretched housing market in Auckland, while restraining wage growth. The nation's per-capita growth has been anaemic.

Today's data show the inflow of net migration is steady with the seasonally adjusted monthly gain at 5,700, down from a peak of 6,200 in November last year.

Visitors on work visas accounted for the bulk of new arrivals, up 11 per cent to 39,118 in the year ended June 30, while those on student visas were up an annual 6.7 per cent at 27,518.

The number of New Zealand and Australian citizens arriving rose 4.5 per cent to 36,428 in the year.

The Treasury said in the Budget that it expected annual net migration would peak in June at 70,700, before returning to the long-run average of 12,000 by June 2019.

"June net migration data was a smidgeon stronger than the last couple of months, but still consistent with our view that monthly net migration has passed the peak," Westpac Bank's senior economist Anne Boniface said in a note.

June net migration data was a smidgeon stronger than the last couple of months, but still consistent with our view that monthly net migration has passed the peak.

"We expect annual net migration to fall over the coming years, as foreigners who arrived on temporary work or student visas over the past three years begin to depart, and as the recovering Australian labour market begins to attract New Zealanders across the Tasman.

Nevertheless, annual net migration will remain at historically elevated levels for some time yet."

Of those new migrants who arrived in the year, a net 31,778, or 46 per cent, settled in Auckland, followed by a net 7,023 moving to Canterbury, 3,167 in Wellington, 2,595 in Waikato, and 2,452 in Bay of Plenty.

Most holidaymakers came from Australia, with 37,456 Australians travelling to New Zealand in the month. On an annual basis, Australians made up 537,152 of the 1.7 million holidaymakers, while China was the second biggest pool at 307,504. Business visitors were down 2.5 per cent in June from a year earlier to 22,704, but up 4 per cent on an annual basis to 281,312, nearly two-thirds of whom came from across the Tasman.

Indian holidaymakers, a market Tourism New Zealand wants to grow in an effort to bridge the nation's shoulder season, rose 14 percent to 3,500 in the month of May and were up 15 percent to 23,900 in the year.

See the migration statistics below:

- BusinessDesk

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