New Zealand annual net migration remained at a record high in April and short-term visitor arrivals also hit a new record, lifted in part by the Easter holiday.
Annual net migration reached 71,885 in the year to April 30 versus 68,110 in the same period a year earlier and on a par with the 71,932 in March, Statistics New Zealand said.
People arriving as permanent and long-term migrants outnumbered those departing by 129,779 to 57,894 in the latest 12 months. Of those arriving, 57,885 were bound for Auckland while 10,146 were headed to the capital city of Wellington. In the South Island, 12,702 were bound for Canterbury. In terms of departures, 22,021 left Auckland while 5,929 left Canterbury.
China continued to make up the biggest source of permanent and long-term arrivals on residence visas, rising 20 per cent to 3,447 in the year to the end of April, while total residence visas lifted 11 per cent to 16,678. Work-visa migrants from the UK rose 14 per cent to 7,347 while those from France were up 15 per cent to 4,000.
Student visas were down 14 per cent on the year to 23,869, largely on a 39 per cent fall in the number of students from India although the largest source of student migrants was still from that country.
New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years as economic growth outpaced Australia's, meaning fewer locals moved across the Tasman. Rising immigration is shaping up to be a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and has been blamed for inflaming property markets.
Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.599 million in the year ended April, up 10 per cent from a year earlier and a new annual record, Stats NZ said. Visitor arrivals numbered 311,900 in the April 2017 month, up 21 per cent from April 2016. However, Easter holidays, which fell in April this year but in March in 2016, likely contributed to the increase.
"Almost 35,000 more holiday-makers arrived in New Zealand in April 2017 than in April 2016, which was the main contributor to the strong overall increase in visitor arrivals in April," population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.
New Zealand residents took a record 2.7 million overseas trips in the April 2017 year, up 11 per cent from the April 2016 year.