Key Points:

New Zealanders continue to flock to live in Australia in record numbers, nearly 100 each day, according to figures released this morning from Statistics New Zealand.

The net number of people moving to Australia permanently or long term in the year to November 2008 was 35,300, up from 27,200 the year before.

It was the highest number recorded, and exceeded previous peaks recorded in 1989 (33,700) and 1979 (33,400).

UBS New Zealand senior economist Robin Clements said the November migration stats were weak and offered no support for the ailing housing sector.

The dominant factor remains the outflow to Australia, although the predicted 'short and sharp' slowdown in the first half of 2009 for that country "may lessen the relative attraction somewhat."

More difficult job markets internationally were likely to mean fewer departures generally and should result in more New Zealanders returning home, said Clements.

He said there was nothing in the November migration data to dissuade the Reserve Bank from considering further interest rate cuts.

"In fact, the net migrant outflow adds to the need for interest rate relief to work harder. Moreover, recessionary business sentiment holds more sway and suggests further rate cuts are likely."

UBS was expecting an interest rate cut of 50 basis points - 0.5 percentage points on January 29.

Overall there were 48,500 permanent or long-term departures to Australia, but that was offset by 13,200 arrivals from Australia.

Almost two-thirds those arrivals from Australia were New Zealand citizens.

Despite the net outflow to Australia, overall New Zealand gained 3600 permanent or long term residents in the period.

However, that was down from 6600 in the November 2007 year, and was the lowest annual figure since the October 2001 year (1700).

- NZPA