New Zealand annual net migration rose to a new record in June as arrivals continued to be bolstered by Chinese and Indian students, while fewer locals departed for Australia.

The country added a net 58,300 migrants in the year ended June 30, ahead of the 38,300 gain a year earlier in the 11th month where the annual figure has racked up a new record, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Migrant arrivals climbed 15 per cent to 115,700 in the year, while departures fell 8.1 per cent to 57,400.

Read also: Chinese student arrivals expected to hold up despite slowdown, stock slump

Advertisement

New Zealand's annual net migration already beat the Treasury's forecast peak of 56,600, and is closing in on the 60,000 figure used for the basis of the Budget's economic upside scenario.

Under that framework, the Treasury expected faster growth over the next two years, as new migrants would fuel consumer spending, before putting more pressure on the housing market.

Inbound migration has been fuelled by a rising number of student visas, which rose 43 per cent in the year to 25,800, of which 10,100 were from India and 4,900 from China.

India was the third-biggest source for long-term arrivals with 13,300 in the year, a 61 per cent increase from 2014, while China was the fourth largest with 10,300, up 16 per cent on the year.

Australian arrivals rose 9.2 per cent to 24,100, while UK arrivals fell 2.3 per cent to 13,500.

On a monthly basis, New Zealand reported a seasonally adjusted net inflow of 4,800 migrants.

Separately, short-term visitor arrivals rose 9 per cent to 177,000 in June from the same month a year earlier, led by gains in Australian, Chinese, and American visitors who accounted for 61 per cent of all arrivals in the month.

Short-term arrivals rose 7.4 per cent to 2.99 million in the year.

Advertisement

New Zealand tourism was getting a boost with the recent decline in the kiwi dollar, which makes it more affordable for foreigners to travel to remote places, and was bolstered by events such as the Cricket World Cup earlier this year and the more recent Under-20 Fifa World Cup.

Westpac senior economist Felix Delbruck said they expected net migration would start to slow as the year progressed, but at a gradual pace.

"Reconstruction activity in Canterbury is at a peak and the wider New Zealand economy has come off the boil, which will in time make New Zealand a less attractive destination for migrants.

"But Australia isn't yet a compelling alternative destination, with households across the Tasman still very downbeat around job and earning prospects.

"Today's numbers will make little if any difference to the Reserve Bank's determination to cut the OCR on Thursday," Delbruck said.

"Not only have other economic data been overwhelmingly arguing in favour of a lower OCR, but the Reserve Bank has increasingly been highlighting the role of migrants in easing labour market pressures, rather than boosting demand."

Bank of New Zealand economists yesterday noted the booming numbers of short-term visitor arrivals, and predicted the June month would rise by between 5 per cent and 10 percent.

Read the Statistics New Zealand report here: