New Zealand's booming migration and tourism set new records in November, with arrivals continuing to increase and departures steadily lower.
Annual net migration reached 70,400 in November, setting a new record, driven by more migrants from the US, Australia and Malaysia. Migrant arrivals rose 4.8 per cent to 126,7000 in the year, also a new record, while migrant departures dipped 1.6 per cent to 56,300.
Short-term visitor arrivals, which includes tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.45 million in the year ended Nov. 30, up 12 per cent from the year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.
A swelling population stoking more activity and record inflows of tourists helped offset the impact of weak dairy prices earlier in the year, underpinning an economy growing at a rapid pace. 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.
"Net migration is continuing to run at record annual highs as arrivals continue to tick higher, while departures remain low and steady. Meanwhile, tourism continues to perform strongly," ASB Bank economist Daniel Snowden said in a note. "Once again, Stats NZ has had issues with a full data release, with much of the detail unavailable. However, it looks as if once again new arrivals are the main driver, although there was another small dip in departures. Both are a continuation of recent trends. As usual, around a third of arrivals were Australians or returning NZ citizens."
Today's data show a 17 per cent uplift in the number of visitors holidaying in New Zealand in the year, with most holidaymakers from Australia, China or the US. On an annual basis, Australians made up 554,784 of the 1.8m holidaymakers, while China was the second-biggest pool at 312,480.
Net permanent and long-term migration was dominated by arrivals from Asia, who made up about half of the 70,400 arrivals. Some 10,280 migrants came from China, up 17 per cent from a year earlier, while 9,100 came from India, down 31 per cent.
Of those new migrants who arrived in the year, a net 33,536, or 48 pe rcent, settled in Auckland, followed by a net 9.5 per cent moving to Canterbury, net 5.1 per cent going to Wellington and net 3.9 per cent settling in Waikato.
Most holidaymakers came from Australia, with 42,176 Australians travelling to New Zealand in the month. Business visitors rose 3.6 per cent in November from a year earlier to 31,216, and increased 5.2 per cent on an annual basis to 289,152, two-thirds of whom came from across the Tasman.