Another month of record-breaking migration is continuing to put the squeeze on New Zealand's housing and roads. It should also continue to put the squeeze on the Government and force it to properly address the issue.

Some 71,900 more people moved to this country in the year to March than left for overseas, Statistics New Zealand said this morning.

That's up from 71,333 in the year to February, when another record was posted.

Between then and today, the Government has announced tweaks to immigration rules which mean migrants will need to earn more than $49,000 to qualify for a skilled worker visa.


That tinkering was smart politics.

The Government can point to it when asked about immigration and can't be accused of entirely ignoring the issue.

And because the changes aren't designed to reduce the overall number of people moving here, they are unlikely to take away one of the key drivers of New Zealand's economic growth and the tens of thousands more customers for businesses each year.

But at the same time, the fact the Government isn't addressing the overall level of immigration also means that the topic is likely to stay on the political agenda between now and September.

And if records continue to be broken, the Government could be forced to either curb the numbers of migrants coming to the country or up its investment in infrastructure, especially housing.

Of course, the Government doesn't bear the sole responsibility for ensuring enough houses are being built in New Zealand.

But it is the Government which could be blamed come September by voters who are struggling to find places to live, particularly if record migration continues to make headlines in the coming months.

Bill English and his Cabinet cannot claim the issue has snuck up on them - there has been only one month during this election cycle when net migration hasn't broken fresh records.


The Government has enjoyed the fruits of that - namely strong GDP growth.

However, with five months to go to the election, it now should announce policy that properly deals with the pressure it has put on the country.