New Zealand recorded its biggest-ever net loss of migrants to Australia in 2011, underlining the appeal of life across the Tasman, where wages are higher, jobs more plentiful and living standards are superior.
A net outflow of 36,900 migrants was recorded last year, according to Statistics New Zealand. The net result was made up of 51,100 departures for Australia and 14,200 arrivals from Australia. Most of the migrants in both directions were New Zealanders.
The overall net loss of migrants in 2011 was 1,900, the largest since a net 4,400 left in the 12 months ended August 31, 2001. The net loss in 2011 was made up of 84,200 permanent and long-term arrivals and 86,000 departures.
In the month of December there was a net outflow of 1,000 migrants, compared to a net inflow of 300 in the same month of 2010.
Departures of kiwis to Australia made up the biggest contribution. There was a net gain of 900 migrants from the UK last month, slowing from a net 1,200 in the same month a year earlier.
The government has been tracking permanent and long-term migration since April 1921 and reached its highest annual net loss in the 12 months ended July 1979, when the outflow was 43,600.
Short-term visitors to New Zealand rose 5 per cent to a record 364,200 in December typically the busiest month of the year because of Christmas, the New Year and summer holidays.
Visitors from Australia rose 10,200, with 7,800 of that made up of arrivals of Australia-based New Zealanders. Visitors from China rose by 4,200, from Singapore were up 1,700, from Malaysia up 1,200 and from the UK declined 1,400.
Annual visitor arrivals rose 3 per cent to 2.601 million, the first time the number has surpassed 2.6 million. The Rugby World Cup was cited among reasons for the increase.
Some 6 per cent more kiwis headed off on short-term overseas trips in December, for a total of 218,900, the second-highest ever recorded for a month after July 2011, when there were 231,600 trips.