Immigration continues to reshape New Zealand, more so now than in any other time in the modern history of our country. In the 12 months to August 2015, nearly 118,000 permanent and long-term arrivals landed in the country. This is an all-time high.
It is underlined by the fact the net migration gain was 60,000 for the same period and climbing. Only a couple of years ago, the forecast was for a net gain of 35,000 - which was thought outstanding at the time. But in 2014 and 2015, records have been broken and reset.
Some of these figures do need to be unpacked. "Permanent and long-term" includes anyone staying for more than 12 months, so there is a large group of international students who will not stay in the country more than the length of their study period. And there is an even larger group of New Zealand - and Australian - citizens who arrived (35,200 in the last 12 months).
So what has produced this spike?
The first is that we are seeing an upswing after the Global Financial Crises (GFC) when the numbers arriving softened (down to 83,000) while the numbers departing increased significantly (nearly 54,000 in one year heading to Australia). So some declined to move, even if they had been given approval, during a time of economic uncertainty. And then New Zealand experienced economic and labour market growth downstream of the GFC, especially in relation to Australia.
The net gains/losses with Australia have gone from a loss of 40,000 in 2012 to a net gain in the last twelve months of 5500. There remains a constant flow across the Tasman but for the first time since the early 90s, it is in New Zealand's favour.
Secondly, there has been a year-on-year increase in the numbers coming to study, with student visas up by 6400 in the last year, and with about half of Chinese and three-quarters of Indian migrants coming on a study visa.
Many will not stay permanently and as a result will have a different effect on demand and consumption spending in New Zealand. But it is also interesting that these onshore talent pools increasingly provide those who will settle long-term. Almost four out of five who become permanent settlers have spent time working, studying or visiting New Zealand.
The current levels of immigration put New Zealand at the very top of the OECD in terms of immigration per capita. The numbers post-GFC are very high.
It is not just the numbers that count - there is also the question of where they are coming from. In terms of net gains, the top four arrival groups (in order) are from India, China, the Philippines and the United Kingdom. There are three times more Indians arriving than those from the UK - which signals what is now an ongoing shift in terms of the origins of immigrants to New Zealand.
Statistics NZ has just released its long-term (2038) ethnic projections, and the impacts of immigration can be seen clearly in a future New Zealand. The fastest growing communities will be Asian as immigration levels drive growth. But not everywhere.
Auckland is still the destination city for most immigrants, (Canterbury has a significant inflow of immigrants as part of the rebuild, but it is still only a quarter of the numbers going to Auckland). And it is the destination city for Asian immigrants. Two-thirds of New Zealand's Asian communities live in Auckland, with three-quarters of them having been born in another country.
Statistics NZ anticipates this growth will result in a third of all Aucklanders being Asian by the 2030s (up from the quarter who self-identify as Asian now).
For the moment, the high levels of immigration and the significant numbers arriving from Asia impact disproportionately on Auckland. And the various local board populations show that not only are those of European descent likely to be a majority-minority in a growing number of areas, there are some (Whau, Puketapapa, Howick) where Asian communities will be dominant soon, if they aren't already.
The last few years have seen a remarkable increase in the numbers arriving as permanent immigrants to New Zealand, but they also confirm the different cultural and linguistic mix of these immigrants and the impact they are having on our largest city.
It is difficult to know whether this spike will continue but it has already set a very different path for New Zealand - and Auckland. The latter is now a super-diverse city with extensive people-to-people links with Asia.