Net permanent migration loss to Australia 32,700 in year to August, highest since year to March 2009, Stats NZ figures show

Net permanent migration loss to Australia 32,700 in year to August, highest since year to March 2009, Stats NZ figures show

New Zealand recorded a seasonally adjusted net permanent and long-term migration gain of 200 in August, snapping a negative streak since March 2011 following the February 22 earthquake that hit Christchurch, figures released by Statistics New Zealand show.

Unadjusted figures showed a net gain of 300 migrants during the month, down from 900 in August 2010. The main reason for the fall was 1,100 more departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia in August 2011 than in August 2010, Stats NZ said.

There were 3.496 New Zealand citizens who left New Zealand permanently to live in Australia in August, while only 769 citizens returned.

Annual figures show New Zealand had a net permanent migration gain of 2,300 in the year to August 2011, down from 14,500 in the August 2010 year, and the lowest annual net gain since the October 2001 year, Stats NZ said.

The difference between the August 2011 and 2010 years was mainly due to more departures to Australia in the 2011 year, Stats NZ said.

The net loss of migrants to Australia was 32,700 in the August 2011 year, the highest since the March 2009 year (33,600).

The latest figure resulted from 47,600 departures to Australia offset by 14,900 arrivals from Australia. In both directions, most migrants were New Zealand citizens, Stats NZ said.

From Statistics New Zealand's migration media release:

Monthly permanent and long-term migration

Seasonally adjusted permanent and long-term (PLT) migration figures showed a net inflow (an excess of arrivals over departures) of 200 migrants in August 2011. Monthly net migration had been negative since March 2011, when departures from Christchurch jumped following the 22 February earthquake that damaged the city.

Unadjusted figures showed a net gain of 300 migrants in August 2011, compared with 900 in August 2010. The main changes were:

·        1,100 more departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia

·        300 more arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens, including 700 more on work visas but 300 fewer on student visas

·        200 more arrivals of New Zealand citizens.

In August 2011, there were net gains of migrants from the United Kingdom (800), India (400), China, and Germany (each 300).

There was a net loss of 2,700 migrants to Australia, up from 1,600 in August 2010. This is the highest net loss for an August month since 2008 (2,900).

Seven hundred Christchurch residents moved overseas in August 2011, up from 500 in August 2010. Since the devastating earthquake on 22 February, there have been 4,900 departures from Christchurch, compared with 3,000 during the same period in 2010.

Five hundred migrants arrived from overseas to settle in Christchurch in August 2011, down from 600 in August 2010. Arrivals to Christchurch have totalled 2,300 since the February earthquake, compared with 3,200 during the same period in 2010.

Annual permanent and long-term migration

There were 85,100 PLT arrivals in the August 2011 year, up 4 percent from the August 2010 year. There were 82,800 PLT departures, up 23 percent.

The resulting net gain of migrants was 2,300 in the August 2011 year, down from 14,500 in the August 2010 year. The latest figure is the lowest annual net gain since the October 2001 year (1,700). The change between 2010 and 2011 was mainly due to more departures to Australia.

The net gain of migrants in the August 2011 year was below the annual average gain for the years ended December 1991–2010 (12,000). Net PLT migration varied substantially within this 20-year period, with the highest being a net gain of 42,500, in the May 2003 year, and the lowest being a net loss of 13,200, in the February 2001 year.

In the August 2011 year, there were net gains of migrants from the United Kingdom (5,700), India (5,600), and China (4,500). The net gains from the United Kingdom and India were down on the previous year while the net gain from China was up.

The net loss of migrants to Australia was 32,700 in the August 2011 year, the highest since the March 2009 year (33,600). The latest figure resulted from 47,600 departures to Australia offset by 14,900 arrivals from Australia. In both directions, most migrants were New Zealand citizens.

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Nice to see we have closed this gap...oops sorry another Tui Ad..yeah Right.

Cue JK in the debating chamber crucifying the (then) Labour Government on this brain drain.

Cue JK in his new National Government announcing the appointment of Dr. Brash to head the 'closing the gaps' taskgroup aimed at resolving this problem.

Cue JK responding to the "it's getting worse" by blaming the earthquake (just as the above press release implies).

I suspect the Chch disaster has generally done JK's political career only good - given there's nothing else his Govt has done, that I can see, to stem this flow over the Tasman.  No quake - no excuses.

 "No quake - no excuses"

And yet the general population, most politicians and economists still have their eyes wide shut pinning our economic recovery on the Chch rebuild. No quake - no economy.

No quake - no economy. 

Yes, it's like an economics based on Greek mythology;



Key made a song and dance about the brain drain when Labour were in power, presenting the argument of a causative relationship between Labour's performance and emmigration

someone like Bernard should pose this question to the govt - if the same logic is applied then Key's govt are not performing either

I have no regrets about the move - things are definitely moving forward more here

And for the first time in MANY years I have become an avid TV watcher - there is much more high quality serious TV journalism here than in NZ - the ABC  makes TVNZ look pathetic

Good on ya matt, glad to hear the move's working out.

 the ABC  makes TVNZ look pathetic

Doesn't really prove the quality of Aussie tv though - TVNZ makes itself look pathetic.

Lived there for ten years and there are still three words that chill me to the bone - "Quality, Aussie, Drama"....  *cringe*

Glad you're settling in, Matt.  For years, and in particular when I was in central government here, I could see that the Aussies got so much more right than the Kiwis from an economic stewardship perspective.

More recently, they blew it on allowing household debt to get where it did, however, but I bet they'll start innovating in that policy area going forward as well.   The rank and file of Aussie bureaucrats aren't afraid of command and control - and their legislators are interested in legislating - whereas ours were most interested in not (not where it counts, anyway!).  

If I had a dime for everytime I read a policy analysis legitimating/promoting the "do nothing" approach, and of course, our rank and file simply write what the boss wants to hear.


i am not sure what planet you are on. The Aus govt rejected pretty much EVERY recommendation of the Henry report, especially as regards removing tax incentives for speculating on housing. Neither major party seems inclined to change the massive debt ponzi in Aus, which is a lot worse than in NZ. In fact, both parties seems to spin it that Aus housing is not in a bubble. At least in NZ politicians openly admit there is a housing bubble, and National has taken small steps to remove tax distortions, and labour has the CGT in its policy now.

As for Aus, it urks me that they will do nothing to alleviate the household debt burden - what worries me more though is what they will do to continue the burden by stimulating debt. Think of past policies.

- Keating reintroduced neg gearing

- Howard halved capital gains tax

- howard introduced FHOGs

- Howard massively ramped up immigration

- Howard removed many restrictions re foreigners buying property

- Howard relaxed rules on investing in housing by SMSFs

-  Swan extended FHOG

-  Swan guarantees deposits at banks, reducing cost of credit and increasing lending

-  Swan guarantees foreign borrowers, reducing cost of credit and increasing lending

- Swan sets up AOFM which continues to buy up RBMS to stimulate lending

- Swan deregulates covered bonds, allowing investors to invest in mortgage securities with less risk as they now stand in front of term deposit holders, thus lowering cost of credit and increasing lending

Put simply, debt and the housing bubble is the elephant in the room. In NZ we tiptoe around it, In Aus they feed it.

Yeah, I said they blew that one... and how!  :-)

But a country with these; 

perhaps has more policy maneuverability in terms of meeting/amending its obligations wrt that overseas debt.



allow me to step in here... TVNZ has lots of very hard working people who would love nothing more than to make great TV... Unfortunately Smiley Wavey and his gang off hoods require TVNZ to pay all their hard earned profits back to the government at ever increasing amounts...

Situation normal. Deja Vu. Nothing's changed. Back to the past. Does anyone remember Fred Dagg and his sons Trevor, Trevor, Trevor etc, departing TVNZ (and the reasons) and going to Oz and re-incarnating himself as John Clarke?

Since Don Brash used to be a central banker he can probably bring some of his previous insights to the task. I expect he will recommend either renaming the Tasman sea to the Tasman lake, or re-defining the units of an air mile so people don't get rewarded for going.


nice to see that he got the economy sorted so we 'hit the ground running' when things start improving.. oh no all our youngest and brightest moved across the ditch... oh well.

...... can you " hit-the-ground-running " when you're under-water ?

yes, but only if you're holding onto a big rock.

not under water GBH, ON the water!!! 

Detail here from Stats NZ on Christchurch migration (overseas)

"Seven hundred Christchurch residents moved overseas in August 2011, up from 500 in August 2010. Since the devastating earthquake on 22 February, there have been 4,900 departures from Christchurch, compared with 3,000 during the same period in 2010.

Five hundred migrants arrived from overseas to settle in Christchurch in August 2011, down from 600 in August 2010. Arrivals to Christchurch have totalled 2,300 since the February earthquake, compared with 3,200 during the same period in 2010. "

This doesn't take into account migration to other parts of NZ. Net overseas migration out from Christchurch since the February 22 quake was 2,600 vs net inflow of 200 over same period a year ago.




My grand father counselled my mother that she could expect at least one or two of her children to live overseas because the jobs prospects simply weren't there in a place as small as New Zealand.

That was in 1968.

Hardly surprising - better weather; more opportunity; better long term economic outlook; better standard of living; more money; generally positive people.

After living in Oz for 3 years the only thing that is truly dearer is housing (either buying or renting).  But hey - even if you go down the buy route - you still eventually have a house.

Great shame NZ is going down the pan.  Expect this trend to continue in the same vein - probably worsening - as Gen X and Y realise they have been "had" by NZ"s weak policiticians having to fork out an ever increasing tax bill to cover the increasing no. of retirees, ongoing earthquake risks and tax breaks for the rich and property investors.

You'd be mad to stay long term !  We were mad to come back 18 months ago  - but we are going again very soon and this time for good

One eyed rubbish.

Weathers only good if you like really love hot and sticky (not in the bedroom).

There are plenty of things other than a house that cost more (in Sydney at least).  Parking, road tolls, milk, trademen for minor jobs, car insurance... even bananas if there's a storm in QLD.

Air pollution is constant, traffic is unbelievable - just ask any cab driver.

And NZ isn't going down the pan, it has the best work/life balance and opportunity around.  If you're young and like noise, bustle, mossies and a party lifestyle then sure.  But once you grow up and realise money isn't life Sydney is a souless dump.

You'd be mad to stay long term!

We'll agree to disagre here Ralph.

I can factually say that OH and I were earning 65% more in Australia 2 years ago than current Auckland salaries.   In my profession - recent remuneration survey (FACT) - the average wage is slightly more than double what it is in NZ = more senior opportunities & better salaries.

Milk is also cheaper in Aus, UK and Saudi Arabia than in NZ.  Plus also NZ lamb & beef in Saudi.

Sydney is a rat race ... you will work harder definitely - but like you say it all depends what you want in out of life.  Motiviation for me is better standard of living & some super to retire with


I'm making up of those stat number here in Brisbane.  But don't believe about the wage gap propaganda, only the mining sector is getting a big fat pay cheque.  Other than that it's only fractionally higher than NZ.

Matt's  "ABC makes TVNZ look pathetic" - ummmm not after last night's comedy episode about Ms Gillard under Australia Flag.. The govt might chop their funding to zero now!

Moa I tend to agree that generally there isn't big salary differences, but at least in Adelaide the cost of living is much lower than Auckland (rent, petrol prices, furniture (care of IKEA) etc)

food costs seem about the same

I was making $24 dollars an hour as an unskilled labourer between jobs in Melbourne some years ago. I got 10.50 an hour here! Grad nurse Nz $44700 Queensland $56700 + 9% super + $2000 for ongoing education + salary sacrificing. Trades at least $30-35hr plus super and OT to start with. I knew an apprentice on $26 an hour! If you have a profession or trade were you can transfer into a job of equal status rather than start again at the bottom of the ladder, or are an unskilled or semi skilled worker you will be much better off. Rents housing costs in suburban Melbourne or Brisbane are favourable to Auckland. Sure the cbd is super expensive but the same applies in NZ. All those I know that have made the move are much better off.


The ABC has regualr decent, serious journalistic programmes, and their newsreaders read the news seriously rather than try to turn the whole thing into a pantomine 

Yes, who is that female presenter who hosts those group discussions of contentious issues - she's simply outstanding.

matt in auck,

I like the ABC, and they have some pretty good comedy as well (eg Summer Heights, Review etc). Although to be fair, viewing numbers allows it be sustainable with a more "narrow" serious/artistic focus. TVNZ has to cater to a broader taste and as a result is a bit of a halfway house between "serious" and "profitable/trashy". Switch over to seven or nine eg today tonight and ACA. I have never seen that level of trash television before and was quite shocked at the blatant advetorials masquerading as journalism, not to mention hyped up human interest stories about battlers fighting the system. Holmes and Cambell were never that bad.

jimmy - true there is plenty of garbage too, but at least there is some seriously good stuff too

SBS is a great channel, in addition to ABC

My partner and I added to that immigration gain by returning to NZ from the UK after our visas expired and the Tories got rid of my visa class entirely. Bit of a culture shock returning to NZ. Hitting the job market the lack of opportunities is astounding. Both of us struggle to actually find work that uses our skills (digital design / web dev / mobile dev) that we were using every day in the UK. NZ really is tiny. Thankfully we can pick up remote work from the UK, but I think it's delaying the inevitable move to Aus.

Why does the "brain drain" (or 'half a brain' drain in most cases)  worry so many people? If people want to go, let them do so. Who cares?

I have said this time and time again; there are 5 billion or so people on this earth who would more than happily move to New Zealand if given the chance. It is not as if NZ is an unwanted country. In fact, New Zealand would be in the top five countries in the world in terms of "opportunity" (a spot behind Australia though). Just let the immigrants in!






I agree rpcas, wave  whingers like Matt in Auck goodbye. If they dont think their country is worthy of them so be it . Also not all immigrants are rocket scientists, Aussie actually do us a favour by soaking up our itinerant unemployed. 

It will be interesting to see if these figures turn now that the aussie economy/employment prospects are turning downwards. If China blows up it might expose Aussie as being a one trick hard commodity pony. Long term the NZ food production story looks like a decent prospect to me. That and we have a better footy team!

Your name is in keeping with the level of your reply, that of an imbicilie!

Sadly if NZ is not able to provide good people with opportunities to earn a half decent living, then they will go abroad. Many people want the best for NZ, and want to see it improve, but that is not happening is it, and so they feel like they have to move abroad to get what they need, when if they could get it in NZ, I bet many would stay here!

NZ is a country going backwards, and if China goes pop, NZ will go down the toilet also so be careful what you propose mate, as it may not turn out how you imgine it will.

We should be creating an environment where people feel like they have reasons to stay that provide opportunities relevant to them, as a country not that many years ago it certainly was the case.

Back to the sheep , shagger...

Spot on Lloyd.  Backwards big time.

I came back to NZ feeling upbeat and positive- now after 18 months back I feel very disappointed & disheartened.  In my profession opportunities are scant at mid / senior level and average salaries in NZ actually declined by about 3% last year.  After 3 years solid experience in Sydney, I'm back at the level & pay I was on from 5 years ago. I also see other peers / acquaintances "stuck" in a rut as there's nowhere for them to progress to / be promoted to here.

NZ is just too small.

But it's not just the money for me... look at the debacle with the RWC transport.  Embarrasing.  Spitting at Australian fans ?  Constantly ripped off for food & clothes.  I just don't get it why we pay more for our milk (produced down the road) than what they do in the UK, Saudi and Australia.  Crappy politicians lacking the courage to move the country forward.

If you're 20-40 there seem few reasons to stay. 

A lot of posters on here talk about lifestyle.  LIfestyle ??!! ... mmm, not sure about the lifestyle when you retire...when NZ Super is diminished and we've all got diddly squat in Kiwisaver.Fact is that lifestyle in Australia is similarly good (if not better as most have more disposable income) - just a bt more work hard, play hard culture.


Shagger you are never going to win on this one on this site ;-) The difference between you and BacktoAus is you are driven to run your own business, BTA wants someone to employ them.  The difference in motivation there is a chasm.

New Zealand is a small country therefore there are only going to be limited opportunities for mid-senior roles. Then we have the shining example of Elley and her husband - immigrants who use technology to successfully do business with the world.  There is work out there maybe just not in the form some ex-pats know.

Let's face it SS, when all else fails - they can join us on the land ;-)

Expecting a reasonable announcement from Fonterra today. :-)

Your talking to different city type people so CO or SS you will never win - even though you are right.  I cannot believe the comment that Auzzies work harder - they are the most lazy incompetent people on the planet.  Which means there are opportunities for those that want to work.  NZ agriculture sector is so much more advanced than Auz - some cropping is advanced in Auz but starting to have massive problems with herbicide resistance (due to continuous cropping as farmers skip the pasture stage).  Also widespread anthelmintic resistance for sheep producers as they set stock all year and drench and drench and drench :) 

Home is looking more appealing ...