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Annual New Zealand migration gain still at historically high levels but easing back compared to the last two years

Annual New Zealand migration gain still at historically high levels but easing back compared to the last two years

Migration added another 63,779 residents to New Zealand's population in the 12 months to July, down 11.9% compared to the net gain 72,402 in the same period a year earlier, according to Statistics NZ.

In the month of July there was a net gain of 5331, down 18.5% compared to July last year, suggesting the rate of migration decline is increasing.

There were 129,009 long term arrivals in the 12 months to July (-2.3% compred to the previous 12 months) and 65,230 permanent and long term departures (+9.3%0, leaving a net gain of 63,779.

The biggest source countries were China with a net gain of 7788 in the 12 months to July (-21.8% compared to the previous 12 months), India 6969 (-6.3%), the UK 5102 (-24.4%), and the Philippines 4419 (-6.2%).

There was a net loss of 2234 New Zealand citizens in the 12 months to July, and a net gain of 66,013 citizens from other countries.

There was a net loss of 1080 people to Australia in the July year.

Of the 129,009 people who arrived here permanently or long term in the 12 months to July, the biggest group were on work visas - 46,525 which was up 2.5% on the previous 12 months, followed by 38,195 New Zealand or Australian citizens (-1.4%), 23,428 on student visas (-2.9%) and 13,551 on residency visas (-18.7%).

One of the biggest declines in new arrivals have been from China, with Chinese student visas down by 16.6% compared to the previous 12 months and Chinese residency visas down 21.9% compared to the previous 12 months.

"We expect that migration will continue to ease back over the next few years, pulling population growth down in the process," Westpac Senior Economist Satish Ranchhod said in a Westpac IQ newsletter on the figures.

"This reinforces our expectations for a period of soft demand growth over the coming years," he said.

Net long term migration

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still way too many, but heading in the right direction

Not sure about that, there's almost the same amount of foreigners coming into NZ as a year ago, the main difference is that more Kiwis are leaving. Doesn't sound great to me

I remember an estate agent in Luton 20 years ago saying to me that he was 'managing the evacuation'.. He'd bought a house in Scotland where his family lived and he then spent 15 years travelling down on a Monday Morning and heading back to see them on Friday evening. He did a good business but slowly ran out of customers as the people who bought from him always moved again through a diffrunt agent, not that he wasn't running a great business, it's just that other loyalties prevailed, cousin, uncle, nephew whenever they sold again... His business was what Warren would call a 'cigar butt' - he worked hard and helped lots of people evacuate, did very well for a while and then after a few years of diminishing returns decided to close the business because no one would buy it from him. He sold the cars, the freehold, the computers and now happily lives in a castle in the open fields of Scotland, Which cost him buttons.

You are spot on Yvil, the rot has already set in, Brain drain well under way.


We are selling our country cheaply for very short term gains.


Agreed. But nearly 2% more people added provides 2% more transactions for the GDP numbers. It's an old trick of Uncle John's. We're actually close to negative GDP without them. I think we've probably been kidding ourselves all along.


True. In the absence of those pouring in every year, our businesses would be forced to lift up their games and go down the path of research and innovation. The more mouths to feed and more hands to work approach isn't doing us any good.

Unsurprisingly, high-income countries with the high migration levels (Australia, NZ and Canada) spend the least on research as a % of GDP among OECD nations and we rank along side other commodity export economies of the world like Kazakhstan in economic complexity. Low population growth countries like Japan and Austria have to invest more on innovation and productivity gains to achieve economic success.

Side note: Australia ranks below Qatar and Oman on the MIT economic complexity index. Wow!

If you cared to check Auckland Hospital is mostly staffed by people who are foreigners by birth
NZ has lost vast numbers of well educated skilled kiwis to Australia & other countries for decades
Sure the Key government had no strategy for immigration but the fact remains NZ had bled skilled talent for too many years.
NZ just requires infrastructure like a second telecommunications cable to the world of greater capacity to link
it with redundancy & you’d find more tech companies eyeing the country as a satellite business.
As well NZs roading is topographically inefficient & the country needs a fast train to connect cities
Of course most here are more concerned with the price of housing not GDP

I am ignorant of IT tech type companies but does

"eyeing the country as a satellite business"

Mean we are on a par with India, the Phillipines etc... Low cost option ?

No, IT in NZ is extremely expensive compared to those countries.

The Tasman Global Access cable already went live last year but unfortunately the solution is not a simple matter of just adding fibre capacity.

The problem is none of the major cloud providers have datacentres in NZ, we only have small time players here like Revera (owned by Spark).
Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google all have a strong presence in Sydney though.

Btw the Southern Cross Cable network is fully redundant and still has lots of spare capacity. trans-tasman private circuits are very expensive if you want any sort of decent throughput though.


We need to embrace the zero GDP


Which is why GDP should always be quoted on a per capita or hour worked basis, nominal GDP is useless at best and misrepresentative at worst.


We are selling our country cheaply for very short term gains.


A moot point now that it is clear all three ruling parties, including NZ First, have 180ed on their pre-election promise of reducing migration to sane levels.


There will be fewer departures over the next couple of years with the new 3-year post-study work visa kicking in for all existing students. However, student arrivals currently averaging 2k a month could come down as low quality providers fade away into oblivion, where they rightly belong.
It will be interesting to see how net migration pans out over the next few months given these new changes. Watch this space!

Unless the economy continues to get worse and we get a whole lot of productive NZers heading for greener pastures overseas.

I wouldn't worry too much about that. Quite a lot of NZer's will be trapped by negative equity anyway so choices around exit strategy will be massively diminished.

Only those that signed up for a mortgage in the last 24 months, those paying stupid house rent will hit the door. I can point to four in my immediate circle that have done so in the last six months. All well qualified with 10 years plus experienced, and all with significant $ in the bank for deposit. All cited stupid house prices as the primary factor for departure. Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne.

Yeah...on what planet was pushing up housing costs while pushing down wages through sky-high immigration ever a viable economic approach? The ultimate in short-termism, to the detriment of New Zealand.

These are anything but a "good problem to have".


Are there any politicians that don't want to PIMP out the country for a quick buck? Even NZF are terrible! We're not even getting high quality people - why would the brightest come here? To commute 1 hour to work and spend all their money on working for families takers, housing, supermarkets, fuel taxes and ever sky rocketing council rates?

It's time for the 5% threshold to go so we can get some parties that are not totally cuckolded to 'GDP growth'.


New Zealand doesn't even have the best and brightest kiwis, let alone foreigners.

Dear Bilbo Auckland rates are cheap compared to property taxes in most big Nth American cities
Reason why Auckland City is insolvent is it’s never collected property transfer taxes or charged its leafy wealthy suburbs the property taxes they would pay elsewhere like say Boston

Dear Bilbo Auckland rates are cheap compared to property taxes in most big Nth American cities
Reason why Auckland City is insolvent is it’s never collected property transfer taxes or charged its leafy wealthy suburbs the property taxes they would pay elsewhere like say Boston

We need to be careful of extremism on the emotional issue of immigration .

I am in favour of pressing the "pause button " on immigration while we sort out the backlog of housing , schools, clinics , hospitals, roads and other infrastructure.

We cannot and should not stop immigration completely , as it has many benefits , not least of which is the fact a new migrant instantly adds to our GDP , in most cases we don't have to educate them , they arrive with skills or capital , they don't go onto welfare ( they simply cant ), they have to find work or start a business, and we get tax paid from their labour (PAYE ) and spending (GST) .

So , we need a balanced immigration policy , that is workable , within our capacity to cope , that meets our needs and our aspirations as well as the immigrant's .


Since no country has 'open borders' presumably your balanced immigration would be as per an average OECD country - that would be about one third of our current numbers.
I wouldn't mind NZ being the world leader for legal immigration if we were also the world leader for export growth and productivity growth and GPD per capita. I doubt I would mind being the world leader for legal immigration if there were no low wage immigrants taking jobs from my family and setting low wage standards for all Kiwis. And if we only had high salary immigrants it would eliminate the rorts, corruption, worker exploitation and prostitution that is a feature of immigration as per the last couple of decades.


People praising the economic benefit of population growth fail to take into account the cost of all the extra infrastructure every migrant needs. I've seen calculations ranging from $80,000 per person to over $200,000, depending on the method used to calculate.

I've also seen calculations out of Australia that reckon every 1% increase in population growth requires 10% of GDP to be spent on infrastructure (spread over public and private sectors). The extra GDP generated by migrants alleviates the problem slightly but certainly comes nowhere near covering the costs.

When you look at the amounts being bandied around to try and fix Auckland's infrastructure (29 billion on transport alone) then these numbers appear quite plausible.

I've seen a figure of $1Trillion for the total value of NZ infrastructure so dividing by 5 million you get about $200,000 per person. But there is plenty of infrastructure that is under utilised - for example all those quiet roads in the South Island. But then again there is an extra welfare cost that is not infrastructure consisting of trained public servants - every graduate teacher is an investment cost for the govt and so are nurses and doctors. Auckland is busy building 12 new schools and extending hospitals - they will all need to be staffed.


back in 2003 when I applied for residency I just assumed the $200,000 that I needed to establish my immigration point count would be given to the govt. It stunned me when I was told all I needed was proof of funds. Even more delighted to discover I would qualify for full super in 10 years (at that time it took 40 years in the UK) and that we would get WFF.
If you quietly ask immigrants they will admit to liking the welfare state. Anyone like my wife with 4 kids living in the 3rd world would come to NZ just for the high quality free schooling.
Looking at the INZ figures for residency it is noticeable that the number of 'Family child dependent' category has almost doubled in the last decade.

We have fallen prey to yet another case of privatizing profits and socializing costs of low value immigration.

ANZ’s data also shows new capital spending for each 1,000-additional people has fallen from $142 million in 2011/12 to $37 million in 2016/17.

If we were to go back to the same amount of funding per 1000 migrants as in 2011, we would need to raise an additional $9 billion each year just in capital funding at the annual current migration rate. Add to that the non-working age migrants, pressures from previous underfunding and the high cost of capital (construction) inflation in NZ over the past few years, and we have a ticking demographic time bomb!


Continuing historically high immigration not only contributing to increasing population but also contributing to holding up house prices.

63,779 net immigrants in past year; that is probably somewhere around demand for 20,000 houses on top of demand from natural increase.

Student visa holders patently cannot afford to buy houses and also too young to earn enough. So, the constant refrain from commentators that immigration means more housing demand is generic and misleading. Immigrants live in more densely crowed accommodation and have lower expectations and disposable income, on average. House prices are caused by cheap borrowing and money growth rate. Hence Auckland prices fit growth graph of Chinese money printing and peaked in 2002-03 and 2013-14, in % growth in sales terms.

Student visa holders patently cannot afford to buy houses and also too young to earn enough.

People who can bankroll their childs education in a foreign, high cost country often have spare cash lying around for assets.

Hi m29
More people = more houses needed (whether they buy them or not) = greater demand for housing = upward pressure on house prices.
Whether they buy a house or not is irrelevant.

Try the reverse - it explains why you can buy a house in Ekatahuna for $50,000
More people leave than arrive = less houses needed (whether they sell them or not) = less demand for housing = downward pressure on house prices.

Cheap money that you recognize is only one factor, high immigration is another in a raft of factors.
Note that KiwiBuild target is 10,000 - which includes apartments - per year. That will barely house additional immigrants at this level if 6.3 people on average per house


so the slight reduction in net migration is mirroring the previous Labour Govt
most of the difference is explained through more people emigrating than previously(about 1/2 are heading to Aussie)
Like last time we will be losing Tradespeople/drivers /plant operators.. and gaining asians to open $2 shops and drive taxis..
happy days


We may not have sufficient houses, or schools, or hospitals, or roads, or even free speech anymore for those born and raised here.

But all its worth it for the enrichment and vibrancy that the cult of diversity delivers right?

Why publish a breakdown of figures for arrivals? They are deeply misleading.
For example "13,551 on residency visas" - most residency visas are obtained by people already in NZ (for example my son in law who arrived on a visitors visa and applied while living in NZ). Checking the INZ stats the figure approved residents for the year ending June is 37,948 and 2,698 for just July.

It is worth looking at the residency stats carefully. If (when?) NZ has a serious recession holders of Working Visas can be sent home but residency is generally permanent. It does appear that under Mr Lees-Galloway the number of residents approved has declined from 52,052 in 2016 to 37,948 in 2018. It would appear to be mainly due to policy changes made by his predecessor to lightly tighten the definition of 'skilled' and to clobber (rightly or wrongly) the parent reunion category. It will be assisted by his long overdue strengthening of the labour inspectorate (probably the result of complaints from the Phillipines and India rather than comments on this blog).

Maybe just enough to get Labour relected in two years time?


So almost the same amount of foreigners are coming into NZ, the main difference being that more Kiwis are leaving. Doesn't sound great to me

There are over 30,000 residential properties for sale in NZ right now, and over 10,800 in the Auckland region alone.
Why is every one going on about the "housing crisis" when so much stock is on the market?
If there really was a housing crisis or shortage there should be only a handful for sale at any one time, and the auction houses should have a 99% strike rate.

there's a shortage of affordable properties. Not everyone can borrow 10x salary.

Where's Winston?
Where are the greens (population increases are killing the planet)?
At least i know where to find TOP!


Labour's 2017 election policy, which amazingly is still on their website:

In total, these changes are estimated to reduce net migration by 20,000-30,000. Without these changes there would be up to 10,000 more houses needed and up to 20,000 more vehicles on our roads annually. Our immigration system will be regularly reviewed to ensure it is functioning well.

Friggin liars.

Only 1,974 houses required to accommodate last month's arrivals. Wonder how long it's going to take for Kiwibuild to make a dent in that.

About 30000 dwellings being built per year, so we are probably keeping slightly ahead of that immigration rate.

Yes, we are consenting 32,000. Net increase is only in the order of 70% of this as some aren’t seen through to completion and some are replacing existing dwellings that are demolished.

Do your figures allow for houses that are knocked down or fall down? Assume 1 million houses each lasting 100 years (those are conservative assumptions) then we need 10,000 per year just to stand still. Add in the ghost towns and villages throughout rural NZ and it is even worse.

Labour did what was needed to get into power and the sheeple believed that they would actually execute what they said they would.

Just like when i voted for National a few years back.

Hurroh Ru Zreeland!

2,234 Kiwi Citizens left to be replaced with 63,779 foreigners mostly Chinese and Indian. Wonderful statistic.


It's absolutely disgusting. The world has a problem with overpopulation and NZ is doing it's part to help by acting as a pressure release valve. To solve this we need to massively cut immigration and push the symptoms of overpopulation back to the source countries where they'll be forced to sort it out.

Also why is it these people get to keep their cultural identity but kiwis are 'racist' for not wanting to drink the neoliberal multicultural kool-aid?
From what I've seen the melting pot is a myth. People don't tend to race mix, and don't tend to integrate their children. A friend's colleague is sending their kid back to Chinese propaganda school for a couple years - all expenses paid for by the communist party. The kid is becoming "too kiwi". The disdain some immigrants have towards us is astounding.

All the anglo countries are under threat.
UK is majority Muslim in many many towns and cities at the school level. In a matter of decades the adult population will be the same.
USA is only 56% white and sliding.
Canada is becoming increasingly Chinese in many cities with Vancouver being about 50% Chinese (including Hong Kong).
Australia and NZ are not far behind.

These trends do not lead to happy people in the short term. Long term they'll lead to conflicts. Robert Putnam from Harvard has found that "more diversity in a community is associated with less trust both among and within ethnic groups"

I trust that age will grant you some wisdom and empathy. An old friend is now in a rest home,as he needs 24 hour care. Almost all the carers are the migrants for whom you have such distaste-they work hard,are invariably cheerful and don't earn very much. Us Kiwis don't seem to want to tend to the old and dying. You would find a similar pattern in our hospitals.
Our horticultural industry-kiwifruit,apples,wine- absolutely depends on migrant labour.
Do you happen to havea pointed hat with eyeholes in it,by any chance?


I'm guessing that you've never lived near the effects of uncontrolled immigration and exponential population growth. The issues are the housing market... debt levels and the need for businesses to remain cheap, rather than innovative.. it is a race to the bottom though when the society is set up and policies established to maintain the status quo of the few... Sorry Linklater but your wrong.. There are lots of caring Kiwi's who leave because we've made life too hard for them to stay.

That's right! because anybody who does not want NZ to be filled with foreigners is a Klansman or better still a Nazi... Wow what vile stuff.

I certainly agree with your first sentence but then you bring out the 'only foreigners can be care-givers' slogan which I find disgusting and getting close to racism; rather like the past in Southern states of America with only non-whites can pick cotton and be happy doing it. Basic common sense, let alone an introduction to economics tells us that pay more and you find workers; even care-workers.


The challenge is that we want 'stuff' so we work, save, have a nice car, a few good holidays. Meet our partner's after we've had a few thrills to post on facebook and at the end of the fertile period have 1.6 kids starting near the age of 40.

In Luton, Bradford, Leicester (which I hate to say are not England anymore). The population meet at 18, have multiple kids before the age of 30, all funded by the taxpayer benefits (whilst cash income arrives from taxi's, market stalls, building, restaurants and driveways) then their kids do the same afterwards... Luton, Bradford and Leicester are all now over 50% Muslim. It only took two generations to be outbred and the exodus occurred of those that didn't want to be there anymore.

This is purely an observation and not meant to offend anyone.. But that's just what happens.. Kiwi's have been running away from Auckland.... at least with cash in their pockets, but we've surrendered our main city under John Key. The UK towns and Cities I've mentioned are all now miserable places to live.

Who runs the market stalls? Who takes you home when have too much to drink? Who cooks your takeaway and serves you at Pizza Hutt. Why aren't there enough jobs for the 18-25 year olds. We have to be very careful of not repeating mistakes and make sure that we tax arrivals properly and I would argue have a minimum limit of 5 years of contributions to the system before you can draw out of it...


Your point about exponential functions was expressed by Einstein "Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe".
"“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” ― Albert A. Bartlett.
I would like to disagree with you about the UK but I can't since I was in Bradford for a few days in May. Two societies - it was wicked that it was allowed to evolve. Fortunately NZ does tend to allieviate the problem by having a rich mix of immigrants; I cannot see Muslim's taking over in NZ but I do wonder why we bring in Afghans and Eritreans refugees (latest into Christchurch) when there are Yazidis and Rhoyinga minorities in camps with very little chance of ever returning to their homes. I am suspicious as to how refugees are selected.

I was in England in 2002 when there was a series of riots all through those towns, I think the Police shot a muslim teenager, and that sparked the riots. As they spread south toward London things got really tense because we all wondered if London muslims were going to riot too. Never seen anything like it before.

Correction that is a net gain of 63,779 so it is 66,001 (mental arith) foreigners. I am sure they are all delightful people - the only grumpy immigrant I know is me.

skill shortages every where we must have more to fill the gaps look this week massive short fall in teachers.

It might be expected when we don't pay teachers much and the wages we do pay are not sufficient for them to build a life in the city of their birth (for Aucklanders, at least).

Teachers and politicians used to be much closer in wages, as it was acknowledged that we have to attract people that could otherwise earn more elsewhere. People still acknowledge that when it comes to politicians, but seem to have completely abandoned the concept when it comes to teachers. (Perhaps that's a failure of education in itself?)

It's wrongheaded to keep on importing cheaper and more exploitable labour from overseas for various jobs rather than looking to how we managed in the past - aiming to make life viable for average hardworking Kiwis.

You are absolutely right. The truth about employers complaining "skill shortages" is "skill shortage at our offered pay level". My advice to them: try raising the offered wages to a reasonable level and see the shortages vanish into thin air.
Admin and support staff working for NZ ministries and departments earn more than our teachers and nurses. This summarises our culture of pricing short-term needs higher than long-term gains.

Indeed, and throw in employers expect not to have to train those skilled staff. So OK those staff need to see there is a decent wage available to make taking on the debt to get those skills worth it.

On the other side however I think a business/employer has a problem of not being able to raise prices as the consumers cant pay therefore they have to meet what the buyer will pay and see a big squeeze.

Do you have some evidence on the admins huge wages? My limited dealings with them (job offers etc) is they wont pay for [highly] skilled staff just like private employers let alone for run of the mill admin staff.

I can't disclose specifics but I did a payroll stint at a major government department. There are a good number of jobs with admin and support JDs but work for the policy/finance/HR/project teams.
The job requires a tertiary qualification (no particular level or field of study specified), the work is largely to provide admin support to the analyst/advisors and sometimes data entry into the info system from invoices or contracts. Salaries are much better than general support workers and being in close contact with the apex decision makers of the department, they are well-looked after.

Agree. A little bird fluttered by me a week or two ago and chirped that in a certain Ministry there were data-entry operatives on $130K.

Might have been a Greenfinch....

Probably contractors. It's been well known in Wellington in the last decade that contracting is an absolute gravy train, as departments are forced to use them (at twice the cost) rather than increasing headcount (something they were not allowed to do, in the name of efficiency).

and Wellington.

NZ still ready to be everyone's patsy: "Couple who divorced and entered into sham marriages avoid deportation"

We should just do away with laws, perhaps. Seems like a lot of wasted money on admin.

Wake up
Should have imposed fines for the deliberate fraud, and fees for the education of the children at $5000 each pa or $20000 pa for 10 years

If they've truly found god as they claim to have, they should be proactively offering to pay the taxpayer back that money that was stolen from us via their dishonest actions.

A little bit old this thread I know but it was very interesting how fearful they were of taking the kids back to China. They threatened to leave them behind!

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Days to the General Election: 38
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.