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NZ net migrants reach all-time high 63,700 in boom November

NZ net migrants reach all-time high 63,700 in boom November year for travel

By Jonathan Underhill

Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand annual net migration hit a record for the 16th month in a row in November, led by students from India, while visitor arrivals and overseas trips by Kiwis both reached all-time highs.

The country welcomed a net 63,700 migrants in the 12 months ended Nov. 30, made up of a record 120,900 arrivals, up 11 percent from a year earlier, an 57,200 departures, down 3 percent, Statistics New Zealand said.

The data showed 47 percent of international migrants, 29,700, settled in Auckland, underlining the pressures on housing and infrastructure in New Zealand's biggest city, where home-building is running at about half the pace needed to meet demand. Canterbury was the next-biggest region, recording a 6,800 gain in international migrants. New Zealand welcomed a net 13,300 migrants from India in the year, 8,800 from China, 5,000 from the Philippines and 3,700 from the UK.

"Ongoing low departures and strength in arrivals will cause New Zealand's annual population growth rate to reach its highest pace since 1974," said Michael Gordon, senior economist at Westpac Banking Corp. "High population growth is helping to maintain a semblance of strong GDP growth. But at the same time, the preponderance of people in the labour market is keeping wage growth lower than it would otherwise be."

Gordon said he expects net immigration "will remain strong for some time yet."

Total visitor arrivals in November from the same month last year rose 11 percent to 300,500, led by visitors from China, Australia, the US, Korea and Taiwan. Annual visitor numbers rose 9 percent to a record 3.09 million, with Chinese visitors jumping by 87,400 to 344,900, while Australian visitors lifted 71,300 to 1.32 million and Americans increased by 21,100 to 240,000. Holidays were the most common reason to visit New Zealand, accounting for 1.53 million, while visiting friends and relatives was second at 941,100.

New Zealanders also had the travel bug in the latest year, with a record 2.39 million departing on overseas trips, up 6 percent on the year earlier. Australia was the most popular destination, with 1.1 million Kiwis crossing the Tasman in the November year, up 49,200 from a year earlier. The US ranked second, with 175,600, up 13,000, while 145,700 visited Fiji, up 17,500.

The decline in migrant departures in the year was mainly due to fewer New Zealanders leaving to live in Australia - a 12 percent drop to 21,300. There was a net gain of 400 migrants from Australia.


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