The gloss is starting to come off the Australian labour
market as unemployment rises, meaning fewer New Zealanders are
crossing the Tasman to live.
Figures out yesterday from Statistics New Zealand showed net
migration was positive for the third month in a row in
November. An upwards trend appears to be establishing. In
particular, net departures to Australia are reducing, with
the net loss to Australia at its lowest since February 2011.
Westpac economist Nathan Penny said the increase in total net
migration was mainly due to fewer departures by New
Zealanders to Australia, down 270 in November to 3810 - the
first month below 4000 since January 2011. Also, New
Zealanders returning home from Australia increased by 70. Net
migration by non-New Zealanders was largely unchanged.
The 590 increase in net migration was the highest since
ASB economist Jane Turner said that while departures to
Australia remained at elevated levels, they had steadily
fallen over the past four months, suggesting a change in
''Over the coming year, as Canterbury rebuild activity picks
up, we expect the improving labour market in New Zealand to
also boost net migration.''
The turnaround in net migration was likely to place
additional strain on the undersupplied housing market, she
There had been some tentative signs of increased building
activity in Auckland and Canterbury that might help to
alleviate some of the housing-market pressure.
The Reserve Bank had become more wary about recent
housing-market developments and the risks stronger
house-price inflation posed to inflation and financial
stability, Ms Turner said.
Given the economy continued to underperform expectations, ASB
expected the Reserve Bank to leave the official cash rate
unchanged at 2.5% until December next year.
If the housing-market developments continued to concern the
central bank, it might consider using macro-prudential tools
to reduce some of the heat in the market at some point, she