Australia looking less attractive to Kiwis

It could be the end of a dream for many as migration figures show that more New Zealanders are not only staying put but others across the Tasman are coming home or are considering moving back.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand show migration hitting record highs with the biggest-ever net gain of 47,684 people in the year to the end of October - compared with 17,684 in the previous 12 months.

The net loss to Australia was 5300 people - the smallest since 1994 - and well down from the net losses of 23,500 to the end of October 2013 and 39,300 the year before.

Hays Recruitment managing director Jason Walker said there had been a significant increase in New Zealanders wanting to return home with an eye on the IT sector or to help with the Christchurch rebuild.

Australia was becoming less attractive for Kiwis battling a campaign of "Australian jobs for Australians", tax increases, a slow construction sector and changes at the state government level.

"A lot of the rhetoric about Australia is fairly poor and negative in terms of their own economy so even in their own press New Zealand appears a more attractive possibility. It looks a good place to be right now in New Zealand and it is.

"We are at record levels in terms of record permanent placements and it's looking to be more positive in the new year and the Christchurch rebuild will set off in haste next year."

Erina Anderson-Morunga, the founder of the "Iwi n Aus" Facebook page that she runs from her Adelaide home, said a combination of things was driving New Zealanders back home including work, despite lower wages, but also surety of a social security system that Kiwis in Australia are not eligible for.

"A lot of people in New Zealand say they want to come over here but are now saying 'we'll just wait and see if things get better'," she said.

"But a lot of others are selling up now and moving back ... you could be a resident here for 15 years, pay taxes and still not have access to any grants or assistance."

Tertiary, Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said brighter economic prospects locally were keeping people here and luring others back.

He said more than half of the 1700 people who attended a weekend job fair in Perth he was at, promoting employment opportunities in New Zealand to fill skill shortages, were expatriate Kiwis looking at the possibility of coming home.

Mr Joyce said with fewer people leaving the expected impact of increased migration on the demand for housing in Auckland and on inflation had not yet been realised.

"The 15,000 people are not going to come from all over the country while people coming in tend to be more concentrated in Auckland and to a degree the Waikato.

"But people that stop going are from all over the county and that means there will be less impact on housing in Auckland."

NZ Institute for Economic Research economist Shamubeel Eaqub said there were fewer opportunities and jobs available for Kiwis wanting to jump ship across the Tasman.

"And because we are unable to access some of their welfare and all those bits and pieces, if the labour market is not strong not only do we not go there but also some people who are there are forced to come back for economic reasons."

The increase in arrivals from Australia included 3200 more New Zealand citizens, and 1000 more non-New Zealand citizens.

Turning of the tide

New Zealand has had a net gain of 47,684 people in the year to the end of October - its biggest ever.

Migrant arrivals reached a new high of 107,200 in the October 2014 year - up 16 per cent from the October 2013 year.

The 59,500 migrant departures were down 20 per cent from last year when 74,700 left.

The annual net loss of migrants to Australia to the end of October was 5300 people.

In October 2013 the figure was 23,500 and in 2012 it was 39,300

The increase in migrant arrivals between the October 2013 and 2014 years was led by India (up 4200), Australia (up 4200), China (up 1700), and the Philippines (up 1100).

The increase in arrivals from Australia included 3200 more New Zealand citizens, and 1000 more non-New Zealand citizens.

- by James Ihaka, NZ Herald

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter