Annual net migration has hit its lowest levels in three years, as fewer people arrive in the country and more depart.
For the year to October, compared with a year ago, there were 128,100 migrant arrivals, which was down by 3,500 and for the same period, migrant departures rose to 66,400, up by 5,400.
Statistics New Zealand population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said that overall net migration was down by 8,900 people from the October 2017 year, reflecting both fewer migrants arriving in New Zealand and more leaving the country.
“Although migrant departures continue to be the driving force behind falling annual net migration, October also had a noticeable fall in the number of migrant arrivals,” she said.
Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said the result left the trend decline in annual net migration firmly in place.
The annual inflow of people into the country had now fallen from a peak of 72,400 in 2017 to 61,750.
“While that's still high, it's the lowest level since August 2015. We expect to see a further decline over the coming years,” Ranchhod said.
There was a further easing in the number of New Zealanders returning from abroad, particularly from Australia, while departures of non-New Zealand citizens remained elevated, which was the key factor pulling overall migration down, he added.
*Simon Hartley is senior business reporter and assistant chief reporter for the Otago Daily Times.