Record migration continues to increase
The number of people moving to New Zealand continues to break records, with net migration hitting 70,000 for the first time.
Figures from Statistics New Zealand showed that permanent and long term arrivals rose to 126,117 in the 12 months to October 3. In the same period permanent and long term departures dropped to 55,835.
The net gain from migration was 70,282, several hundred higher than the record hit in the 12 months to September 30.
Migration levels have been running at record levels for about two years, with New Zealand witnessing the first substantial net gain from across the Tasman since the early 1990s mostly driven by the number of Kiwis choosing to return home.
The record gains mean New Zealand’s population is growing at the fastest rate in about 40 years.
Economists had expected migration to fall from the middle of 2016.
however most are now increasing forecasts for net migration over the medium term. Treasury has consistently forecast that migration gains will return to a gain of 12,000.
Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan said the entire country felt like an economic ‘‘hotspot’’ this year as the population grew at its fastest rate since the mid-1970s.
A growing population had wider implications than just adding heat to the property market, Kiernan said.
‘‘One of the most significant effects of an increasing population is the relative ease it provides businesses for increasing their revenue or sales volumes.
‘‘Growth areas can sustain more businesses and bigger firms, even if the average spending by each individual is not increasing.’’
Last week economists at West- pac said that while migration was expected to remain at strong levels, it could be impacted by the recent earthquake, with a dip following the deadly February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Meanwhile the number of visitors coming to New Zealand continues to break new records.
Statistics New Zealand said visitor arrivals were 260,200 in October 2016, a record for the month and 14 per cent higher than October 2015.
Visitor arrivals for the past 12 months were also a record at 3.42 million, 12 per cent higher than the 12 months to October 31.