Exodus across Tasman slows

Last updated 13:00 24/12/2012

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Plenty of Nelsonians won't be here for Christmas - more than 800 moved to Australia in the past year.

New figures show that 445 residents from Nelson city and 437 from Tasman district shifted to Australia in the year to November.

The exodus has slowed compared with the year to April, when 952 Nelsonians went to Australia.

Statistics NZ said the seasonally adjusted net loss to Australia was 2800 in November, lower than the average net outflow to Australia of 3300 per month since March 2011. The change was due to more arrivals from, and fewer departures to, Australia.

In the November year, New Zealand had a net loss of 1600 migrants. The net loss to Australia was 38,800, offset by net gains of migrants from most other countries, led by Britain (5600), China (5200), and India (5000).

New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain - more arrivals than departures - of 600 migrants in November. This is the highest net gain since the 700 in December 2010.

ASB economists said that while departures to Australia remained at elevated levels, they had steadily fallen over the past four months, suggesting a changing trend.

The Australian economy started to slow this year, with less support from the mining sector, ASB said. The more challenging labour market in Australia was likely to be discouraging New Zealanders from migrating. "Over the coming year, as Canterbury rebuild activity picks up, we expect the improving labour market in New Zealand to also boost net migration," said senior economist Jane Turner.

Short-term visitor arrivals rose 1.7 per cent in November, following declines in the previous two months. Over recent months the trend in visitor arrivals has been easing. While arrivals from China picked up, arrivals from other countries such as the United States, Britain and Europe have been falling.

"Tourism conditions are likely to remain challenging, with arrivals from traditional markets such as the UK and US likely to remain subdued and the elevated New Zealand dollar also providing a headwind to tourist spending in New Zealand."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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