23 Apr 2014

NZ economy keeps residents close to home

1:43 pm on 23 April 2014

New Zealand gained its second biggest net influx of migrants in March, mainly because fewer people left for Australia and more foreigners settled here.

The exodus across Tasman has slowed.

The exodus across Tasman has slowed. Photo: RNZ

The Government Statistician says the country gained a net 3800 permanent residents in March.

That was only beaten by the 4700 gain in February 2003 and the increase then was due to a large number of overseas students arriving to study at New Zealand universities.

The nation made a net gain of nearly 31,900 permanent residents in the 12 months to March and that's the highest gain since the 12 months to January 2004.

It's still well shy of the record annual gain of 42,500 people in the 12 months to May 2003.

New Zealand lost just a net 400 permanent residents to Australia in March, the lowest ever.

An economist at Bank of New Zealand, Doug Steel, says the population gain is extremely strong.

By continuing to both keep New Zealanders home, and attract foreigners, the faster-growing economy will boost consumer and housing demand, he says.