How net migration affects New Zealand

Tuesday November 25, 2014 Hugh Dixon

In November 2014, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) has released data on the international migration for the year to October 2014, and for the first time ever net migration to New Zealand has reached 47,684 for the year to October 2014.

But how does this record high in net migration affect New Zealand? Net migration by region within New Zealand for the year to October 2014 can be seen in the map below.


chart net external migration

Gisborne was the only region that saw a decline in its population of around 50 due to external migration. Meaning it loss 50 more people than it gained from people arriving from overseas and departing overseas.

In fact two-thirds of New Zealand net migration occurred in just five out of the 16 regions. These were the Auckland, Canterbury, Waikato, Otago and Wellington regions. Of these five regions only two regions Auckland (21,800) and Canterbury (5,700) both gained over 2,000 in net migration in the last year, the remaining three gained between 1,000 and 2,000 migrants.

This shows that the gains from international migration are concentrated within the major cities, whilst the rest of the country only had small gains.

Otherwise the largest gains in net migration will continue to occur in Auckland, which in the year to October had a gain of 21,800 or 46 percent of the net migrants. These strong gains in net migration for Auckland represent a strong growth in its overall population (In the year to June 2014, Auckland grew by around 32,000 people).

While the strong increase in net migration into Auckland will most likely provide a good boost to its economy and labour market, on the downside it will most likely put significant further pressure onto Auckland’s housing market and infrastructure, which are already struggling.