NZ Immigration Highest In More Than Two Years

N.Z. Immigration Is Highest in More Than Two Years (Update2)

By Tracy Withers

July 21 (Bloomberg) — New Zealands annual immigration growth accelerated to the highest level in more than two years in June, adding to signs that consumer spending and demand for housing may speed the economys recovery from a recession.

The number of permanent migrant arrivals exceeded departures by 12,515 in the 12 months to June 30, Statistics New Zealand said in a report released today in Wellington. Thats up from 11,202 in the year through May and is the most since the 12 months to February 2007.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said last month a recovery in immigration may bolster spending and help the economy grow in the final quarter of this year, which would end seven quarters of recession. The increase in immigration has been stoked by fewer New Zealanders heading overseas.

Migration is a positive for the economy and will provide support to both the housing market and spending, said Philip Borkin, economist at ANZ National Bank Ltd. in Wellington. Migration is a reason, along with signs of stabilization in other pockets, that suggest the Reserve Bank is on hold.

Permanent departures fell 5.9 percent in the year ended June 30, the statistics agency said. Departures dropped 27 percent in the three months to June 30 from a year earlier.

Analysts monitor a monthly, seasonally adjusted series to determine the pace of immigration. In June, a net 1,740 migrants arrived compared with 2,580 in May, the agency said. Monthly arrivals fell to the lowest level in more than a year.

Fewer Tourists

Tourist arrivals declined for a second month in June, which may curb spending in an industry that makes up about 10 percent of the New Zealand economy.

Short-term visitor arrivals dropped 3.8 percent from May when they fell 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted, the agency said.

The global recession has curbed international air travel, reducing tourist arrivals from Asia and Europe. The outbreak of swine flu has also made people reluctant to travel.

Arrivals in the year ended June 30 fell 2.8 percent from a year earlier, led by a 67 percent plunge in arrivals from Japan and large declines in arrivals from China, the U.K. and the U.S.

Annual arrivals from Australia rose 4.2 percent as the government targeted that nation with extra marketing. Excluding Australia, annual arrivals fell 7.2 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at

Last Updated: July 20, 2009 19:47 EDT