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Migration decline continues

Immigration policy is set to change under the new Labour-led government but new Statistics New Zealand data shows migration flows have already started to wane.

Friday, October 20th 2017, 11:00AM

by Miriam Bell

For the second month in a row, annual net migration was down – dropping to 71,000 in the September 2017 year, according to the Statistics New Zealand.

This was the weakest monthly net inflow in 28 months.

Population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said the annual net migration in September 2017 was lower than the record annual net migration of 72,400 reached in the July 2017 year.

“Compared to this peak, we had fewer arrivals and more departures in the September 2017 year.”

The monthly net gain of migrants continued to trend down, as it has been in recent months.

Once seasonally adjusted, there was a net gain of 5,200 migrants in September, as compared to August’s net gain of 5,490 migrants.

This was well down on the 6,300 migrants who arrived in June this year.

While immigration policy is set to change under the new Labour-led government, economists have been suggesting that the recent record high migration flow has peaked for a while.

Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said their forecasts have incorporated a slowdown in net migration for some time and they are now seeing a lift in departures occurring.

There are no firm policy details on immigration policy yet following the change in government.

But Ranchhod said it looks like there will be a reduction in arrival numbers of around 20,000 to 30,000 people per year and the reductions will be focused around lower skilled arrivals and students.

That would be in line with Labour’s announced policy intentions, but less severe than the change NZ First had proposed, he said.

“In terms of the economic implications, the Reserve Bank, Treasury and ourselves are already forecasting a substantial reduction in net immigration over the coming few years.

“The potential policy change could imply a slightly faster reduction than we had been assuming, but wouldn’t materially alter our forecasts.

“Importantly, we will still be left with significant pressures in terms of housing demand.”

ASB senior economist Mark Smith said that, over the near term, they expect net migration to remain elevated reflecting the backlog of people in the system.

“However, the outlook beyond then is that policy changes will trigger a moderation in net immigration inflows, largely via restrictions to non-New Zealand resident arrival numbers.

“The improving Australian labour market, if sustained, could further slow net immigration via triggering increased departures across the ditch.”

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ANZ 4.44 3.15 3.25 3.39
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ASB Bank 4.45 2.55 2.69 2.79
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China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
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Credit Union South 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 3.35 3.85 -
Heartland 3.95 2.89 2.97 3.39
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 3.85 3.95 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.45 2.60 2.65
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
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HSBC Special - - - -
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Kainga Ora 4.43 ▼2.93 ▼3.07 ▼3.24
Kiwibank 3.40 3.30 3.54 3.54
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SBS Bank Special - ▼2.55 2.69 ▼2.75
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 2.55 2.69 2.79
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Median 4.55 3.05 3.13 3.12

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