Migration, tourism go flat
Long-term migration went flat in December, as did tourist numbers.
There were 7390 people trooping in via Immigration New Zealand and 7390 trekking out for other homes. The last time the mix was the same was May 1984.
For the year, though, the figure is a net loss of 1200 people.
On a monthly basis, New Zealand is still losing people to Australia – 3300 in December – but this was offset by gains from elsewhere.
The highest monthly net loss to Australia was in February 2001, Statistics New Zealand says, but the highest annual net loss was much more recent – for the 12 months to August 2012.
Today's figures suggest the exodus is continuing to slow since that peak. September, October and November migration figures showed net migration gains of, respectively, 180, 300 and 550.
The largest annual net loss was in the year to July 1979, which showed a 43,600 deficit.
Auckland and Canterbury gained migrants over the year, with arrivals outstripping departures by 3900 and 400, respectively.
The net gain for Canterbury is mostly construction workers, Statistics NZ says.
Tourism numbers, meanwhile, showed the same number as the same time last year – 364,000 people.
The mix of tourists changed, though, with a drop-off in arrivals from Australia, Britain and Malaysia, and a rise in tourists from China, Japan and Germany.
For the year, 2.565 million tourists visited New Zealand, a 1% drop on the same time last year.
The drop could be seen as a return to normal trend after a spike in the Rugby World Cup year of 2011. Visitors in 2010 totalled 2.525 million, while the previous two years showed visitors at 2.458 million.
However, the mix of purposes of visit changed. The numbers arriving for holiday rose 1300 in 2012 compared to 2011, while the numbers arriving for conferences and conventions fell 1100.
Whether this drop truly reflects a Rugby World Cup factor depends on the degree to which firms used the RWC event as something to base a conference trip around. Anecdotally, there was a reasonable measure of this, but there are no figures availalbe to confirm or null that impression.
New Zealanders, meanwhile, are taking advantage of the high currency to travel more overseas.
Trips rose 4% from 2.09 million to 2.17 million, with a 17,300 rise in visits to the United States and a 15,600 rise in visits to Australia.