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BUSINESSDESK: The number of New Zealanders packing their bags and heading to Australia held at a record annual level in July.
Some 39,849 Kiwis left for Australia in the year ended July 31, equalling the record levels set in April and June this year, Statistics New Zealand says.
Total departures to Australia were a record 53,900 departures, offset by14,000 arrivals from Australia. In both directions, most migrants were Kiwis.
Kiwis have been quitting New Zealand for Australia for years as they seek higher wages and a better standard of living, creating a political issue for the National government, which vowed to reverse the trend.
There was a net gain in migrants from most other countries, led by the UK, up 2.2% to 5490 in July from a month earlier, and China gaining about 12% to 5145.
Short-term visitor arrivals fell 1% to 173,500 last month from a year earlier to their lowest level since July 2007, led by fewer visitors from Malaysia, Korea and Britain.
Visitors from China rose 25% to 2,400 compared to July 2011, while the number of Japanese visitors "returned closer to the level of 2010, after being affected by the earthquakes in 2011", population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn says.
Kiwi residents departed on 205,600 overseas trips in July, less than the 231,600 taken in July 2011. The high July 2011 total attributed to the later-than-usual school holidays because of the Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand residents going on overseas holidays rose 2% to 2.128 million in the July year.
The biggest increase was in trips to the US, "helped by the favourable exchange rate between the United States dollar and the New Zealand dollar", Statistics NZ says.