The number of people coming to New Zealand hit a new high in January, although this was mainly due to returning New Zealanders rather than new immigrants.
Official figures show more than 71,300 people settled here in the year to January, beating the previous annual record set a month earlier by 700.
The January month also set a new high of 6460 – the fifth successive month net migration has exceeded 6000.
Migrant arrivals hit an all-time high of 128,300 in the January 2017 year, with about a third of the total being on work visas, while returning New Zealanders also figured prominently.
“The strength of our labour market and general economic outlook are key influences,” Westpac Bank senior economist Satish Ranchhod said.
That’s a good sign for our economy, but it is likely to put even more pressure on housing.
Not everything is on the rise.
More stringent student visa requirements in the wake of abuse of English language requirements and fraudulent applications have made a dent in numbers, falling 13 percent to 24,300 for the year.
But that was made up for by returning Kiwis.
“About a fifth of all migrant arrivals were from Australia,” Statistics New Zealand population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.
“Almost two-thirds of the migrant arrivals from Australia were New Zealand citizens.”
The Government can’t control the number of New Zealanders who want to return, but they have tried to reduce the number of new immigrants.
Last year, the government moved to reduce the number of new migrants, including raising the points needed in the skilled migrant category to 160 from 140, and more than halving the number of people allowed entry under the family category to 2000.
And tourist numbers also continue to rise.
The number of visitor arrivals rose to 381,100 in January and 3.54 million for the year, both record highs.
“The strong increase in visitor arrivals in January 2017 coincided with the Chinese New Year,” Mr Dolan said.
“Over 54,000 visitors from China arrived in New Zealand in January 2017.”
Half of the annual increase in tourist arrivals came from Australia, China and the United States.
And this is putting pressure on infrastructure in tourist areas as well as on tourist attractions.