70,000 is new norm for net migration inflow

Monday July 31, 2017 Kel Sanderson

There is a new normal.


Three months ago we assessed that the migration inflow roller coaster was finally over the top. That was when the 12 month net inflow fell from 71,300 in January to 70,400 in March and April.


However, there has since been a marginal rebound, with the net inflow for the 12 months to June 2017 still up at 70,797.   In recent history, the net inflow hit 69,000 in the 2015-2016 June year, and has been stubbornly in the range of 69,000to 71,300 ever since.


We now have to conclude that 70,000 net inflow a year is the new norm.

Impact on Population


The total net migration inflow in the last four years was 236,500 people.


To put this in perspective, this migration flow in four years is greater than each of the urban areas in the country except the three largest: Auckland, Christchurch urban area, and Wellington urban area.  Looked at another way it is greater than the 201,000 increase in the total population in the 18 largest urban areas in the seven years from 2006 to 2013.  And it is over twice the 110,000 increase in Auckland’s population in that seven year period.


There are two rather extreme population change factors here.

  • The sheer magnitude of the change. The net migration inflow of 236,000 in four years is greater than the total population increase measured in the seven years between the Censuses.

  • The distortions and tensions being experienced within regional New Zealand.  The population increase in Auckland of 110,000 between the last two Censuses was over one-half of the total increase 201,000 in all urban areas.


Short-term economic activity has undoubtedly been boosted by the migration boom.  Whether the longer-term impacts on sustainable urban development and infrastructure are as benign, however, are moot.