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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The big clean out 

So, how's that closing the gap with Australia going?

Well, a record 3300 (net) Kiwis left New Zealand for its warmer, wealthier pastures in May alone.

This compares (unfavourably) with a net loss of 'just' 1700 last May.

That Nice Mr Key is lucky the media is framing this largely as a "people abandoning Christchurch due to the constant bloody earthquakes" issue, rather than as a "the New Zealand economy is poked, and getting worse" issue.

However, the Christchurch angle doesn't bear too much scrutiny: only 800 international departees listed that as their prior permanent abode. That's only 300 more than left Christchurch in May 2010.

Put it another way: even if all 800 Christchurch residents leaving New Zealand went to Australia (and they didn't ... that figure includes all emigrants), it would account for only half the net increase in loss to Australia between May 2010 and May 2011!

In addition, we could estimate that the 800 figure is only 18.8% of the 4257 gross departures from New Zealand to Australia (945 people moved permanently in the opposite direction).

Given that not all 800 would have left for Australia, this means that more than 83% of New Zealanders heading permanently in that direction were from non-earthquake-afflicted areas.

That's the line the media should go with.

Or, it could lead with part of this quote from Prof Paul Spoonley, which seems on the money:

"Once these people have found a job and are settled in Australia, then the short answer is that they are unlikely to be coming back," he said.

"We are losing people who are in their prime working age and very often, they take their family and children along with them.

"So effectively, New Zealand is losing two generations of Kiwis at least."

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