The brain drain is back

I remember John Key bemoaning the fact that a stadium full of New Zealanders left the country every year, most of them for Australia. John Key and his government did an enormous amount to make New Zealand a great place to live, but he probably knew that, as soon as Labour got back in to power, the trend would reverse again. Well, it has only taken nine months. This from Newstalk ZB Quote:

New Zealand’s annual net migration fell in May as the number of foreigners arriving stayed the same but the number of New Zealanders and foreigners leaving rose.

Annual net migration was at 66,200 in the year to May, from 72,000 in the year to May 2017, Statistics New Zealand said. A net 67,600 foreigners immigrated to New Zealand in the May year, while a net 1,400 Kiwis left the country.

The number of non-New Zealanders migrating here was virtually unchanged from the year earlier, at 130,200 from 130,400 in the year to May 2017, but the number of non-New Zealanders leaving rose 9.5 per cent to 64,000 in the year. That’s the highest level of migrant departures since May 2014, Stats NZ said. End quote.

The numbers may not seem large, but it is the start of a new trend. The Australian economy is picking up and ours is tanking. The news on the horizon is all about price rises and tax increases. For ordinary Kiwis and their families, the future is not looking that great.  Quote:

Increasing numbers of migrants came on work visas in the latest year, up 4.7 per cent to 46,500 from the previous year to May, with residence visa numbers down 16 per cent to 14,100 and student visas dropping 0.3 per cent to 23,700.

The United Kingdom remained the biggest source of work-visa migrants, though that number dropped 0.2 per cent to 7,400 in the latest year, as did the second and third-largest sources France and Germany which respectively dropped 3.5 per cent and 8.1 per cent. End quote.

The article does not try to explain any of the statistics, although the answer is becoming increasingly obvious. The current government is anti-business and anti-immigration (except for refugees) and does nothing to encourage people to get ahead. Most economic migrants want to work, to earn money, to buy houses, to educate their families. More and more, this is not the place to do those things.

I have been telling clients for months now that they have to prepare for increases in inflation, which means increases in interest rates. Some ask me how their children will ever be able to afford homes of their own. I tell them to wait. The housing crisis will soon disappear as more and more people leave the country for better opportunities overseas. I’m not sure that many of them believe me, but for those of us who have seen what has happened over the last 30 years or so, the answer is blindingly obvious. Day by day, this is no longer a great place to live. The current government is making sure of that.

This is just the beginning. Before you know where you are, we will be back to saying – “Will the last person to leave New Zealand please turn off the light?” Now that the exodus has started, it won’t take long.


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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