Last Updated: 2012-06-22
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WELLINGTON, June 22 (NNN-Bernama) -- The exodus of New Zealanders to Australia last month slowed for the first time in two years, the New Zealand government statistics agency announced Friday.

The net monthly loss of migrants to Australia, compared with the previous year, had been increasing since May 2010, China's Xinhua news agency reported citing Statistics New Zealand.

"In May 2012, there was a net loss of 3,200 migrants to Australia, compared with a loss of 3,300 in May 2011. May 2012 is the first month since April 2010 that the net loss of migrants has decreased," said a commentary to the monthly International Travel and Migration report.

The net loss of migrants to Australia in the year to May was 39,600, and it followed the highest-ever net loss to Australia of 39,800 in the April year.

"Until this month, annual net outflows to Australia had been at record levels. In the May 2012 year, there were 53,400 departures to Australia, offset by 13,800 arrivals from Australia. Most migrants were New Zealand citizens," said a statement from the agency.

New Zealand had a net gain (excess of arrivals over departures) of 200 migrants in May, following a net loss of 800 migrants in April and a net gain of 200 migrants in March 2012.

The latest figure is due to an increase in arrivals (up 600) and a decrease in departures (down 300) compared with April 2012.

Last month, migration to and from Christchurch returned to levels seen before the Feb 22 earthquake last year, when 185 people died.

After the quake, 800 Christchurch residents moved overseas in May 2011, compared with 500 in both May this year and May 2010. Four hundred migrants arrived from overseas to settle in Christchurch in both May this year and May 2010, compared with 300 in May 2011.

New Zealand had a net loss of 3,700 migrants in the year to May, continuing an annual net loss of migrants since the October 2011 year, peaking at 4,100 in the February 2012 year.

There were net gains of migrants from most other countries, led by the United Kingdom (5,500), India (5,200), and China (5,000).