Bye Auckland - South's appeal reverses the drift
5:00AM Wednesday June 25, 2008
By Simon Collins

A century-long population drift to the north has gone into reverse.

A Statistics New Zealand report on internal migration shows that a net 10,300 people moved from the North Island to the South Island in the five years before the 2006 census.

The Auckland region alone lost a net 18,000 people. This was still dwarfed by 66,000 immigrants coming into Auckland from overseas, but the figures suggest that some immigrants now use Auckland as a staging post from which to move to other regions.

Economist Phil McDermott said the figures confirmed that New Zealand was seeing the same trend towards decentralisation that had been evident in the United States since the 1970s, as an older and technologically wired population escaped the cities.

The biggest magnets for migrating Kiwis were the Bay of Plenty and Waikato, including Coromandel, and, in the South Island, Canterbury and Otago, including Queenstown.

"There is a growing movement now towards lifestyle localities," Dr McDermott said.

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