Fleeing Aussies opt to live in NZ
By GREER McDONALD - The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Australian immigration authorities say the country has experienced its biggest annual exodus on record after more than 75,000 people left permanently in the past year.

Of those who left, the largest group - about 14,000 - intended to make New Zealand their new home, while the next biggest group migrated to Britain.

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the figures issued in the Emigration 2007-08 report showed that emigration played a significant role in Australia's present shortage of skilled workers.

But the reverse ditch-jumpers failed to even up figures that showed the migration of Kiwis to Australia for the year to June 2008 was the highest in 19 years, with 31,900 people crossing the Tasman.

Australian Lauren McMahon, 30, moved to Wellington from Melbourne in March last year and said she "basically calls it home now".

She was not surprised that more Australians had chosen to move to New Zealand as "it's such an amazing place", but said their decision to do so was probably not based on job opportunities.

Ms McMahon, a communications manager for Global Volunteer Network in Lower Hutt, said New Zealand remained a "well-kept secret" to many Australians.

More than 470,000 New Zealand citizens live in Australia, while about 60,000 Australians live in New Zealand, according to the Australian high commission.

Council of Trade Unions economist Peter Conway said the report showed that the number of Australians moving to New Zealand permanently had almost doubled in the past decade. "People aren't being put off coming here ... there's no turnoff, no negative perception."

He said the exodus of Australians did not change the overall situation, in which more than twice as many Kiwis moved to Australia as Australians moved to New Zealand.

From here.