More Kiwis staying home or returning
4:00AM Friday May 22, 2009
By Grant Bradley

Migration figures showing more New Zealanders are staying put or returning home should help to revive sagging retail spending and underpin the housing market, economists say.

Net migration has climbed to levels not seen for five years.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, permanent and long-term arrivals exceeded departures by 2160 in April, up from 1730 in March. This could result in inflows of more than 20,000 annually by the end of this year.

Australia is not looking as attractive for New Zealand job seekers, with the net outflow across the Tasman of 1600, down from 3200 a year ago and 2500 in April 2007.

ASB economist Jane Turner said Australia had not been immune to the global economic downturn and had experienced rising unemployment roughly in line with New Zealand.

"With the grass no longer greener across the Tasman, more New Zealanders are opting to stay home."

Ms Turner said the turnaround in migration over the past few months had been swift, and the trend was expected to continue.

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