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Is Australia in danger of being overrun by a tidal wave of New Zealanders?

Recent data from both Statistics New Zealand   and the ABS   would indicate that Australia appears to be the pot of gold shining brightly at the end of the rainbow that hovers over the Tasman Sea.


  • The net loss of NZ migrants to Australia in the 12 months to July 2012 was 39,800. This equals New Zealand’s highest ever net loss to Australia, previously recorded in both the April 2012 and June 2012 years. The July 2012 annual figure resulted from 53,900 departures to Australia was a record, offset by 14,000 arrivals from Australia (mostly Kiwis returning).
  • Between 1989 and 2009, the proportion of NZ-born people in Australia’s estimated resident population (ERP) increased from 1.7% to 2.4%. This makes New Zealand the second largest single country contributor to Australia’s overseas-born population (1.UK 5.4% of ERP, 3.China 1.6% 4.India 1.4%).
  • The number of NZ-born people living in Australia increased by 89% over the last two decades, from 280,200 in 1989 to 529,200 in 2009. Only 37% of NZ-born Australian residents were Australian citizens.
  • The 2006 Census showed that 65% of Australia’s NZ-born population had been in Australia since 1996, including 41% who had been here since 1986. Thirty eight per cent of Australian-domiciled New Zealanders lived in Queensland and 27% lived in New South Wales. Of all residents in the Surfers Paradise area, 11% identified themselves as Kiwi-born.
  • Construction and Manufacturing were the most common industries of employment among working 15-64 year old NZ-born males (21% and 13% respectively). Of those in Construction, just under half were Technicians or trade workers (46%), and a further 28% were Labourers.
  • Health care and social assistance was a common industry of employment among NZ-born females aged 15-64 years (16%), of which Professionals made up 37%, Community and personal service workers a further 32% and 19% were in Clerical or administrative positions.

All data from Statistics New Zealand’s International Travel and Migration (July 2012) and ABS’s Australian Social Trends (Sept 2010, Catalogue 4102.0)

On Wednesday 22nd August 2012, the President of the NZ Council of Trade Unions, Helen Kelly said, on ABC Radio, that she believed it was the more regulated Australian labour market, protecting the wages and conditions of non-professional workers, that was a big factor in attracting many semi-skilled and low-skilled Kiwis to Australia.

The past twelve months (Aug 2011 – July 2012) an average of 148 Kiwis arrived in Australia, each day.

That’s a lot of extra conversations about rugby, Middle Earth and Olympic gold medals per-capita, that I’m sure many Australians would prefer not to have!

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Aaron Dodd

Ross, it also highlights what many Australians don't realise or understand; that Australia (like the USA of 100 years ago) is a land of opportunity, where, with a bit of hard work, anyone can make something of themselves. Migrants (including Kiwis like me) know that…you only have to look around to see how many successful migrants there are here. It's not just a lucky country, it's the luckiest country.

I've also seen statistics that demonstrate that NZers in Australia, on average, are better educated, earn more, pay more tax and employ more Australians than the general Australian poulation. Keep them coming I say!

Marcus Grennell

Coincidentally, TV1’s Sunday program (NZ) ran an article on 2/9/12 suggesting that AUS may cap or close the door to migrating NZ’ers unless highly-skilled.

I’m sure many Australians thoroughly enjoy hearing about our RWC-winning rugby team, stunning LOTR geography and medal haul!


Marcus – while the likes of BHP are actively recruiting workers in New Zealand it is highly unlikely that Australia will "Close the door" to kiwi's.

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