Refreshing to see the fourth estate challenging the political spin from time to time.
The Independent Financial Review has this on the myth of the Aussie brain drain:
Far from losing our “best and brightest” as business lobby groups insist about half of Kiwi migrants are blue collar or “no collar” workers, according to departure card information collated by Statistics New Zealand…
People needed to keep a sense of perspective about migration, added Richard Bedford, University of Waikato director of population studies… “You can’t panic over one year’s figures you’ve got to put them in the longer-term context.”
Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O’Reilly has been thunderous in his criticism of the Labour government, blaming it for the loss of capable workers.
The statistics tell a different story. Just over 37,000 Kiwis moved to Australia last year, nearly one-quarter of them children aged under 15, leaving 28,654 of working age.
Of these, a little under half (13,838) did not record an occupation on departure cards, leaving 14,816. Half of these were blue collar or no-collar, ranging from sales and service to unskilled labour.
White collar occupations ranged from professionals to clerks.
Khawaja said 45% of New Zealanders living overseas have a university degree, but this is dragged down by migration to Australia, where Kiwis don’t face entry requirements.
The proportion of tertiary educated foreigners moving to New Zealand is much higher, he said. Taking into consideration Australian migration to New Zealand, there was a net outflow of 28,000, a quarter of whom were children.
Anecdotal evidence, Bedford added, suggested Australian migration to New Zealand was highly educated because a high proportion involved managerial positions.
“The brightest and best bit was overstated,” Bedford said. “The reality is that an awful lot of New Zealanders travel overseas, get experience and come back home.
“Over a long period there are cycles. In a few more years [the net outflow to Australia] will be reversed.”
Below is a quick graph to show the relative proportions as above.
What it suggests is that contrary to Key’s theatrical claim that this year a whole stadium of top Kiwis are leaving for Australia, the real scale is more like a couple of rows.
What’s more, the figures show that those choosing to leave are being replaced to a significant degree by skilled migrants via an inflow through the corporate boxes.