Statistics NZ has released the latest nett permanent and long term migration figures for the year to date at October 2017. There is a slight fall from a few months previously. But they remain at the sustained high that has been putting major pressure on infrastructure and resources – especially in Auckland where well more than half of nett migration gets retained.
This chart shows that the biggest impact continues to be from the movement of non-citizens.
Just to give a sense of what this means in a historical context, the following chart from figure.nz gives the last 55 years of natural increase from the existing population vs nett migration patterns. This shows the roughly steady natural increase and the spiky changes in net migration as conditions and rules shift (note the zero line in the middle of the chart).
This shows that over the last 55 years, the natural rate of increase in the NZ population has usually well exceeded the changes from net migration, up until the last few years when nett migration abruptly jumped to close to twice the previous high over a number of years.
Within the nett migration pattern, there is the pattern of NZ citizens vs non-NZ as is shown in the chart below. Note that the zero line is in the middle of the chart.
This clearly shows the pattern of NZ citizens moving out of the country (mostly to Australia) as a offsetting nett inwards migration from non citizens. It also shows the shifts in economic factors, mostly in Australia, changing the immediate levels of NZ citizens leaving, but overall showing a reasonably steady loss of about 20k per year.
Meanwhile the long term non citizen nett migration shows a slow but steady rise over time with occasional spikes as immigration policies shift.
What is noticeable in both of these charts is the historically sharp rise in inwards non-citizen migration in recent years. When you look at the last decade of nett migration as a smoothed curve in the Stats NZ October summary, the level of increase in nett migration in recent years is extreme.
On top of this, there is also the increase short-term visitor numbers. Last December 29th there were a record 350 thousand mostly tourists present in NZ on the day. It will likely to be higher again this year and represents close to a doubling of the numbers since December 2000.
All of those visitors have to received and sent from somewhere. Because of the restricted gateways into NZ that pretty much means that the bulk of them spend at least a few days around the major international airports at Auckland or Christchurch. The booking intervals for Auckland are still increasing, and that is despite a rather large increase in short-term accommodation capacity. Even the backpackers and AirB&B accommodation seems to have been running at full capacity since August and are already booked solid over the new year.
All of this has significiant economic implications about the current deficits in recent building of accommodation and urban infrastructure. Even leaving aside the questions of if we want this speed of increase in population to happen, we simply aren’t keeping up with the levels of investment to allow the current increases in resident populations; natural, long term migrants, and even visitor numbers.
This is especially the case in Auckland with its already rapid natural growth and from internal migration from other parts of NZ towards the higher paid jobs. If you look at the stats department analysis of where Auckland is likely to head population wise over the next few decades
Right now being in Auckland (as someone wrote in a recent Metro article) feels like living in a city of cones as the roads and transport systems get belatedly upgraded. Our skyline looks like a framework of cranes from all of the accommodation builds. I can see about 8 of them on the skyline from just outside my backdoor just looking across the gully. Today next to my apartment one is being set up to increase the height of the neighbouring building. The whole city feels like we are living in a building site – and it sounds like it as well.
But all of this activity is still way way too slow and too little.
Sure the outright speculation from people laundering overseas cash in a tax free property bubble has diminished and the housing prices have started to stabilize. But that was after my 51 square metre city fringe apartment had gone from a rateable value of $230,000 to $450,000 in 3 years. I’d hate to think what the actual saleable value would be, or what my rates are going to look like next year.
But the housing supply in Auckland isn’t nearly keeping up – even with the existing demand from the tourism, natural increase and internal migration from the rest of NZ. It hasn’t got a shit show of being able to handle the current levels of nett long term migration from offshore.
Neither the current spray of cones nor the cranes across the Auckland landscape have any way of significantly cutting into the backlog accumulated from National’s having a wild immigration spree whilst simultaneously being a tightwad about paying for it. The level of activity would have to at least triple to even have a hope of reducing the backlog of National’s malicious decade of infrastructure neglect of the Auckland urban area. To make that happen would put the city into gridlock.
What that particular bit of stupidity and/or cynical economic pumping has meant is that we’re going to have to cut nett migration drastically and soon.
Personally I’d also dump both the America’s Cup and APEC if that was possible as they are just the harbingers of future roadjams and a diversion of building effort from what makes the city work to meaningless frivolity. Can I suggest that Wellington harbour is less full of shit these days and could probably do with building a waterfront and more hotels.
Note: I’m getting a bit short of toleration about ignorant bigots of all kinds confusing issues about migration, housing and infrastructure with racism. I’d suggest that no-one does it on my post unless they want to find out how I deal with idiotic bigotry.