By Jonathan Underhill
New Zealand has continued to post record net migration, with a 67,400 gain in the 12 months ended February 29, led by arrivals from Australia, China and the Philippines.
Migrant arrivals rose 10 percent to 124,200 in the latest 12 month period, from a year earlier, while departures fell 1 percent to 56,900, Statistics New Zealand said.
Net migration from Australia was a gain of 1600, the highest since September 1991 and the fifth straight month of annual gains.
Those on work visas jumped by 4700 to 38,600, while student visas climbed 3100 to 28,100 and arrivals of New Zealand and Australian citizens gained 2200 to 36,400.
India was the biggest source of student arrivals, rising one percent to 10,100 from a year earlier, followed by those from China at 5800 and the Philippines on 2300.
Work visa arrivals were led by those from the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia.
The biggest influx was to Auckland, where migrant arrivals rose 12 percent to 52,400 in the February year, of which work visas made up 16,500, student visas 13,000, Kiwi and Australian citizen arrivals 11,600 and resident visas 8500.
Strong inbound migration has helped underpin economic growth, which was 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter, for an annual pace of 2.3 percent, on increases in everything from business services to retailing, accommodation and home building.
Short-term visitor arrivals rose nine percent to 373,400 last month, a record for a February month, including a leap-year boost of 9200 that arrived on February 29.
Australia led the monthly influx, with a gain of 14,800 to 122,100, while those from China fell 2800 to 53,200 and those from the UK gaining 3600 to 37,100.
Annual visitor arrivals rose 10 percent to a record 3.2 million, of which 1.34 million were from Australia, 268,300 from China and 247,900 from the United States.