New immigrants will be given extra incentives to take up jobs in the regions, Prime Minister John Key has announced.
Mr Key says almost half of the 10,000 skilled migrants and their families who get residence each year move to Auckland.
"We want to balance that out a bit, by attracting more people into other parts of the country to help grow local economies," he told the National Party's annual conference in Auckland today.
Migrants with offers for jobs in the regions will get extra points that will count towards the 100 they require to apply for residence.
However, they will need to commit to a region for at least 12 months - up from the current requirement of three months.
Mr Key has also unveiled changes to encourage entrepreneurs wanting to come to New Zealand to look for business opportunities in the regions, and a limited number of long-term migrants on temporary work visas in the South Island.
He says the package of changes will help spread the benefits of migration across the country, particularly in those regions crying out for workers, skills and investment.
Most of the changes will come into effect on November 1.