Two-year-high net migration 'not necessarily inflationary' - expert

New Zealand's net migration is taking off again, hitting its highest levels in more than two years.

The latest Statistics NZ data shows an annual net migration gain of 33,200 people, which compares with a loss of 17,500 people. 

That was New Zealand's highest net migration level since December 2020.

Milford Asset Management portfolio manager Frances Sweetman said the gains would have good knock-on effects on the economy.

"What we're looking for is a lot of workers coming over and that seems to be what we're seeing," she told AM. "We're seeing some seasonal workers that will go but we're also seeing some people that look like they're coming here to stay on a more permanent basis and they're the ones that will actually help the capacity constraints in this economy.

"We know that we've got really big labour shortages and we know that's put a cap on our economy's ability to grow and meet demand."

And while consumer prices were currently red-hot - with inflation running at 7.2 percent - Sweetman didn't believe the influx of people would worsen that figure.

"In general, as long as they're earning as well as they're spending, it is actually not necessarily inflationary because they're taking some of that pressure off wage growth," she said.

Frances Sweetman.
Frances Sweetman. Photo credit: AM

And that was great news for the economy, Sweetman said.

"You can often see that migrants will save more or not have as much disposable income to spend because they've moved country and they've spent money on moving, and they're trying to save up for a new house or they're taking on rent deposits so, actually, it can have the opposite effect and it can be deflationary.

"Of course, we know that there are negative impacts from fast population growth as well when we don't have the infrastructure to support it and it can put pressure on the housing market…but I think, in general, it's a good thing for an economy where we've got big labour shortages."