Still more migrants arriving in the country than leaving - Statistics New Zealand

There are more migrants arriving in New Zealand than leaving, according to official statistics, but more of our citizens continue to leave than come home.

The country's annual net migration in the past year to April was 55,800, Statistics New Zealand said in a statement on Wednesday. Migrant arrivals were 151,000 and migrant departures were 95,1000.

However, senior demographer Kim Dunstan told Newshub it was simply a "continued, sustained" period of net migration.

Statistics NZ said 19 percent of migrant arrivals were from Australia, of which 64 percent were NZ citizens, and 25 percent Australian.

The number of migrants from China was at 11 percent, and 10 percent came from India.

However Dunstan said a large number of arrivals were already NZ citizens.

"They're the biggest single group," he told Newshub. "The other significant groups are those on work visas, working holiday visas, student visas and visitor visas.

"Some of them will extend those visas and end up staying for a period of a few years."

Dunstan noted departures are up from a few years ago, but "not tremendously". There was an estimated net loss of 8600 NZ citizens in the year to November 2018.

"The end result is that these net migration levels are still high," Dunstan said. "Between 48,000 and about 62,000 over the past few years - they've been in that pretty narrow band.

"Over the past five years we've had some of the largest population growth we've ever had."

Dunstan said the population is expected to continue growing, just not so significantly.

"[Population] impacts every sector," he said. "This is of course the reason we measure the size of our population."

Stats NZ population indications manager Tehseen Islam said the only previous time net migration had been at such levels was in the early 2000s.