23 September 2010

More stats on the employment relationship between NZ and Australia

Three months ago I wrote about the huge benefit that Australia gains from having New Zealand as a neighbour, providing an unrestricted and constant flow of labour into the Australian economy.

Recently the NZ Department of Labour (Te Tari Mahi) released an Employment Briefing Paper on Trans-Tasman migration which is helpful in providing some ‘missing data' that was not covered in the ABS Fact Sheet which formed the basis of my InSight article.

Here's some additional data you might be interested in:

• In 2006 there were 63,000 Australian-born people living in NZ (versus 548,000 NZ-born living in Aus as at June 2009).

• Recent research has found that economic factors, such as greater opportunities and a higher standard of living, were seen as more important than lifestyle or family factors in Kiwi's moving to live in Australia. These findings are also consistent with a recent study of Māori in Australia, which highlighted economic opportunities in Australia as a major motivation for Māori migration.

• Since 1991, there has been a net outflow of 297,400 people from NZ to Australia - an average of about 16,500 people each year. The annual inflow of migrants from Australia has only twice (in 1983 and 1991) matched the annual outflow. These periods both coincided with an economic recession in Australia, lowering job opportunities for New Zealanders.

• In the five year period between 2001 and 2006, 3.6 people returned to NZ from Australia for every 10 Kiwis who left for Australia.

• In 2006, New Zealanders at prime ages were spread throughout all occupation groups in Australia, but were relatively more likely to work in occupations like machinery operators, labourers, technicians and trades workers. Machinery and plant operators in Australia earned, on average, almost a 60% higher income level than their counterparts in New Zealand.

• The industry containing the highest relative share of New Zealanders in Australia was mining followed by transport and then accommodation. The industry with the most New Zealanders working in it was manufacturing (23,093).

After a more thorough reading of the data, it appears that opportunities in the Australian resources sector are proving to be a compelling and rewarding reason for Kiwis to continue their flight across the Tasman.

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