Grass is greener on the other side as Australians head to New Zealand

Call it the Frodo factor: Australians – both permanent residents or citizens – are deserting these shores for the greener pastures of New Zealand.

In April, for the first time in 24 years, long-term and permanent migration from Australia to New Zealand outnumbered those heading in the opposite direction.

The chart below shows the net long-term and permanent migration flow between the the two nations. As you can see it’s extremely rare that net migration to New Zealand occurs.

On a rolling 12-month basis, you can also see that the once-enormous migratory flows from New Zealand to Australia are slowing fast. In the year to April, net long-term and permanent migration from New Zealand to Australia slowed to just 1,920, the lowest level seen since February 1992.

While it would be nice to say it’s occurring because Australia hasn’t won the Bledisloe Cup from the All Blacks since 2002, the reality is that it’s probably the divergent performance between the Australian and New Zealand economies – something that we’ve covered here – that explains the sudden reversal.

The chart below, which plots net monthly migratory flows between the two nations against the Aussie and New Zealand Dollar exchange rate, tells the story.

As the Kiwi appreciated against the Aussie, the numbers of people looking to settle permanently in Australia slowed to a crawl.

While the Kiwi has subsequently fallen 7% against the Aussie in recent months, if you think the Kiwis in Manly and Bondi are disappearing you’d probably be right.

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