There’s been considerable talk in 2020 about people moving around the country as COVID-19 changes how people live, work, and play. We’ve never had complete and official data on how Kiwis are shifting across New Zealand, but Stats NZ has recently included some net internal migration data which provides a first cut of Kiwis mobility.
The need to understand our changing population has been more important than ever, as an unexpected wave of migration rendered previous projections obsolete. This article explores how this migration wave changed our population, and our view of the future.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, migration movements have presented themselves as a puzzling aspect of New Zealand’s economic path forward. Migration has many effects on both the labour market and the wider economy, and will remain a key, but rapidly changing, factor moving ahead, so it’s worth paying attention to.
Infometrics’ latest forecasts suggest there is little reason to be feeling more upbeat about New Zealand’s economic prospects, despite some improvement in confidence surveys over the last few months. The company expects growth to regain some momentum over the next year, but it believes nothing has changed to help the economy avoid mediocre results beyond 2021.
Local councils are once again putting their thoughts towards their Long Term (10-year) Plans which need to be completed next year. Fundamental to their plans are reliable metrics on the size of their current and future population.
Households could go into their shells over the next year as economic conditions worsen, with little to support spending growth in the near-term, according to Infometrics’ latest economic forecasts. The stagnating labour market and the potential for house prices to fall both threaten to drag consumer confidence further below its long-term average.
Immigration is a tricky topic when we can’t agree on the numbers, and aside from that is an evergreen political hot potato. Among many legitimate concerns and disagreements, New Zealand has to contend with Islamophobic arguments despite levels of migration being relatively low.
It’s now been three months since Statistics NZ released new migration data based on traveller outcomes rather than intentions. And all we actually know for sure is that no one has any idea what is happening to migration any more. We’d do just as well to estimate next month’s migration figure by playing darts while blindfolded.
New Zealand is at the mercy of international economic trends more than at any time since 2011, according to Infometrics’ latest economic forecasts. On the domestic front, net migration is slowing, the housing market has softened, and the tight labour market means that capacity pressures are inhibiting further growth.
New Zealand’s provincial economies are poised to drive growth in the economy, building on the recovery in dairy prices during 2016, according to Infometrics latest economic forecasts. Spending activity in the regions is comfortably outpacing activity in the main centres, with commodity prices for most exports holding at high levels.