New Zealand Sees Record Net Migration for Year To March

By Ben Collins Features Dow Jones Newswires

New Zealand gained a record number of migrants for the year to March 31, according to government figures released Wednesday, with a net gain of 71,900 people.

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Annual net migration has been steadily increasing since 2012. The 129,500 people who migrated to the country over the period minus the 57,600 who left means the net gain surpassed the record set in February of 71,300 migrants.

Immigration has become a key issue ahead of a national election in September, with opposition parties pledging to significantly reduce the number of people who move to New Zealand over concerns around record-high housing prices and the strain the arrivals place on infrastructure.

The National party government, which has been in power since 2008, recently unveiled new immigration rules that include remuneration thresholds for skilled and nonskilled migrants who seek permanent residency status under the country's points-based eligibility system.

But there is a shortage of skilled workers in some industries and demand for migrant labour in industries such as farming.

"The simple reality is, in some industries and in some parts of New Zealand, it is not going to be possible to meet that demand for labor domestically," the New Zealand immigration minister Michael Woodhouse said.

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Write to Ben Collins at ben.collins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 25, 2017 20:43 ET (00:43 GMT)