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Jonathan Coleman

24 June, 2009

Goodbye to the Kiwi brain drain

While the Labour government waved thousands of Kiwis goodbye, the National government is welcoming them back.

Recently released statistics show that New Zealand's brain drain has slowed dramatically over the past year, Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

Departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia over the past year are down 34 percent and departures to the UK are down 26 percent. New Zealand's net migration inflows are now above the average of the past 10 years.

"Under the Labour government, with its high taxes and disincentives to getting ahead, thousands of our brightest and most talented people chose to seek their fortunes overseas," Dr Coleman says.

"Now, these people are choosing to either stay in New Zealand or return home to build a better, brighter and more prosperous future under the National government.

"We said in our manifesto we'd retain Kiwis and attract overseas Kiwis home - and we are doing just that."

Dr Coleman said the retention of talent was great for the country as it would stimulate the retail and housing sectors. Kiwis who gained work experience overseas would help play a role in turning New Zealand into a high skills, high productivity and high wage economy.

Statistics New Zealand figures showed that in May 2009 net annual inflows of permanent and long-term migrants reached their highest levels in two years driven by strong growth in the past six months.

"Helen Clark and Phil Goff were waving Kiwis goodbye. John Key is welcoming them back," Dr Coleman says.

  • Jonathan Coleman
  • Immigration