NZ sees more departures than arrivals since March lockdown

Updated December 14, 2020

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Wellington, Dec 14 (IANS) The number of people departing New Zealand has exceeded that of arrivals every month since the introduction of full border restrictions in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Monday.

Arrivals and departures include all people crossing the border, either for short-term trips or longer term, Xinhua news agency quoted Stats NZ as saying in its latest update.

From April (the first full month under border restrictions) to October, there were 119,400 departures, and 65,900 arrivals.

In the same period in 2019 there were 3.86 million departures and 3.82 million arrivals, statistics showed.

"Covid-19-related border restrictions and disruptions to flight availability didn't halt travel completely and people have been able to depart New Zealand if they could access a commercial or repatriation flight," population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said in a statement.

From April to October there was an average of 600 departures each day, Islam said.

"People have also been able to arrive in New Zealand, provided they could get a flight and meet entry criteria at the border," he said.

In the same period, there was an average of 300 arrivals each day.

This figure included New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, their partners and dependents, essential workers, and other exempt travellers, Islam said.

In the seven months, net migration was provisionally estimated at 3,700, well below levels in previous years.

This was made up of a gain of 9,000 New Zealand citizens, and a loss of 5,200 non citizens, he said.

"The provisional net gain of New Zealand citizens continues a reversal of the long-standing historical pattern where more New Zealand citizens departed than arrived," Islam added.

Annual net migration is provisionally estimated at 59,500 in the year ended October 2020, with 55,800 of this in the five months leading up to travel and border restrictions in March 2020, statistics showed.

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