New Zealand's Population Isn't Rising as Fast as People Thought

(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand net immigration is rising at a slower pace than previously reported following data revisions, adding to signs that an estimated bounce in arrivals since late 2018 may not eventuate.

The nation added about 56,100 immigrants in the year through March, slightly more than in the 12 months ended February, Statistics New Zealand said Tuesday. However, revisions meant the February tally was about 6,500 less than initially reported, while totals for earlier months are also lower.

New Zealand's Population Isn't Rising as Fast as People Thought

Statistics New Zealand introduced new methodology in late 2018 that uses a model to generate estimates of immigration. The data is only confirmed after 16 months, which can result in significant revisions.

The Reserve Bank last week said it will rely on its forecasts for the nine most recent months rather than using the actual data, until it better understands the revisions process. It projects net immigration slowing as a share of the working age population, and other economists agree.

“While migration remains strong, it has not been rising as rapidly as was initially thought,” said Satish Ranchhod, senior economist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Auckland. “The uptrend that began to emerge in mid-2018 is showing signs of flattening off. That is much more consistent with where we see broader economic conditions here in New Zealand and abroad.”

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