The economist suggested that the record loss of New Zealanders might reveal underlying economic vulnerabilities.

A record number of New Zealanders left the country in the year to April, which an economist warns could “expose cracks” in the economy.

Data from Stats NZ shows that while migrant arrivals rose by 25 percent, 56,000 New Zealand citizens left in the year to April – the highest number on record, surpassing the previous high of 44,000 in February 2012.

BNZ chief economist Mike Jones stated that this trend reflects the relative weakness of New Zealand’s economy and labor market compared to Australia.

“We’ve anticipated these flows to increase for some time. Comparing our labor and job markets with Australia’s, it’s evident that more people will leave.”

He noted that the rise in departures would reduce the population growth rate, which had been bolstered by record immigration in recent years.

“When net migration and population growth were booming, they were masking several economic issues. Now, with net inflows declining, there’s a high chance these issues will become apparent over the remainder of the year.”

Jones added that this would pressure the already weak retail sector and potentially slow the rate of rent increases, reducing momentum in the housing market.

“It’s quite confronting to see such outflows, reflecting Australia’s significantly stronger labor market.”

Westpac’s chief economist, Kelly Eckhold, addressed concerns that New Zealand was losing skilled people and gaining unskilled migrants, expressing skepticism about this narrative.

“Many incoming migrants are on work visas requiring skills and higher wages, indicating they bring valuable skill sets and contribute positively to the economy.”

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