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I imagine it's come as a wee bit of a surprise to some people that all of a sudden, economists and commentators are warning that New Zealand is facing a brain drain. For a while, all we heard were about the hordes of New Zealanders wanting to come back to New Zealand. Will be overwhelmed, some said. Where are they going to live? What are we going to do?
Now we've got Brad Olsen from Informetrics who posed the question last week, 'Is New Zealand facing up to a brain drain?' For the year to January 2022, Stats NZ estimates a net migration outflow - so more people left than came in - of around 7500 people, with an annual net outflow now estimated to have been occurring since March of last year.
This morning, the Kiwibank Chief Economist chimed in estimating we're going to see Kiwis leaving the level the country at a level last seen during the Aussie mining boom of 2011.
I certainly know young people who are wanting to leave New Zealand. They want to go. That was always the plan. The pandemic has held them back but now they're off. And TBC, whether they actually return.
It's not just about the numbers either, it's the message it sends when you've got more Kiwis wanting to leave, than stay. This is the first time I've heard that mood shift where, you know what, I don't see this country offering me the future I want.
If we can't turn around the flow of people, or if we can't replace them with similar adventurous young people who are willing to travel to another country, another culture, another another part of the world to have an adventure, to bring their talents and add their energy.
If we can't get them to replace our adventurous young people, then what are we going to be?
The retirement village of the South Pacific?