“Look mum, I’ve got a new ruler”.
Statistics New Zealand has revised the way that it measures net overseas migration (NOM). Instead of using departure cards that people filled out when leaving the country, Statistics New Zealand now uses an “outcomes-based measure”, which it claims is more efficient and accurate.
This new measure also suggests that population growth from immigration is far lower than previously thought, running at only 43,400 in the 12 months to November versus 61,800 for the 12 months to October under the old measurement system
Here’s the key extracts from the release:
The new outcomes-based measure is currently lower than the previous intentions-based measure. For the year ended October 2018, the outcomes data indicate a provisional net migration gain of 45,200 (± 1,200). In comparison, the intentions measure (permanent and long-term migration) indicated a net gain of 61,800. There have been past periods when the two measures have been close and other times when the measures have been different.
The earlier estimates for the new series are final because sufficient time has passed (16 months) to classify those migrant border crossings with certainty.
Annual net migration for the November 2018 year (43,400 (± 1,500)) is provisionally estimated to be lower than a year earlier, when it was 53,800 (± 100). This reflects an increase in migrants leaving New Zealand and continues the trend seen over the last year.
Migrant arrivals were at a similar level as for the November 2017 year.
How is it possible to have a system that is/was that inaccurate?
Given estimates of housing demand have been determined using the old (incorrect?) figure, does this now also mean that New Zealand does not have housing shortage?
Just goes to show, just about any problem can be ‘solved’ by changing the metric.