Australia

New Zealand migration to Australia reverses

Visitors pack up New Zealand (L) and Australian flags at the conclusion of the Dawn Service at the Anzac Commemorative Site, which is the main event to commemorate Australian soldiers who died during the Gallipoli campaign, on the campaign's centenary on 25 April 2015 near Eceabat, Turkey. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption New Zealand and Australia have an agreement allowing their citizens to live and work freely in either country

For the first time in 24 years more Australians have moved to New Zealand to live and work than the other way around.

The latest New Zealand government figures show that last month it had a net inflow of 100 Australian migrants.

New Zealanders traditionally flocked to Australia which had a booming economy and offered higher wages.

But Australia's mining-reliant economy has slowed while New Zealand's is still doing well.

Both countries have an agreement allowing their citizens to live and work freely in either state.

'Bondi Bludgers'

In the past, an estimated 40,000 New Zealanders would migrate to Australia every year, adding to the complex rivalry between the two countries.

"From the Kiwi point of view, Australia was the land of milk and honey, a rich big brother who would help set you up for life," wrote The Australian's associate editor Cameron Stewart in a piece last month titled Revenge of the Kiwis.

"[The New Zealanders] were dubbed Bondi Bludgers who either stole our jobs or sucked up our welfare."

The brain drain also worried New Zealand, which has been working to attract more skilled migrants.

However, in recent years the number of New Zealanders moving to Australia has steadily fallen.

It lost 1,900 of its people to Australia between April 2014 and April 2015 - the smallest net loss since 1992, reported Radio New Zealand.

One major reason appears to be a reversal in economic fortunes.

Australia is grappling with the end of a decade-long mining boom and a slowdown in China's demand for minerals.

In recent months Australia has seen some of its highest unemployment rates in the past decade, and some project that the rate will hit 7% by the end of the year.

In contrast New Zealand's economy has steadily grown. On Thursday its government said unemployment was due to fall to 4.5%, and the country is expected to have a budget surplus by the next financial year.

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