Response to Guyon Espiner - after RNZ Morning Report interview, May 9, 2017.

You stated that based on statistics from Statistics NZ between 1979 and 2016 there was an average of about 27,000 Kiwis a year departing to Australia and that it had dropped away to 20,000 departures.

Of these you said seven out of eight were New Zealand citizens.

However, you did not indicate whether they were New Zealand born or not, which is highly relevant because the interview centred on migrants using New Zealand as a back door to Australia.

On your programme we stated the proportion of New Zealand migrants to Australia who were born in third countries, and not NZ born, climbed from around 12 per cent in 1990-91 to 30.0 per cent in 1999-2000.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics bears this out.

On their website you will find that they state:

“Third country movements through New Zealand was one of the influencing factors in a 2001 bilateral social security arrangement.

“The third country movements were perceived as a way to bypass Australian immigration regulations which they would not have without New Zealand citizenship.”

These movements grew to 9700 in 1999-2000 and spiked in 2000-2001 at 17,100.

The Australia Bureau of Statistics says:

“Changes to New Zealand passports since 2005 have meant country of origin information has had to be imputed and isn’t strictly comparable with data prior to the change.”

Are you saying the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian government have it all wrong and that their concern over third country movements through New Zealand is baseless?

Since 2000-01 the number of migrants coming to New Zealand with the desire to stay here only until they gain residency before leaving for Australia, has increased.

The problem with Statistics NZ is that it draws its immigration data from arrival/departure cards which now no longer disclose the applicants’ country of origin, only their most recent country of residence.

In 2002, New Zealand First asked then Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziell what was the number of non-New Zealand born permanent residents or citizens who left New Zealand to live permanently in Australia in the 12 months since the Social Security Agreement with Australia in February 2001, and how it compared to figures12 months prior to the Social Security Agreement.

This was her reply:

The departure cards, which are the source of permanent and long-term departure statistics, did not begin recording country of birth until September 2000, therefore comparative data relating to non New Zealand-born permanent and long-term departures cannot be provided for the year ended January 2001. The total figures for the 2 years, rounded to the nearest 100, are 39,400 and 33,200. The year that I can give non New Zealand-resident departure statistics for, or non New Zealand-born figures, is the year ended January 2002. That figure was 10,400, but I should note that there were 1,000 people who did not identify country of birth on their departure card.

Any competent immigration reporter determined not to present to the public “alternative facts,” would be aware of this.