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Rising dollar sends Kiwis packing

A record number of Kiwis took an overseas trip last month as the New Zealand dollar continued a steady rise.

A record number of Kiwis took an overseas trip last month as the New Zealand dollar continued a steady rise. Conversely, inbound arrivals were down, with visitors from China providing the only large increase.

Overseas trips by New Zealand residents numbered 231,600 in July, a record for any month, Statistics New Zealand said today, easily surpassing the previous high of 210,000 in September 2010. 

Population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said the later timing of school holidays this year and travel plans delayed by ash from Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano in June could also have played a part.

There were big increases in trips to the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Singapore, Malaysia, and France. Except for Fiji and France, departures to each of these countries hit a new monthly high.

In contrast, visitor arrivals decreased 4 percent compared with July 2010. Last month, 1,200 visitors recorded that they were here for the Rugby World Cup.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, there was a net loss of 200 permanent and long-term migrants. Monthly net migration has been negative since March, when departures from Christchurch jumped following the February earthquake.

Unadjusted figures showed 800 Christchurch residents departing to live overseas.

The net outflow of migrants to Australia was 3,200, the highest recorded for a July month. The previous high for a July month was a net outflow of 2,900 in 1979.

In the year ended July 2011, New Zealand had a net migration gain of 2,900, down from 15,200 the previous year.

The latest figure is below the average annual net migration gain of 12,000 over the last 20 years, and is the lowest net gain since 200.