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Migration forecasting is tricky: Wheeler

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/12/2016

The Reserve Bank got its migration forecasts wrong but so did nearly everyone else, Governor Graeme Wheeler has told a parliamentary committee.

"If you look at net permanent long-term migration of working age population, it's been 173,000 people since 2012, that's a five per increase in the labour supply," he said.

"I don't think anyone anticipated that sort of growth. With certain degrees of uncertainty around it, we're saying it could be another 120,000."

Mr Wheeler said the bank wasn't good at forecasting migration because of returning New Zealanders, student visas and people coming on single work permits.

"If the government had clear limits, that might make it easier to forecast in that sense," he said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters asked whether the governor was saying that immigration policy was so loose that it was hard to forecast what was actually happening.

"I'm saying it's difficult to forecast the arrivals because of the groups I mentioned. That's probably where I'd leave it," Mr Wheeler said.

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