Have you been wondering why Kiwis living moving abroad has come to an abrupt halt. I can think of several reasons:
1. The earthquake threat has waned. There are a few 4+ earthquakes; but after a 6+ magnitude quakes, anything less starts to look commonplace; particularly after you realise that all the weakly constructed buildings have fallen; and that anything which posed a threat to life was probably in the CBD. Why? Most houses are made of wooden construction or are single floor dwellings. The greatest threat is probably the old brick chimneys.
2. The strong commodity prices are falling back as punters take their money off the table. These falls have yet to take their toll on the NZ rural market, nor the currency. In any respect, these revenues tend to be protected by corresponding falls in commodity prices. They do however provide a window to buy new machinery offshore. The fact remains, the important agricultural business activity in NZ is going to be doing ok.
3. The World Cup - Who is going to be going overseas during the World Cup - unless you are leasing out your house for $3000/month.
4. Australian slump - The commodity price slide is likely to take the strength out of Australian markets, though it will recover. Nothing can keep them down; as lower commodities denominated in USD are offset by weakness in the AUD, which spared the local economy much impact, as long as volumes are maintained. Australia is closer to China and Asia, than Chile, Brazil and South Africa, so it tends to benefit on the volume side.
5. British visas for NZ'ers look like being severely restricted. Given the lack of business confidence in the UK, this is likely to be a bigger threat to existing UK residents than those contemplating going over. Thus we might expect a flood of Kiwis to return to NZ. This of course will mean more Kiwis going to Australia, given the relative strength of its economy.
6. Earthquake reconstruction - You might not want to live in Christchurch anymore, at least not for the lack of things to do, but consider that most of the 'earthquake threats' have been knocked over by the series of earthquakes, and anything new is going to be built to NZ standards. Japan has greater vulnerability to earthquakes, and has been living with them without much trauma. The tsunami threat was under-estimated or even ignored. A single governor in the north made provisions. In that city; they lost just one life. Praise to that critical, conceptual thinker who 'saw around corners' what others chose not to acknowledge. The reconstruction of Christchurch will become a source of employment over the next 5 years; the question is - will it attract new job hunters or result in higher home construction costs. My guess is the later.