In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand's population growth slowed down with the largest city of Auckland recording a decline for the first time ever, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Friday.
New Zealand saw slowing population growth in all regions, population estimates and projections manager Hamish Slack said in a statement.
Covid-19 international travel restrictions continued to curb population increases from international migration in the June 2021 year, Slack said.
Nationally, the population growth rate dropped from 2.2 per cent in the June 2020 year to 0.6 per cent in the June 2021 year, the lowest it has been since the June 2012 year, Xinhua news agency quoted Stats NZ as saying.
The population decreased in the Auckland, West Coast, and Southland regions, and other regions experienced lower growth, Slack said, adding in contrast, all regions had population growth in the June 2020 year.
While the population decrease in the Auckland region was just 1,300 or 0.1 per cent in 2021, this was still a significant change, he said, adding the Auckland region has averaged population growth of 1.8 per cent a year over the previous 20 years, higher than the national average growth of 1.4 per cent a year.
Auckland's population is provisionally estimated as 1.72 million on June 31, 2021, statistics show.
The fastest growing regions in the June 2021 year were Northland with a growth rate of 1.9 per cent, and Tasman and Bay of Plenty, both growing at 1.5 per cent.
The population growth in these three regions was mainly driven by people moving there from other areas of the country, Slack said.