( dpa )- More New Zealanders migrated to Australia last year than at any time in nearly 20 years, according to official figures released on Monday.
There was a net outflow of 28,000 citizens to Australia during 2007, up about 7,000 from the year before and the highest number since 1988, when 33,400 people crossed the Tasman Sea to start new lives in the larger neighbour .
New Zealanders and Australians can travel freely between the two countries, and there are no restrictions on working. About 40 per cent of New Zealanders who left last year were aged between 15 and 29, Statistics New Zealand said, with nearly one-in-four children under 15 and another 23 per cent aged 30-44.
Overall, New Zealand continues to attract more people than it loses, with a net migration inflow of 5,500 residents in 2007, though this was down from 14,600 people in 2006.
Britain remained the biggest net source of immigrants with 7,100 more arriving than leaving during the year (down from 10,900 in 2006), followed by 3,600 from India, 3,200 from the Philippines and 2,500 from Fiji.
China was New Zealand's biggest source of migrants from 1996-2003, when it was overtaken by Britain, but supplied only a net 1,800 during 2007, the same number as South Africa.