A record number of people are arriving in New Zealand with net gains in September equalling the highest levels ever recorded, the latest figures show.

There were more arrivals than departures, reaching 4,700 last month, equal to the highest net gains ever recorded in August 2014 and February 2003 with arrivals from India pushing up the numbers.

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The increase in monthly net gains over the last year was mainly due to more arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens. The data also shows that in the September 2014 year, New Zealand recorded its highest ever net gain of 45,400 migrants.

Migrant arrivals at 105,500 reached a new high in the September 2014 year. The increase in arrivals compared with the September 2013 year was led by more students, particularly from India, and more New Zealand citizens arriving from Australia.

The fall in migrant departures was primarily due to fewer departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia, down 14,100, compared with the September 2013 year. The net loss of 6,000 people to Australia in the September 2014 year was the smallest since the December 1994 year when it was 5,900.

Meanwhile, the number of visitor arrivals to New Zealand in September 2014 reached 193,300, up 1% compared with September 2013. Statistics New Zealand said this was the second highest total for a September month, after 2011 when it was 219,900, which was boosted by people arriving for the Rugby World Cup.

‘More visitors arrived from the United States and Australia in September 2014. However, fewer visitors arrived from China,’ said population statistics manager Vina Cullum.

‘This may be because numbers in September last year were boosted by the close timing of two Chinese holidays, and people wanting to travel before a new tourism law in China took effect. The new law changed the type and price of overseas tours from 01 October 2013,’ Cullum added.

In the September 2014 year, visitor arrivals numbered 2.80 million, up 5% from the September 2013 year. The biggest increases were from Australia, the United States, and Germany.

New Zealand residents departed on 219,700 overseas trips in September 2014, up 4% from September 2013. There were more trips to Australia, Indonesia, and Fiji, but fewer to Thailand. In the September 2014 year, New Zealand residents departed on 2.24 million overseas trips, up 3% from the previous year.