Stats NZ has released some deaths and population figures which show the impact of the pandemic so far and the policies used to contain it.
First, we look at deaths. During the winter of 2020 after a long initial lock-down and the closing of borders mortality fell below historic trends and the containment measures cut deaths from a variety of causes (for example, winter viruses already in circulation, plus reduced accidents from reduced work).
Deaths in New Zealand increased to the highest on record in 2021, but this is expected as it reflects our aging population, Stats NZ said today.
There were 34,932 deaths registered in New Zealand in 2021, up from 32,613 in 2020 (an increase of seven percent, or 2,319 deaths). However, the 2021 total was only a slight increase (two percent or 672 deaths) on the 34,260 deaths registered in 2019.
Then we consider population. The closing of the border had a dramatic effect on migration. Although we know many New Zealanders wanted to return home - some permanently, most temporarily, to re-establish links with family and business - and that more than 200,000 passed through MIQ, the net effect was -3,900. That's right, we lost population during the pandemic due to migration. This was offset by natural increase:
During the year ended December 2021:
- New Zealand’s population grew by 23,500 (0.5 percent)
- estimated natural increase (births minus deaths) was 27,400
- estimated net migration (migrant arrivals minus migrant departures) was -3,900.