I should have made further demonstration of my powers of prescientce (sounding a bit like Pompous Chris here, be careful) and proclaimed it was inevitable that National would adopt this as part of their election strategy (2).
It is undeniably true that New Zealanders are departing in greater numbers than ever before. It is also undeniably true they are returning in greater numbers than at any other time. In fact, historical investigation reveals that the ration between the numbers departing and returning has remained constant - for every two that leave, one returns.
The increase in numbers is nothing to do with the fiendish strnagehold of Clark's Stalinist stooges on freedom and the economy. We're just more mobile than we have ever been before - both in the numbers leaving, and the numbers returning. It is a consequence of greater affordability and easer of travel, and the Western tendency not to prioritise other things over children.
In all probability, the high numbers will be a short lived phenomenum, once the reality of peak oil starts to bite. Then the numbers of departures will fall. So will the numbers returning. I'll bet the ratio will still be about 2:1.
1 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2008/02/exodus-ii.html
2 - "National launches first billboard," unattributed story in the New Zealand Herald, 2nd of September, 2008. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10530118)