For many people New Zealand is seen as one of the ideal countries in the world to move to but what is the real New Zealand like and is it really the land of “milk and honey”?
To say there is a very interesting post in the New Zealand Forum is something of an understatement with a family “Thinking of emigrating to New Zealand” and asking for the opinion and views of people in the forum who have been there and done it. So what does New Zealand have to offer, what are the drawbacks and what are the benefits?
Brief overview of New Zealand
Situated in the south-western Pacific Ocean the country is made up of two large islands, North Island and South Island, with a number of small islands surrounding them. The country itself is forever associated with the Maoris who play a major part in the tourist industry of New Zealand.
The country itself has a land mass in the region of 268,000 km² and a population of around 4.3 million making it one of the less densely populated countries of the world. The make-up of the population includes 70% European (and others), 14% Maori, 9% Asian and 7% Pacific and while the median age of the population is around 36 years old this is set to rise to over 40 years old in the short to medium term with New Zealand most definitely an ageing population.
The New Zealand economy
New Zealand is classed as a developed economy which is dominated by the service sector (69% of GDP), manufacturing and construction (27%) and farming (around 4%). As you might expect from a country which is literally isolated in the Pacific Ocean it depends almost entirely on exporting goods overseas and a number of free trade agreements with countries and associations around the world.
The thread in question has very different opinions and different experiences of the New Zealand employment market with one poster suggesting that very often the position which you apply for is very different in reality while another poster suggesting that employment laws in New Zealand are actually better than those in the UK. However, there appears to be a general consensus that wages in New Zealand are roughly two thirds that of the UK with a suggestion that the cost of living is also on average around two thirds that of the UK.
Healthcare in New Zealand
Healthcare would appear to be one area of the New Zealand economy which is very different to that of the UK and appears to be more expensive. While again there are differing views about the cost of health care in New Zealand, and differing views on the cost of medical treatment, it does appear there is still significant scope for improvement and it does appear to be relatively expensive compared to other developed countries.
Cost of living in New Zealand
It would appear from the various comments on the thread that it does actually depend whereabouts in New Zealand you live as to the general cost of living. However, there does seem to be a consensus regarding the import of goods for those who like their home comforts and food and equipment from their “former homeland”. It is no surprise to learn that it can be quite expensive to export goods to New Zealand when you consider its position in the Pacific Ocean and the relatively small size of the population, which can make the mass import of goods unrealistic.
Houses in New Zealand
If you read the post in question you would be forgiven for being totally confused with a suggestion that some homes in New Zealand are nothing but “garden sheds” while others suggest that some of the newer properties are on a par with the likes of the UK. Again, there does tend to be a general consensus that some of the older properties in New Zealand may not be “up to scratch” while the newer properties are what you might expect coming from countries such as the UK.
Crime in New Zealand
One problem which does seem to be prominent in New Zealand is that of crime rates for the vast majority of serious crimes, which are significantly higher than countries such as the UK. However, it soon becomes apparent that the rate of crime throughout New Zealand can vary markedly and like any country it does depend upon where you are located as to the type and frequency of crime you may be exposed to.
The weather in New Zealand
One thing which becomes apparent as you read further into the weather and environment of New Zealand is the fact that it is actually a country of extremes. While in general terms the weather is mild and temperate, you also have to bear in mind that the likes of Auckland receive twice as much rainfall per year than Christchurch, a situation which is replicated in many different areas of the country. However, there is no doubt that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful and relatively untouched countries you will ever visit and despite a number of negative point which have been highlighted above, it does have a lot to offer.
Moving to New Zealand
As with any country around the world, if you’re looking to relocate you need to do your homework about the country you are moving to, the “better areas” of the country and the cost of living in your potential new homeland. New Zealand is no different and while perhaps there are more issues to consider, there are also many positives which some people seem to ignore.
A quick glimpse at the New Zealand post in question will give you a number of pros and cons regarding the country and show you exactly how different life can be in different areas. In general it would appear that salaries in New Zealand are around two thirds of that in the UK but many people believe that the cost of living is also around two thirds that of the UK. As ever, the keyword is research, which you need to do wherever you were moving in the world!