Moving to New Zealand? Some very different opinions on the country!

by Mark Benson on September 25, 2009

Moving to New Zealand

Moving to New Zealand

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.

Conclusion

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!


{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Neuseeland Reisen October 8, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Good day,

At this time I was collecting new stuff for a new anchor story on Christchurch for our German travel guide to New Zealand when I was sent by Yahoo to your page. Actually, I didn’t find exactly what I expected. But, your article has given me inspiration for another article. Insofar: Thanks.

Kind regards,
Maria

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Max Headroom October 14, 2009 at 7:38 am

For obvious reasons, I am writing under a pen name.

New Zealand is a beautiful country and people who have got the opportunity to migrate and reside there are fortunate because it is a peacefull, environmentally friendly and a healthy country to live and work.

However, it was obvious to me that New Zealand is only promoting their country for natives of British origin or it encourages "white" people though Asians are encouraged, they make it tough.

I have been to the country and I have been at the receiving end of "biased" thinking during job interviews – especially from Brits who consider New Zealand as their outpost down under – and the habit of the native Kiwi to discard the "outsider" for the "insider", at the 11th hour.

From the "openness" point of view, the US is the most racially open society in this world, without any doubt to me. However, where the US is failing, New Zealand gets very high marks, especially for rearing children and kiwi family values.

I have also read that New Zealand roads are not safe and there could be a lot of bullying in their public schools. It was obvious to me that there is good governance and excellent labour practices such as good work-life balance.

Being a South Asian, my skilled migration application is stalled after the interview for a lack of a job offer. I know that I would not get the full migration to New Zealand even if they approve my application. My only regret is that I dumped a lot of money thinking that INZ/DoL would deliver "good governance" to me but I am not in the league to receive such consideration.

These are my personal views but I apologise if my personal views are offensive to Kiwi people and any South Asian who is domiciled in New Zealand.

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Natalie August 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

I have lived in nz for my whole life and what you said about the roads is true, they are dangerous. New Zealand is full of rugged landscapes which if you are driving in a less developed area the roads will be very windy constantly going up and down hills. I have been on a one way road with a huge drop down to the sea, if you were to fall off. Also with a few logging trucks on the way. New Zealand is full of beautiful beaches and the summer months are amazing. Christmas is in summmerr <3

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maureen swallow October 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm

we have just lived and worked in NZ for 2 years and the catergory we went out on they stopped so no residency immigration change things every week . only go out there if you are a qualified nurse doctor dentist glazier etc and some have to have an exam over there as uk qualifictions are not recognised as NZ have their own.

we miss it very much and would return tomorrow

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arnoldbpt January 28, 2010 at 6:35 am

I have lived here for some years now and am trying to return to the U.S. Emigratenz, expatexposed, move2nz and britishexpats are good forums to read all about the positives and negatives. Don't discount the negatives or be put off by the tone of the angrier people. I think they're all the angrier because the unpleasant aspects to life in New Zealand were not easy to find on the Net before very recently, and they were unpleasantly surprised by things they were not prepared for. They'd have less of an excuse for ignorance now. because the information is starting to leak out. It's easier to explore the downsides of living there now before actually moving. This is really good, because migrants will be better prepared if they really want to settle there. My experience was bad, more like Mazzie's at the link you give.

I found a low-wage cash-starved economy with a large "informal" component (black market and bartering, with no consumer protection). Weather in the north is good, but no insulation and poorly built houses that were too expensive for the bad quality. I would not want to spend a South Island winter in those of those frame houses. Kiwis were defensive about their shortcomings and protective of their jobs. They have little cash to spend and tend to be very tight. The cost of living was high and no decent quality goods available in an affordable middle range, which made normal family shopping difficult. I would advise bringing extra clothing with you and not buying it there. There is a streak of anti-intellectualism I found frustrating for my children's sake. And yes, bullying. They do expect children to fend for themselves and do not intervene much.

I was surprised at all the graffiti, and yes, there is violent crime, and a high level of drinking.

Most depressing of all was the way they viewed migrants as walking piggy banks.

Outdoors enthusiasts who are wealthy will love it there. Those fleeing civil war or violent crime in their own countries also would be relieved to live there. I didn't find a comfort zone in New Zealand, however. The attractive views and beaches did not make up for the financial difficulties. And family difficulties, too, since once your savings pillow has been exhausted, you begin struggling to survive, and you cannot afford to go back to see your relatives in your homeland for visits. Let alone have enough to launch you out of there.

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Ozwi February 27, 2013 at 11:11 am

I am a 'cough' half Australian half kiwi brought up travelling between both the north and south island. Being one of the few (of the few 4 million that exist) I have been blessed to come from a background of travelling, especially outside of the country, which gives me some perspective of home.
Work wise income is still tough especially with rent prices in the cities. Public transport is not excellent enough to rely on cheap accomodation in the outskirts yet live the full life of a booming city. A benefit with job searching is that personality is really taken into account and if you do find employment you may also find a new friend support to help survive life.

Saying that, my frustration with going back is that people don't realise the quality that other countries offer (IE transport systems/ work wage expectations/ quality to education) and so don't ask themselves questions or discussion which will lead to further change and development. an OE experience is usually a weekend at the islands or Sydney.

Perhaps the poor planning and wages leads people to live from week to week, getting into a cycle of not planning ahead, coming into high debt situations and not being able to break out of the cycle.

Also it appears that rather than promoting a sporty outdoor lifestyle that we used to be proud on, we are taking on unhealthy eating patterns from other countries, where we have a very high rate of obesity.

Saying this, I am very greatfull for my economic position and appreciate that I get to enjoy a beautiful and full life that NZ does have out there whenever I go back.

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IslandMeg February 11, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Oh my god! I understand everything you are said and think you are right on the button with it. I am a Kiwi born and bred but lived in the States for 10 years and have been back here for 3 years and loathe it.

It's such a struggle and everything you have said is so true. I agree that the beautiful landscape (if you in the South) does not make up for the struggle and lowered level of quality of life here.

I feel like I am on a sinking ship and as soon as I can sell my house I am back to the States so I can breathe again.

Thanks for this article. I have been going mad here.

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Eve April 5, 2010 at 8:49 am

If i can chime in, I am a Secondary schoolteacher, moved to the South Island on a trial basis, luckily did not give up my job or home in the states. NZ did not meet my expectations at all. I am going back to the states at the end of this month, almost ran out of money, cannot wait to get out of here. Where do I start? Even though my profession is on the “shortage skills” list, I was not even shortlisted for most teaching jobs, was not even considered. If there is only one qualified kiwi they will not hire a foreigner. They don’t like almost anyone who is not a kiwi but especially Brits,Americans, and Asians. I did get a job but it did not meet the minimum wage threshold to qualify for the work visa; I therefore had to pay for my children to attend a public school for one term. The schools are academically behind those in the states. Students also have to pay for books, materials, lunches, supplies, projects, trips. There are numerous hidden costs; this is for everyone, regardless if you are a kiwi citizen, resident, or visa holder. Many items are extremely expensive such as books, electronics, clothing, shoes, meats, dairy, office supplies, furniture, fuel and travel, entertainment, the list goes on. I would say before you come make sure you have a job lined up, do as uch research as you can, and bring lots of money if you do come. Do not totally give up anything you have back home if possible so if it doesn’t work out you can go back.
P.S. IslandMeg, I know exactly how you feel, I am going mad as well, cannot wait to get the heck out of here, what a costly experiment this was…

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chris August 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I have a couple of very important questions i have been trying to get answers to so here goes . Q. I am married to a kiwi and live here in ireland , and my wife would like for us both to move to new zealand . I have a handicapped child and over the past 5 years due to caring for my son my health has deteriorated i have a heart condition . I had a heart attack in 2005 , and now in 2010 i now also have an irregular heart beat and take cordarone 200mgs which is only prescribed if you have a life threatening irregular heart beat . I am faced with having to put my 13yr old son into permanent care due to my deteriorating health . Q. If i were to claim disability allowance here in ireland would that be used against me in my application for residency , and would having a heart condition also count against me being accepted ? .

chris in ireland

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samuel welsh November 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Please enjoy Nz ,sadily our tax can be high though so seek good employment.
any bullies just send to the cops and you will be fine.

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Andrew Sheldon December 14, 2010 at 10:23 pm

For those of you dismayed by NZ, you might consider Australia, Canada. I am an Australian in NZ. I find Australia far safer, and even if the property is far more expensive, it is an asset which will appreciate because of the entrenched zoning laws and strong population growth. There are plenty of jobs in Australia, a range of climate types, friendly, relaxed, aspirational people. It is the 'land of milk and honey'. The only problem I think with Australia is the pernicious govt, much like the USA. It was enough to drive me to NZ, but probably not enough to keep me here.
Crime in NZ is significantly worse, its too windy in NZ, though I appreciate the rain/green hills and a little chill in the air. I feel I have exhausted myself in NZ…as just two small, under-developed islands. Whereas there is a continent in Australia, lots of parks, lots of walks, lots of roads, all well-maintained. NZ is very socialist…people happily struggle. I love the small town life, but it is limiting.
Buying into Sydney might challenge some people with less than $250,000 in savings, and even smaller cities are expensive. You might be compelled to live in the bible belt, places like Toowoomba, in which case its like NZ. There are prosperous rural towns, but the distances between cities is a great. Australia'a climate is the ultimate gift. Places like Sydney, Gold Coast (working class), Newcastle (still working class), Port Macquarie (a little country, unfriendly) are the best coastal places. My favourite town is Inverell, NSW. My favourite area of Sydney is Eastwood/Epping area. Don't ruin them!

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andrew January 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm

hi i am thinking off moving to new zealand… i am just wondering wat it is like over there as i have been told great things about the country but i still am not sure wat to exspect

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liberum February 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Hi to all.

As in all postst it's hard to make some sense in the end.

Since I'm loosing my mind in the decision where to go from Serbia ca someone give me some more direct answer to following question:

Where to go, Australia or New Zealand.

To be more informative, I'm going to immigrate with my spouse which is a Agricultural engineer and I;m a IT / Automotive electrician / Carpenter (in that order) and finally Commercial pilot.

Now with all sad, where to go?

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caren March 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Dear all,
I'm a mother of four young children and was considering moving to NZ for a better life for my kids, I feel the uk is becmoing a more aggressive society and thought NZ would be better.After reading comments though off this site i'm doubting our decision. My husband works in IT and I'm a housewife.Are my views on the uk wrong because we live in one of it's major cities up north? should we try out the rest of the uk first. I'm so confused and just want my kids to be happy ,safe and enjoy life. what do you all think, i need a clearer view!HELP please

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Richard March 15, 2013 at 10:37 am

Hi, Im a kiwi but have lived in the UK for the last 17 yrs, we moved back to Nz a year ago, with my 14yr old daughter. It took my daughter a few months to settle in and get used to the way they teach here but now she is settled she is doing really well and is a lot happier in her school work, they push her to better herself and try different things too, sho loves it here and doesn't want to go back. Ive found for myself and my wife, it took a while to get good jobs and we had to spend a lot more in this time than we thought, but now we are settled we are almost back to earning the same as we were in the uk. everything is done the hard way here which is frustrating, food is expensive. From talking to other new comers here the first year is really tough but if you make it through that time then you will never leave. Although Im a kiwi Ive been away for a long time and I find Kiwis a little naive and a bit sad and annoying at times, beautiful place, great lifestyle, but come for a holiday if you can first, Im giving it a couple of years and might go back to england

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Harry Lee August 13, 2011 at 11:38 am

this is what I know about NZ : high crime rate, comes with increasing poverty, so does high suicide rate among young people, private home ownership on a rapid decline, high rate of parental childmurders, one of these murderers attended the Sydney Olympics, pesticide use extremely widespread, thousands of tons dropped in national parks each year to control opossums however there has been no decline in 20 years, some get very rich with this ongoing practice, every couple of years a million lambs freeze to death in a coldsnap because farmers don't provide shelter for the animals, farmers induce calving to get milk sooner from their cows, thousands of calves are born dead or left to die, roadside rubbish is rife, batteries are thrown into landfills, many people burn plasic to get rid of it,

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Harry Lee August 13, 2011 at 11:40 am

cancer rates are amongst the highest in the world despite the fact that Kiwis are obsessed with pharmaceuticals, they also love a wide range of illegal and dangerous drugs and wreck their lives that way, and of course they love binge drinking, the infastructure is shoddy to say the least and much of it is owned by multinationals, in fact a lot of the country is owned by companies from overseas and successive governments have been and are hellbent to sell off the rest, many billions of dollars are going out of the country every year, well over 200 000 chlidren live in poverty and the education system is a joke. there is so much more but I think you get the idea.

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Tom November 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm

New Zealand is the most beautiful and amazing country in the world, there may have been some horrible disasters this year, but it makes the people stronger and even more united as a nation. New Zealand might be the most isolated and expansive fully developed nation in the world. It shares no borders, sits relatively distant from any other nation, has no real national enemies and has a safe democracy and a diverse landscape with many remote places to hide away within.

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K baxter January 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Some inciteful comments, some biased and some uneducated. Firstly, Harry Lee, NZ education is not a joke, my daughter spent her first 4 years of primary school at a NZ school, she loved it, had a wide range of activities, academic, drama and arts, as well as sport all catered for in a great school, with its own radio station, and heaps of space. Her school back in the UK has very little sports, next to no arts, the level of drama is a joke, and the outside playing area is a tiny concrete patch the size of a netball court, yet somehow it is one of the best schools in the borough of Hillingdon. She is, however, in the Eleven Plus group (grammar school extra curricular class) as she is a smart cookie, why? because of her NZ education that taught her maths and english to a high level that seems to exceed most of her UK classmates. I have two sisters in law that are teachers just outside London, they reckon the UK system is not it's all cracked up to be either.

It is tough in NZ to get a job, you need to network, join a club, meet people somehow, as often things are very clicky, someone knows someone that needs a job, so its not always that "outsiders" are not considered, its that Brad in accounts has a mate whose daughter needs a job, and she happens to be quite good. Sometimes they aren't, and they pay the price for that, but that is their problem in the end.

I'm a kiwi, my wife a pom, the first 2 years were a struggle when we moved there, but once we started making friends, close friends, got stable jobs, we started getting comfortable, by the time we left in 2010 we were only earning $70k between us, but we were comfortable, I had a company car too, which helped, but we had spare money at the end of the week, I was playing golf atleast once a week, tennis once a week, sometimes squash, we would go walking, we had a friend with a wakeboard boat so would go to the lakes, camping, beach, it was great, and we had poultry that didn't give me jobbies, nice red meats, great scallops and mussels and a range of NZ and UK food was available at our local Pak n Save, we only came back cos my wife became a grand mother, though we are regretting it, the UK is an unbelievable hole now and even having a fantastic little grandson is beginning to pale in comparion to the yearn for NZ.

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K Baxter January 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I resent the fact I have to consider the traffic for every journey I drive, I have to consider do I have change to pay for car parking at my local shopping mall or at a country park. I was considered for only 2 jobs in 6 months of applying, all in about 400 jobs, and yet the NZ are called biased? Decent quality meats are expensive, NZ used to be the same, but the range and quality of all food has improved dramatically, and things like £5kg for a nice cut of rump steak was the norm where I lived in NZ, yet here it costs me £5 for a crappy braising steak, £10+ for a crappy rump steak, and £15 for a half decent one. I'll admit NZ lamb is a good price here, I don't mind paying £13 for a nice leg, whereas I would begrudge paying $30 in NZ.

Health in NZ expensive? that depends, we have a free health system too, though some things you have to pay for or are subsidised, my wife would pay $20 for a doctors visit, and about $7 for medicines I think. However, hospital appointments were free. We also have an accident compensation scheme in NZ, so if you fall over on the pavement, or hurt your leg playing football, you can get help from the ACC to pay for physios/medicine etc, even taxis to work if you can't drive, or a support system if you are unable to work because of an accident, far better than the NHS. I've worked 11 years in the UK and been to the doctors once, did UKBA care when I came back? nope, I'm still a possible burden apparently. Atleast in NZ, I only pay for the health service's I need, rather than throwing money at a system for all the unhealthy people to go to. I also have found that I am sick more often in the UK, I've had cold after cold, 2 massive stomach bugs, as has my daughter and wife, in the 18 months we've been back, her grown up son lived with us in NZ for 2 years as well, he was healthy, always a nice colour and had no sick days off work, now he is back his stress levels are higher and is on blood pressure pills and constantly has a cold or stomach gripes. In NZ I would get a cold once a year, my wife maybe once as well, my daughter perhaps twice because of extra exposure at school, as well as a mild stomach bug, like a night of being sick then fine the next day, here they seem to hang about for 3 or 4 days.

Overall, NZ is better, some people will have bad experiences, but that is perhaps your doing, wrong place, wrong time, not understanding the culture, not being a sociable person, I don't know, but my wife loved it, so much so, we are looking to return this year, grandparent duties are fantastic, but my life and happiness, and that of my daughter are more important, and having weighed up many pros and cons NZ wins, the UK wins on some things, but hands down I believe that NZ is the better place to live and and grow old, just don't expect it to be handed to you,but then you don't get it handed to you in the UK either. Atleast in NZ I could leave for work at 8, and be home by 6:30pm having done a good 9 hours work, in the UK…leave at 7.45, get home at 6.30pm with only 7.5 hours of work being done. I enjoy driving, but not at 5mph in traffic.

binge drinking you say? yeah perhaps, some people, especially the young would save their money for the weekend, then go out and have a hard night on Friday or Saturday, but then, when I was young, I used to do the same thing in London, I don't see the difference, except I would also drink Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Crime in NZ, again, I think the fact most notable crime is reported in the newspapers you know about it, in the UK most crime does not make mention outside the region, why would someone in Leeds need to know that someone in East London was shot last night? Leeds have their own issues. Our house was burgled the night before my daughter was born in London, we also had our car broken into, in the 3 years my wife and I were together before moving to NZ that was 2 crimes against us, yet 7 years in NZ we had no exposure to anything of the sort, my daughter occassionally left her bike or ball on the front lawn for everyone to see, never stolen, if we did that in the UK, it would be gone. A lot of crime in NZ is some groups, often maori, fighting amongst themselves. They make up 14% of the population but my guess would be their crime rate is a good 3/4 of NZs crime, not being racist, just a very low guesstimate from watching/reading the news. A maori mate I worked with hated it when there was yet another maori crime because of the bad picture it continues to paint of maoridom.

Anyway, give me NZ anyday, I felt safer, enjoyed life more, was healthier, had more activities to do, always costing less, a much more diverse and satisfying life, I just wish I had realized and taken the time to evaluate this before we left, because in my opinion, my 18 months back in the UK have been for nothing and apart from family, can see no reason whatsoever to stay here.

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NZ Grandmother February 9, 2012 at 5:52 am

Good on you K Baxter!!!

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Chris February 10, 2012 at 2:00 am

I'm a Kiwi brought up in NZ (Auckland) and also lived in London. Like so many people have said, it all depends on where you are coming from and what you want from NZ. But from a general point of view, there are some things to look at in NZ:

Firstly, NZ is growing more and more expensive. Coming back from the UK i could not believe how expensive food and clothing were in Auckland. Meat is extraordinarily expensive in NZ, as well as all other food (even though most of our meat is home produced..!) Clothing is a MAJOR rip off, including shoes, coats and jumpers (and believe me, your kidding yourself if you think you dont need coats or big jackets in NZ). A drink in a unattractive bar is about 3.5 pounds, and a drink in a nicer bar is about 4-5 pounds.

For kids, NZ is amazing! Schools here are excellent (dont let people tell you otherwise). Being about to play outdoors in open areas with access to sports, clubs, and bush is an absolute treasure for children.

Jobs are hard to come by. Read the above posts for successful and unsuccessful attempts.

Houses have become VERY expensive. Possibly the saddest part about NZ. Five/six years ago you could buy a nice property with water front views for about 200,000 pounds. Not anymore. With the pound/nz dollar exchange rate that ship had long sailed. Many houses are well overvalued and are often built with cheap material.

Crime is MUCH better in NZ than the likes of UK. NZ has a poor crime rate 'per capita', but it is only secluded to, and within, small communities. Particularly in secluded areas of SOUTH Auckland. I've lived in Auckland 21 years, and have only been to the likes of South Auckland 3 or 4 times. Auckland is a MASSIVE city where these crime locations feel like another whole city away. In London you can turn down two or three streets down from a nice street to find yourself being intimidated by thugs, not so much in NZ. Crime spots are much more secluded and easy to spot than overseas.

Health care in NZ is a breeze. You can make appointments on the day with no waiting lists, you have to pay about 7 pounds to see a GP, but there is more subsidized medicine in NZ, so pharmaceutics are MUCH cheaper.. so after paying to see the GP it can even out after medicine. Plus there is the ACC system which can be very helpful.

As a proud Kiwi, it hurts me to say that Australia looks a lot more prosperous. Many NZ'ers are moving to Aussie for higher wages, cheaper living, less greedy businessmen/government, better infrastructure, and better weather.

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Ben Rogers June 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I'm currently living in the UK looking to move to New Zealand. To summarise this is what I've found.
1. Talk to a few people who currently live in New Zealand in your line of work for advice, much faster, easier and reliable than looking on forums!
2. Scenery is immense.
3. Try your best to visit before you move.
4. Seems that if you have your job set in stone and if you don't screw up picking somewhere to live when you get there, everything falls in to place.
5. The people seem to be awesome (but you find pricks everywhere), in the sense that they are taught to be their own individual.
So to summarise, I take moving to new zealand seriously because I don't really care about money, I believe people make the place and the outdoor activities/landscapes are next to none.

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Evelyn July 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Small town living does not encourage and promote people to express their individuality. There is a lot of peer pressure and standing out of the crowd could see you as a target to locals.

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mike November 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm

I spent 6 years in New Zealand and to be honest was relieved to be leaving back to the UK. It is incredibly expensive both in buying a house and renting and houses are of terrible quality with very little insulation. Groceries are also incredibly expensive. Sure the scenery is nice but on travelling through France recently I would say only certain parts of New Zealand (those way out in the sticks) are really nice. The people are not as friendly as you may be led to believe and it can be quite frustrating trying to make friends with locals as they can be hard nuts to crack. The weather is only average and just a little better than the UK. Crime rate is also incredibly high considering the low poplulation, especialy with serious crimes such as murder and rape. I would say carefully consider things before you take the leap to fly half way across the world. New Zealand can be a very lonely place.

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lauren January 25, 2013 at 5:05 am

New Zealand isn't as bad as some people make it sound! I grew up here and it wasn't that bad! Some people might not agree, but the schools here are pretty great, and the healthcare system is quite good as well. It is not too expensive as it is mostly government subsidised. Crime happens as it does everywhere, although it is contained to certain areas. I think New Zealand is really good for kids, especially primary-school aged. There is lots of green grass and space to run around, and lots for them to participate in. The scenery is considerably better in the South Island rather than the North. The climate is rather nice, it's not sunny everyday of course but it's not too hot and it's not too cold. House prices are EXTREMELY expensive, buying or renting. To buy a nice, three bedroom bungalow in an Auckland suburb it is nearing a million NZ dollars. The government isn't corrupt, we're nuclear free, um what else? You probably shouldn't move here to be better off financially, because you won't be. New Zealand is really far away from everything else which is what bugs me the most. The shopping isn't that great either no Topshop or anything cool like that and it's all a bit overpriced. Everyone's experience of life is different so you can't really base what your life will be like here on facts etc. New Zealand is definitely a great place to visit and go camping or hiking if you like that kind of thing.

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TarInAJar April 4, 2013 at 3:57 am

I've been looking seriously at retiring in NZ, whilst writing part time. I haven't found any info. regarding working/receiving pension together. Wonder what the deal would be… I targeted Invercargill or Dunedin, as i like a cooler climate and my research has revealed essentials–not frivolous items–are less expensive than Ottawa, Canada, where i currently reside. I would be renting an apartment and again, i found those costs in Inv. & Dun. better than here, which went berserk. Besides, Kiwi Marmite is back on the shelves, so antipodean survival is certain! My other choice was Tasmania: costs there are even less. Dunno…these towns look good on google maps street view, anyhow!–and their costs of living aren't nuts.

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Den August 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm

We have a son & family in N.Z. Also family in the States, and in the UK.
We have been visiting N.Z. for about 4 months every year for 11 years. We also have a small home and a car in N.Z. We are both retired and have been thinking about moving there for good.
We love the country but are worried, because if we go at our stage in life, it may be difficult to return to UK if we want to
To go anywhere from N.Z is expensive and we have found goods, are for most part, slightly more expensive, this is due to the fact that the UK is so competitive for shopping.
Has anyone got experience emigrating under the Parent Category? We would like to hear of other's experiences.

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graeme November 25, 2014 at 11:15 pm

NEW ZEALAND ,I HAVE RETIRED NOW WORKED 45 YEARS NOW THE GOV’T GIVE ME A PITTENCE OF $568.00 EVERY TWO WEEKS TO EXIST ON ,IF I HAD NOT SAVED ONLY GOD KNOWS HOW I WOULD LIVE ,I LIKE MOST ELDERLY SPEND ABOUT $100 A MONTH ON DOCTORS AND PRESCRIPTIONS ,NZ IS LIKE THE MYTH OF OUR CLEAN GREEN IMAGE ,A DREAM MOSTLY ,WHEN U GET OLDER U FEEL THE COLD ,AND POWER PRICES ARE JUST A RIP OFF ,CHEAP HYDRO POWER AND MASSIVE PROFITS TO THE GOV’T ,IF I HAD THE OPTION I MOVE SOMEWHERE WARMER THAN. NEW ZEALAND .I HAVE TWO GIRLS I AM CAREGIVER FOR SO YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW FAR THE PITIFUL PENSION GOES ,FREE EDUCATION WHAT A JOKE ,I AM ALLWAYS PAYING FOR SOMETHING CONNECTED WITH SCHOOLING $300 PER YEAR FOR BUS PASS FOR ONE GIRL ,BUT I DONT SEE ANY OF OUR M.P FADING AWAY FROM LACK NUTRITION ,IT OK HERE BUT COULD BE SO MUCH BETTER G.S.T AT 15%KILLS EVERYTHING

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