Cost of Living in New Zealand

by Jose Marc Castro on August 10, 2009

costoflivingNEWZEALANDCost of living is very reasonable in New Zealand. The country’s economy has significantly grown in the past few years. The country is highly developed with high scores on indices on human development, quality of life, life expectancy, literacy and economic prosperity among other values. Growth in annual income among households is very high at over 60,000 Euro PPP. Housing in New Zealand is very affordable, of good quality and convenient since the country still lacks in overall population. The government is actually promoting immigration to add more skilled workers that will promote the steady economic development.

Consumer goods in New Zealand are also fresh and very cheap. Most items like electronics, food, cars and petroleum are priced about the same or lower compared to the United Kingdom. Most products include a goods and services tax or GST of 11.75%. This is only a small factor compared to the overall cost of living in Kiwi Country,  as this greatly depends on where you choose to situate yourself. This was greatly elucidated in New Zealand Expat Forum last April 7, 2009:

“I think New Zealand is a wonderful country. I would definitely raise my children there as i think the kiwi attitude and persona is second to none. I think that New Zealanders are very curious natured and open to embracing other parts of the world.”

Generally, the country relies on trade and tourism as main sources of income. The country has a free market as well and has made partnerships with other economic giants like the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Japan.

Food and Drinks Costs in New Zealand

The affordable fresh cuisine and world-class wines and spirits as these are grown, produced and marketed locally. All of these items are very cheap and are of excellent quality. Butchers and farmers ensure the freshness that comes with their products. Milk and beef are staples in terms of local production and for export purposes. New Zealand also has great-tasting lamb, seafood and poultry that are priced very reasonably. Top-of-the-line mussels, wine and lamb tend to be a bit pricier but overall, almost all of the country’s citizens manage to afford it every once in a while.

The average family spends around 300 euros on quality food and drinks every month. Water is relatively clean while there are also bottled products made locally. Fruits and vegetables are available depending on the season and New Zealand produces some of the world’s freshest and most delicious natural bounties like oranges, apples, grapes, lettuce, corn and beans. These are all available at supermarkets, grocery stores, delis and community vendors. Most of these harvested items can be bought in wholesale at very low prices.

Clothing and Accessories Costs in New Zealand

New Zealand is famous for manufacturing a number of clothing products suitable for outdoors. Textiles for such wares include cotton and wool from various sheep grazing the countryside. Several local designers put together seasonal fashion items like wool coats, shirts and footwear perfect for the outback as well as other casual occasions. In most department stores, locally made clothing and accessories are available at lower rates compared to generic ones found in the United Kingdom.

The average individual spends about 200 euros every month purchasing clothes and other items. Trinkets and electronic devices are imported from Japan and the United States thus cost slightly higher. There are also a number of brand names that are reasonably priced. Shopping in New Zealand is very ideal because of the good quality materials and reasonable rates. All things include the GST.

Housing Costs in New Zealand

Cost of living in New Zealand is very reasonable. Even if expatriates plan to stay in Auckland and other big cities, rates for apartment rentals and homes are practically low compared to their home countries. In fact, property and market analysts have said the increasing prices have tapered off for the time being as the government is active supporting immigration which helps people immediately find good homes and suitable living conditions perfect for their budget.

On the average, a four-bedroom house would cost relatively the same as a single-bedroom apartment in the United Kingdom. Places located near the center of major cities are the ones which may have higher prices. Country living is also ideal since expatriates get to enjoy wider space, access to cheap commodities and low cost housing or rental.

Tax is indicated depending on the purchase or rental. Most rents already cover utilities like electricity, gas consumption and water supply. Auckland overall is the most expensive city to live in due to the rising population count of over 1 million. Christchurch and Hamilton offer very ideal spots for families and retirees.

At present, locals prefer buying house and lots in suburbs compared to congested apartments in the city. The countryside and farmlands are also significantly cheaper and people get all the benefits of living in the city without the noise and hassle.

Services Costs in New Zealand

Education is one of the biggest advantages in New Zealand. All public schools are subsidized by the government plus families receive financial benefits which can be used for student allowances and school materials. There are different colleges and universities as well offering scholarship grants to interested individuals. Some are associated with big universities in the United Kingdom and the United States that provide opportunities for young minds to continue their studies abroad. Private schools are also available with more expensive tuition fees.

Transportation in New Zealand is convenient and reasonable. Traveling from one sector to another generally will cost about 20 to 50 euros depending on the distance. A tour around major cities will cost 10 to 20 euros. New Zealand’s transportation system is updated and systematic. Several buses are on route daily, trains regularly circuit around the nation and airports are state-of-the-art. Locals also have the opportunity of driving the car of their dreams since there are loans and other car plans and policies suited for their utmost convenience.

Another aspect of the services cost in New Zealand is the high value added tax imposed on goods and services that are as high as 11.75%.   This added amount is included in the cost of goods and services bought or sold.

Employment Costs in New Zealand

At present, New Zealand needs more helping hands in the fields of health care, computer technology, management and agriculture. Working in New Zealand is financially rewarding since it is one of the top countries in the world offering high employee salaries. This is the main reason why most people enjoy high quality living and can afford pricey items and commodities.

The employment rate of New Zealand is at a high 96% overall . Immigrant influx is expected in the next decade as the government aims to direct to other growing cities and communities. It may be easier to find a job outside Auckland but pay will just be as good. Foreign investors and business owners are also very much welcome in any part of the country.

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

samukun January 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm

The mode of living in any country is substantially influenced by the relative prices of goods and services within the country. If you do not bear this in mind you will find most places more expensive than your home country. For instance if you moved from The US or Canada to most of western Europe and tried to mimic your North American lifestyle the costs would be outrageous, instead you 'do as the romans do'; by smaller cars and use public transport, rent an apartment rather than get a jumbo loan for a mcmansion. On the other hand you can by cheaper but better beer, eat better food, have cheaper and better health care etc. It's exactly the same in New Zealand, in NZ you're better off spending your money on great travelling experiences than buying consumer goods or large houses – the latter are simply way too expensive compared to the former, so you substitute away from them. You can buy good value IN SEASON produce in NZ but out of season stuff can be steeply prices and not too tasty. Similarly fresh fish is better and cheaper than in, say, Australia. As far as cars go, just by an imported japanese used car, if you need to have a new car I think you can even import these directly – NZ doesn't have the extreme restrictions on vehicle imports that other countries do. Why? Well they have no native automobile sector to pander to. Yeah eating out is expensive so if that's a top priority maybe skip NZ. Then again you can cycle through the Canterbury hills, do water-sports on lake Wanaka, and if I was living in Chicago I would be willing to pay a lot for that.

The real problem you will face in NZ is not the price of goods and services, rather it's the low wages, especially compared to Oz. This is why I'd suggest to, once again, do as the locals do; head off overseas (often Australia) and save as much as you can, then with the currency advantage put it towards getting a NZ house and settle down. Sure Auckland may have pricey houses, but outside there it's not bad value. I mean think of the proportion of houses in Wellington with views that in other parts of the world would cost you millions.

End of Rant


asdf January 13, 2011 at 2:07 am

Seriously – what moron wrote this article? Has this guy ever actually been to New Zealand?


me me January 26, 2011 at 12:14 am

so hows New Zealand compared to the US and Canada?


Shisha January 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Weird. I have just paid for my 1st application step as an immigrant and I dont know if i should seriously shed tears over the meagrely-fat $400. It's confusing.


Deb UK January 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm


I am an expat Kiwi living in England for the second time, (with a child this time). I am well travelled and also lived in the US for a number of years(pre parenthood) and want to state that NZ is not the worst place to live but economically unless one has a well paid job it is very hard to get anywhere financially. Living pay cheque to pay cheque is common for a lot of low to middle class families, then so too in the UK and the US. As for the cost of food and clothing, I find the UK is cheaper especially as I can buy NZ dairy and meat cheaper (after conversion) in the UK. This is very odd although I know it's reason. Clothing and feeding a teenage boy is much cheaper in the UK as most food stuffs and childrens' clothing do not attract VAT, (GST) in NZ GST is attached to every item, be it food, clothing, housing anywhere the Govt can find a way to tax. Rent in the UK is more expensive than NZ but there are benefits, eg Child tax Credits and Child Benefit and Housing Benefit which help lower earning families. Tax Credits and Housing Benefit are also available is NZ for the same reason…continued


Deb Uk January 31, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Deb continuing,

School: my son currently attends a fantastic state school with a Grade 1 in it's OFSted Report (ERO in NZ) and had a 900 waiting list at Year 7 for 300 places. The education he is receiving at this school I would have to pay privately to get in NZ. It does have a large roll, though an average to NZ secondary state schools and this seems not to have made a difference to his enjoyment of school here. Crime is high in the UK but per capita NZ is equal. (a researched fact) In comparison between the countries of the US, NZ and the UK, of where I have lived I would opt for NZ for the slower pace of life and friendly people but econmically choose the UK.


Deb Uk January 31, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Deb Uk final

as I love it here and it suits my lifestyle. I loved my time in the US but prefer the UK to raise my child. The governments of NZ and the UK are in my mind comparable and there is good and bad in each government.
Ultimately, in choosing where one wants to live economics and safety play the final cards, but also being happy where ever one lives may win out. As much as I love the UK and am choosing to stay here (my mother is English) I am privileged to have been born and raised in NZ as it has given me my tolerant, easygoing and compassionate outlook on life. After all, there is positive and negative in all countries, some more than others, and knowing one is happy where ever one lives is what makes us get out of bed each day.


Amy February 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Having lived in NZ, Australia and the USA, here are some comparisons:
– NZ food prices are higher than Aus/USA, but the quality of fresh produce is much better.
– Cost of housing is comparable to, or cheaper than Aus (don't know about USA).
– I don't know about NZ's health care system these days, but in Aus if you have private health insurance (which is CHEAP – I was paying about $35/month) you get many rebates, and some health care is free under the Medicare system. Price of private health care in the USA is absolutely outrageous and you don't get much for your money.
– Many people have commented that NZ's education system isn't great, but if you compare educational outcomes it's far above the USA and slightly better than Aus.


Amy February 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm

– It is true that Aus has more employment opportunities and higher wages than NZ. Because of the small population in NZ, there are fewer opportunities to get higher-paying jobs especially in areas such as IT, Finance. In Aus it is easier to find jobs in these areas, especially as a contractor, that pay about $90,000 and up. Note that I said easiER, not easy per se. Also in the USA, there are far fewer support agencies to help you find work. In Aus, if you are in a white-collar job, you contact recruitment agencies and they hook you up with job interviews. Easy. In the USA, you’re pretty much on your own.


Amy February 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm

– As for lower-paid jobs such as education, nursing, service-type jobs like cleaning and hospitality, the wages are MUCH higher in Aus and NZ compared to the USA. You also get treated better – like an actual employee, not a servant (USA, I’m looking at you).
– NZ and Australian employers do not offer health insurance to their employees, but at least in Aus, health insurance is affordable.
– In Aus, I know many people who buy a second plasma TV, a new car when there was nothing wrong with the old one, or buy a house they can’t afford, then complain that the cost of living is too high (i.e. food, mortgage, rent etc). They are choosing not to live within their means but are too stupid to see it and want to blame all their problems on the government. Aus is a very affordable country to live in. These examples probably also apply to the USA and NZ.


Amy February 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm

– Crime rates in NZ – probably won’t affect you much if you live there, unless you’re stupid enough to begin associating with criminals. There are certainly drug problems as mentioned but nothing compared to the USA and not as bad as Australia.
– Racism – in Aus, there can be resentment towards immigrants but not so much outright abuse e.g. “Hey there’s an Asian guy let’s beat the crap out of him”. More like Australians complaining about how many immigrants are coming into the country and taking jobs away from ‘Australians’, but not admitting that they wouldn’t even want the jobs that a lot of immigrants are willing to do such as farm work and pretty much any low-paid job.


Amy February 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm

In the news in recent years there have been some incidents of outright racial abuse in Australia, e.g. immigrant bashings, which made some pretty big headlines. However incidents like this are rare compared to the USA where these sorts of things are more common and not as likely to make national or international headlines – therefore are more likely to be big news in Aus. In Australia, there are Aboriginal people living in the outback in 3rd-world conditions but not much gets done about it because it’s not so much in the suburbs/inner city where people can see it every day. In NZ, there is a much higher incidence of unemployment amongst Maoris than non-Maoris. Both governments need to step up and deal with these issues.


Amy February 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm

In the USA, or at least in NYC, there is a huge divide in the sort of work different racial/ethnic groups do. White people dominate higher-paid industries and jobs. Service-type and low paid jobs are mainly done by black/African-Americans, Mexicans, other immigrants and a few white people, and they get treated like absolute rubbish while they do them. In the USA, more people live in poverty despite working 2 or even 3 jobs, because the government lets corporations pay their workers such low wages.


Tiza August 27, 2014 at 11:13 pm


I know this is an old thread, but where do you get your info from, have you been to the US? I live in TX, and we do not have so-called racism here around me. And I’m probably sure that there are stupid people that are against skin color.

I’m saying that no matter where one goes in the whole entire world, there will always be people against the skin color of another. That’s been going on throughout time. If most people, i.e., blacks, whites, Asians, anyone, ever sit down and truthfully thought about it, they’d be saying, heck, why are we arguing about someone’s skin color? Well, it’s just totally stupid to be worried about a person’s skin color no matter if he/she is white, black Asian or whatever. Stupid is as stupid does.


Amy February 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm

All in all, Aus and NZ are both lovely places to work and live, but Aus is becoming more and more like the USA – or at least, what they THINK the USA is like and I don’t mean this in a good way. NZ is a better place to bring up children and for a more peaceful lifestyle. For an immigrant intending to work, I would recommend Australia. If you want to live in NZ, make sure you are in an industry that pays well if you want to have it easy with finances. Also, both Australia and NZ may not accept university qualifications from other countries. You may want to check this before you enter the country thinking you can just get the same level job you had in your own country.
Australians are very easy-going and friendly, but in a 'can't-be-bothered' or lazy kind of way. NZers are easygoing in a friendly, accepting kind of way. I always found that Austalians can be a bit crass compared to NZers. Any questions?


Hemant February 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Hi, I am planning for a NZ residence visa. I am into IT with 6 years of experience. Is it really good idea to live and work here. My wife and 1 yr old baby will be accompanying me in NZ.

What is the average salary a person of my profile gets in NZ? How easy is to get a job here? And what could be the monthly expenses?

Please suggest


Marius Cornescu March 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Hello Hermant,
I have a question. I`m living in ROMANIA (Europa) and I want to emigrate in NZ with my wife and one 6 year`s child. I don`t know nothing about the life from there , and if you are so kind tell me what you work and if is good to emigrate.
Please if you can help me with any information I give my email; [email protected]


Ebrahim September 17, 2015 at 8:44 am

Hi Hemant,

Did you really manage to get a job in NZ?if yes please advise as i am planning too . Kindly contact me on my email [email protected]




rachel February 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm

You have to compare cost of living to other countries to get a true picture of how bad things are. In the UK (I live in the South East, which is admittedly an expensive part of the country) a 3 bed house costs around £800 a month to rent (£250k to buy). We spend £109 a month on gas (and use an open fire so don't exactly go mad with the heating) £45 a month on electricity – though had a letter to say that's going up too. Petrol has been rising steadily for months – it's now £1.30 a litre / £6.50 a gallon. I used to commute to London, which took 1.5-2hrs each way, rarely could I get a seat on the way home, and that cost £3500 a year. London and cities are stupidly overcrowded – the London tube has over 4m users a DAY on it.

Education – while there is free education that's ok in non-city areas, university education will no longer be free. Young people have to take out a loan to pay for tution fees which means they'll be starting life with serious amounts of debt. There are massive spending cuts going on – local councils making lots of redundancies, public funded libraries closing in most areas, no more paid for public toilets, etc.

The outlook is pretty bleak for the next 5-10 years at least due to the countries massive debts and our current government's aggressive spending cuts.

Added to that, the weather is awful – uk gets half the hours of sunshine NZ gets, we've had 3 bad winters with lots of snow, and it's grey and miserable for about 6 months of the year.

I live in a village with two pubs, one shop etc and that was broken into recently. There is a murder/rape on the news for our local area about once a month – and plenty more people getting robbed/beaten up, though those stories don't make the TV, they're in the local paper. I've been burgled twice in my life (2 diff places).

I've only visited NZ once years ago, but the culture sounds much better, especially as a place with values to raise children. Kids stay indoors partly because of the weather and partly because we fear for their safety – (which is no doubt overblown by media and not such a risk as it's perceived) but that's the culture – kids aren't allowed out to play/roam.

I have a baby and I want him to be able to play on beaches, explore forests, go kyacking with his dad and be brought up to have decent values.

As you may have guessed, i want to move to NZ. I don't think it will be perfect – just pointing out that things are tough ( and getting tougher) in other countries, which is why some people see NZ so positively.


Nat February 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Hi, I've been reading a lot of negative comments about NZ but I guess it really depends on you and the lifestyle that you choose.

But I have to admit, I'm a little confused.

I am planning to emigrate to NZ and looking into jobs that would allow me to live comfortably in Auckland. I have family there so that's where I'd like to settle. I am actually hoping to just respond to job postings online. Is it really close to impossible finding a good job in NZ this way?

is $NZD 80,000 enough for me to live comfortably? I am single, female and 27 years old.


French but kiwi March 10, 2011 at 11:05 am

Nat, go for it, unless you need 100 Prada handbags, you will have a very good standard of living in NZ with that type of money if you manage to get that (at 27, I was earning around $NZ 60,000 there 4 years ago, it was more than sufficient, and life was great etc.). the only reason I moved back to Europe is because my family was too far. if yours is there, there is not much refraining you to enjoy living in NZ.


Marius Cornescu March 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm


I` living in Romania and I want to emigrate in NZ with my wife and one child. It`s somebody who can help me with an answer.


French but kiwi March 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

I have lived in NZ for 3 years, working as an Engineer. If i wanted to buy a nice 120 m2 house there in a nice area (nice, not posh), it would have costed me about 300 000€. Coming back to france (Paris), my wage raised by 50-60%. Great. Now if I want to buy a flat here in the city, that would be 50m2, it would cost me around 600 000€. I just can't.

So as many have stated, it is about what you want. Outdoors ? Nice people ? Great Scenery ? Simple living ? Go for NZ.
Culture, great looking girls, assisted society ? Go to France. Making money ? Stay in the UK. Consumer society addict ? USA.


French but kiwi March 10, 2011 at 10:59 am

(…) Having lived in Canada, NZ and France, my only dream is to go back and live in NZ. It is safe, people are nice, outdoors are great, and food is pretty good too. On top of that, it is the most open-minded country I have ever been too.

I have faced hard times (moneywise) at the start in NZ – once I understood that you had to adapt your lifestyle to the place you are living in, then with my "modest" NZ wage, I managed to put 10 000€ aside a year, while living in a nice area (in Auckland Viaduct). I do not manage to do the same thing here in Paris.

Finally, about criminality, I am really wondering which place is safer than NZ.


French but kiwi March 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

(…) To conclude : if you are looking to get more money, have all the latest gadgets, forget NZ. Go to Dubai.
If you are looking for a cool lifestyle and have a smile on your face each time you are going out, go to NZ.
For those motivated, you will always have people who are moaning because they just do not manage to see how happy they could be in their current situation – consider what they say, step back, and ask yourself if you are like these people and if you are looking for the same thing. For others, you can continue to ask yourself thousands of questions about what will not be as good if you ever decide to move from were you are now.

Errr, and yes, it would be so great if NZ could propose better wages, and if there could be no rain, and no traffic jams, and better looking girls, and also please warmer seawaters. And also please please, lower fuel prices. There are only 50% cheaper than in Europe. Thanks.


peppa March 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I am thinking of moving to NZ with my partner and 3 young children and was just wondering if on one wage, I am a plumber would we be able to live. I have been reading lots of information about the cost of living and worry that we will struggle. We have a house to sell in UK and will have a small amout of money to bring with us but don't want to have to use this just to try and survive if one wage will not be enough. We are thinking of Rotorua or Napier and renting hopefully a 4 bed house. What kind of income would we need to have a comfy life?


schwartzface March 25, 2011 at 3:51 am

Thank you for all of your comments! My husband and I decided NOT to move to NZ. God Bless our Country, and God Save the Queen!


Travis Mann March 29, 2011 at 7:31 am

im confused along with everyone else that wants to move to NZ…..Whats the real story…is it as bad as everyone says or is it ok???

Travis from Oregon USA


Kraft April 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Stay in Oregon, you guys are crazy moving to NZ or Australia, from Oregon, USA, I am thinking moving to Oregon myself.


Aaron of Auckland April 6, 2011 at 3:33 am

6th April 2011 – Crime has been falling in NZ for the last 20years it just gets reported more giving people who live here the impression it is getting worse when in fact it is better than ever. . Minimum wage rate is now NZ$13/hour (US$9.75/hr) power 23c/Kw (US17c/kw). You can start a business in 2 days which ,according to Time magazine, is one of the fastest setup times in the world. Cheese is around NZ$10/kg, Chicken breast is between $10.99/kg-$20+ depending on the store. Lamb legs between $9.99/kg-$18/kg so shop around. Our beef is grass fed so contains Omega 3 (unlike Americas grain fed cattle) Cheapest bread $1.45 up to $5 for fancy breads. I live in Remuera (one of the more expensive suburbs in Auckland) in a 2 bedroom house with a small backyard for $380/week which is probably cheaper than most. The last place we lived in was a $500k 2 bedroom flat (in a group of 4 flats) with a carpark on a bus route in Parnell/Newmarket for $400/wk. Water bills are about 1c per litre. Hope this has helped.


Marie April 26, 2011 at 10:21 am

New zealand is a good place to live. I'm a mother of three (under 4!), married and from auckland living in tauranga. My husband and I travelled prior to children and lived in France and the uk and have travelled extensively to other countries on holiday. There are houses for sale in papamoa, a lovely seaside beach area for just over $200k two roads back from the beach. It is very safe, we don't lock our doors when we go out, in the summer heat we sleep with our ranch slider open. The beach is very clean, no rubbish and my husband and his friends push their little boat out off the beach and catch their snapper limit within the hour. Enough fish for our family for weeks. We have two chooks who produce 2 eggs a day. We grow our own veggies and I have pumpkins coming out our ears. Summer started in oct-nov 2010 and is just finishing now April 2011. We have had lovely weather, warm water and great surf. Winter will be cold though as usual People are friendly. Some aren't as in all countries but I feel safe at all times. That is something I value in my country. I have never seen a real gun apart from LAX. There's too much to talk about to fit in here but I don't think the comments above do nz justice. There are hugely successful nzers living and leading global companies overseas and here. I DO think dairy and lamb is overpriced but there is currently an enquiry into it at the moment.
We have numerous friends here in papamoa, tauranga from overseas who LOVE it. Good luck. Your life is what you make it. My kids are happy, healthy, they love the beach and their life here.


Fay April 5, 2012 at 9:11 am

Hi Marie,

So refreshing to hear something good!!! we have decided to try the move from the UK to NZ we do live in a beautiful part of the country here in the UK however the fuel costs tax's and fast pace of life we would like a change! We have two children 16 & 18 my husband and I have ran our own building and construction company for just over 20 years now, we have worked hard and never been out of work, do you have any knowledge of what the building trade is like in NZ?? & I agree you get out of life what you put in!! kind regards Fay 🙂


awanka May 2, 2011 at 5:34 am

I have planned to go to new zealand to do a diploma course. but after reading all these comments i'm a bit confuced. so can u please
tel me is it a gud decision ??? Please rep me. my email adress is [email protected]


Anand June 5, 2011 at 1:34 am

Having lived around the world…seriously, u can't compare OZ, UK, NZ and USA – if you start doing that, you will just confuse yourself.

USA is very cheap to live because it has large population – lots of choices between cities, from expensive cities in NYC to smaller cities. I bought a house for $40,000 in USA, but my friend is looking to buy an apartment in NYC for $1m…so it depends.

Australia, NZ are small economies – and because of isolation, of course they are paying much higher cost for everything.

In USA – you can get the best and the worst like any country. Many immigrants have made it, living comfortably, including many Kiwis and Aussies living here…but many are comparing to illegal immigrants, which you should not.

I had immigrated twice in my life..always start with "worst case scenario" – you may not find a job you like for many months even years, you may not find a job at all as most do not recognize your overseas experience…what do u do, do u have a choice?

Many immigrants decide to set up their own business, and this is often the first step to success – now, what can u set up, in the US, because it's a bigger market, u can try diff. cities and diff. biz, but also more competition…but in OZ & NZ, you have to be more careful as the market is smaller, but also less competition..but sometimes, there is insufficient market.


Marilyn June 7, 2011 at 7:33 am

I am a nurse and a single mom seriously contemplating a move to New Zealand to try out nursing for a year there. Everything I've read thus far about NZ has been very favorable until I stumbled upon this site. Now I'm a bit nervous about my move. I am shock to hear such negativity because I've read nothing but positive things about New Zealand. I am from the USA and currently reside in Houston, Texas. The cost of living in Houston is great but the environment and scenery is lacking in the area of nature, beauty, and originality. I'm looking for different. Any comment will be much appreciated.. ESPECIALLY any nurses that can comment..


Peter June 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I wouldn't pay too much notice to the negative comments. They could be all the same person with a grudge. You should be able to live comfortably on a nurses salary in NZ ($60,000+). The crime rate is low (remember our cops don't even wear guns). I'm a New Zealander myself, and believe I live comfortably. You'll be fine !


Peter June 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm

How can so many negative comments here be true when Auckland was recently rated the 4th best city in the world to live, in terms of standard of living, by respected British analysts Mercers?


Renate November 11, 2016 at 3:34 pm

If you are a nurse in the USA, do NOT move to NZ. Nurses in NZ are “glorified nurses aides” – you won’t get the pay you want, and it is a horrible role. Think circa 1920 American nursing – where the doctors all have God complex. USA nurses education is far superior to nursing education in NZ, as in NZ it is a bedside role – bedpans etc. where overseas you are trained to really be a patient advocate and also work WITH doctors instead of assisting them.

I will tell you from experience, keep your nursing skills in the states because they will not be appreciated or compensated for here, and you will be treated like a “service” worker instead of a professional. Cost of living is OUTRAGEOUS and housing inferior.

I do like the scenery but it rains for literally 6 months out of the year. And they also don’t like Americans here so there is some anti-American sentiment.

I actually wish I worked in a different field because nursing jobs are not plentiful here, and if you are used to being treated with respect, you won’t be in NZ.


Brian June 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

Hi all,

The comment make interesting reading, but it is still somewhat confusing as there's not a uniform concensious, with quite a number of detractors (mainly about costs) balanced by those who enjoy the culture & lifestyle.

I'm from the UK & have been offered an Engineering/Design post in Auckland. If I take the offer I'll be with my Asian wife & 2 young children. Financially it sounds like we'd be OK ($9000/month) & if my wife can work (Acountant), even more so (although I would appreciate any advice if it is a good/middle/low salary). Likewise with regard to culture/environment.

My concern is with the other 2 issues frequently raised. The crime rate (inc drug related) & the Education standards. I wonder, indeed hope, that there may be someone out there reading this who may have an impartial view on either/both of these concerns. If there is anyone reading who could provide an informed view of these then I would appreciate hearing from you.



carl June 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Hi Brian ,
an income of aprox $108,000 nz a year … (9000 a month ) is a very good single persons wage …
middle class nz gets around 50 to 60,000 per person … a trained or degree wage .
if your wife works as well you should be more then fine .
housing in auckland is the most expensive in the country , for a very nice home in a choice of good areas will be around $500 to 800 thousand nz .. these are 200 sqm homes in good parts of auckland . not wanting anything just move in .
if you went to 800 to 999 thousand nz .. you would have a huge choice of upper auckland to look at .
schooling in nz is a mixed bunch .. the good is very very good , and does very well on an international level ..
and to be honest , if you buy into a good area you will be zoned for these schools , and even the very best are cheap to send children to , if you are in zone . one of the top schools in nz we are sending our children to have fees of only $400 nz dollars a year , uniform and books on top of this .. but still a bargain .
some of the costs that are high in nz compared to u.k is .. food , cell phone charges , power charges , transport costs , car reg ,
reason is there are only 4 million people in a country slightly bigger then the whole u.k , so distribution , importing costs are high and added to all goods , the our gst ( goverment sales tax) similar to v.a.t is on everything ..all foods , all services … where in u.k basic foods , health foods , kids clothes i think all miss v.a.t ?
we spend aprox $200 to $300 on power heating per month adjust for summer to winter
to fill a car ford mondeo size costs aprox $130 dollars , lasts about a week
to feed a family quite well around $300 a week familly of four

crime really dosnt affect most of nz , drugs no worse then anywhere else , probally less …
but being a small nation once again , our news papers report a lot of things that would not make it to big papers in u.k
nz is a lot more like a large village with its news and papers .. so we get a increased coverage on quite small events .

i have lived in the u.k for 5 years in brighton , and also USA
in final i would say the things you might miss are .. culture , history , ease of travel to foreign countries , e.t.c
because in reality there is very little high culture here , and travel for most is to australia or pacific islands .

im not sure if any of this helps , but please let me know if there is anything more specific you would like to know


Shouvik June 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Hii…friends i'm shouvik…after reading all the comments i'm very confused…i planned to go nzl for doing post graduate dip. in business mgmt.My question is after complete my degree can i get a good job…??…Or i came back to India…??


Melanie July 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

Holy XXXX! who wrote this!! I live it and people are leaving in droves to move to australia due to the low wages, high living costs, student loans, cost of going to the doctor, expensive food, damp cold houses! LIVE HERE BEFORE YOU COMMENT!


WantingToMoveToNZ July 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

If I got offered a job for 90,000 per year, is that workable?
Situation is: 3 person family – Wife not working (although willing – has been a housewife for years) and one 10 year old child. Wanting to live somewhere near Auckland. Is that good/ok? We'll be moving from very expensive London UK so are used to ridiculous house prices, rising food costs, and all the misery of an economic recession.

Any comments welcome!


Larry December 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm

90K? Is that USD, NZD or Euros?
90K in any of those currencies is a great salary. I live in South Florida in the USA, and 90K USD or 90K NZD would be a good salary here.
In the USA, health insurance is expensive and people live in a large culture of adoration of celebrity.
Yes, the country has 300 million people. I just can see how life in a country with a population of 4 million which has universal health care could be so bad. I have a possibility of going to NZ for a job which pays $70K NZD. i am single and i am just looking for an adventure and change. from what some of you have said, it makes NZ seem horrible.


Sean August 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I am Planning to relocate to NZ from Ireland. I got offered a job in Cheistchurch for $65,000 plus free accommadition. Plan is to work for 6 months and then move over my family. Lived in NZ 12 years ago for 1 year and loved the people and quility of life. Main reason for leaving Ireland is the weather. I have some friends in aus money is good but cost of living is very high.


Leonie August 7, 2011 at 4:44 am

I am born and bred here. New Zealand may not be one of the cheapest places to live in but everything comes at a cost. Our tax system is one that is regulated yes. But at the end of the day if you were sick, dieing or ill there would always be a hospital door open for you regardless of who you are or what you earn. Our country is not perfect but we as a nation have a high respect for people, you will see this in our laws. Our beautiful climate makes it possible for you to be able to collect food for nothing all year round. But thats only for the real nice dinners not everyday. One thing to remember when you come here though. You're just like me, no airs no graces, just the same.


Joan August 7, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Yup, I'm also a New Zealander looking at this website in hope of getting out of New Zealand. It is EXPENSIVE to live here, I'm amazed this article states the opposite. Land ownership is nigh on impossible now, hours worked are increasing, wages are not keeping pace with inflation, the 'free market" is God in NZ. A block of butter – produced locally – is $5.00. New Zealand is just a marketing concept, it doesn't exist. What you have here is an economy, and that is all. Every aspect of your life will revolve around 'the economy'. New Zealand has no spirit of life, no vida, we are raised to live to work and to seek all meaning inside the ever more strictly controlled, rationalised workplace. Going to Mexico myself. Not for the beaches, for the art, for the life, for the mental life of the people.


Cindygh September 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Hi Every1, i just have a few questions and hope i will get some answers

1. As a student from Africa, will i be able to work a few hrs a day to support myself?
2. i applied to go to the Waikato University, all discussions here have mainly been focused on Auckland and Wellington, what about Hamilton, what is it like to live there (racism, cost of living, ease of transportation)?



Larry December 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm

WOW!!! I just read what all the expats from NZ are saying and it sounds terrible. How can life in an English speaking country with a population of just 4 million and no borders with any other countries, meaning no need for big military expenditures and military waste be so bad????


Simon December 26, 2011 at 12:42 am

I live in NZ and life is pretty good, you generally find the biggest "wingers" actively seek out forums to complain, even a few profession anti-NZ posters trolling the net very very odd. The Australian section reads equally as bad.

My wife and I are in our early 40's, we are now freehold and I work full time and get about NZ$70K a year, wife works part time as that's all we need her to do and she brings in maybe 20K a year. We worked hard initially to blow away the mortgage and are old fashion with money, skills so many younger people could learn,we avoid debt period. If you cant afford to pay cash you cant afford it!! (excluding mortgage).

We have 2 cars, 4 Flat panel TV's a few PC's a 240m2 5 bed house etc, just a tough idea of lifestyle.

A few counter claims and comments

1. Crime is about average for a developed country.
2. Corruption is nearly non existent, I guarantee NZ probably the least corrupt nation on earth, sure always find the odd isolated example.
3. Wages are very liveable for skilled and very skilled people, not so much for those unskilled. Unskilled at $15 an hour must be tough with no equity.

Have to say don't come here expecting some sort of fairy tail, life is hard in general no matter where you live, who started teaching people life should be easy? you need to work your ass off to make a good life……… surprise!

If you think money is "all" that makes you happy then sure NZ is not for you, low skilled NZ is not for you, if you rate quality of life over money then NZ might be for you.


Fay April 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

Hi there Simon,

I have just been browsing the internet for NZ to try and get some info on lifestyle/prices/crime etc, we have for 6 months been applying for Australia but as my husband is 42 and no actual paper qualifications we didn't get the points we needed and had to rely on an "English" exam to move forward with our application, he had to get 8/10 on all four parts and failed, we have given up on Australia and decided to try for NZ. We are a hard working family who started a small building and construction company about 20 years ago and have never been out of work since, I was just wondering if you could give me any info on the "building trade" out there in NZ? and weather you think it's a good place for 16 & 18 year old's to move to? I was really positive about the move until I found this forum?? now I'm not so sure if we would be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire from the UK ??? 🙂


David February 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Im a New Zealander and I'm not sure this article is quite correct. The standard of living is very reasonable at all compared to developed countries. The price of food here is sky high, its hard to keep afloat and the middle class is getting squeezed and squeezed. maybe you should ask the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who vote with their feet and have moved to Australia


Surendra March 12, 2012 at 11:25 am


I am considering working in New Zealand for a couple of years and will be accompanied by my wife. Am an accountant and expect to earn close a NZD 100K. Would this be considered average salary in Auckland?



Fay UK April 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

Hi there,

We currently live in the UK, we have run our small building and construction company for just over 20 years now, my husband can build, tie steel, drive machinery above or below 20 ton (both wheeled and tracked) lay tarmac, block pave, actually with out making him sound like god!! really can do most things across the building spectrum, ( he won't read this so his head will remain small! 😉 ) We have two kids 16 & 18 one just leaving with gcse passes and the other after 2 years doing 6th form A level education, we were contemplating a move to NZ but most of the comments seem so negative???? we are hard working and believe you do get out of life what you put in? does anyone out there in NZ have any info on what a builder/ground worker's wage would be?? after 20 years in business we would like "NOT" to be in the rat race and maybe just work for someone, he has a wealth of experience that would benefit any building/construction firm but really we have no idea what sort of salary he would expect to achieve, we do have funds to bring with us so don't expect to have to pay for rent/mortgage and the purpose of the move is more lifestyle related rather than "money" orientated if there is anyone out there that can give me some pointers I'd be really grateful!! thanks 🙂


jane April 20, 2012 at 10:28 am

There is a lot of rubbish in some of these comments – firstly the cost of living is expensive so you need to come with some money. The weather is great compared to UK. We need construction workers here in Christchurch so rates will be higher if you don't mind a bit of shaking! I would agree that it is an easier life in Australia but you have to like the heat! As NZ is easier to get into many people try it out here then move to Australia if not what they thought. If you have a good paying job or are in business you will be ok. Our education system is great but you need to be careful with school selection. Can check their performance using ERO(education review office) website. I have spent years living in Oz and compare it to the USA in many ways whereas we are more like the UK in many things. Good luck.


FAN June 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm


I am from USA and a company at NZ (at Rotorua) offered me a job for salary of 80000. After reading all these comments, I am just wondering whether it would be good idea to leave my current job for this new offer. Any advice on that….



wally July 21, 2012 at 10:59 am

we are a family of 4 and will be leaving for NZ soon and are expecting to earn a salary of approx 110k a year. Is this enough to survive?


Stan July 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

This article is so not correct. I am living in New Zealand (Auckland) since 22 years and i feel ashamed of saying this that New Zealand is not even close to Australia, UK, or USA. Life here is very competitive and expensive. Please think 200 times before you plan to migrate.


Dr.D B REDDY October 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

what is scope of pharmacy in new zealand? i mean in pharma industry ?


Akshat June 20, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Hi , I am from India and have been made an offer in newzealand for 90000NZ$ pre annum. I would be based out of north shore area.

I am 23 and have 2 years of work experience! I was just curious to know if this amount would be sufficient to lead a good life ?

Many thanks 🙂


sue August 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I am a ex kiwi born in new zealand and recently returned because my parents are living their and totally agreed that the price of food is very expensive for people living in the city such as wellington and agree that the low wages makes it impossible to make ends meet. I think the cost of living hit hard on the middle class income especially if one spouse lose their job and the other spouse cannot work and then you become ineligible for any government assistance. At least if you are on the low income and on the benefit the government is able to provide different assistance such as accommodation etc.
the other problem is overseas people with other currencies tend to think new zealand is a good and cheap place to retire. Howver, this also putting pressure on the local demand for housing.
Also, new zealands weak dollar has also put us in a disadvantage when we leave the country to travel overseas. many years ago I went to the uk and had to pay 3x for everything I purchased.


Wannabe to NZ on Work July 25, 2014 at 9:11 am

I am offered $NZ 80,000 per annum in newzealand. I am in IT with 7 years of exp. Can any one living in NZ as of today let me know if i can manage to live a decent life saving $NZ 30000 per year?

Thank you


kumar November 23, 2014 at 3:51 am

Hi All,
I would like to know, if i have a frugal kinda living in Auckland and if i am getting 80K NZD per annum. How much would i be able to save for myself per year ? I would be a alone there and just listing out things which would make easy to calculate. If someone can help me in calculating this.
1) Rent : Would be taking a shared accommodation.
2) Power : in a shared accommodation
3) Medical Insurance will be required.
4) Dentist
5) Mode of transport will be bi-cycle. In case far away then Public mode.
6) Phone/Internet : Shared
7) Mobiles
8) Groceries : Shared or for one.
9) Would be preparing own course of meals except the lunch which i would depend outside.

Thanks a lot !


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: