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Hello everyone. Myself and my family are thinking of emigrating to New Zealand so it is very early days in the process but would like to hear what people think of the cost of living out there as that is a big factor in us moving out there. Cost of diesel here currently £1.28 at some petrol stations!!!! Home sickness is also a big concern although I appreciate something most people must go through so any suggestions, experiences I would love to hear about. Any stories and experiences of emigrating to NZ in general would be very helpful. Many thanks in advance everyone.
 

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Hello everyone. Myself and my family are thinking of emigrating to New Zealand so it is very early days in the process but would like to hear what people think of the cost of living out there as that is a big factor in us moving out there. Cost of diesel here currently £1.28 at some petrol stations!!!! Home sickness is also a big concern although I appreciate something most people must go through so any suggestions, experiences I would love to hear about. Any stories and experiences of emigrating to NZ in general would be very helpful. Many thanks in advance everyone.

Hi have you decided to move yet? We are in the process and it would be great to hear from someone else that is also doing the same! This thread is old so i thought i'd just check first to see if you are still going:clap2:
 

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Hello everyone. Myself and my family are thinking of emigrating to New Zealand so it is very early days in the process but would like to hear what people think of the cost of living out there as that is a big factor in us moving out there. Cost of diesel here currently £1.28 at some petrol stations!!!! Home sickness is also a big concern although I appreciate something most people must go through so any suggestions, experiences I would love to hear about. Any stories and experiences of emigrating to NZ in general would be very helpful. Many thanks in advance everyone.
The cost of living here is definately less. Unfortunately, so are salaries and wages. Whether you'll get better value for money depends upon what you want to buy. Imported goods tend to hit harder in the pocket because they can be more expensive than in the UK. Anything local is much less. Cars were too, but they've got much more expensive in the last year because the strengthening yen has forced up the cost of second-hand imported Japanese cars.
 

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Hi have you decided to move yet? We are in the process and it would be great to hear from someone else that is also doing the same! This thread is old so i thought i'd just check first to see if you are still going:clap2:
Hi have you decided to move yet? We are in the process and it would be great to hear from someone else that is also doing the same! This thread is old so i thought i'd just check first to see if you are still going:clap2:
My husband and I just left NZ 2 weeks ago after living there for 11 months and we are now back living in Canada. I was born in the UK, but married a Canadian. I lived in the UK until I got married in 1986, lived in Canada until 2007 and then we moved back to the UK. My husband has the right to live and work in the UK. We spent 7 months in the UK and in March 2008 hubby saw a job advertised by an Accredited Employer in NZ. (Google Accredited Employers for a list of employers who sponsor people to move to NZ)

Our experience living and working in NZ was an absolute nightmare and it would take me days to explain why, it was mainly related to work, so may I suggest that you look into the following points extremely carefully before you make the move.

Employment - Make sure the job is what they say it is. Many employers lure people to NZ with great job offers and it turns out that it is not what they are making it out to be. I had a freind who was a NZ Police Officer, he told us that the NZ Police are one of the worst offenders for doing this and another friend who was in the Prison Service said the same thing. Some employers will hire you and not pay you. (That was my job, worked and never got paid a penny.) Still trying to get the money via a debt collection agency, but that's another story. I was ripped off by 2 different employers to the tune of $15,000.

Doctor's - You will pay for every visit to the Doctor, it ranges between $40 & $60 per visit, depending on which Doctor you get. That's if you can get a Dr., to regsiter with, as there is a definite shortage. The health system is like it was in the UK about 30 years ago, it SUCKS! If you are on expensive medication they have to apply for a special number from the government so you can get the medication and if they say no, then you either can't have it, or you will need to pay full price for it.

Shopping - We found prices to be high, for both food and household items. Most NZ'rs buy stuff 2nd hand from Trade Me because they can't afford new things. Wages are low compared to what things cost. Amongst other things, a cooked chicken as big as your fist, costs $15.99. Yes, they really are that small. 3 Litres of milk is $6.79 and forget cheese. There are places like the Warehouse where you can get cheaper things, but most of it is imported from China and breaks within a few weeks, cheap tat, but you get what you pay for. Do your homework on prices and wages before you go.

Housing - Oh my gosh, we have lived in many Countries, but NZ has to have the worst housing in the world. It's just like living in a shed at the bottom of your garden. No heating, no insulation and no double glazing and for this you can pay $350 A WEEK, yes we did. I am not exagerating here, most of the garages in the UK are better heated and insulated than the houses in NZ. The 1st house we rented was only 7 years old, no heating whatsoever, little insulation and no double glazing. Double glazing has only just been introduced as a requirement for new builds this year, so houses pre 2009 do not have double glazing and houses are cold! Mould is common place in 90% of all houses because the condensation is incredible. You will need to run a dehumidifier constantly and we bought oil filled raditators for heat because they were the cheapest source of heating if there is no wood burner and our electricty bill for ONE MONTH was $400!

Cars & Insurance - Vehicles are expensive compared to the UK. A car which is 10 years old in the UK can be picked up for under 1000 pounds, the same car in NZ will cost you $5,000 and the mileage will be extremely high. You need a WOF, (warrant of fitness, which is the equivalent of an MOT) every 6 months at a cost of $55 each time. Car insurance is not mandatory, you don't have to have it and many people don't. If you do get it, it will cost you around $365 per year if you have full no claims bonuses, but take a letter of experience with you from your home Country or you won't get them.

Telephones, Internet and TV - Cell phones, not a lot of competition here. You have Telecom and Voadafone, both are expensive and sim cards will cost you approximately $35 to buy and then another $20 for the minutes. Most people in NZ text as it is cheaper. Landlines, Telecom charges 45 cents per minute for long distance calls within NZ, shudder to think what the per minute rates for overseas were. I never used them I used a VOIP program on the internet for all my calls and texts which was next to nothing. TV, if you don't have Sky you get about 6 channels, same as Freeview, you pay $350 for a freeview box and only get about 6 channels, what a rip off. I couldn't believe the price of the Freeview boxes, especially as UK Freeview boxes can be picked up for 25 quid. Internet, not cheap. I paid $80 month for my internet, you can get slightly cheaper packages, but it's still too expensive. Mostly DSL, only get cable internet in the bigger cities.

Utilities - Check out the real cost of electricity, gas, telephone, tv, internet before you go because none of these are cheap.

Crime - Considering there are only 4 million people in NZ, the crime rate is horrendous for such a small amount of people. Police are understaffed and crime is abundant. Petty crime is rife and you just don't realize how much crime there is until you live there. Even my friend who is a NZ Police Officer admits the crime rate is extremely high and I myself am an ex Canadian Police Officer and I know what high crime rates are. Many criminals get away with things because the Police don't have the manpower. Boy racers are all over the place too. Kids who race their cars up and down residential streets.

Weather - It depends on if you like rain or not. Maybe we were unlucky, but it seemed to rain constantly during the 11 months we were there. We had a few sunny days, nothing too hot, but the summer was nothing to rave about.

People seem to think that NZ is the land of milk and honey. Nowhere on this earth is there anywhere like that. Having lived in many different Countries there are problems with every Country in the world, good points and bad everywhere you go. People leave their homeland because they think they will get a better life somewhere else. Well, it doesn't matter where you live really, life is what you make of it. You can't change a Country, you have to live with whatever you get. NZ for us had more bad points than good, that is why we left, but for you it will probably be completely different. Heavens knows we certainly did not go for the money. We went because we heard stories of a better life and more freedom etc. It didn't work out for us, my husband's job was not what they said it would be and he was incredibly unhappy.

They often say "home is where the heart is" and this could not be more true. My heart is in the UK and for all it's faults, it's my 'home' and we will be returning there after hubby has finished his work here in Canada.

For anyone who is thinking of moving out of their own Country, please do lots of research before you go anywhere. It is so easy to be starry eyed because living in another Country sounds romantic. When you actually have to live there, it becomes a different story completely. I wish I could take all the good little bits of every Country I have lived in and make a whole Country out of them, but of course we can't do that. Just remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Statistics in NZ show that 1,000 people EVERY WEEK leave NZ to go to another Country and may people who do immigrate there from the UK, end up going back.
 

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Mazzie, I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

Some of the things you say are true, but I'd like to balance it with what we've found in the 2.5 years that we've been here.

Employment - Make sure the job is what they say it is. Many employers lure people to NZ with great job offers and it turns out that it is not what they are making it out to be. ..... I was ripped off by 2 different employers to the tune of $15,000.
What a nightmare for you! I have not heard of any of my friends having this problem though. So I do hope that it was a one-off.


Doctor's - You will pay for every visit to the Doctor, it ranges between $40 & $60 per visit....
True you do pay. (our doctor charges $34 NZD per visit. But prescriptions are really cheap when compared to the UK. My husband pays $1 NZD per perscription per month. That's compared to the £6.90 per prescription he used to pay in the UK.

That's if you can get a Dr. to regsiter with, as there is a definite shortage.
We haven't found this. We found a surgery just down the road from us and have nothing but praise

The health system is like it was in the UK about 30 years ago .......
Sounds like the UK NHS system now!! :) You are right, there are some limitations - but we've not found many problems. The generic version of the drug my husband is on is just as good as the named brand one he used to be on.

Shopping - We found prices to be high, for both food and household items.
Some things are high in price - but others are good value. I find the food bill to be about the same as that in the UK, but I do buy slightly different things. Can't do without the PG Tips tea bags and Branston Pickle though!

Most NZ'rs buy stuff 2nd hand from Trade Me because they can't afford new things.
I have to disagree with you here. Most NZ'ers buy on Trademe because it's addictive and you can get some really good things on it! Because NZ is relatively small, Trademe actually feels much more like a community than Ebay. I find it easier to use too. And why pay a fortune for something new when you can buy something just as good for less, and do some recycling at the same time!

Wages are low compared to what things cost. .... 3 Litres of milk is $6.79 and forget cheese.
My local supermarket is less. I don't know about the cooked chicken but 2 litres of milk is $3.15 NZD, and 1KG of 'Colby' cheddar is $7.99 NZD, 2 dozen eggs for $6 NZD.

There are places like the Warehouse where you can get cheaper things, but most of it is imported from China and breaks within a few weeks, cheap tat, but you get what you pay for.
Agreed. So we don't use the Warehouse. Briscoes and Farmers have household goods at very reasonably priced and good quality.

Do your homework on prices and wages before you go.
Assume a salary of two thirds what you currently earn - but the cost of living will be two thirds too.

Housing - Oh my gosh, we have lived in many Countries, but NZ has to have the worst housing in the world.......
Some houses are exactly like this. But many aren't. Our house does have single glazing, but with some insulation in the roof and a heat pump installed we reckon we're just as comfy as we were in out fully double-glazed and centrally heated house in the UK. Pick your house with care, and if you're buying make sure you ask your surveyor to check for 'leaky building syndrome', which was a huge problem over here at one time.

Cars & Insurance - Vehicles are expensive compared to the UK. .........
I must totally and utterly disagree with this paragraph!

Here's our personal experience:

We have found vehicles to be considerably cheaper than the UK.

When we moved here we bought a 1 year old Honda Jazz for $17,000 NZD That was considerably cheaper than the equivalent car in the UK. The insurance was also very reasonable.

My 18 year old son moved out - we bought him a 1998 2.5 litre Mitsubishi Legnum Estate (imagine buying THAT for an 18 year old in the UK!!) in good condition for $3,000 NZD. The insurance - full comp - with my son as the main driver was $450 NZD - that's less than £200 GBP.

We recently brought an immaculate 1998 MGF sports car for $6000 NZD.

Look at Trade Me Motors - Used cars, new cars, motorbikes, boats and more for sale on trademe.co.nz for some ideas of prices.

Telephones, Internet and TV - Cell phones, not a lot of competition here. You have Telecom and Vodafone, ....Landlines, Telecom charges 45 cents per minute for long distance calls within NZ, shudder to think what the per minute rates for overseas were. .....
Yes, phones have a way to go. But there are some new broadband connections and options opening up this week, and it is getting better. Telecom do a deal - $5 for up to 2 hours for a call back to the UK. I use it every week to call my Mum.

TV, if you don't have Sky you get about 6 channels, same as Freeview, you pay $350 for a freeview box and only get about 6 channels, what a rip off. I couldn't believe the price of the Freeview boxes, especially as UK Freeview boxes can be picked up for 25 quid. Internet, not cheap. I paid $80 month for my internet, you can get slightly cheaper packages, but it's still too expensive. Mostly DSL, only get cable internet in the bigger cities.
'Landline' TV is not the best in the world. We paid less for a Freeview box, but I can't remember the exact cost. With so much going on outside the house though we don't watch much TV anyway!

Utilities - Check out the real cost of electricity, gas, telephone, tv, internet before you go because none of these are cheap.
We haven't found them expensive, though. To give you an idea, our latest electricity bill for May is $173 NZD, which was a cold month, and we use electricity for everything, including cooking and heating. In the summer it can go down to about $100 NZD per month.

Crime - Considering there are only 4 million people in NZ, the crime rate is horrendous for such a small amount of people. Police are understaffed and crime is abundant. Petty crime is rife and you just don't realize how much crime there is until you live there. Even my friend who is a NZ Police Officer admits the crime rate is extremely high and I myself am an ex Canadian Police Officer and I know what high crime rates are. Many criminals get away with things because the Police don't have the manpower. Boy racers are all over the place too. Kids who race their cars up and down residential streets.
Every place has its problems, and NZ is no exception. All I can pass on is what my son thinks. He was brought up and went to a state-run school in Harrow. He loves it over here and reckons that 'Auckland has it's problems but compared to the UK they're on a different scale'.

Weather - It depends on if you like rain or not. Maybe we were unlucky, but it seemed to rain constantly during the 11 months we were there. We had a few sunny days, nothing too hot, but the summer was nothing to rave about.
Yes, it rains (that's why it's green). But we also have beautiful sun. Today is a good example. It rained overnight, then the sun came out this morning. We had a bit of a shower about an hour ago and now the sun't out again. Very few long dull drizzly days like the UK though.

People seem to think that NZ is the land of milk and honey. Nowhere on this earth is there anywhere like that. Having lived in many different Countries there are problems with every Country in the world, good points and bad everywhere you go. People leave their homeland because they think they will get a better life somewhere else. Well, it doesn't matter where you live really, life is what you make of it. You can't change a Country, you have to live with whatever you get. NZ for us had more bad points than good, that is why we left, but for you it will probably be completely different. Heavens knows we certainly did not go for the money. We went because we heard stories of a better life and more freedom etc. It didn't work out for us, my husband's job was not what they said it would be and he was incredibly unhappy.
Oh how true. To anyone considering emigrating here, don't come here expecting paradise and a life of luxury for no work. And it sounds like you had a really bad time of it which (unfortunately) has coloured your view.[

They often say "home is where the heart is" and this could not be more true. My heart is in the UK and for all it's faults, it's my 'home' and we will be returning there after hubby has finished his work here in Canada.
I miss the UK too - my Mum and my eldest boy are still there - but I can't imagine living anywhere other than NZ now.

For anyone who is thinking of moving out of their own Country, please do lots of research before you go anywhere. It is so easy to be starry eyed because living in another Country sounds romantic. When you actually have to live there, it becomes a different story completely. I wish I could take all the good little bits of every Country I have lived in and make a whole Country out of them, but of course we can't do that. Just remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Statistics in NZ show that 1,000 people EVERY WEEK leave NZ to go to another Country and may people who do immigrate there from the UK, end up going back.
It certainly doesn't work for everyone - we've been very lucky. But I think people can help their luck along. We joined lots of clubs, and made friends. This kept us from feeling isolated, and really helped.

Mazzie, I do hope that life in Canada is better for you than the experience you've had over here.
 

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What I wrote about was the experience I had and it was all true, I did not embellish anything, what you have written about is the experience you have had or are now having and therefore one post cancels out the other. Not everything in this world is good for every person and there are some things you have stated that I certainly don't agree with either, but not much point in going back and forth.

You have obviously had a good experience, we had a bad one. However, I do think that anyone who is thinking of immigrating anywhere in the world should see both sides of the coin. If you are not a permanent resident and are on a work to residency visa, your prescriptions are not $1, they are more than this. Granted they are cheaper than the UK, but if you are on hormone replacement in the UK, everything you get on prescription is completely free. I am on thyroid pills and in the UK I don't pay for any prescriptions at all. I would rather pay for a prescription than a charge to see the doctor, because sometimes you need to see a doctor and you don't need a prescription, but you still have to pay. My Doctor charged $60 per visit because once again, I was on a work to residency visa, not a permanent resident. When we went to the doctor's we were told they had a waiting list for new patients, so it depends where you live I guess.
My own Doctor in New Zealand came from Holland, he left to go back because he couldn't handle the antiquated health system in NZ, his words, not mine.

Yeah, food, you can't buy pickled beetroot anywhere in NZ either. I wish I had lived wherever you lived because that's definitely the prices we paid. Where are you shopping? Pak 'n Save? The nearest Pak 'n Save to us was 30 miles away and with petrol at $1.29 a litre, it's not worth driving all that way to try and save a few bucks. If you found food prices comparitive with the UK, they are more expensive as the wages are one third less than the UK.

And I disagree with you regarding why people buy off Trade Me. Before I left 2 weeks ago, I had over 500 auctions on Trade Me as we sold everything before we left. The many people who came to my house to collect things told me that they buy from TM because they can't afford to buy from the stores, so I am only saying what I was told. You just said yourself why pay a fortune for something new when you can buy off TM at reasonable prices. (The key words here being; why pay a fortune for something new) Briscoes only has really good prices when they have sales on and I found Farmers to be expensive, I would say they are on a par with Debenhams in the UK.

How many houses have you lived in in NZ? We moved 3 times in 9 months because all the houses we rented were absolute c**p and we looked at a lot of houses and these were the best ones we could find. Of course if you are buying you can buy what you want, but the rental market houses SUCK.

I wasn't talking about a 1 year old vehicle, I was talking about a used vehicle 10 years old. How many Km's were on your 1998 vehicles when you bought them? $6,000 is a lot of money for a 1998 vehicle. My car in the UK cost me $800, it was a 1999 Toyota Corolla with only 60,000 miles on it, compared to what you get in NZ for the same price my experience has been that older cars in the UK are cheaper, my husband is a mechanic and most of the cheap cars on Trade Me are not even worth looking at. It appears you have had good fortune since moving to NZ, but I am telling my experiences because not everyone has good fortune and I was just trying to give some advice and tell people to take off their rose tinted spectacles before making such a huge move because as I said, what might be good for one person is not necessarily good for another and that's where people need to do lots of research.

Again, you are fortunate to only have a high electricity bill of $173, you have a heat pump and they are obviously more economical than oil filled radiators. My lowest summer bill was $150 and we are only two people.

Sorry, I totally disagree with you over the weather. I am not sure where you live, but we lived in the North Island in Levin, it rained constantly and was always overcast. I just had an email from my friend there and she said it has been minus 4 degrees there for the last 4 days, cold and overcast.

I never felt isolated in NZ, I too made many friends and on the whole I found Kiwi's a great bunch of friendly people. Yes, our experience was not a good one, but it wasn't because we didn't do anything to help ourselves, we were unfortunate to come across some unscrupulous people and we found to our chagrain that things are not always as good as some people make out them to be.

I absolutely know for sure that my life here in Canada will be 100% better than it ever was in NZ, I am a Canadian Citizen and have lived here for over 20 years and in all those years I have never had an experience as we had in NZ, I certainly have always been paid for the work I have done and not being paid happened to me twice, not once.

As I said before people need to do a lot of research before moving to another Country. You have posted your views and experiences and I have posted mine, they are completely opposite, but just because you found one thing to be true and I found another to be true, doesn't mean to say that you are right and I am wrong, or vice versa. People must make up their own minds, just make sure that you don't go in with those rose tinted spectacles on. You and I will never agree on NZ no matter how much we go back and forth. It may be right for you, but it was not right for us and it will be the same for maany other people too because if we all liked the same things in this world, we would all be in serious trouble.
 

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Hey Mazzie, you're dead right - there are always different experiences. Hopefully people will read both our experiences and be able to make a judgement about whether it will suit them.

One thing I hope we'll both do for them is make sure they don't just assume that everything will be sweetness and light - it never is.

Good luck in Canada.
 

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Hey Mazzie, you're dead right - there are always different experiences. Hopefully people will read both our experiences and be able to make a judgement about whether it will suit them.

One thing I hope we'll both do for them is make sure they don't just assume that everything will be sweetness and light - it never is.

Good luck in Canada.
Thanks for the good luck wishes. I would guess that we are probably from the opposite ends of the spectrum also as far as money is concerend as I could never justify spending $26,000 on 3 vehicles. I also found some of the stores you mentioned to be expensive, whilst you thought they were reasonable. I guess compared to the UK, they might be reasonable, but compared to prices here in Canada I thought they were expensive. I would assume that you had a home to sell in the UK and when you arrived in NZ you were not short of a 'bob or two.' Funny how people can have such a different perspective on things isn't it, so I guess it just goes to show that you should cut your coat according to your cloth and keep doing that research to find out what you can get for the budget you have.

Your experience has been good for you as you said, I don't know if that is related to money or not. What I do know is, although we weren't in the 'poor house' when we got to NZ, we certainly did not have a home to sell anywhere and even though we transferred $20,000 from the UK to NZ, it did not last very long at all.

It sure was good debating this with you and hopefully we have both opened other people's eyes to both sides of this coin.

Have a great day and I hope that you continue to enjoy NZ for many more years to come. :)
 

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.... I would assume that you had a home to sell in the UK ....
You're right - we had sold our house - a pretty small semi in a working class village - and the money from practically any house in the UK gives you more of a head start over here. We'd budgeted for the Jazz, and my son paid for his own car (savings from grandparents over the years), but the MGF is our hobby.

I guess sometimes we forget how lucky we are....
 

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My experiences

Employment: my experience (over three employers) has been good on the whole. Employees, at law, have well protected rights, and in my experience employers tend more than British employers to publish job specifications. I would now be suspicious about taking a job where one wasn't available.

Doctor: it is true that the range of medication available is less. My wife has medical insurance and she has had to use it. The public health system is not as comprehensive as the NHS. That said, on the occasion that we've not been put on waiting lists when we've needed to use hospitals. We have not had to pay for hospital or GP visits for our young children.

Cars & insurance: I have had two cars in NZ: a 1989 Honda Civic, bought 2001 (1998 engine) 160ks on the clock, $3,000. I got another 120K out of it. Now I have a Toyota Corrola 1999, 80ks, cost $7,500. Fully comp insurance for that car is about $400, third party only $150. Insurance here does not need to cover cost of personal injury (to you or third party) because ACC covers it.

Housing:, yes, NZ houses tend to be poorly insulated. The exceptions tend to be newer, but they often have problems with rot. I agree that housing here is generally quite poor. The upside is that houses built between 1920 and 1980 are pretty solid and can take a fair bit of renovation. Properties here tend to be large.

Utilities:
I have bought two washing machines, both about $1000, a Bosch oven, $2600, dehumidifier $400 etc, most utilities are imported so they do tend to be expensive.

Shopping:
again, imported stuff is expensive, and generally there is less choice, but it really depends upon what you're after. I make a lot of food things I used to buy in Britain.

Crime:
Compared to where I'm from crime is very low in NZ, property crime excepted. I certainly feel safer walking the streets.

Weather:
It rains in Auckland a lot, much less in other parts of the country. Canterbury is much drier and sunnier (although colder in winter). Check metservice.co.nz
 

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I have to say I am astounded by Mazzie's post. We moved here nearly six years ago and I only wish we'd done it 15 years ago! NZ is a wonderful country, and while we have our gripes, we couldn't be happier here. We feel privileged to live in NZ. People are much friendlier, the costs of living is lower, children are allowed to be children. I have never felt threatened while walking in Auckland city centre at night. There is certainly less crime than in the UK. As for housing, I would hardly call the average Kiwi house a shed! No they don't have much insulation and they are often made of wood but the climate in Auckland at least is very mild. It's the equivalent of December here and I was wearing t-shirt and shorts as I walked the dog on the beach. It's rare to have grey miserable days and when it is grey it soon clears. There is so much to be appreciative of here it's difficult to know where to start. But that's the thing with people, we all have our own perspective and see things in our own unique way. All I would say is don't let Mazzie's experience put you off moving to NZ, maintain a positive attitude, smile and be thankful you have the opportunity to start a new life in one of the most beautiful countries on earth.
 

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Life in NZ

Hello everyone. Myself and my family are thinking of emigrating to New Zealand so it is very early days in the process but would like to hear what people think of the cost of living out there as that is a big factor in us moving out there. Cost of diesel here currently £1.28 at some petrol stations!!!! Home sickness is also a big concern although I appreciate something most people must go through so any suggestions, experiences I would love to hear about. Any stories and experiences of emigrating to NZ in general would be very helpful. Many thanks in advance everyone.
Hi
We have been in NZ since Jan 2008,Have a son aged 11 yrs.I chose the North Island Hamilton to ensure a favourable climate and easy access to main areas; Auckland,Rotorua,Tauranga,Coromondel ect.
The cost of living is difficult to comment on as everything is relative. People here generally lead simplistic lives and are not materialistic.
The biggest advice I could give is to visit and spend at least a month travelling around to get the feel of the place.I toured the North Island before I came to help me make a life changing decision.
Although NZ is English speaking dont be fooled the culture is very different from Uk.You would have to be prepared to embrace the culture and think very differently.
I love it here socially but work is sometimes a struggle with regard a lack of structure in comparision to Uk.
As for petrol prices not a priority.
NZ is a beautiful place but it also has its social problems..poverty being a particular issue.If you have a reasonable amount of money to buy a home and secure employment earning $60000 plus a second wage you should be ok.BJTB
 

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Hi Kellogs, I moved to Auckland from Scotland in October 2008 so I have been here 9 months now. I have found the place much cleaner than the UK, weather in the spring/summer/autumn far better than in the UK, summer here from Dec 08 - Apr 09 was warm and pleasant. We certainly couldn't pick up the kids from school in Scotland and go straight to the beach, but that is what you have the option of doing here.

As everyone says, it is what you make of it yourseld. I have had low points and wondered what I'm doing here, but that is all part of the course of your move and would be the case no matter where you want to be.

My kids settled into school with no problems, no taunting about their Scottish accent (which would have been the case in reverse, kids from NZ moving to UK). Both my kids don't want to return to Scotland and enjoy the lifestyle they have here.

Yes, some of the houses are poor, but that is also the same as some of the UK housing estates, again it all depends on where you want to live and what you want to live in.

I am no worse off in terms of money here than I was in Scotland with both of us working full time. I think that's what you need to remember, life here is the same as there having to work etc.. It's not a life long holiday. But you have the benefit of better weather, an out door lifestyle and a safer environment for kids. As far as I am aware, there is no school in the UK which doesn't have gates and fences all around it like a cage. Here most of the schools are open. What does that tell you??

Good Luck with whatever you decide to do.

Astrajl
 

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Well I have to say that for our experience Mazzie has a lot of points that I relate to. My husband is a Kiwi who lived in England for 20+ years and in many ways re adjusting was like both of us coming here for the first time. My husband worked with cars in England and was horrified at the cost of a ten year old car here. He'd also forgotten things like how cold it was in the houses, the condensation, the mould etc and was shocked at the cost of living generally.

In the UK, we spent about an 1/8th of our income on food, here it's 1/4. We used to spend 1/4 of our income on housing, here it's 1/2. There's no personal tax allowance here so wages are lower and taxes are higher. I struggled with my job and fitting in and being told it's one thing while it's actually another.

That isn't to say that we are unhappy, there are many good things about the country and not least in our case relatives and many beautiful unspoilt places. I do think it makes a huge difference if you came/come here with a sum of money to get started.

In the
 

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.....I do think it makes a huge difference if you came/come here with a sum of money to get started.
A very good point, Gemini.

It helped tremendously that we had enough from our house sale in the UK to get a reasonable house in NZ, and to budget for a car (albeit a small one). The one-year-old car we bought was less than a similar one in the UK. We haven't bought an old car for many years (we tend to buy a reasonably new one then hang on to it) so we're probably not the best qualified to comment on older ones!

I suppose the other thing we try not to do is compare things too much - both countries have positives and negatives. I personally think our life has a few more positives now.
 

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An American View

I'll offer an American view to the OP.

My family and I (wife & 2 school age children, 1 with mild special needs) looked into relocating to NZ late last year. We chose not to go. We made an exploratory trip to NZ before we made our decision, and this was our experience:

Income and Expenses - I cannot speak to obtaining general or trades employment in NZ. My wife and I are both professional types with doctorates, and we found that (a) the employment situation was bad and getting worse and (b) that we would have to be willing to accept at least a 30% paycut, even taking the exchange rate into account. Earning less is fine, so long as expenses are also less. They aren't. Again, I cannot speak to the cost of living in UK or Europe, but costs compared to the US were out-of-this-world. We found, easily, groceries costing double what they do here, with many things more than that. Utilities were far more expensive in NZ than here. Petrol, phone, etc. - all more expensive. My family is not overly-materialistic, but that was far more than we expected. I would also say that the current attitude towards recent expats and work has worsened significantly - read this: NZ 'paradise' not so wonderful for British expats, says UK newspaper - National - NZ Herald News

Housing - in all fairness, housing in NZ is a national scandal. Building codes either don't exist or aren't enforced at all. The mold problem was quite high, with little thought to insulation or water-proofing. The general state of housing in NZ would make a US building inspector head straight to the courthouse to sue whomever built it. It is also much more expensive than the US, but it would appear to be in line with European costs.

Medical care - for all the talk of "socialized medicine" being better than the US system, I found it to be totally untrue. There are waits for doctors. There is rationing. We don't have either in the US, but we do pay for our system. I guess it's just a choice of what you're willing to put up with.

Education - we looked at schools for our children, and I found a dire lack of special education resources for my one child, and there really wasn't a lot of "advanced" educational opportunities for my other child - one needs lots of help, the other is exceptionally bright. Both ends of the spectrum was a letdown.

Social - crime is far worse, per capita, than in most places in the US. NZ has a lot of gang issues, and the police appears to be behind-the-curve on this issue. We also experienced a definite anti-US bias while we were there, and it wasn't looking to get better. Perhaps this is better with Brits, but US expats have real issues there.

All-in-all, we decided not to go. Everyone will have a different experience, but that was ours. Good luck.
 

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Hi American Guy

I think your approach has a lot going for it - how many people arrive without having done at least some investigation into the country they're going to, then end up being disappointed when they get there?

I'd encourage anyone to visit first if they can, before making that final jump. It's not for everyone, although for us it definitely was.

And I think the differences between the US and NZ are larger than the differences between the UK and NZ.
 

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I agree with AmericanGuy that housing here is national scandal. There is so much that is done wrong. Builders often put them up as cheaply as possible to make a quick profit. Owners often prefer cosmetic repairs over proper, structural repairs in order to increase their resale value. There seems to be an attitude that a building should only last about twenty or thirty years: one which I think has developed recently, because stuff built in the first half of the twentieth century looks a lot more solid.

The reason for this approach is also because there is no land tax or capital gains tax in New Zealand. The best way to make a tax-free profit is by buying houses, tarting them up a bit and selling them on for a price in excess of the cost of the work, which is generally the cheapest way of making a house look good, rather than, for example, insulating it.

It's a real pity because it's a zero-sum game. Creating a successful business generally results in a happy businessman and happy customers. Everyone wins. IN housing, by contrast, the extent to which a person makes a surplus profit is equal to the extent someone else gets ripped off.
 

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Just one more thing:

If you can afford it, you can get medical insurance in New Zealand, and that will pay for a good standard of private healthcare. If you can't, the healthcare system here is, in our experience, very good, with a good network of general practitioners whill refer you appropriately, and although the range of medication is not as wide as in the UK, we've not ever been put on a waiting list. The bottom line is that in New Zealand you will still receive decent healthcare if you lose you job. In the US, you won't.
 

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If you can afford it, you can get medical insurance in New Zealand, and that will pay for a good standard of private healthcare. If you can't, the healthcare system here is, in our experience, very good, with a good network of general practitioners whill refer you appropriately, and although the range of medication is not as wide as in the UK, we've not ever been put on a waiting list. The bottom line is that in New Zealand you will still receive decent healthcare if you lose you job. In the US, you won't.
I can back this up. Hubby managed to gain a hernia picking up his motorbike (serves him right for dropping it!) and we expected to wait a while as it wasn't urgent. In fact, we waited less than 2 months and it was done on Health Service expense in a private clinic in Remuera (and it wsn't covered under ACC either).
 
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