New Zealand is one of the most exotic countries on the planet, consisting of small islands in the South Pacific near Australia. More than 70% of the natives are of European descent, 11% are of Asian descent, and about 14% are indigenous Maori. Altogether there are about 5.2 million people in New Zealand. The official languages are (de jure) Maori and Sign Language, but in fact the vast majority of New Zealanders speak English.

Life in New Zealand is a dream for tens of thousands of foreigners from around the world. According to reputable travel portals, it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The unique nature includes manicured beaches, tropical forests, lakes, fjords, mountains, and more. About prices and costs of living, taxes, specifics of employment, salaries, education, medicine, pros and cons of living in New Zealand in 2024 we'll talk further.

Living in New Zealand

Pros and cons of living in New Zealand

According to the official information of New Zealand statistical authorities, each year for permanent residence in New Zealand arrive tens of thousands of foreigners. The most common destinations are Chinese, Indians and Britons. The main motives for immigration to New Zealand are work/business (70%), family reunification (21%) and humanitarian reasons (9%). Let's highlight the positives and negatives of moving and living in New Zealand.

Pros of living in New Zealand

  • New Zealand is not only very beautiful. It has one of the best climates in the world and the cleanest air, and the locals enjoy 2,000 hours of daylight a year.

  • The quality of life in New Zealand surpasses many developed countries, while the cost of living is quite affordable.

  • The Global Peace Index ranked New Zealand second out of 163 nations on its list of the world's safest countries, after Iceland.

  • New Zealand is an economically advanced, calm and comfortable country with friendly and welcoming people.

  • In the annual report of the agency "Doing Business" New Zealand ranks first out of 190 countries in the ease of doing business. Moreover, there is practically no corruption here.

Pros and cons of living in New Zealand

Cons of living in New Zealand

  • The rich flora and fauna of New Zealand can not only please but also irritate. For example, when it comes to insects such as mosquitoes and flies. On the other hand, unlike Australia, there are no poisonous snakes, which are a danger to human life.

  • The geographical location of New Zealand provides more ultraviolet rays, excessive exposure to which can cause sunburn and even skin cancer.

  • Considerable distance from the rest of the world (except Australia) makes travel very expensive. It also makes it difficult to import and raises the price of some foreign goods.

  • New Zealand's public transportation system leaves much to be desired, and there is no national railroad at all.

  • Despite a well-developed health care system that is generously subsidized by the government, dental services in New Zealand are incredibly expensive. The same goes for higher education.

Prices and cost of living in New Zealand

According to the local Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the average New Zealand citizen needs to spend about NZ$3,178 per month to live a normal life. The largest expenditures are for utilities (NZ$875.77), food (NZ$591.5), transport (NZ$344.5), and leisure (NZ$278.2).

The most expensive cities to live in New Zealand are Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown. The cheapest cities to live in are Rotorua, Hastings and Fangarei. According to the authoritative publication The Economist, New Zealand has the most expensive real estate market in the world. For example, the average price of a house in Auckland today exceeds a million dollars.

Depending on the city and region of renting an apartment or house with 3 or 4 bedrooms in New Zealand on average costs NZ$460 a week. In major cities, the price rises to NZ$550, and for more comfortable properties up to NZ$750.

Prices in New Zealand in 2024

  • Bread (500g) – 3.29 NZ$

  • Milk (0.6 L) – 3.06 NZ$

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 11.25 NZ$

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 15.96 NZ$

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 3.83 NZ$

  • Cheese (1 kg) – 14.24 NZ$

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 3.88 NZ$

  • Apples (1 kg) – 4.70 NZ$

  • Petrol (1 liter) – 2.82 NZ$

  • Cab (1 km) – 3.45 NZ$

  • Public transport fare – 3.5 NZ$

  • Monthly bus pass – 200.00 NZ$

  • Utilities (85 sq. m) – 233.50 NZ$ per month

  • Cell phone (month) – 62.61 NZ$

  • Internet – 87.44 NZ$ per month

Note. Prices are quoted in local currency – New Zealand dollars (NZ$). Rate of one NZ$ today equals 0.6 US dollar/euro.

Taxes in New Zealand

Taxes in New Zealand

The tax system in New Zealand is fairly simple but effective, fair and transparent. The reporting period is from April 1 to March 31. The country has a minimum amount of taxes, including no contributions to the social and medical funds. There is only an accident compensation fee of 1.45% of income. And that is until the amount reaches NZ$118,191.

New Zealand tax rates in 2024

Corporate income tax – 28%

VAT (GST) – 15% (9% and 0% reduced rates)

Income tax:

  • Annual income from NZ$0 to NZ$14,000 – 10.5%

  • Annual income from NZ$14,000 to NZ$48,000 – 17.5%

  • Annual income from NZ$48,000 to NZ$70,000 – 30%

  • Annual income from NZ$70,000 to NZ$180,000 – 33%

  • Annual income over NZ$180,000 – 39%

Jobs and wages in New Zealand

Official employment in New Zealand is the most realistic chance for foreigners to move to live in this amazing far away country. It is possible to carry out professional activity with a work visa both on a temporary basis (for 3-5 years) and on a long-term basis, i.e. after a two-year period the document is valid indefinitely (Resident Visa).

In addition, there is a special visa in New Zealand for skilled foreign specialists – Skilled Migrant, which is based on a points system. At issue, such indicators are taken into account as age (no older than 55 years), experience, education, proficiency in English, state of health, and availability of a job offer. It is desirable to accumulate at least 140 points.

To successfully find a job applicant from abroad must have an in-demand profession in New Zealand. The lists are published annually by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and are divided into two types – Long term skill shortage list and Immediate Skill Shortage List. In 2024 there is a shortage of medical workers, engineers, and IT specialists.

According to the New Zealand authorities, last year the largest number of work visas were issued to chefs, nurses, sales managers, programmers and teachers. From April 1, 2024 the minimum wage in New Zealand is NZ$23.15 per hour, which is equivalent to 13 euros. The average wage is NZ$40.40 per hour or NZ$7,000 per month (€3,890).

Higher education in New Zealand

Higher education in New Zealand

New Zealand's higher education system includes 8 universities, as well as 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics that accommodate more than 20,000 overseas students. According to famous international QS World University Rankings® 2024 the best universities in New Zealand are Auckland, Otago, and Canterbury.

For admission to a New Zealand university in the obligatory need a certificate of secondary education and knowledge of English at a good level, as evidenced by the certificate of IELTS (6) or TOEFL (80). For detailed requirements you should contact the institution directly through its official website. The average cost of education at universities in New Zealand is about 18-25 thousand euros per year.

Medicine in New Zealand

Due to generous government subsidies most New Zealanders, including foreigners with a valid work visa, are eligible for free or very affordable medical care. In addition, some New Zealanders additionally benefit from private health care services, i.e. purchasing insurance.

If a person needs medical care (not an emergency), the first place to go is to a general practitioner, who conducts an initial examination and, if necessary, refers the person for further examination. The cost of treating injuries sustained in accidents is almost entirely covered by a special compensation program.

In conclusion, despite all the advantages, including the spectacular scenery, life in New Zealand is not always a pleasure. Even in such a "paradise" place it is very difficult to adapt without knowledge of the language and usual social connections.

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