The cost of living in New Zealand

How much should I plan for? How much should I expect to pay in groceries?

Depending on your country of origin, you may find the life in New Zealand is more, or less, expensive than you expected.

When first migrating to New Zealand, many migrants believe that they require regular home creature comforts to ease their transition to their new lifestyle. Unfortunately, these conveniences can come at a cost. Due to the current global and national economic situation, and also because of New Zealand's reliance on imported goods, the cost of many non-food products that are manufactured outside the country can be higher than one would expect. In some cases it can even be financially more advantageous to purchase certain goods abroad and have them shipped to your new home, as long as you respect the specific duties that must be paid to New Zealand customs, and are aware of the paperwork that must be completed to do so.

One way to avoid these extra (and some would say frivolous) costs is by adjusting your lifestyle to live without those particular comforts. This method, while difficult at first, eventually becomes not only more financially beneficial, but also will improve the ease of moulding your new life to suit your new environment. However, with this in mind, purchasing some items from abroad over the internet, especially items such as white goods, can also end up being be a lot cheaper, even after you factor in shipping and import costs (which can amount to as much as 50%), so it pays to do your research.

As ballpark figures, you are looking at:

  • $350-400 / week rent (family of 4)
  • $60-100 / week utility bills
  • $100 / week petrol
  • $100 / week entertainment

Your family may be eligible for public-funded healthcare and free schooling

Migration... with benefits

In many cases, upon migrating to New Zealand, your family will be eligible for public-funded healthcare, and children aged 5-18 may to go public school free of charge. Compare to many other countries, this may result in substantial savings over a year's family budget, and must be taken into consideration when looking at salary expectations and cost of living.