Migrant Tales – Our Take on NZ – Part 1 (Cost of Living)

New Zealand homes are expensive and the cost of living is high

Welcome to the latest in our Migrant Tales series – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.

Today’s tale is the first in a series written by a reader, in this she talks about the high cost of living in New Zealand. If you are to be financially secure in New Zealand her advice is to purchase your home outright.

Be advised, New Zealand has low wages, no property purchase and capital gains taxes – its an investor’s playground, even poor quality, sub standard property is expensive in the areas where there are jobs and schools.

Here’s her story:

“OUR TAKE ON NZ – PART 1 (COST OF LIVING). I have to agree with a lot I read here. Me, my husband, and our two school going children followed our immigration dream to New Zealand 7 years ago. We are now starting to think we have made a mistake. Despite having good full time jobs, we still find each and every week to be a constant battle. We are time poor as we chase the dollars to make ends meet in an effort to provide a healthy and fulfilling upbringing for our children. The cost of living in NZ is sky high. We are slaves to our ever-increasing expenses and weekly rent of $580 – for a very average three-bedroom house in a mostly good suburb – around an hour commute from both our workplaces. Yes, we could save a little on rent, but many cheaper options are located in drug infested suburbs and streets consisting of high density/shared living situations with constant noise, reckless drivers, open drunkenness and loud unsettling domestic disputes. Relocating away from the large NZ cities is not always do-able as job opportunities can be very limited. One also needs to retain as many existing friends and family connections as possible to help you live life.

Add to this, the cost of schooling/sports and medical expenses (which are not free, despite what you may hear), insurances, water, power, phone, vehicle and maintenance/fuel costs, clothing and food, and you will do very well to cap your (family of 4) weekly outgoings to $1300. To service these basic outgoings you will need an annual NZ gross income of around $85 000. Remember, that you do not own your own home, and have not included any money for dare I say entertainment, holidays, household purchases or savings. With this said, there are many people who do somehow exist on far less – certainly not a desirable situation to be in. The cost of living is constantly increasing too, so the game gets harder and harder as the deficit and divide gets bigger and bigger between The Haves and The Have Nots (which also means more crime and not quite as much freedom as in previous years). Our rent increases by 5% per annum, insurances by a whopping 20% and other outgoings by around 10%. It is a no win situation as neither of our earnings can keep pace. We are working harder and longer for less, at the expense of our family’s wellbeing! Owning our own home is a pipe dream.

Are we really supposed to lower our morals and living standards further by sharing accommodation in a commune with others, or perhaps living in a motor park or caravan? We arrived in NZ as working professionals, qualified and positive, ready and willing to contribute and give our very best. Alas, slowly but surely we have been broken down to our seemingly futile ‘worker bee’ status. If you are thinking about moving to NZ, you must ensure you are financially sound and able to purchase your own home outright. This will help insulate you and your family from the pressure of chasing income at the expense of time and lifestyle. And then there’s more in PART 2 (to follow).”

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Migrant tales – Our Take on NZ – Part 1 (Cost of Living)

Migrant Tales – Our Take on NZ – Part 2 (People, Culture and Lifestyle)

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Migrant Tales – ‘Musings From the Land of Shrimp’ and ‘the Myth of 93% Satisfaction’

More Migrant Tales here

One thought on “Migrant Tales – Our Take on NZ – Part 1 (Cost of Living)

  1. The low-wage/high cost is very disappointing. You’d think that if you were paying top $ you’d be getting top quality, but quality is something little understood.
    You would think that even with as widely traveled and exposed to other quality of lifestyles that there would be some recognition of this disparity. There seems to be none.

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