“NZ… Land of the Big Ripoff”

Continuing in our series of blogs on what Kiwis say about New Zealand.

This blog is on a topic close to every New Zealander’s heart – money, specifically how expensive things are in New Zealand. It is taken from a recent thread on Trademe

  • Why is everything so expensive here? Are retailers just greedy or is it the government making it that hard for the retailers to make a living that drives the extorsion they call retail pricing.
    I have been looking for a new pair of running shoes; i’ve shopped around & the ones I want are $279 here in NZ… yet I can buy them (& just have) from USA for $39.99 plus $22 freight.
    I also bought a new telescopic sight for my fathers rifle from the same store for $69.99 which has been put in the same box so no extra freight charge on that item. The exact same sight here is $498.
    C’mon NZ, stop ripping us all off!
  • EVErything here is a rip off…and I don’t agree with the “oh we are a smaller country and can’t afford to compete with the big buying power of bigger courntries …b..sh…T!! More like the shops here really don’t have much competition and can charge/ do what they like…ie rip us off..Case example: I like to know what I am buying, I am not happy with just the wording “acrylic/wool mix” for a jumper for my 4yr old frm PPatch for the extortionate amount of $42.99, that will bobble and look like crap after one wash – I ‘d much rather know for the amount of NZ$16.99 that I am getting a 100 % cotton jumper from Next online with free postage…and so do just that! I know that this will last and not bobble.; it’s simply way cheaper and better quality. Shops here have it too cruisey, inferior made, especially the clothing, cheap poly mix rubbish, both adults and children, for horrendous prices. Get books from Book Deposittory, waaay cheaper, leather boots, again Next (NZ$178.00), kids clothes Next and would get all my home wares off line if they would freight here as well.
  • No wonder so many people are leaving this stunning country – average wage is pathetic, just to have the half decent things in life,..(and I am not talking about Nike trainers, label clothin etc, more like a nice leg of lamb once in a blue moon)….barely unattainable for most…makes for a hard and miserable life sometimes..But on the up side, it’s a stunning day here! 🙂
  • I agree completely, were ripped off, in more ways than 1.
    An example that I can give is that my wife’s business was importing home wares from Europe. If we got the factory in Europe to price the shipping of the container to our warehouse in NZ is was about US$ 3500 + BAF, we were approached by a NZ shipping company and and we agreed that they could give us a quote. They came round on the day and basically did a little presentation on how good they were etc…. and I kept asking for the price as that was all they we were interested in, after an hour we got their best and cheapest price…. Ex Hamburg to Auckland NZ$ 12,200 + BAF and we still had to get the container from the factory to Hamburg, and that was about US$450.
    So are we being ripped off yes, there are to many middle men with their fingers in the pie.
    They also talk about international prices, last year we were in Paris and we could buy NZ dairy products at about 60% the price in NZ, and some nice wine as well.
  • Here’s the other problem. Most of the stuff people buy isn’t even made here. It’s imported anyway. So which jobs are being protected by purchasing from local retailers? Importers, resellers, and retailers. Outside of a few meager items like furniture, food and some clothing, and even some software products NZ doesn’t produce most of what people out there are buying. How many NZ-made cars are there? How about NZ-made Televisions and electronics? How about computers?
    Basically, this leaves one option…importing. And what happens when a product is imported…every person or company that is part of the process puts a mark-up on the item to cover their costs and factor in some profit so by the time it reaches the store shelves, it’s hopelessly overpriced. This model worked fine before the days of the internet, but it won’t work now. And the argument about buying local to protect NZ jobs won’t wash since most of the stuff people are buying from overseas isn’t made here anyway. Any jobs lost will primarily be in the retail sector.
    The reality is that we live in a global economy which means the old rules won’t work anymore and smaller countries are competing with larger ones for business even within their own borders. Sometimes, such as in the case of dairy, wool, software, and other exports – this works to NZ’s advantage. But, in most other cases, it doesn’t because of a flawed infrastructure and system that essentially forces local retailers to price their products high. And the mark-up at the retail level isn’t that high, except in some cases.
    What’s the solution? I’m not sure. The genie isn’t going back into the bottle so somehow the whole system needs to adapt. But, that’s the trouble. Most of the time, people don’t want to adapt.

Much more here

14 thoughts on ““NZ… Land of the Big Ripoff”

  1. We had a family ski holiday around the southern lakes area last spring. I will never step foot back there again. One of my kids threw up in a rental car and they charged us $1800 WTF!

  2. As an Irish person visiting stunning New Zealand I am astounded at the very high cost of everything here !And that is coming from a country with a very high cost of living ourselves!The Kiwi s are so flippin nice that I thought all along during my holiday..”they could nt be ripping me off” but at the end of my fairly short stay I do feel generally that the high charges for everything are a bit rich and I do feell a bit ripped off!Thats why I looked online to see if anything is being said about it!I dont know how all the lovely young backpackers I met in hostels(same cost as a comfie hotel room in Ireland)manage to travel here at all!You have a great country with lovely people but it is sooo expensive here!

  3. We live in NZ for a few years, way overpriced food and indeed rip off on clothes, household items. NZ uses a clever american-esqe PR team to sell the country as organic, natural, pure, whatever, –all BS to sell a dream, a hope to the positive psychology delusionals and those who cannot think critically–happy talk syndrome. Would visit on holiday–however, NEVER live there–too expensive and what ya get is oftentimes poor quality.

  4. NZ’s hotel prices: cheaper to stay in Paris than Queenstown


    ‘New Zealand hotel prices have increased nine percent in the first half of the year, well above the global average of just one percent.

    The largest increase was in Auckland which shot up 16 percent to $171 dollars per night.

    Hotel.com’s Kath Cole said the increases are encouraging for the tourism industry.

    “The New Zealand hotel industry experienced a strong performance in the first half of the year and this was largely due to the substantial increase in the number of international visitors.”

    Queenstown still proves to be one of the more expensive places to stay.

    It now costs an average of $226 dollars a night after a 14 percent increase meaning that it’s cheaper to stay in Paris.’

  5. Heres my take on the ‘land of the big rip off’

    i arrived years ago and was astounded at the high prices here, even for localy produced goods and produce. The excuse ‘but were only a small country’ or ‘we dont know how good we have got it’ seems the norm. Even though the unjust pricing here has been highlighted in the media including Campbell Live not that long ago…nothing changes.

    Ive even been told by kiwis when confronted by the facts that ‘at least the money is going to New Zealanders’, words fail me.

    The powers that be dont care, the general public appear to be content with their lot and seem to get defensive when a foreigner like me highlights the fact that the practices going on here could possibly be considered criminal in europe.

    To sum up, yes nz is a rip off, the average kiwi doesnt care about the fact..They seem to be used to it and take it in their stride.

  6. Here is what I have to say im looking for a studio workstation desk for my music I have found one that suits me perfect but the price is $999 NZ for the same thing in AU its $499 plus 10% off on top of that even the meat here in NZ not even that great im looking for lamb rump steak you think I can find any here in this country as we supposed of having the best tasting lambs NO we don’t but you can get them in AU and they are juicy as come on NZ pick up your act and start making a good name for this country not a bad name……

  7. Nz is a luxury to live in
    Everything is expensive and it’s not a free country its nanny state and very unfair to its people
    You can’t diy ie fit your own kitchen bathroom because of licenses and fee to jobs worths
    We have dodgy councils with exssesive fees
    We can’t self build own houses we have to pay builders who can only build sheds
    Architects designs poor leaky homes and they don’t get the blame the builders do wrong wrong
    Young people can’t afford homes due to ripe of carters and fletchers charging up to 5 times more for everything
    And the politicians let this happen dirty untrustworthy polititians
    We have to many office types ruining this country putting rules in place that mean plumbers are to exspensive which means people can’t afford to repair there homes because somebody has taken your rights away to allow you to repair your own home
    Just think if this country was to have another major earthquake or eruption you wouldn’t be able to repair your own home even if you could
    We would suddenly go back to the dark ages because of stupid rules made by idiots KIWI INGENUITY IS BEING BREED OUT OF US BY POLITICIANS

  8. With the recent verdict on Lombard Financial company`s directors, one wonders who can one trust in NZ. As one depositor Paul Wah who lost his 6-figure retirement funds in the company failure said “If I can’t trust Sir Douglas Graham, who would I trust?
    Nobody would be the correct answer. Handle your finances yourself.
    The easy going attitude of the whole processes in NZ contributed to this scenario. Directors signed untrue statements making themselves either fools (if they said that they do not read them just like what former Bridgecorp boss Rod Petricevic said ) or plain dishonest for greed. If they are not capable of running a financial company with poor knowledge of the operation, one wonders how they can set themselves up so easily.

    So, people in authority are ripping the others off in this country. People are naive in this far fetched country. They should wake up and travel more to see other parts of the world to have a good comparison. There is nothing negative about travelling and learning about other countries but honestly, some Kiwis do not even own a passport and am happy to stay where they are.

  9. The typical response of Kiwis to complaints like that is “New Zealand is not the place if you want to buy things”, making you out to be a materialistic person if you don’t want to pay out the nose for every need.

  10. If there had been a bit more “honest” discussion of conditions, I might have reconsidered the move to NZ.
    Wages are lower. Prices are higher [easily 2-3 times more].
    A case in fact; I was able to purchase 3 electrical transformers mailorder and freight them to NZ for less than it would be to locally source ONE in NZ.
    If I can do this on a small, personal basis, why can this not be done on a commercial [high volume=lower cost] basis.
    Dissilusioned as to the “quality” of life available in NZ.

  11. People may not want to move here and have to grow their own vegetables and order books in from overseas, though. I know many who did not actually realise when they moved here that they would be obligated to do that to make ends meet. Many people here recommend that you grow your own vegetables to save money. Not everyone wants to move to the other end of the world to do that. Again, I make the point, which this person seems determined to ignore, that Kiwis who remain here and do not move elsewhere, and even some migrants, may be happy to make these sacrifices. Migrants who move here should be aware BEFORE they move that they might have to make them. For my own case, if these more truthful sites about migration to New Zealand had been on the web when I migrated, I would not have migrated. I can count on a dozen fingers at least twice the number of migrants who agree with me. I would rather paint than garden, myself. But art supplies are very expensive. If you are into outdoor activities mainly and not anything else, you will like New Zealand. It’s a particular flavour of place. Not for everyone. Buyer beware.

    From another website –

  12. Some good points – a lot of us Kiws are sick of the same issues with prices of clothing, books etc. I must say that when Pumpkin Patch started out they sold good quality clothing that was made in NZ. They have gotten progressively worse in terms of quality over the years. After the fiasco with their US stores I don’t see the quality of clothing improving anytime soon unfortunately as I’m sure they are keen to recoup what they lost.

    Personally I grow some of my own vegetables as silverbeet, spinach etc are cheap & easy to grow & taste far better than what you buy in the shops! With books – more & more students are sourcing textbooks from overseas as they work out considerably cheaper.

  13. For the year ending in June, food prices increased 7.5%, the largest annual increase since July 2009. That outstrips consumer price inflation, which currently stands at 4.5% for the year ending March 31, according to the Reserve Bank.

    Leung said even with the government’s hike in consumption tax last year, “higher global soft commodity prices has largely underpinned the increase in food prices over the past year.”

    Looking at the price increases of the subgroups on a 12 month basis ending in June, fruit and vegetable rose 15.7%, non-alcoholic beverages rose 8.1%, grocery food rose 8%, restaurant meals and ready-to-eat foods rose 4.5%, and meat, poultry and fish rose 3.5.

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