The cost of living in New Zealand is rather high and, like most countries, it tends to fluctuate depending on the area. The cost of living also varies from island to island; the South Island is significantly cheaper than the North Island. Auckland and Wellington ranked 95th and 120th respectively in the 2022 Mercer Cost of Living Survey. This makes them cheaper to live in than cities such as Brisbane and Birmingham, but more expensive than Montreal and Athens.

Cost of accommodation in New Zealand

Accommodation is likely to be the biggest expense for anyone moving to New Zealand. Rental prices for properties in the city centre also tend to be more expensive than those in the suburbs. 

Properties in New Zealand are typically more spacious than expats might be used to, especially those from Europe. Properties, if furnished, are also generally furnished to a high standard.

Utilities are usually not included in the rental price of a property, so expats should budget accordingly. It can get bitterly cold in New Zealand during the winter months, which results in higher heating bills.

Cost of groceries in New Zealand

Groceries tend to be expensive in New Zealand. Expats should keep in mind that New Zealand is remote and isolated, so specific groceries often have to be imported, increasing their cost. That said, expats can purchase local goods and take advantage of the special offers that commonly run at supermarkets and convenience stores. Many locals also save money by buying in bulk.

Cost of transport in New Zealand

Many expats will find that car prices here are relatively inexpensive compared to those in their home countries. While people don't necessarily need a car, especially in urban areas, it can be useful for expats with families or those who like to travel.

That said, public transport is reasonably priced in New Zealand and regular users can save money by purchasing monthly or annual transport passes.

Cost of living in New Zealand chart

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Auckland in January 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NZD 3,800

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NZD 3,100

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NZD 2,100

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NZD 1,870

Food and drink

Dozen eggs


Milk (1 litre)

NZD 2.61

Rice (1kg)

NZD 3.45

Loaf of white bread

NZD 3.35

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NZD 14

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NZD 36

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

NZD 120

Big Mac meal

NZD 14

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NZD 3.88


NZD 5.53

Bottle of beer (local)

NZD 4.13


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

NZD 0.34

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

NZD 73

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

NZD 280


Taxi rate/km


City-centre public transport fare

NZD 4.08

Gasoline (per litre)

NZD 3.06

Expat Health Insurance

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Cigna Global

If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.

Get a quote from Cigna Global

Moving Companies

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