Cost of Living in New Zealand

The cost of living in New Zealand is quite high. Like most countries, it tends to fluctuate depending on whether an expat lives in an urban or rural area. The cost of living also varies depending on which of New Zealand's islands a person lives on, since the South Island is significantly cheaper than the North Island. Auckland and Wellington ranked 89th and 114th respectively in the 2019 Mercer Cost of Living Survey. This makes them more expensive to live in than cities like Doha and Montreal, but cheaper than Hong Kong and Seattle.


The cost of accommodation in New Zealand

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

Properties in New Zealand do tend to be more spacious than expats, especially those from Europe, might be used to. Properties are also generally furnished to a high standard. Expats should expect to pay between 1,500 and 3,500 NZD per month on rent. This will also depend on the size of the property and where it is located. 

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


The cost of groceries in New Zealand

Groceries tend to be expensive in New Zealand. They are made more affordable by purchasing local goods and taking advantage of the special offers that commonly run at supermarkets and convenience stores. Many locals also save money by buying in bulk. Expats should keep in mind that New Zealand is remotely isolated from many places, therefore specific groceries often have to be imported, increasing their cost.


The cost of transport in New Zealand

Many expats will find that car prices are relatively inexpensive compared to 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 travel regularly for work.

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

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Auckland in October 2019.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

NZD 1,880

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

NZD 3,500

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NZD 1,550

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NZD 2,700

Groceries

Dozen eggs

NZD 5

Milk (1 litre)

NZD 2.70

Loaf of white bread

NZD 2.40

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NZD 12.60

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NZD 30

Utilities/household (monthly)

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

NZD 0.55

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

NZD 84

Basic utilities (average per month for a small apartment)

NZD 169

Eating out and entertainment

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

NZD 90

Big Mac meal 

NZD 11

Cappuccino

NZD 5

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NZD 3.50

Local beer (500ml)

NZD 10

Transportation

Taxi rate per km

NZD 3

City centre public transport

NZD 4

Petrol (per litre)

NZD 2.50

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