Cost of Living

What is the cost of living in New Zealand?

It’s useful to try to estimate how far your dollars will stretch and how much money you will have left (if any) after paying your bills.

The inflation rate in New Zealand is low (around 2.4 per cent in 2004) and the government is committed to maintaining it at around this rate (or lower). Prices of many imported goods have fallen in real terms in recent years, particularly cars and electrical appliances. In general, New Zealanders enjoy a high standard of living, although salaries are lower than in Australia, North America and many European countries.

It’s difficult to estimate an average cost of living in New Zealand, as it depends on where you live as well as your lifestyle. If you live in Auckland, drive a BMW and dine in expensive restaurants, your cost of living will be much higher than if you live in a rural part of the South Island, drive a small Japanese car and live on lamb and kiwi fruit. You can live relatively inexpensively by buying New Zealand produce when possible and avoiding expensive imported goods, which are more expensive not only because of the distance they have to travel, but also because they’re considered fashionable.

The following list provides a rough idea of the weekly cost of living for two people in New Zealand. Note that it doesn’t include ‘luxury’ items such as alcohol, and if you live in Auckland the cost of living is around 20 to 30 per cent more.

Item

Amount ($)

Housing

125

Transport (including a car)

50

Food

100

Utilities and furniture

40

Other goods

25

Health

25

Leisure

50

Clothes

40

Total

455

Examples of typical salaries, housing costs and the cost of many everyday items can be obtained from Statistics New Zealand (www.stats.govt.nz ), the statistical office of the New Zealand government.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in New Zealand. Click here to get a copy now.

Further reading

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