Cost of Living in New Zealand

New Zealand, like any other country, has its expensive areas and its cheap areas. Yet overall migrants from the UK will find that NZ compares favourably to Britain.

The Mercer 2018 Cost of Living Survey noted a dramatic drop in the rankings for both New Zealand and Australian cities compared to last year, mainly due to the movement of other cities. Auckland and Wellington, at 81 and 101 respectively, fell 15 and 20 places from last year’s 2017 survey. Whilst London jumped 10 spots to rank 19. Sydney comes in at rank 29 and New York, 13.

Therefore, if you are used to London prices you may find New Zealand a very pleasant surprise. However, compared to some areas of the UK, the general cost of living in New Zealand can be higher. It all depends on where you’re departing from, and your planned destination.

Do remember however, that cheaper regions tend to pay cheaper salaries and vice versa, as the cost of living depend heavily on how much you are earning.

Consumer Goods

The equivalent of the UK VAT is the New Zealand Goods and Service Tax (GST), which at the moment is 15% and is applied to all goods and services, apart from financial transactions. Here are a few of the most common goods and services and their mean price according to Numbeo:

  • McDonalds Combo Meal 11.00 NZ$
  • 1 litre of milk 2.68 NZ$
  • Bottle of domestic beer 4.71 NZ$
  • Petrol per litre 2.13 NZ$
  • Cinema ticket 15.00 NZ$

When buying groceries, do take into account the seasons, as purchasing tomatoes imported during the winter will cost considerably more.


Energy prices fluctuate in New Zealand and can be expensive depending on where you live. Electricity is unsubsidised, but cost per kilowatt hour isn’t that far off the UK cost and like the UK, electricity prices are rising each year. To find out about prices where you live, visit the Power Switch website.

Gas prices are lower than electricity prices and if you use one more than the other you could benefit by switching to low usage tariffs. Use the Gas Hub website to find out more about gas prices and how to save money.

Water rates are set by city councils and can also vary enormously. In some areas the water is metered and charged for separately and in rented accommodation you mainly only pay for what you use.

Housing rates are also set by city councils according to the rating value of your property (rented properties include rates) and according to a government website, the average weekly spend on rates in 2011 was NZ$39.00.

This website offers a great tool to give you an idea of the cost comparisons of many different goods/services/utilities.


Gas prices are relatively low with diesel being the cheapest form of fuel, which is worth bearing in mind should you be looking to buy a car in New Zealand. You can get an accurate indication of fuel prices with the government Fuel Saver website.

Clothing and Household Items

Prices of electrical items which are imported tend to be higher but, on average, clothing and other household items are largely inexpensive. The Warehouse can give you a very good indication of general prices for almost everything you might need, from clothing to televisions.

Immigration New Zealand has a good guide to the cost of living in New Zealand with many useful and up to date links.

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