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Cost of Living

New Zealand - Cost of Living

One of the attractions for expats moving to New Zealand is a relatively low cost of living on some aspects of day to day living when compared to that in the UK. An approximate exchange rate is $2 for each pound. The cost of living is changing though, as more people are choosing to make their home in the country this is helping to keep house prices strong and high demand for some items ensures that the cost is not as cheap as it used to be.

When eating out in New Zealand a meal for one in a fairly cheap restaurant costs on average $14 while a three course meal for 2 in a mid-priced restaurant costs around $55. A meal at a fast food restaurant is much cheaper than in the UK at just over $6. When eating out a draught beer can cost around $5 for half a litre while a bottle of imported beer is just over this at around $5.50. Soft drinks can cost in the region of $2 for a 0.33 litre bottle.

When shopping for groceries expats will find that prices vary considerably with some items being cheaper than they are in the UK and the US and some being slightly more expensive. A litre bottle of milk costs around $2, which is slightly more expensive than the cost in the UK, while a 500g loaf of bread costs around the same, on a par with prices in the UK and the US. 1kg of cheese is an average of just $8.30, which is cheaper than the UK and to purchase a bottle of wine (mid-range)costs in the region of $10.50, comparable to the cost of a similar bottle in the UK. The cost of buying beer in the supermarket ranges from $3 for a half litre bottle of domestic beer to $3.70 for a .33 litre bottle of imported beer.

The cost of travelling is fairly inexpensive with a single ticket on a local train or bus costing just over $2. A monthly pass will depend on the area that you are living in but can cost anything between $40 and $100. The average cost of taking a taxi ride in a city centre (5km journey) is around $11. Car purchases are in the region of $27,000 for a mid-sized family car. Petrol costs are fluctuating in New Zealand as they are in other parts of the world and change frequently.

The cost of running a home also varies with the average monthly cost for utilities (gas, electricity, water and refuse removal all calculated together) at around $155. This price can be as high as $300 per month, depending upon energy usage and the number of people you have in the home. Most homes have internet access and a standard internet connection has the average monthly cost of $44. The cost of renting an apartment in New Zealand will also vary according to the area that you are living in but is fairly reasonable when compared with cities in other countries. A one bedroom apartment in a city centre costs on average almost $720. A three bedroom apartment in a city centre costs on average $1225 per month. A one bedroom apartment outside the city centre costs just $550 per month on average while a large apartment away from the centre costs around $1000 per month.

When considering purchasing an apartment the cost is calculated on a price per square metre. When buying in a city centre the average cost in June 2011 was around $3500 per square metre. Buying outside the city centre has an average cost of $3150 per square metre. House prices see a similar variation.

Leisure time is very important and the cost of joining a gym has an average monthly fee of $52 and a night out at the cinema can cost in the region of $11 for one ticket. Clothing costs are on a par with those in the UK and the US, with a pair of Levi jeans costing in the region of $80 and a summer dress costing an average of $55. A pair of men’s leather shoes can be on average $140 while sports shoes (branded names) cost between $80 and $120.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.