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The Cost of Living in New Zealand [2023]

Welcome to the land of long white clouds, where breathtaking landscapes meet a serene way of life. You’re not alone if you’ve ever dreamed of moving to New Zealand, famed for its majestic mountains, lush greenery, and vibrant cities. This island nation has become a beacon for those seeking a balance between modern living and nature’s tranquillity. But before you embark on this life-changing journey, it’s vital to peel back the layers of its picturesque scenery and delve into the practicalities, particularly the cost of living in New Zealand as of 2023. Everyone planning to move to New Zealand must know how expensive New Zealand is and its living costs.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll navigate through the essential expenses, estimated monthly costs for household utilities and the cost of living nz, from the bustling streets of Auckland to the tranquil shores of Queenstown, unravelling the financial tapestry that makes up everyday life in this unique corner of the world. Whether you’re a young professional seeking new opportunities, a family longing for a safe and nurturing environment, or a retiree searching for a peaceful haven, understanding the economic landscape of New Zealand is crucial. Let’s embark on this informative journey to discover what it truly costs to call this beautiful country home.

Reasons to Move to New Zealand

New Zealand, a gem nestled in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, offers many reasons that make it an attractive destination for people from all walks of life. Here are some compelling reasons to consider moving to New Zealand:

  1. Stunning Natural Beauty
  • New Zealand is renowned for its diverse and breathtaking landscapes, from its pristine beaches to snow-capped mountains and lush rainforests. It’s a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
  1. High Quality of Life
  • Consistently ranked high for quality of life, New Zealand offers a balanced lifestyle that’s hard to find elsewhere. The emphasis on work-life balance, community values, and overall well-being deeply ingrains the Kiwi culture.
  1. Friendly and Welcoming People
  • Kiwis are known for their friendliness and hospitality. The multicultural society welcomes newcomers, making adjusting and feeling at home easier.
  1. Safety and Stability
  • New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a stable political environment. This aspect particularly appeals to families and individuals seeking a secure and peaceful life.
  1. Strong Education System
  • The country boasts a high-quality education system with numerous opportunities for learning and development. It’s an ideal place for raising children or pursuing further education.
  1. Healthcare System
  • New Zealand has a robust public healthcare system that provides high standards of care. Healthcare is free or low cost, ensuring accessibility for all residents.
  1. Career Opportunities
  • With a growing economy, there are ample career opportunities, especially in technology, healthcare, agriculture, and tourism. The country is excellent for skilled professionals.
  1. Unique Maori Culture
  • The rich indigenous Maori culture is integral to New Zealand’s identity. This cultural richness adds a unique dimension to the country’s overall charm.
  1. Outdoor Lifestyle
  • If you love the outdoors, New Zealand is a haven. From hiking, skiing, and surfing to bungee jumping, there’s always something to do for adventure seekers.

What’s the average salary in New Zealand?

In 2023, the average salary in New Zealand reflected a diverse and evolving job market. Factors like experience, industry, and location significantly influence earnings. On average, full-time employees can expect to earn anywhere between NZD 50,000 to NZD 75,000 per year. However, this range can vary widely based on the job role and the individual’s qualifications.

High Paying Professions

New Zealand’s job market has several high-paying professions, particularly in sectors experiencing growth and demand. Some of these include:

  1. Information Technology: With the digital transformation of businesses, roles in IT, such as software developers, cybersecurity experts, and data scientists, are in high demand, offering salaries well above the national average.
  2. Healthcare: Medical professionals, including doctors, surgeons, and specialists, command high salaries due to their critical skills and the growing healthcare needs of the population.
  3. Engineering: Engineers, especially in civil, mechanical, and electrical fields, are essential to New Zealand’s infrastructure development, making this a lucrative career path.
  4. Finance and Banking: Professionals in finance, investment, and banking sectors, such as financial advisors, investment bankers, and fund managers, often receive high compensation.
  5. Legal Professionals: Experienced lawyers, particularly in corporate law, intellectual property, and environmental law, are among the top earners.
  6. Senior Management Roles: Executives and managers in various industries, including marketing, operations, and human resources, earn significant salaries, reflecting their experience and the responsibility their roles entail.

Tax in New Zealand

New Zealand’s tax system is progressive, meaning individuals are taxed at increasing rates as their income rises. As of 2023, the income tax rate structure is as follows:

  • 10.5% on income up to NZD 14,000.
  • 17.5% on income over NZD 14,000 and up to NZD 48,000.
  • 30% on income over NZD 48,000 and up to NZD 70,000.
  • 33% on income over NZD 70,000.
  • 39% on income over NZD 180,000 (introduced as a new top tax bracket).

In addition to income tax, New Zealand has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15% on most goods and services, which affects overall living expenses. There is no capital gains tax except on certain types of property investments.

Understanding these financial aspects is vital for anyone considering a move to New Zealand, as it provides a clearer picture of what to expect regarding earnings and obligations.

Example of costs of living in New Zealand

Living in New Zealand in 2023 has unique expenses that vary significantly based on location and lifestyle. For instance, housing costs are one of the most significant expenses, with median rent for a standard three-bedroom house ranging from NZD 450 to NZD 650 per week, depending on the region and proximity to city centres. This cost can be even higher in major cities like Auckland or Wellington. Groceries purchased for a single person can average around NZD 100 to NZD 150 per week, with dining out and entertainment adding to this.

Utilities, including electricity, heating, and water, may cost between NZD 150 and NZD 250 monthly, while internet and mobile phone plans typically range from NZD 80 to NZD 120 per month. Transportation costs, whether public transport in cities (around NZD 30 to NZD 50 per week) or running a car (with petrol costs around NZD 2.30 per litre), also contribute to monthly expenses. These examples provide a snapshot of the typical cost of living in New Zealand, highlighting the need for careful financial planning for those considering making this beautiful country their home. Let’s explore the spending in detail to gauge if you should invest in life in New Zealand:

Regional House Rent Prices

  • Auckland: The most expensive city, with average rent for a three-bedroom house ranging from NZD 550 to NZD 750 per week.
  • Wellington: Slightly lower than Auckland, with similar-sized houses costing between NZD 500 to NZD 700 per week.
  • Christchurch and Dunedin: More affordable, with rents averaging between NZD 400 to NZD 600 per week.
  • Smaller towns and rural areas: Offer the most affordable housing, with rents often below NZD 400 per week.

Deposit or Bond

Typically, tenants need to pay a bond equivalent to four weeks’ rent. Tenancy Services hold this and is refundable if the property is in good condition.

Furniture Cost

Furnishing an apartment can vary widely. Budget options like second-hand furniture or essentials-only setups can cost as low as NZD 1,000, while more premium furnishings can exceed NZD 5,000.

Utility bills and internet

  • Monthly utility bills for an average household (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) range from NZD 200 to NZD 350.
  • Internet plans vary from NZD 60 to NZD 120 per month, depending on speed and data requirements.

Increase House Prices Year After Year

House prices have been steadily increasing, with annual growth rates averaging around 6-10% in major cities, contributing to higher living costs and an increase in rentals. Inflation must be accounted for while judging the price of essentials like food and household’s need for determining the amount of money one needs to spend for a comfortable life in New Zealand.


  • Public transport in cities like Auckland and Wellington costs about NZD 140 to NZD 200 monthly.
  • Owning a car includes expenses like insurance, maintenance, and fuel (around NZD 2.30 per litre), leading to an average monthly cost of NZD 200 to NZD 400.

Food Prices

A weekly grocery bill for a single person can range from NZD 100 to NZD 150, while a family of four may spend between NZD 200 to NZD 350.

Cost of Education and Childcare

  • Public schooling is nominally free but may have associated costs (uniforms, stationery, donations) of around NZD 500 to NZD 800 annually.
  • Childcare costs vary widely, averaging NZD 250 to NZD 450 per week, depending on the type and location.


  • Health, vehicle, and home insurance are crucial, with monthly premiums ranging from NZD 50 to NZD 200, depending on coverage.

Other Expenses

Healthcare, clothing, and personal care can add NZD 100 to NZD 300 to monthly expenses.

Cost of Entertainment

  • Leisure activities (dining out, movies, or sports) vary, but on average, individuals spend NZD 50 to NZD 150 weekly.

These figures provide a more detailed insight into the various components of the cost of living in New Zealand, offering a more precise picture for those planning to move or live in this picturesque country. Amidst all these expenses, the moving costs can also be high, but with professionals like Trust Movers, you can expect seamless packing and moving services in the most time and cost-efficient manner.

Cost of Living by City

The four estimated monthly expenses of New Zealand’s cost of living based on the cities are the main contributors to the money you spend on your basic minimum needs. They are:


  • Housing: Auckland is the most expensive city in New Zealand for housing. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre can range from NZD 1,800 to NZD 2,500 per month, while outside the city centre, it can be between NZD 1,400 to NZD 1,800.
  • Groceries and Dining: Expect to pay approximately NZD 100 to NZD 150 weekly for groceries. Dining out is relatively pricey, with a meal in an inexpensive restaurant costing around NZD 20.
  • Transportation: A monthly public transport pass costs about NZD 215. If driving, consider the high cost of petrol and parking in the city.
  • Utilities and Internet: Monthly utilities can be around NZD 150 to NZD 250, with internet plans around NZD 80 to NZD 120.


  • Housing: Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Wellington’s city centre ranges from NZD 1,600 to NZD 2,200 per month. Outside the centre, it’s slightly lower.
  • Groceries and Dining: Similar to Auckland, with a weekly grocery bill of about NZD 100 to NZD 150 and an essential meal in a restaurant around NZD 18 to NZD 25.
  • Transportation: A monthly public transport pass is around NZD 150, and parking can be costly in the city.
  • Utilities and Internet: Monthly utilities average between NZD 140 and NZD 230, with internet costs similar to Auckland.


  • Housing: More affordable than Auckland and Wellington, with one-bedroom apartments renting for NZD 1,200 to NZD 1,700 in the city centre. Outside the centre, the cost drops from about NZD 1,000 to NZD 1,400.
  • Groceries and Dining: A bit cheaper, with a weekly grocery budget of around NZD 90 to NZD 140. Dining out is also more affordable, with meals in average-priced restaurants costing around NZD 15 to NZD 20.
  • Transportation: Public transport is around NZD 125 for a monthly pass, and overall transportation costs are lower.
  • Utilities and Internet: Slightly lower monthly utility costs ranging from NZD 130 to NZD 220.


  • Housing: Known for its tourism, Queenstown has high rental prices. Expect to pay NZD 1,800 to NZD 2,500 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre and slightly less outside.
  • Groceries and Dining: Groceries like eggs and vegetables can be expensive due to the tourist-centric economy, around NZD 100 to NZD 160 per week. Dining out is also on the higher end.
  • Transportation: Limited public transport options make having a car more necessary, adding to the overall cost.
  • Utilities and Internet: Similar to other major cities, monthly utility costs of around NZD 150 to NZD 250. Each town offers a unique living experience, reflecting New Zealand’s diversity. Auckland and Wellington provide a vibrant urban lifestyle with higher living costs, and Christchurch offers a more balanced urban-rural feel. Queenstown, while expensive, is unmatched in scenic beauty and outdoor activities. These variations in cost of living are crucial considerations when deciding where to settle in New Zealand.

To judge the cost of living in detail, you must also account for other factors like mortgage, inflation, affordable transport, weekly rent, monetary policy, interest rates on loans, etc. If you’re planning to move to any of these cities, you can avail of Trust Movers, a reputed and trustworthy packing and moving service providing seamless logistics and convenience.


The cost of living in New Zealand in 2023 presents a varied landscape influenced by many factors, including location, lifestyle choices, and personal circumstances. With their bustling urban environments, cities like Auckland and Wellington offer many opportunities but have a higher price tag, especially in housing and entertainment. On the other hand, Christchurch provides a more balanced approach, offering urban amenities at a somewhat more affordable cost. At the same time, Queenstown, despite its high living expenses, remains a coveted destination for its unparalleled natural beauty and adventure opportunities.

The key takeaway for anyone considering a move to New Zealand is the importance of thorough financial planning and research. Understanding the nuances of each region, from rent and utilities to transportation and groceries, is crucial in making an informed decision. Additionally, high-paying professions and the progressive tax system significantly shape one’s financial well-being in this country.

Moreover, while the cost of living can be high, particularly in major cities, it’s essential to balance these costs against the quality of life that New Zealand offers. The country’s stunning landscapes, safe environment, friendly communities, and work-life balance emphasise it as an attractive destination despite the financial considerations.


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