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Cost of living: How do the UK and New Zealand compare?

Pondering a move to New Zealand from the UK? Here are a couple of ballpark figures to help you better understand your budget and opportunities.
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Looking at moving to New Zealand from the UK? Cost of living is one of the most important factors to consider when planning your relocation. Knowing a couple of ballpark figures can help you better understand your budget and plan your next moves with confidence, like choosing a city or town that best suits your desired lifestyle.

Here’s how the cost of living in the UK and in New Zealand compare*, keeping in mind that a lot depends on where in the UK you come from, and where in New Zealand you’re going to.


Comparing costs would not mean much without knowing a little bit more about the average salaries in the two countries, so let’s start with the income side of the equation.

According to cost-of-living database, at the time of this writing (December 2020), the average monthly net salary in New Zealand is 11.42 per cent higher than that in the UK.

Average salaries in New Zealand sit around NZ$50,000 before tax (approx. £26,300), with skilled jobs in sectors like engineering paying an average of NZ$70,000 before tax (approx. £36,860).

Of course, this is a national average. When it comes to comparing wages and costs, a lot depends on the job you find, the city you come from, and where you move to. If you’re coming from London, and you’re planning to move to Auckland, for example, you may find that the average net salary is actually lower (NZ$5,455.74/month in London compared to NZ$4,254.44/month in Auckland). On the other hand, living expenses, restaurant prices and rent costs can also be significantly lower in Auckland than in London.

Groceries & Consumer Goods

At a national level, grocery prices are 33.4 per cent higher, and consumer prices are 11.7 per cent higher, than in the UK. The reason is simple; New Zealand is a long way from other countries, and the cost of import increases due to distance.

Produce is generally more expensive than in the UK, and so are other staples like eggs, milk, and rice. The only exception seems to be water, which is reportedly 5.85 per cent cheaper in New Zealand.

For a more detailed overview of how things cost on this side of the planet, we recommend using New Zealand Now’s ‘cost of living’ comparing tool; a handy resource to work out what your income and expenses might look like.


When it comes to housing costs, like rents and household utilities, prices vary widely depending on where you are in New Zealand. It’s a good idea to research job prospects and costs in different regions and cities, to maximise your opportunities.

If you’re considering buying property, the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) releases updated residential property reports on a monthly basis – it’s a go-to resource to keep track of property price trends across the country.


Families with children – or planning to have children – may be interested to know that the average cost of childcare in New Zealand is cheaper than in the UK: some sources say it’s about 33 per cent more affordable, while according to others, childcare costs on average 73.7 per cent less.

Restaurants, Entertainment and Leisure

Looking at discretionary spending, restaurant prices in New Zealand are reportedly 6.94 per cent lower than in the UK, including both low- and mid-range restaurants. Movie tickets and gym memberships are also more affordable in New Zealand, on average 25 per cent and 9.5 per cent cheaper respectively.

Quality of life

Most migrants come here in search of a better quality of life, and on that front, New Zealand offers a high standard. Compared to many other countries, Kiwis have a good work-life balance, and are able to enjoy clean air, uncrowded communities, a strong economy and relatively low crime rates. Even in the biggest centres, beaches, walking tracks and natural reserves are never too far away.

All of this (and more) makes New Zealand a great place to start a career, launch a business, raise a family and one day, retire.

Moving to New Zealand? Consider a UK Pension Transfer

If you’re moving to New Zealand from the UK, then transferring your UK pension to New Zealand is worth considering – especially if you’d like to take advantage of the four-year tax-exemption period on your transfer.

To understand the pros and potential risks of this move, getting professional advice is key. Give us a call on 0800 UK 11 NZ to book a meeting, or learn more about UK Pension transfers here. We look forward to assisting you.




Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.