LIFE IN NEW ZEALAND
the four most asked questions about life in New Zealand
We could tell you a lot about life in New Zealand – it’s a great place to live; however that would take up a website of its own. In our experience there are four key things that people need to know about when making the move.
For almost all migrants finding a job comes at the top of the list. In New Zealand that largely means being here and being able to network and meet people. New Zealand employers have a short list of things they want – the right skills for the job, a solid command of the English language and being able to meet you in person. Building a connection with the employer is often as important as having the right skills. For most migrants with a skill and the right experience and/or qualifications finding employment is a matter of when and not if. They key to success is being able to show that you are committed to the process and that inevitably means being in New Zealand.
Whilst the majority of jobs are advertised on Seek (New Zealand) or TradeMe you will be surprised how many migrants find jobs by networking through sites such as LinkedIn or simply getting out and about, knocking on doors and making themselves visible. Whilst we don’t find people jobs (we are not recruiters), a large part of what we do is prepare our clients for the job search process, and helping them understand how the labour market works, places to look and equipping them with the right tools to tackle the challenge.
Next on the list and often close on the heels of finding employment is working out how much it will cost you and your family to live here. It’s a tricky question to answer and depends on whether you are the orange juice for breakfast type or someone who prefers Champagne with their eggs on toast. The trick however is to work backwards and understand what it will take in terms of earnings to live a comfortable lifestyle. For the average family of four, paying for rent or a mortgage, food, utilities, the regular necessities and saving a little along the way, a figure of around NZD$90,000.00 pre-tax, will achieve that. For most people with a skill, that kind of salary is achievable, either on their own or by combining their income with that of their partner.
Once you have figured out what you can earn, you can easily work out how much that will equate to, in after tax earnings. Whilst New Zealand may have a higher tax rate than some countries (although certainly not the highest), remember that those taxes go in to things you will use on a daily basis, so you get to keep more of the money you take home. You can work out your after tax income here: NZ Tax Calculator
The last two items on the list are two things that New Zealanders consider to be something that is a basic right, and paid for by the state out of taxation, are healthcare and education.
New Zealand operates a world class healthcare system which is a mixture of both public and private health providers. There are no compulsory health insurance or ‘Medicaid’ type schemes in New Zealand with most health services being funded through general taxation. Increasingly however more New Zealanders have some sort of general or surgery specific private health insurance through choice.
Healthcare is available for both temporary (Work etc.) and Resident Visa holders, although there are some conditions for those on a temporary Visa. To check whether you are or will be eligible, go to the following website: Health Eligibility Guidelines
New Zealand’s education system was founded on, and continues to reflect, a widely held belief that an egalitarian society requires equal access to a high quality tax payer funded education system. That ethos has seen then an overwhelming focus on public or state education from per-school, through Primary, Secondary and to a great extent, Tertiary (University and Polytechnics).
Free Primary and Secondary education tuition is a right for all New Zealand children from age 5 until the end of the calendar year following the student's 19th birthday, and is compulsory for students between the ages of 6 and 16 (15 with parental and school permission).
While state funded tuition is free, students must still pay for course materials and related costs. Also, almost all schools charge a tax deductible "donation" that most parents pay. This tends to be in the order of $90- $100 per year at Primary level. Find out more about primary and secondary schooling here: NZ Schooling
Tertiary level education at one of New Zealand’s eight Universities or any number of polytechnics and private training institutions is not free but is heavily subsidised by the state. This means that students and/or parents end up paying roughly 75% of the true cost of their academic programme. You can find out more about New Zealand’s education system here: NZ Tertiary Education