The cost of living in New Zealand is quite high. Like most countries, it tends to fluctuate depending on whether an expat lives in an urban or rural area. The cost of living also varies depending on which of New Zealand's islands a person lives on, since the South Island is significantly cheaper than the North Island. Auckland and Wellington ranked 103rd and 123rd respectively in the 2020 Mercer Cost of Living Survey. This makes them more expensive to live in than cities such as Brisbane and Stockholm, but cheaper than Hong Kong and Seattle.

The cost of accommodation in New Zealand

Accommodation is likely to be the biggest expense for anyone moving to New Zealand. Naturally, rental prices for properties in the city centre tend to be more expensive than those for accommodation in the suburbs. 

Properties in New Zealand do tend to be more spacious than expats, especially those from Europe, might be used to. Properties are also generally furnished to a high standard.

Utilities are usually not included in the rental price of a property, so expats should budget accordingly. It can get bitterly cold in New Zealand during the winter months which results in heating bills going up. 

Cost of groceries in New Zealand

Groceries tend to be expensive in New Zealand. They are made more affordable by purchasing local goods and taking advantage of the special offers that commonly run at supermarkets and convenience stores. Many locals also save money by buying in bulk. Expats should keep in mind that New Zealand is remotely isolated from many places, so specific groceries often have to be imported, increasing their cost.

Cost of transport in New Zealand

Many expats will find that car prices are relatively inexpensive compared to their home countries. While people don't necessarily need a car, especially in urban areas, it can be useful for expats with families or those who travel regularly for work.

That said, public transport is reasonably priced in New Zealand and regular users can save money by purchasing monthly or annual transport passes. 

Cost of living in New Zealand

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Auckland in January 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

NZD 1,900

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

NZD 3,500

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NZD 1,600

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NZD 2,700


Dozen eggs

NZD 6.20

Milk (1 litre)

NZD 2.80

Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)

NZD 15

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NZD 35


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

NZD 0.35

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

NZD 85

Basic utilities (average per month for a small apartment)

NZD 200

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two

NZD 90

Big Mac Meal 

NZD 12.20



Coca-Cola (330ml)

NZD 3.50

Local beer (500ml)

NZD 10


Taxi rate per km


City centre public transport


Petrol (per litre)

NZD 2.15

Expat Health Insurance


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