Well as always its always quite amusing going home after being overseas a while. Leaving Australia after nearly three years – I am back in New Zealand. Moving back to New Zealand after not setting foot in the country for 18 months has been interesting. Here is my entirely non-scientific first impressions of living in New Zealand compared to living in Australia – well actually its about moving from Perth to Wellington – as always the devil’s in the details -your mileage will vary depending on where in Australia you are familiar with and where in New Zealand you are moving to!
New Zealand Weather Compared to Australia’s
Crap – totally un-redemmed crap – well its probably better than the UK or Ireland – but only the Poms would believe that New Zealand has a decent climate. It should be a hint when the TV weather calls an expected maximum of 25C – as “warm”!
On the plus side – there is a lot more daylight than in Australia – in Perth, thanks to not having daylight saving – it was light before 5am and dark at 7pm – in New Zealand its light before 6am and dark at about 9pm – New Zealand has daylight saving – and I was really, really missing it in Western Australia
Wellington has stunning beautiful beaches and coastline – but unless you are insane ie. have never swum elsewhere – 14C water temperature is unacceptable. When we left Perth the water temperature was a pleasent 20C odd. More to the point unless temperature hits 30C ( global warming where are you?) – who wants to go swimming anyways?
Standard of Living in New Zealand Compared to Australia
Impossible to call IMHO – there is no one size that fits all – it depends on what is important to you and what is not. My partner is earning more money here than he was in Australia for the same job. – but if you are unskilled then the wages are definitly higher in Australia. If you are preapred to work in the remote mining areas and you have the relevant trade skills – the money is a lot better in Australia.
Food and all things electrical appear a lot cheaper here. In the last couple of days we have bought items such as a microwave, electric frypan and restocked a kitchen – prices for food are the same in NZ in $ as they are in Australia – with the curent exchange rate that makes them 25% cheaper.
Eating out in Perth is outrageously expensive – you will often pay $10 for a beer in a pub – in New Zealand a beer is NZ$6.50 in a restaraunt. We bought Western Australian wine in New Zealand supermarket for the same $ price as it is in WA – again 25% cheaper – there must be a lot higher sales tax on it in Australia. Oh yes you can buy beer and wine in the supermarket in New Zealand – and the supermarkets are open seven days usually to at least 10pm – sometimes 24 hours. In Perth there is one (!) late night shopping night a week – no big shops open on a Sunday – its a crazy system which favours some retailers and almost certainly keeps the prices high. Why electronics are cheaper in NZ is beyond me – they have further to come (from China)- and its a smaller market – 34litre microwave cost me NZ$140 – enough said.
Anyway back to the eating out: Indian sit down meal -very nice two mains, rice, bread, 2 beers – NZ$48 – it would have been at least A$60 in Perth. I believe you can also get fish and chips for two at around N Z$10 (A$20 in Australia) – haven’t tried that yet – too much Christmas eating.
In Perth we were paying $320/week for a 2 bedroom flat 15 minutes walk from the beach and 10km from town. In Wellington we are paying $225/week for a 1 bedroom flat 5km from town but further from the beach and poorer quality property. In Wellington I own a very nice home 5km from the CBD in one of the best suburbs – its valued at around NZ$600k – the same price (say around A$480k) in Perth would get me a new home 3 bed/2 bathroom 25km from the CBD. To buy the equivalent home in Perth – we would have to pay at least A$800k – say around NZ$1 million. That said a basic home in Perth is brick, well insulated and has air-con. In New Zealand you don’t need the air-con but you definitly need heating and as the typical home is wooden and built at least 30 years ago you will probably need to bring the heaters with you. The old wooden houses make for quaint streetscapes – but they cost a fortune to maintain and are definitly not so comfortable to live in.
Telecommunication Connections in New Zealand
Local hint – if you are talking to teleco provider in NZ and they ask if your modem has a telepermit sticker on it – the correct answer is YES! You will need a different modem connection cable to fit the hole in the wall – and you will need to change some obscure settings – but my Australian adsl2+ modem is working just fine in inner suburban Wellington (like Australia, New Zealand rural areas don’t do broadband ) – about the same cost – and although the claimed speeds was slower – I am not noticing any difference. Still have the bullshite about needing a phone line to have the broadband – but I went with the existing provider to our current rental place – haven’t phoned around yet.
Also my existing cell phone -charged up and remembered who it was after 2 years in a box – retained the number and even the credit – amazing – in Australia you lose the number if the phone is not used for 6 months.
I believe you can retain your cell phone number between provders now and even your home phone – but too late for me – I use a SkypeIN number now which is portable anywhere in the world.
Driving in New Zealand
The left hand turn rule is different – the standard urban limit is 50km/hr not 60km/hr. The open road is a maximum limit of 100km/hr – not 110km/hr. All of these lower limits make a lot of sense when you realise just how narrow Wellington’s roads, and how little shoulder there is – you can hardly ever pulloff the road entirely even on the motorway (that’s what we call freeways).
The drink driving limit is still a reasonable 0.08 – unlike the revenue gathering one of 0.05 in most (all?) Australian states. You don’t lose your licence for a first offence on a holiday weekend either! The driving is pretty much the same level of competance as in Perth i.e. not very. The cars are smaller – but you’d struggle to get Holden Commodore around quite a few corners in Wellington suburbs – that’s because Wellington has hills – Perth doesn’t have very many – and they rarely build homes on the top of them. BTW if you are booking for the 2012 World Cup – check the number of steps from road to front door – I’m not kidding.
The price of petrol is about the same $1.65 in New Zealand – it was A$1.21 when we left Perth. Cars are a fraction of the cost – that’s because we don’t support a domestic car industry – the 1996 Commodore we sold in Perth for $1800 – wouldn’t have been worth NZ$500 here – if you could give it away.
New Zealanders v. Australians
Pretty much the same – the odd term is more American in Australia. Perth was a very white city – most of the immigrants are Poms and (white) South Africans and New Zealanders. Wellington has a substantial minority of Pacific Islanders and Maoris – and a useful range of minorities who can cook (Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian to name a few). Seriously the differences between the two countries are pretty darn trivial. On balance if I was gay or black/brown I would probably feel more accepted in Wellington than Perth e.g. – there was no gay dance scene in Perth -there’s a big one in Wellington.
New Zeland Economy v. Australia
At the moment I can get a better deposit rate with a bank than the mortgage rate I pay in New Zealand – a situation I can’t recall happening- ever really. The Australian economy took a breather last year -but is set to take off again – welll at least in Western Australia and to a lesser extent South Australia and Queensland. Unfortunately most New Zelanders move to Sydney – don’t would be my advice – well not if you want a job anyways.
The New Zeland economy seems to be muddling along as it generally does – its primarily service and agriculture based and that hasn’t changed – probably never will. NZ will never be the big player that Australia is set to become over the next 10 years or so – frankly it doesn’t really matter so long as New Zealanders have the right to live and work in Australia (and vivce versa) – the free flow of people between the two countries will even it all out.
Making Passive Income Online – Which is Best Australia or New Zealand?
The NZ$ is always weaker against the US$ than A$ – so my US$ (which almost all my earnings are in) – in effect I have had a 33% payrise for just moving country… Yes the NZ tax rates are slightly higher than the Australian rates (if you earn less than around $100k) – but the tax system is a dream of symplicity – I am almost looking forward to dealing with it. The sales tax issue (GST) here is simpler than in Australia too. As I still run paypal accounts in US$ the banking system here is irrelevant – but they are very comparable (in fact most of the banks are the same). I am booked in for some major dental work which will cost me 1/2 what I was quoated in Australia 18 months ago.
The downside is that medical insurance is not transportable – invariably if you move countries a lot you will lose your medical insurance – I refused to pay A$400/month in Australia (because we hadn’t been insured since we were 30 in Australia) – the NZ insurance you could only put on hold fora year.