New Zealand Information and FAQ’s


FAQ

Last Updated 02 April 2013

Click on a link below to read the topic you’re interested in, or read all the topics together.

Accident Compensation – No Lawsuits Allowed
Ages of Consent – Legal ages for activities in New Zealand
Animals/Pets
Attitude to Smoking
Banks
Capital Gains Tax – None!! (But read on)
Cervical Screening Programme
Childbirth
Dental Treatment
Doctors/GP’s – Typical Costs
Driving – Key Points for Overseas Drivers and New Residents
Driving Times between the Main Cities
Economic Freedom
Education – Schools
Education – School Costs
The School Day and Holidays
Electrical Equipment
Emergency Services
Ethnicity of New Zealanders
Family Assistance
Flag of New Zealand
Holidays – How Many and When?
Hospital Treatment
Immigrants – Where Are They Coming From?
Immunisation of Children
Location
Military Service
Minimum Wage
Petrol/Gasoline
Police Force
Population Density
Population – Effect of Migration
Population Size
Prescription Drugs – Cost
Religions
Renewable Energy
Retirement
Size
Smoking Laws
Taxation (Business)
Taxation (Local)
Taxation (Personal)
Television
Time Zone
Tipping
Water – Drinking
Water – Fluoridation

 

Accident Compensation (ACC) – No Lawsuits Allowed

If you’re injured in New Zealand, regardless of cause or blame, the ACC scheme entitles you to:

  • Free medical care.
  • Payment of a proportion of your salary, while you recover.
  • Payment of compensation, if appropriate.

The ACC scheme replaces the right to sue for damages. In New Zealand you cannot sue someone for causing you injury.
Read more…

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Ages of Consent – Legal ages for activities in New Zealand

Leaving a child alone in your house: 14
A babysitter’s minimum age: 14
Buying alcohol: 18
Buying cigarettes: 18
Getting a restricted driving licence: 16
Getting a full driving licence: 17
Cohabitation: 16
Getting engaged to be married: Any age
Getting married or having a civil union(with parents’ permission): 16
Getting married or having a civil union(without parents’ permission): 18
Sex: 16
Starting school (earliest age) : 5
Starting school (latest age): 6
Starting school (latest age if the child must walk more than 3 km to school): 7
Leaving school (earliest age): 16
The right to free education ends: 19
Can be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter: 10
Can be prosecuted for any criminal offence: 14
Joining the Police force: 18
Opening a cheque account/borrowing money: 18
Getting a tattoo: 16
Can vote in local body and general elections: 18
Can be legally independent of parents’ guardianship: 18
Becoming an adult (in law): 20

Animals/Pets

Cats and dogs from many countries are allowed into New Zealand after a quarantine time. There is no need for quarantine if your pet is coming from Australia.

You will need an import permit and certain medical tests for your pet. Quarantine is for ten days and will cost you from $1,000. Bringing your pet here can be quite complicated and it’s best to start making arrangements six months before you plan coming here yourself. Our Moving Pets to New Zealand page has more information.

Attitude to Smoking

All forms of tobacco promotion, advertising and sponsorship are banned in New Zealand. In terms of ethnicity, 11% of Asian, 19% of European, 30% of Pacific People, and 42% of Maori New Zealanders smoke. In most circumstances, it’s fair to say that smoking is unwelcome. Many smokers do not smoke even inside their own houses. They smoke in the garage, shed or garden. The legal age for buying cigarettes is 18. It is illegal to smoke in the following places:

  • the buildings and grounds of schools and early childhood centres
  • licensed premises (bars, restaurants, cafes, sports clubs, casinos) indoors
  • workplaces including offices, factories, warehouses, work canteens and ‘smoko’ rooms

Shopping malls are smoke-free. The basis of government policy is that people who do not smoke should not be exposed indoors to tobacco smoke.

It is compulsory for all tobacco products to show graphic health warnings. Cigarette packets in New Zealand have prominent pictures of gangrenous toes, diseased lungs, damaged hearts and rotting teeth/gums.

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Banks

Most high-street banks charge you for writing cheques, making cash withdrawals, etc. To avoid their charges, you must keep significant sums of money in your account(s) or have a mortgage with them. KiwiBank and TSB Bank offer completely free banking, though you will need to keep $4,000 – $5,000 in your account. Most banks open at 9.00am and close at 4:30pm. Cash machines are everywhere. You can also use telephone banking or internet banking. When paying for goods in shops, most people use credit-cards or EFTPOS cards. Paying by cash or cheque is less common. When you use your EFTPOS card, money is transferred out of your bank account straight into the shop’s bank account.

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Capital Gains Tax

New Zealand has no tax on capital gains. If, however, you buy and sell shares or property gains may be taxed as income. Read more…

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Cervical Screening Programme

Cervical screening is provided free of charge to all women aged 20-69 years. The usual screening interval is every three years. The Ministry of Health estimates that, in women who are not screened, one in ninety will develop cervical cancer and around half of these women will die of the disease. In women who are screened, the death rate is much lower, at around one woman in 1,280 dying of cervical cancer. Overall, women who have regular smear tests reduce their likelyhood of developing cervical cancer by about 90 percent. About 200 New Zealand women develop cervical cancer every year and about 60 – 70 women die from it.

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Pregnancy and Childbirth

All maternity services from pregnancy through to childbirth in New Zealand are free of charge for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents or their spouses or partners. Fees are payable for care at private hospitals and treatment by private obstetricians. It is your choice where you have your baby and who cares for you during pregnancy and birth. Most women choose to have a midwife as their Lead Maternity carer. Typically a midwife can offer or arrange pregnancy testing, care and assessments throughout pregnancy, blood tests or investigative procedures, consultation with an obstetrician or other specialist, support and care during labour and birth in the place of your choice – whether it be in a hospital or at home or a location such as a birth pool – and support and care after your baby is born.

Babies born in New Zealand will only be eligible for New Zealand citizenship if at least one of their parents is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

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Dental Treatment – Typical Costs

Schoolchildren up to the age of 18 get free basic dental treatment. Not all treatments for children are free though; you have to pay for coloured fillings and orthodontics (tooth straightening). Adults have to pay for the full cost of all treatment, typically:
Hygenist: $70 – $96
Read more…

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Doctors/GP’s – Typical Costs

All GP’s in New Zealand are private practitioners. In practice, because of government subsidy, children under 6 are treated free. Some GP’s may charge you $5 or $10 if your child needs a home visit or out-of-hours treatment. Older children are subsidised less than under 6′s. This means you will pay about $20 for an older child’s visit to the Doctor. If you ask around, you may be able to find a GP who will treat all ages of children free of charge.

For adults, a visit to your GP costs $45 – $65 or so between around 8:00am – 6:00pm. Visits at weekends or nights cost more. If, however, you join a PHO (Primary Health Organisation – these are government funded and free to join) a visit to your GP will cost approximately $35 – $40. Nearly all New Zealanders have now joined PHOs. It can sometimes take about three months after submitting an application to a PHO to receive lower priced care. It’s advisable therefore to join a medical practice and enrol with a PHO sooner rather than later. You are able to change your GP at any time.

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Driving – Key Points for Overseas Drivers and New Residents

  • You are allowed to drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months using either an International Driving Permit or your current overseas driving licence. After that you will need to get a New Zealand driving licence.
  • If your licence is not in English, you should get an International Driving Permit or bring an official, English translation of your licence with you. Further licensing details are available from the Land Transport Safety Authority.
  • Vehicles drive on the left side of the road.
  • The urban speed limit is usually 50 kph (31 mph). Elsewhere it’s usually 100 kph (62 mph).
    Read more…

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Driving Times between the Main Cities

From Auckland to:

Christchurch:14hrs 20mins plus ferry crossing* from Wellington to Picton
Hamilton: 1hr 55mins
Wellington: 9hrs 20mins
Napier: 6hrs 30mins
Tauranga: 3hrs 20mins
Whangarei: 3hrs

From Christchurch to:

Auckland: 14hrs 20mins plus ferry crossing* from Picton to Wellington
Blenheim: 4hrs 35mins
Dunedin: 5hrs
Nelson: 6hrs 20mins
Picton: 5hrs
Queenstown: 7hrs 15mins
Wellington: 5hrs plus ferry crossing* from Picton to Wellington

From Wellington to:

Auckland: 9hrs 20mins
Christchurch: 5hrs plus ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton*
Hamilton: 7hr 20mins
Napier: 5hrs 10mins
Tauranga: 7hrs 35mins
Whangarei: 12hrs 15mins

* Ferry crossing time is normally 3hrs

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Economic Freedom

From the 2012 results The Heritage Foundation stated that “A transparent and stable business climate makes New Zealand one of the world’s friendliest environments for entrepreneurs.”

In 2012, The Heritage Foundation / The Wall Street Journal’s top 10 countries for citizens’ economic freedom were:
1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Switzerland
6 Canada
7. Chile
8. Mauritius
9. Ireland
10. United States
Read more…

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Education – Schools

In most circumstances, your children will attend the school they are zoned for. If you choose to live outside the zone of your preferred school, your children will probably not get places. Any spare places at popular schools (those with good reputations) are allocated by ballot. School rules are set by the Board of Governers. The Board is elected by parents. School rules usually mean that school-uniform is compulsory at secondary school. In addition to wearing the uniform, pupils/students must not wear make-up, jewellery, unusual hair colourings, nose-piercings, etc, etc. Exceptions to zoning may include attendance at a school with a special character – such as a religious school. In addition to the state sector, there is also a flourishing private education sector.

Children who attend state schools in New Zealand generally receive a very good education. Most children start Year 1 on their fifth birthday.

>> Primary schools teach Year 1 to Year 6 children.
>> Intermediate schools teach Years 7 and 8.
>> “Full Primaries” teach Year 1 to Year 8 children.
>> Secondary schools teach Year 9 to Year 13.
Read more…

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Education – School Costs

State education in New Zealand is free of charge. You will, however need to pay for your childrens’ school uniforms, pencils, pens, glue-sticks, stationary etc. Text-books are provided free of charge, unless their use involves writing on them and they will not be returned to the school.

Most state schools charge a fee of somewhere around $100 – $300 per year per child, although some charge considerably more than this. Some state high schools charge an annual fee of between $400 and $900. If more than one child attends the same school then it is usual to get a reduction in fees. Although payment of the fee is voluntary, called a donation, most parents pay. The donation pays for extra resources for your children’s school, photocopying, etc. and it is tax-deductible.

Education – Schools – The School Day and Holidays

School days are Monday to Friday. Primary schools usually start at 9 am, or a little earlier, and finish at 3pm. Secondary schools usually start at 8.30am and finish at 3pm or 3.15pm.

The school year runs from February to December and has four terms. Each term is roughly ten weeks long. Summer holidays last about five and a half weeks at primary schools and about a week longer at secondary schools. The autumn, winter and spring holidays each last two weeks.

Primary and Intermediate School Holidays 2013

Term Dates
1 7 February* – 19 April
2 6 May – 12 July
3 29 July – 27 September
4 14 October – 20 December*

High School Holidays 2013

Term Dates
1 7 February* – 19 April
2 6 May – 12 July
3 29 July – 27 September
4 14 October – 18 December

Primary and Intermediate School Holidays 2014

Term Dates
1 7 February* – 17 April
2 5 May – 4 July
3 29 July – 26 September
4 13 October – 19 December*

High School Holidays 2014

Term Dates
1 7 February* – 17 April
2 5 May – 4 July
3 21 July – 26 September
4 13 October – 16 December

* Latest date allowed. Schools may start term 1 from 28 January in the 2013 school year or from 27 January in the 2014 school year.

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Electrical Equipment

The New Zealand electricity supply is 240 volts, 50 hertz. Your electrical equipment should work here if you come from The UK, continental Europe, South Africa, South Korea, India, China, Russia or Malaysia.

Be aware that electrical devices in New Zealand are rated for a maximum of 10 amps. If you have high power devices which operate at currents greater than 10 amps these will not operate safely in New Zealand. (In countries such as the UK some devices operate at up to 13 amps.)

You will usually need to fit new plugs to your equipment because New Zealand plugs are most likely shaped differently from those in your country. A good tip is to bring 4-socket extension boards and fit a New Zealand plug to each board. In this way, you will be saved from putting new plugs on irons, kettles, toasters, computers, Hi-Fi’s, etc. Keep the old plugs on them and plug them into the extension board.

If you come from a country with a 100 – 120 V supply, first check if any of your equipment can be switched to 240 V operation. If it cannot, it will need an electrical transformer to work in New Zealand. This is an expensive solution and you are probably best to sell the equipment before you leave and replace it when you get to New Zealand. Your electrical equipment will need to be modified if you come from The US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan and most of Latin America.
Read more…

Also see Renewable Energy

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Emergency Services

Phone 111 to get Police, Ambulance or Fire Service.

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Ethnicity of New Zealanders

In the 2006 census, of the New Zealanders who indicated their ethnicities, the proportions were as follows:

European: 67%
Maori: 14%
New Zealander: 11%
Asian: 9%
Pacific Peoples: 7%

2006 was the first census to include “New Zealander” as an ethnicity. The main effect of this new ethnicity was to reduce the number of people identifying themselves as European.
Some people belong to more than one ethnic group so the numbers add up to more than 100%. Two thirds of New Zealand’s Asians and two thirds of New Zealand’s Pacific Peoples live in the Auckland region.

The next New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings will be held on Tuesday, 5 March 2013.

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Family Assistance – Help For People with Children

Family Assistance is paid by the New Zealand government to families with children under 18. It is available to families on surprisingly high incomes and, for most families, is worth several thousand dollars per year. Read more…

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New Zealand’s Flag

New Zealand Flag

New Zealand’s National Flag contains three basic elements. These are the Union Flag, The Southern Cross and the blue background. Each of these elements has significance.

The Union Flag signifies the ancestry of a large majority of New Zealanders and the source of New Zealand’s democratic traditions.

The Southern Cross represents the guiding stars by which both Maori and European settlers found New Zealand.

The blue background represents the ocean that was crossed by all of New Zealand’s original settlers and which is still being crossed today, albeit more quickly and in greater comfort than ever before, by everyone who comes to make their home in New Zealand. Read more…

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Holidays – How Many and When?

The legal minimum annual-leave in New Zealand is currently four weeks, plus eleven days of public-holidays.

Many companies offer longer holidays – five weeks is possible – linked to the number of years you have worked for the company, or possibly negotiated from the time you begin a new job.

In addition to these ten days, each region / city has one public holiday on its anniversary day. For example, the 2013 local public holidays are; Auckland – 29 January, Christchurch – 15 November and Wellington – 21 January. Read more…

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Hospital Treatment

Hospital treatment is free of charge for New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and holders of certain work visas. As a result of this, there can be long waiting-lists for “non-emergency” cases. No one can be refused emergency care in New Zealand because they can’t pay. However if you are not entitled to public funded care you may be sent a bill for some services. Many employed people pay for private medical insurance to avoid waiting for “non-emergency” treatment.

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Immigrants – Where Are They Coming From?

Immigration Service figures show the top five source countries for immigrant arrivals in New Zealand in 2012 were:

Country Long Term Gain 2012
United Kingdom 5,500
China 5,100
India 5,100
Philippines 2,000
Germany 1,600

and in 2011:

Country Long Term Gain 2011
India 5,800
United Kingdom 5,400
China 4,500
Philippines 1,800
Germany 1,400

and in 2010:

Country Long Term Gain 2010
United Kingdom 6,800
India 5,600
China 3,500
Philippines 1,500
Germany 1,400

Read more…

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Immunisation of Children

The New Zealand immunisation schedule in 2011 was:

6 Weeks: DTWP (Diphtheria – Tetanus – Whooping Cough – IPV (Polio)) + HepB (Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)) – Hepatitis B. (1 injection) + Pneumococcal (1 injection).
3 months: As for 6 weeks.
5 months: As for 6 weeks.
15 months: MMR (Measles – Mumps – Rubella) vaccine (1 injection) + HepB (1 injection) + Pneumococcal.
4-5 years(before entry to school): DTWP (1 injection) + MMR (1 injection).
11 years:Diphtheria + Tetanus + Whooping Cough (1 injection).
12 years: Human papillomavirus – 3 doses given over 6 months (girls only).

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Location

New Zealand lies three hours east of Australia by passenger jet.
New Zealand’s main islands lie between latitudes of approximately 47 o South and 34.5 o South.
In Northern Hemisphere terms, New Zealand would stretch from Dijon, France into the Sahara Desert;
or from Seattle, Washington to Santa Barbara, California.

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Military Service

There is no compulsory military service (conscription) in New Zealand. All members of the armed forces are volunteers.

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MinimumWage

The adult minimum wage rate for workers aged 16 or over is $13.75 per hour (in 2013). This is the same as $110 for an eight-hour day or $550.00 for a forty-hour week.

However, the minimum wage is reduced to $11.00 per hour in certain circumstances.

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Petrol / Gasoline

Most cars in New Zealand run on standard unleaded petrol. This has been priced at about $2.20 per litre in April 2012. Premium unleaded fuel, for high-performance cars, costs about 5c per litre more than standard. The diesel price in April 2012 was $1.57 per litre.

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Police Force

In general, the New Zealand Police Force is honest, free of corruption and enjoys a great deal of respect from ordinary New Zealanders. Police officers normally carry a baton but no fire-arms. Trained, armed response teams are available if needed.

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Population Density

As you might expect, New Zealand is hardly over-populated. There are currently about 16 people per square kilometre in New Zealand. By comparison, in terms of people per sq.km: USA, 30; The Irish Republic, 54; UK, 252; India, 380; Japan, 335; The Netherlands, 490; South Korea, 490; and Singapore, 6669.

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Population – Effect of Migration

New Zealand usually gains more people through immigration than it loses from emigration. There was a rough patch between 1997 and 2000. The net loss in 2012 was due to migration of New Zealanders to Australia.

Year: Effect of Migration on New Zealand’s Population (to July of each year)

2013: +10,600
2012: -3,800
2011: +2,900
2010: +15,200
2009: +14,500
2008: +5,200
2007: +9,000
2006: +12,100
2005: +6,900
2004: +20,600
2003: +42,100
2002: +34,600
2001: -6,800
2000: -10,000
1999: -10,000
1998: -7,000
1997: +10,000
1996: +25,000
1995: +25,000
1994: +19,000
1993: +11,000

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Population Size

New Zealand’s population reached four million early in 2003 and in 2010 it reached 4.4 million. In September 2012 it was estimated to be 4,441,300 and in May 2013 4,466,000.

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Prescription Drugs – Cost

When a GP prescribes drugs, children under 6 pay nothing. If your GP prescribes medicines for you, you will pay $3 per item provided you have joined a Primary Health Organisation. (Joining a PHO is free.) Otherwise, you will pay more. For some medicines you will also pay an extra part-charge. Some drugs are not subsidised at all, and must be fully paid for. People who need 20 or more prescriptions in a year are eligible for a further prescription subsidy.

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Religions

The most recent breakdown of religions, from 2006, is:

  • Christian: 56%
  • No Religion/Not Stated/Object to Answering: 44%

The main Christian religions were:

  • Anglican: 14%
  • Catholic: 13%
  • Presbyterian: 10%
  • Methodist: 3%

The main non-Christian religions in New Zealand were Hindu, at slighly less than 2% and Buddhist, at just over 1%.

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Renewable Energy

Renewable energy accounted for 77% of New Zealand electricity generation in the last quarter of 2011, the highest share since 1996. Hydro accounted for 57 %, geothermal 14 % and wind power 5 % according to The Ministry of Economic Development’s latest report. Just over one per cent of power was produced using wood and biogas.

Gas accounted for 17 % of power generation and coal 6%.

There are no nuclear power plants in New Zealand.

The government plan is that 90% of New Zealand’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2025.

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Retirement

By law, you can work to any age you want to in New Zealand.

If you live here continuously for at least ten years, five of them after the age of 50, you get state superannuation at the age of 65.

This is currently worth $349 per week after tax if you’re single or $536 per week after tax for married couples. New Zealand Superannuation is maintained between 65% and 72.5% of average full-time net earnings. Any pension you get from an overseas government will probably be deducted from your NZ pension.

If you’re hoping for a more comfortable retirement than the state-pension provides, there is a government-run Kiwisaver scheme, there are plenty of private plans you can save with and many employers also offer contributory superannuation plans. Read more…

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Size

  • New Zealand is almost 20% bigger than the UK but has a smaller population than Scotland.
  • New Zealand is 7% bigger than Oregon, three times bigger than Portugal and one-half the size of France.

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Taxation (Business)

If your business is a limited company, it pays company tax at 28% of profits.

If your business has sales of $60,000 or more, you must register and charge a sales tax, GST, on sales. If you register for GST, you can reclaim any GST you are charged by other businesses. GST is charged at a rate of 15%.

The amount of accident insurance your business pays to the government depends on whether it has any employees. If it does, you can work out your levies here. Otherwise, you pay the self-employed rate which can be worked out here.

The IRD and ACC websites have more details if you need them.

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Taxation (Local)

Towns and regions raise money by levying property taxes. Each house or building has a “rateable value.” The rateable value determines the amount of local tax the owner of the building pays. These local taxes are called “rates.”

Owners of modest houses in rural areas will pay rates of a few hundred dollars each year. An average to above average suburban home will attract rates in the region of $1,500 – $3,000 each year. Houses with very high values will attract higher rates.

If you intend renting a house, find out if the landlord is asking you to pay the rates in addition to rent. If he (or she) is, clearly it will make your overall costs higher.

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Taxation (Personal)

You pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15% on everything you buy in New Zealand except for financial services and the rent or purchase price of residential property. Price tags you see in shops always include GST, so you needn’t add anything to the display price.

If you are in New Zealand in 2013, you will pay tax on your personal income as follows:

$0 – $14,000: 10.5%
$14,001 – $48,000: 17.5%
$48,001 – $70,000: 30%
$70,001 upwards: 33%

Read More…

In addition to these payments, you also pay 1.7% of your wage for accident insurance (ACC levy).

If you have children, you may qualify for assistance – see Family Assistance.

If you live overseas and have a bank account in New Zealand, the tax rate on the interest is 10% or 15% depending on where you live.

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Television

New Zealand has six, national, free-to-air, television channels plus local channels. All six channels carry advertising. If you live in a remote, rural area, you might not receive all channels. You can pay to get Sky (satellite/cable) TV.

The free-to-air channels and Sky show sports, movies, drama, documentaries, international news, (including BBC and CNN,) and magazine programmes. Most of the programming comes from New Zealand, Britain, America or Australia.

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Time Zone

New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT, so it is the first (slightly) major country to greet the dawn of each new day.

New Zealand’s Chatham Islands, several hundred kilometres east of the South Island, are the first part of the country to be bathed in sunlight each morning.

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Tipping

Most New Zealanders don’t tip staff in restaurants, hotels etc, because bills from these businesses already include a service charge. Most of the younger staff in such establishments will be happy to accept a tip if you offer one, although they will not expect one. Many New Zealanders would rather you didn’t tip as they regard tipping as undesirable.

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Water – Drinking

Ministry of Health figures show that 85 percent of the population have certifiably safe water supplies. Ten percent of the population have their own individual supplies – private water tanks or bores (rural areas). Five per cent of the population are on community water supplies that the Ministry of Health either has concerns with or has insufficient information to judge. The message is, if you intend living in a rural area, get yourself a water filter.

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Water – Fluoridation

In many countries fluoride is added to water supplies to prevent tooth decay. A large number of people object to water fluoridation, believing it causes health problems.

The larger centres in New Zealand which do not have fluoridated water are: Whangarei, Tauranga, Wanganui, Napier, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch, Timaru and Oamaru.

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Comments

  1. i love this information its been so helpful!!! please keep me informed of any updates :)

  2. Selene Tolbert says:

    Information was wonderful. I hope that my job search finds me an opportunity to be part of this beautiful country.

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