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Thread: Canada to NZ 2018 - 6 Months In. What we learned.

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahollow View Post
    In fact, the Warehouse (a NZ discount shop) has prices that are sometimes more than Fresh Choice and New World (two major grocery chains). Doesn't make any sense but it's a small market economy...
    You might try Pak 'n Save, which has a "Costco-like" quality about it, and my wife promises is the best deal for groceries in NZ. Quite literally she is saying to me as I write this "It's a scam, you're paying for it to be nice inside--Pak 'n Save is hori so you're saving money there!"

    Her other advice for eating out is to look for takeaways that have specials. We have a Rotorua favorite, Great Spice, which does fantastic Indian food, and on our recent trip they had a Wednesday special, a main with rice and naan bread for $10.99. A great deal--that same food in Germany would certainly be at least 35€. Certainly there similar deals to be found in your area...

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by diallta View Post
    You might try Pak 'n Save, which has a "Costco-like" quality about it, and my wife promises is the best deal for groceries in NZ. Quite literally she is saying to me as I write this "It's a scam, you're paying for it to be nice inside--Pak 'n Save is hori so you're saving money there!"
    )
    We have a brand new Pak'n Save here, which, in my opinion, is a lot nicer to shop in than any of the (three.....ridiculous amount for a town that size!) Countdowns. The people who own it used to own New World before, so they are really good with their overall assortment. I always found that alternating between New World and Pak'n Save is quite good, I do go to Countdown for the occasional things that I might have forgotten, just because it is around the corner from where we live. There is a local vegetable shop, that has usually good value for money offers, and a lot is from the region, as well as a Farmers Market and two other markets.

    Groceries in Germany are quite a bit cheaper, but a lot id subsidised, and at some point it just leads to people wasting (my opinion.., good example, I find, are the States...)

  3. #13
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    Apr 2017
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    New Zealand
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    Quote Originally Posted by diallta View Post
    "It's a scam, you're paying for it to be nice inside--Pak 'n Save is hori so you're saving money there!"
    Best. Line. Ever. Pak 'n Save is hori as.

    But honestly, my local Pak 'n Save has a much nicer clientele than my nearest Countdown. It varies greatly by neighbourhood.

  4. #14
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    Greetings - as a fellow Christchurch resident (originally from BC, Canada), i'm glad you shared your most up to date venture to NZ. I came to NZ some 20+ years ago so it's welcoming to see your experience how it reflects to when I left.

    Quote Originally Posted by mahollow View Post
    My wife, dog, and myself moved to Christchurch in August 2018. We're on resident SMC visas. We're over the 6 month hump now, here's what we learned:

    Moving
    1. We should have sold our house before we moved. Partially constrained by my previous employer. Small town, everyone knows if you list - you leave. So we listed after we gave notice. The timing ended up such that we sold in month 3 in NZ but before the tax year roll over. Had to declare ourselves non-residents of Canada to avoid any future complications. Too much detail to get into but I would not do it this way if it can be avoided. It's expensive, you open yourself up for taxation on your principal residence and getting clearance (i.e getting your money) takes months!

    2. Shipping our goods by ourselves was the right decision. We down-sized. Got rid of ~50% of our belongings and ordered our own 20' container. We moved via Vancouver and packed and delivered our goods to the exporter in Richmond, BC. Saved about $2k there. Total cost CAD from drop to door in ChCh was ~$7k CAD. Took almost 2 months to the day, so not bad timing as well. Only downside - you cannot get insurance for damaged goods if you self-pack...or at least reasonable insurance. Just total loss. Our stuff isn't that great so we took the risk. Glad we have our belongings! And yes - mattresses are ridiculously expensive (to the point of being comically insane). Bring a good mattress. Box springs are reasonable.

    [B]3. The dog was a lot of money....
    I've had 1 case of shipping a vehicle ex-Richmond to Lyttleton port in Chch. That was about $7K USD for a 20ft container way back in 2003. I had no personal things to dispose, I basically hopped on a plane and flew over.


    Rentals + Living
    1. ChCh has a lot of options, have a look around. Lots of bad places for $450/wk...and then lots of good places for $500+/wk. Totally doesn't make sense with that close of price but we found it true. We looked at ~20 places. Search was harder with a dog but we found a post-quake town home, near parks, closeish to CBD. Very close to work. $525/wk. Good enough for the first year.

    2 . Car shopping is fun/nightmare. I enjoyed it....

    3. Cost of living is more True/False? True-ish.
    We found it to be "choose your own adventure". If you want to stick to a NA diet you'll be dropping $2k/month at New World. However, farmer's markets and smart shopping the sales we found you get better quality basics (meat, veg, fruit) at the same or lower price than CAD. Some toiletries are stupid. Shampoo can be $14/bottle for a $3/bottle in CAD. Again - choose wisely and you can narrow things down. We're probably around $1k/mo now for 2 people with toiletries and basic household sundries.

    4. Housing is underwhelming. It's not horrible in ChCh, just a quirky market. We're looking to buy at the end of the year and have been looking around. Prices are all out of whack with value. Still, some things are áffordable' by global standards and that's why we only could do Canterbury. The north island is a write-off as far as we're concerned (unless you're coming in cashed-up, which we're not). Pre-quake homes here are mostly poor quality vs CAD/US standards. Some newer builds are nice though. And similar to rentals - lots of garbage out there people are asking a mint for. Shop around. You still have that luxury in ChCh. It's very easy to overpay in NZ for housing. A housing downturn here would be scary, you could easily get caught in a dump that drops $100k in a year and you just couldn't sell it. Hopefully the contagion from Oz doesn't float this way...not sure what we're going to do, potentially looking at building. We'll see.

    5. There are no "deals"in NZ. Straight up - you get the B run import stuff here for plastics, furniture, etc on sale or for cheap. ...

    Cost of living in NZ is a lot more expensive than back in Vancouver. It's not even comparable because NZ just doesn't have the population to warrant the choices. Online buying offers NZ a choice to buy things abroad more easily but now with the GST in online purchases is an attempt to discourage online buying (it actually penalises consumers because local buying is very limited). You also have to remember to buy food produce in seasons. A good example is zucchinis in peak summer is like $1.50/kg vs $16/kg if you buy in winter months. This kind of thing just doesn't happen in Canada despite it's harsh climate. No matter what grocery store you go to, none will have a Superstore or Costco like model. None of this 1 low price set year round. Food wise, I do find buying chicken cheaper when it's on sale.

    If you've not noticed, the NZ retail model is a rip off price approach. That is import the item for $1 and sell it for $10. Then hold a big HALF PRICE event sale and the retailers are still making decent profit. This kind of approach just doesn't exist in Canada. Costco works on consignment sales of something like a 10% mark-up on price. If the products don't sell, Costco goes back to the supplier and asks why? Gives them the option to lower the price more so the product moves, or else lose the space. If you remember Superstore, you see price tags where buy the 1st 2 is at this low price, buy more of it and the price goes up. You will never see this approach in NZ.

    Housing in NZ or as you seen around Christchurch is boring and uninspiring compared to Vancouver. You will know what I mean when even new houses are single story with limited looks, limited decorations, all the windows look the same, the roofs look simplistic like a barn or a shed. Yet they cost a fortune to build.. and they say houses are expensive in Vancouver? You simply get more of a house there than you would in Christchurch for the same price. Oh I should remind you that houses size is measured by floor slab area, they don't factor the widths of the walls that take up space. So it's extremely misleading in size than the Cdn definition of floor space (which is ONLY livable space; not counting the basement, garage, the patio, or how thick the walls are).

    Car ownership i've found to be quite easy in NZ and affordable. You don't have ICBC concerns making the vehicle illegal to drive if it's not insured. In NZ you just have to pay basic registration (which is like $100/yr for most vehicles) and it's entirely up to you to have 3rd party and collision insurance from a private insurer. Hat's off to NZ's ACC system that has taken away lawyers having a field day in litigation over driving accidents and compensation.


    Work
    I got a job before we left through old work connections. That's probably less common than most. The one thing they did like here was that we came visa in hand. We also did a recce trip and did some informational interviews as a back up plan. Well received. I work in engineering/hi tech. Salaries are 10-20% lower here on a dollar-dollar basis (not PPP)...but work life is definitely better. Very few people work over 40 hrs/wk where I work (~300 ppl).

    My wife has struggled to find a job here. We're still working on it and ramping up the effort but not a ton going on in ChCh and lots of young folks around so she's got an uphill battle. All we can say is skill-up before you leave. Have good references and a plan of attack once you're ready. Good luck!

    Overall, the move was expensive. We cooked $60k-$70k NZD in about 4 months (in the 2 mos before, 2 mos after the actual flight). But it's a major life change and an adventure. We're glad we did it.

    Hope this helps someone. Ask if you have questions. Responses might be delayed but I will check back every now and then.

    Cheers!
    You will also learn that on dollar for dollar, you will be paying more income taxes in NZ than you would for in Canada for amounts under $150K.yr. With the recent upcoming talks about NZ putting in capital gains tax, you will find your tax load (including investments) will be taxed more than if you stayed in Canada. Of course I assume your migration to NZ was NOT a financial choice which is a lot different to when I left BC 20+ years ago, I was so unhappy with the NDP gov't and after finishing uni, there wasn't much prospects in BC during that time so NZ was a clear winner (having a much lower tax take at the time).

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by diallta View Post
    You might try Pak 'n Save, which has a "Costco-like" quality about it, and my wife promises is the best deal for groceries in NZ.
    Pak ‘n Save is more No Frills than Costco.

  6. #16
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    Aug 2016
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    New Zealand
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    @mahollow there's a Pricewise in Northlands Mall (Papanui)... there are some cheap toiletries there... https://www.kiwiproperty.com/northla...il/price-wise/

    For most stuff I find it better to shop online (iHerb) because of variety...

  7. #17
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    SuperBQ I think you are being a bit dramatic.

    I have just made the move, Vancouver to Auckland, been down here one year. Overall I would say cost of living is similar, Auckland maybe 10-20% more expensive than Vancouver overall.

    NZ has cheaper car insurance (big time), meat, cheese, and dry goods. NZ has wildly varying prices on fruit&veg depending on the time of year.

    The biggest things I miss from Canada are stick deodorant, wider range of OTC meds. Clothes shopping in Vancouver is cheaper and miles better.

    NZ has lower income tax if you make more money... I'm making less than, 150k. my income tax burden is about 6k lower than in Canada. you can reference here for the difference

    https://apps.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/rhpd...Welcome.action
    https://www.paye.net.nz/calculator.html

    Housing here is absolutely garbage unless you can afford top of the line accommodation.

    Career opportunities are leaps and bounds better than Vancouver. Me and my partner are both climbing the promotion ladder like crazy since we arrived. Together we are making 60% more money between us than we were at home. This may vary person-person. In general, the more specialized your skills are, the more in demand you will be in NZ. In canada my skills are dime a dozen, here, one in a hundred-thousand.

    weather is much nicer in Auckland, and the pace of life is much more relaxed.

  8. #18
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    Jan 2019
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    NZ
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    Another thing which is much cheaper in NZ: cell phones, traffic & parking tickets.

    The bureaucracy in NZ is in general much more straightforward and sensible, compared to Canada. The biggest headache I had with applying for my SMC res visa was getting the RCMP police check. It was a strange process through some approved agents that felt dodgy and was hard to figure out. When I finally got it all rolling, It took 8 weeks for the fingerprints to reach Canada, and 4 weeks for the check to get back, due to Canada Post strikes. I had to Lodge my application without the required police check, which resulted in huge pandemonium, as my 4 month submission timeline on the INZ EOI was lapsing. In the end, its the inneficiency of the Canadian government that has been my biggest hurdle with immigrating to NZ!

    When I first walked the shoreline in Auckland, seeing all the tin boats chained to trees along the pathway, I thought, Christ, you could never do that in Canada. There would be some naggy neighbor calling some government department to put a stop to that harmless practice. Good riddance to that mentality. What a breath of fresh air it is down here.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragstrut View Post
    SuperBQ I think you are being a bit dramatic.

    I have just made the move, Vancouver to Auckland, been down here one year. Overall I would say cost of living is similar, Auckland maybe 10-20% more expensive than Vancouver overall.

    NZ has cheaper car insurance (big time), meat, cheese, and dry goods. NZ has wildly varying prices on fruit&veg depending on the time of year.

    The biggest things I miss from Canada are stick deodorant, wider range of OTC meds. Clothes shopping in Vancouver is cheaper and miles better.

    NZ has lower income tax if you make more money... I'm making less than, 150k. my income tax burden is about 6k lower than in Canada. you can reference here for the difference

    https://apps.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/rhpd...Welcome.action
    https://www.paye.net.nz/calculator.html

    Housing here is absolutely garbage unless you can afford top of the line accommodation.

    Career opportunities are leaps and bounds better than Vancouver. Me and my partner are both climbing the promotion ladder like crazy since we arrived. Together we are making 60% more money between us than we were at home. This may vary person-person. In general, the more specialized your skills are, the more in demand you will be in NZ. In canada my skills are dime a dozen, here, one in a hundred-thousand.

    weather is much nicer in Auckland, and the pace of life is much more relaxed.
    Far from dramatic as my annual visits had confirmed this for the past 20 years. Since you're making the comparison to Vancouver vs Auckland, i'll show you the real differences.

    First i'll re-iterate that food is far cheaper in BC. You can no compare the quality and choice Vancouver has in terms of dining / restaurants FOR THE PRICE than what you would find in Auckland. It's just not there and no where can be comparable as Vancouver for decades has been the sister port of Asia and along with all the different cuisines. Auckland is geographically isolated and can not benefit from the top quality meat & produce that is sourced YEAR ROUND in the N. American + Mexico continent. If you havn't noticed, the 15% GST on food is a killer.

    As for taxation: you're using the wrong links: As I may of mentioned, A $1 CDN buys a lot more than a $1 NZD. On $150K

    https://brc1.ird.govt.nz/opa12/web-d...lobal%24global

    In NZD$: On $150,000.00 income, avg tax = $40,420.00 + 3% ACC, you're looking around 30% *Note: i'm using 3% because ACC varies among occupation and it's a fair average.

    In Canada: https://simpletax.ca/calculator
    In CDN$: On $150,000 income, avg tax = $46,241.00 and again, around 30%

    So no surprise the take home is pretty much the same on a number basis. But what you could buy in NZ vs what you could buy in Canada is a world of difference. A good example is going out to dine. In BC you only have 5% tax on the bill. Sure you could argue that tipping is an extra cost but if you put down 10%, that would put you in the same 15% GST you would have to pay when eating out in NZ. Then you have to factor... what's the quality of food like? Serving size? you will find restaurant menus are based on the seasons of the vegetables.

    I'll grant you auto insurance is a lot less in NZ than in BC but it's not apples to apples. ACC in NZ has basically taken the right to sue for a fair settlement as it's "No Fault" coverage. I knew a person back in BC that was put in the wheel chair from a major auto accident. His lawyer sued ICBC and got bank.. well enough so that he could afford to modify his vehicle to lift him into the car and a robotic arm to put away his wheel chair. If this was the case in NZ, such winnings are very rare and ACC is only paid up to 80% of your annual income (explain the equality of that pay on a high income doctor vs one on minimum wage?).

    The only meat i've found cheaper in NZ is chicken. Go price what farmed salmon costs. Last I looked at New World it was $42/kg. Compare that to salmon sold at Costco? It's not $42 CDN per kg.

    The more important factor is the 'standard of living' and you can't have a better standard of living if the house you live in NZ is crap. Did you check the price of electricity in NZ? It's not 8.58 CENTS/kW/hr that BC Hydro offers. NZ rate is more like 4 times that price (check out that daily line charge you have to pay). So if you're not willing to have high power bills then you're not going to have AS comfortable house as the fully centrally heated, mechanically ventilated HVAC, houses we see in Canada. It kinda redefines the high cost of houses in Vancouver as for a $1M house in Auckland gets you basically a 'shack' by Cdn standards. A $1.2M house in Vancouver would get you somewhere twice the size of the house, and full alley way access. If the houses don't do it, then consider the traffic congestion in Auckland. The city is full of hills and you don't have grided streets. The time it takes me to go from Manukau to Auckland North Shore (distance wise) I would do in half the time from S. Marine Drive to N. Vancouver in rush hour period. Look at the price of gasoline? We're like near $2.20/L in NZ but all those people complaining about the transit tax in Vancouver at $1.49/L ? They need to see how much it costs in NZ.

    Keep in mind, nicer weather outside means nothing if inside the home is too cold or too hot.

    I agree, tin boats do not belong in expensive areas with high price moorage fees. The reason why you see it in Auckland is comparable to the cars you see around as NZ has a huge market of 2nd hand cars coming from Japan. As a friend from Burnaby that visited Auckland back in August, he told me "Where are the high end cars????" He was saying in Vancouver, exotic cars are a common daily sight but for the whole 2 weeks in NZ, he saw well he couldn't recall any. So the person in Vancouver, if he could use a tin boat, he simply wouldn't if they could afford the much better boat?

    I agree Canada is bureaucratic. But NZ is going in that direction very fast. If you have not heard, NZ is looking to bring in capital gains tax and we suspect it will be taxed at the same marginal tax bracket you're in. vs Canada they allow 50% of the gain in your pocket and other 50% as taxable income.

    The ironic thing is I came to NZ long ago during Glen Clark's NDP party era, a time when BC (Canada) had high taxation and mis management of gov't, high unemployment, massive brain drain, etc. NZ back then GST I recall was only 10%. Top tax bracket was 33%. No tax on foreign capital gains. Now, the table has turned around and it seems Canada has the better benefit with many ways to lower your income tax. NZ's Kiwi Saver is a joke compared to the RRSP where up to 18% of your income can go UNTAXED and put in a mutual fund that is NOT TAX annually (true deferral of taxation). Don't forget the Tax Free Savings Account. You have all sorts of ways to earn $ tax free in Canada or elect to choose our income source ; but in NZ, you simply can't and the gov't is looking at more ways to tax. Mid last year the NZ gov't put a carbon tax on the imports of fuel.... I ask, where is the carbon credit if I wanted to buy an EV in NZ? BC, Canada their gov't offers a carbon tax credit to the purchase of a new EV, then how come NZ doesn't offer it?

  10. #20
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    I'm just kicking back and watching the "Canuck-off" *passes popcorn* #takeoffeh

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