Is it better to live in Australia or New Zealand?

/ / Immigration Advice, Immigration to Australia

is it better to live in australia or new zealand“Is it better to live in Australia or New Zealand?” This is a question we encounter often.

It comes as no surprise to us though. Many people who consider Australia for emigration also consider its neighbour New Zealand.

The problem for most migrants is that the countries appear so alike at first glance – sport-mad people, breathtaking natural scenery, enviable outdoor lifestyle…

How do you know which country to pick for your family?!

Here’s the good news – Intergate is going to give you the answers you are looking for. So you’ll know whether Australia or New Zealand is a better fit for you and your loved ones.

The areas we’ll delve into are:

  • How far your money will go.
  • The standard of education and healthcare.
  • The lifestyle.
  • Happiness, safety and general satisfaction.

Let’s get straight to it.

How far will my money go?

Australia has experienced immense economic growth in the 2000s which has turned the country into a place that’s high income – but also high cost and high tax.

For instance, house prices have shot through the roof over the past couple of years. As for taxes, let’s take buying and owning a car as an example:

In Australia, all vehicle purchases, including second-hand, carry stamp duty tax and the cost of registration is considerably more than in New Zealand. Insurance is also more expensive and there are a number of tolls across Australia.

New Zealand has fewer taxes but living costs are more or less on par with Australia. Obviously it would depend on where you stay. The South Island is much cheaper then the North Island and living costs also vary per region on the islands.

The best thing to do would be to find out what the average salary in your industry is and to then look at living costs in the New Zealand or Australian region, city or town you’re interested in living in. This will give you a fair estimate of how far your money is likely to go.

australia living costs

What is the standard of education and healthcare?

You’ll be happy to hear that you and your family will benefit from superb education and healthcare systems:


Australia’s globally-recognised Qualifications Framework guarantees that schools, as well as tertiary education institutions, are government authorised and accredited.

Further to this, Australian schools have:

  • Small classes;
  • University-trained and qualified teachers;
  • Specialist teachers in subject areas; and
  • Additional learning support for children who need it.

Over in New Zealand the focus of the education system is squarely on the student. The mission is to teach children how to:

  • Problem solve;
  • Process information;
  • Work with others;
  • Create and innovate;

all while keeping an open mind about learning and teaching techniques.

This is most likely why 15-year old students in New Zealand consistently performed above average for reading, mathematical and scientific literacy in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment.


australia healthcareAustralia has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, with both public and private healthcare options available.

The public healthcare system is funded through Medicare and gives people access to free or subsidised medical services and care. Once you’re a permanent resident, you’ll also start contributing towards Medicare.

Should you want to private healthcare too you can join a health insurance fund. Private funds give you access to extra benefits such as dental treatment and optical services.

New Zealand residents as well as some work visa holders also benefit from both a public and private healthcare system.

As with Australia you can choose to have private insurance in addition to your public healthcare, but many New Zealanders choose not to.This surely is a testament to the quality of care New Zealanders receive from their public healthcare system.

What is the lifestyle like?

We already pointed out that both countries are sports mad and love outdoor activities.

Scratching beneath the surface reveals that Australians work hard and sometimes long hours. It’s not uncommon to find Australians putting in more than the set standard of 48 hours per week.

However, this is to be expected for a country with big cities and big corporates. The upside is that a big city also offers more jobs and business opportunities.

How much do New Zealanders work? A lot less it seems.

In the 2016 Expat Explorer Survey, New Zealand ranked number 3 out of 45 countries world-wide for work-life balance. This can most certainly be accredited to New Zealand’s ‘Life is for living’ ethos.

New Zealanders believe that a good day’s work should be balanced with time for family and friends as well as the many opportunities the outdoors offers.

It helps that New Zealand has smaller, less crowded cities and towns which makes commuting to and from work less of a headache than in Australia. You can leave for work at a decent hour and get home in the evening with ample time left for your family.

What’s the happiness, safety and general satisfaction like?

We gathered some stats from people who know:

australia happinessHappiness

In the latest World Happiness Report, exploring variables such as income, healthy life expectancy and having someone to count on in times of trouble, both Australia and New Zealand were in the top 10 happiest countries in the world. New Zealand beat Australia by coming in at number 8 but Australia wasn’t far behind in the number 9 spot.


australia safetySafety

The 2017 Global Peace Index compared 163 countries, by looking at the risk of personal violence, to determine how safe each country is. Australia was 10th on the Index. New Zealand? It’s the second safest country in the world. (In case you’re wondering – Iceland was number 1).


australia satisfactionGeneral satisfaction

For their Better Life Index, the OECD asks people to rate how satisfied they are with their lives on a scale from 0 to 10.
Australians gave their satisfaction as 7.3 which is higher than the OECD average of 6.5. New Zealand also came in higher with a rating of 7.4 from residents.

So now you have the answers to that burning ‘is it better to live in Australia or New Zealand’ question

From the information above it’s clear that it’s a tight race though:

…Both Australia and New Zealand offer your family excellent healthcare and education systems.

…Residents from both countries are satisfied with their lives.

…New Zealand is considered safer but Australia offers more opportunities.

There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ place here.

Let us not forget however…

Your journey will depend on your eligibility for an Australian or New Zealand visa.

If you qualify for both countries, as some people do, lucky you! Then you’ll be able to pick and choose the country that’s the best fit for you and your family.

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