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General information about New Zealand
Thinking about moving to New Zealand? New Zealand is a country full of scenic and diverse landscapes including awesome beaches, rugged rock formations, rolling sand dunes, lush farmland, bubbling thermal areas, natural bush, glaciers, alpine regions, ski-fields and numerous scenic lakes and rivers. From bustling cities to remote country towns the coast is never far away.
Kiwi’s love their outdoor activities! For the adrenalin seekers there is heli-skiing, bungy-jumping, white water rafting, jet boating, mountain biking and rock climbing; for the middle of the road types who like a bit of adventure, there is surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, boating, cycling, kayaking and hiking to name a few. No matter who you are, or where you are from you will find something to enjoy - in our beautiful country!
GeographyNew Zealand is situated in the South Pacific Ocean east of Australia and is a little larger in size than Great Britain. It consists of two main islands the North Island and the South Island (with plenty more small islands to explore). The main cities in the North Island are Auckland and Wellington, with Christchurch and Dunedin in the South Island.
PopulationThe total population of New Zealand is approximately 4 million, with just over 3 million people living in the North Island and slightly less than 1 million living in the South Island.
ClimateThe South Island and lower North Island have a temperate climate, while areas north of Auckland are almost subtropical. Generally the summer months are Dec-Feb with average temperatures ranging between 20-30°C. The cooler winter months are Jun-Aug with average temperatures ranging between 10-15°C. For more maps and weather information see the Met-Service website .
Working and living in New Zealand
AccommodationHousing prices and rental accommodation throughout New Zealand varies considerably. We suggest you look at housing websites such as www.barfoot.co.nz, www.trademe.co.nz, or CitySales Auckland Apartments to get an idea of costs.
Schooling/EducationSee the Ministry of Education website for details regarding the education/schooling system in New Zealand.
Shopping / Food PricesGenerally retailers are open between 9am and 5pm Mon-Fri. Most of the larger shopping malls are open on both Saturday and Sundays and usually have a late night on Thursday or Friday until 9pm. Supermarkets in the cities generally stay open longer every day. See www.foodtown.co.nz or www.woolworths.co.nz for current food prices.
Goods and Service TaxAll goods and services are subject to a 15% goods and service charge (GST).
Money and BankingNew Zealand’s currency is the New Zealand dollar with 100 cents in one dollar.
Coins come in denominations of: 10c / 20c / 50c / $1 / $2
Notes come in denominations of: $5 / $10 / $20 / $50 / $100
See the Westpac Banking website for an up to date currency conversion rate.
Banks are generally open from 9.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday and 24 Hour ATM’s are widely available at main shopping areas, malls and banks.
All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand.
Working in New ZealandTo be eligible to work in New Zealand all foreigners (except those holding Australian passports) will need a valid Work Visa or Work Permit.
For some occupations such as doctors/nurses/electrical workers, registration will also be required. For more information see the New Zealand Immigration website. NZimed can help you work through your New Zealand Immigration Medicals.
Holidays and Income TaxIt is standard to receive payment of four weeks annual leave and eleven public holidays per year.
Income tax called PAYE (Pay as You Earn) is deducted by employers from wage and salary earners and paid to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) at the following rates 16.4% on income up to $9,500, 22.4% on income over $9,500 up to $38,000, 34.4% on income over $38,000 up to $60,000 and 40.4% on income over $60,000 up to $102,922. Income over this is taxed at 39% as this is the maximum liable rate. Every employee must have an IRD number (these can be obtained from the IRD). See the Inland Revenue Department website for more information.
KiwisaverKiwisaver is a long term retirement savings scheme that started in April 2008. It is compulsory for all new employees to enrol (It is a voluntary scheme so you can either opt out, or you can elect to pay in either 4% or 8% of your annual salary to a savings scheme of your choice). Additional to your contributions, in 2008 employers must pay 1% of your salary into your chosen scheme, increasing by one extra percent per year until 2011 when employers will be paying 4% into your scheme.
Electrical Workers – Getting your Provisional LicenceTo be eligible to work in New Zealand electrical staff such as Electricians/ Intrumentation Technicians / Linesmen etc must also hold a valid Provisional Licence until they become Registered.
Electrical workers you can start by getting your experience and qualifications assessed before you leave your homeland. See the New Zealand Electrical Workers Registration Board website for more information.
Once you know whether you would be granted a Provisional Licence, is it much easier to obtain an Offer of Employment from a Certified Employer and then get a Work Permit.
Getting your Electrical Provisional Licence and Registration step by step.