New Zealand’s Currency
If you’re thinking of emigrating to New Zealand you will have to know what type of currency the country uses.
The New Zealand dollar is often called the ‘kiwi’ by traders. The bird is the nation’s icon and is found on the countries coinage. The NZ dollar is one the world’s major currencies, being in the top ten most traded. The NZ dollar was introduced relatively recently in 1967 as a replacement for the New Zealand Pound.
The NZ dollar contributes to the global market in a way that far surpasses its rank as a percentage of the country’s global GDP and population. In 2005 New Zealand was praised for being the most business friendly country in the world, just beating Singapore.
Previously New Zealand depended on its trade with Britain, but this source of trade was drastically reduced when Britain joined the European market. This forced New Zealand to open up its markets to the world and for a time the nation struggled as it changed its strategy.
New Zealand’s economy is now dependent on international trade, mostly with the EU, United States, Australia, Japan and China. It focuses mainly on primary industries such as mining and agriculture. New Zealand has only a small industrial sector focusing mostly on small scale manufacturing and high tech goods.
The country itself is comprised of two large islands, the North and South and a number of smaller islands. It lies 900 miles to the South East of Australia and thanks to this remoteness the wildlife has evolved into many strange and spectacular species.
The islands natural beauty is a major draw for tourists and adventurers and many major films have been shot there.
Visitor numbers and immigration figures are set to rise year on year showing how popular the small nation has become with those seeking a holiday or to emigrate.
The main banks
The major banks in New Zealand are the following; ASB, Westpac, ANZ National Bank, Bank of New Zealand, Kiwi bank and HSBC. To open an account with any of the banks in the country you must be able to provide proof of identity.
Many people in New Zealand take advantage of online banking for convenience and the banking system in the country is considered to be very secure.
Telephone banking is another option for most residents. Debit and credit cards are widely used for everyday transactions. Most banks are open from 9 am to 4.30 pm each day from Monday to Friday. In rural areas opening hours may be limited to part-time although in the cities there may be branches open on a Saturday too.
Cost of living
Currently the exchange rate is one British Pound is worth 1.945 New Zealand Dollar. Prices of many imported goods have fallen in real terms in recent years, particularly cars and electrical appliances. In general, New Zealanders enjoy a high standard of living, although salaries are lower than in Australia, North America and many European countries.
It’s difficult to estimate an average cost of living in New Zealand, as it depends on where you live as well as your lifestyle. If you live in Auckland, drive a BMW and dine in expensive restaurants, your cost of living will be much higher than if you live in a rural part of the South Island, drive a small Japanese car and live on lamb and kiwi fruit.
You can live relatively inexpensively by buying New Zealand produce when possible and avoiding expensive imported goods, which are more expensive not only because of the distance they have to travel, but also because they’re considered fashionable.
The cost of travelling in New Zealand is a lot cheaper than in the UK with a single ticket on a local bus or train costing just over $2. A monthly pass will set you back $40 or $100 depending on your location. Cars cost in the region of $27,000 and petrol is a lot less than in the UK.
Property prices in New Zealand vary around the country, with cities generally boasting the most expensive prices. Properties are sold auction-style so there is no real difference between expat prices and local prices – unfair inflation would prove difficult to enact through the auction house.
The use of debit cards is widespread across the country and most international credit and charge cards are widely accepted in New Zealand, including American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa, plus the local Bankcard, which is also widely accepted in Australia. Most businesses in New Zealand accept major credit cards, so you’re unlikely to be stuck if you possess only one card.