Keeping it real: 13 bad things about New Zealand you should know

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of reasons why you may decide to live in New Zealand. I love the country wholeheartedly. The place may be on your wish list as the ideal place to go to retire, seek education or find new jobs the list is endless.

However, before you make the ultimate decision to call the place home you need to check whether the environment is conducive and ideal for you. Embarking on research could help settle your jitters and worries regarding the place. I did actually struggle a bit to find these things, and I’d love to hear if you agree.

You should come up with both the pros and cons but the pros should outweigh the cons if you consider moving to the country. New Zealand is an attractive place with lots of popular destinations and it’s an excellent choice for you and your family. The place has a relaxed culture and exciting natural sceneries. However, there are some disadvantages associated with living in New Zealand. In this article, I aim to reveal what is bad about New Zealand.

The negatives of living in New Zealand are: 

  • Cost of living is high in New Zealand
  • Isolated country
  • Expensive and problematic to get your family to New Zealand
  • Calm and collects nation and you’ll have to get used to living a quiet life
  • Cost of imported goods
  • Almost no public transport
  • No air conditioning
  • Bad roads in many parts of the country
  • Relatively lower standard of living
  • Odor of repellants
  • Protecting one’s skin needs to be a priority
  • Sometimes pretentious mindset
  • Expensive dental care

I’ll go into more detail on each one…


The cost of living is high in New Zealand

It is actually true that the cost of living is actually high when it comes to living in New Zealand when compared to other places such as Ireland. A survey conducted by Mercer on matters related to the cost of living in cities placed Wellington and Auckland number 123 and 103 respectively out of a possible 209 cities. When comparing the North and South Islands the North Island leads in terms of the high cost of living especially when it comes to renting.


The country is somewhat isolated

Recently, people view the world as a small place because of the ever-increasing population. New Zealand is regarded as a small island nation that has a population of more than 4 million people. If you decide to relocate from other countries of different continents such as Europe, Africa, or North America then it is hard to maintain a close relationship with friends and family although technology has made things easier. There’s ineffective communication because of the time zone disparity especially for people living in the United States. It will be hard at first to make friends but you’ll slowly adjust.


It is expensive and problematic to get your family to New Zealand

If you plan to relocate with your family from the United States to New Zealand it would be crucial that you change your currency to the New Zealand dollar since it will help stretch your finances. When comparing the New Zealand dollar to the US dollar you’ll realize that the spending power is about 30% more.

The airfare tickets are also expensive and you’ll want to save more for the trip. If you’ll be shipping any belongings the shipping cost will also dent your financial status so it’s better to save up whenever you can. In case you have financially enabled the length of the flight will take a toll on you and your family.


New Zealand is a calm and collects nation and you’ll have to get used to living a quiet life

If you like music, drink, and dance on the weekends, you will be disappointed with what you see in New Zealand. While big cities have clubs and bars, the island’s calm and peaceful atmosphere is also important for nightlife. The music festival is also struggling to establish itself in the country and might consider starting a new tradition instead. Always spend your weekends here in peace.


In one way or the other, you’ll have to incur the cost of imported goods

Due to New Zealand’s limited size and infrastructure, it is not always possible to avoid the cost of imported goods and services. They pay more for electronics, clothing, and groceries. Due to import/export market restrictions, you may not even be able to find the brand you want. It is still possible to order something online and have it delivered to your address, but the cost of this service is significantly higher.


You’ll be shocked to learn that there is almost no public transport in New Zealand.

If you’d rather get around the city by public transport, New Zealand will unpleasantly surprise you. The country does not have a fixed rail system for passenger transport. There are some trains that cross the islands, but they are slow, they are scarce, and the cost is ridiculously close.

In some cities, it is better to use a bus system, but it is not completely reliable. If you are moving to New Zealand, it is best to buy a bike if you are on a budget. There are many safe places to cycle in cities. So you don’t have to visit places that are within walking distance.


No air conditioning

It’s not that complicated and won’t be a problem if your windows have screens. Maybe not all of us had air conditioning, but I haven’t seen a house with few shops. If you combine this with the screenshots missing in the window, you will find yourself in a messy and erroneous situation.


Bad roads in many parts of the country

You will see that New Zealand spends a lot of money and effort repairing and upgrading its roads, but most of the infrastructure is windy and often with no guard rails. It is important that you practice caution while driving to avoid causing accidents.


The standard of living in New Zealand is not that high when compared to other parts of the world.

New Zealand is known for its low standard of living compared to more industrialized countries. If you are looking to buy an old house in the country, there is a great opportunity to land on a good house but you’ll have to spend a lot on the renovation by improving insulation, installing a heating system, and even installing better wiring. Throughout the year the climate is milder but it helps to have a warm and dry place. You also become prone to insect bites depending on the area you take up residence.


You’ll have to get used to the odor of repellants in places you visit.

Since you live in a cool environment with running water, you will encounter many mosquitos and other flies if you move to New Zealand at night. Many people say that the first summer in the country was the worst because they didn’t know what to expect from this weakness. Because of insect bites, you need to use an insecticide every hot night. Visiting the beach on a windy day will bring you no comfort. These insects are literally everywhere.


You need to make protecting your skin a priority if you decide to move to New Zealand.

The place enjoys sunny weather and its close proximity to the island prompts the individuals to enjoy the beaches which means most of their skin will be exposed. Make sure you have enough sunscreen and always include the product in your budget since it will always come in handy. Exposure to direct sunlight exposes you to the risk of skin cancer if you ignore the need to wear sunblock.

New Zealand lies where the ozone layer is believed to be feeble and weak and the UV rays are stronger. You’ll also be prone to sunburns but with proper protection, it can be mitigated. You’ll observe the sun is scorching if you conducted a small experiment by placing items near the window the results will amaze since most of them fade the color.


The people of New Zealand sometimes pretentious and have to prove they can fit in which is not the case.

The behavior is at times referred to as the Tall Poppy syndrome. The residents of New Zealand are calm and collected but they live pretentious lives. The diversity in the region inhibits some people to be forthright about their nature. There are many talented individuals but the culture of trying hard to fit in kills their dreams and progress since they’ll suffer from isolation.

You’ll find people pretending to be slower academically or physically just to try and fit in with society.


It’s expensive to seek proper dental care in the country.

It’s truly universal and quality health care is available in New Zealand but the system is reluctant to include dental care especially for adults. Infants are well represented in the system and health care for children is free. On matters related to dental care for adults, it’s relatively expensive for adults to pay up to $100 of the local currency for a basic check that comes with an X-ray.

The cost of a filling is at least $160 per tooth, extraction services are priced at around $200. Teeth whitening services cost around $150 for every appointment. Again, root canal services range between $750 and $1,200.

The hefty prices deter most residents from seeking dental care regularly. Dental insurance is considered a surplus and is separate from the usual health insurance kitty.


The article seeks to highlight some of the negatives of living in New Zealand but in no way is meant to trash or paint New Zealand negatively. New Zealand is a wonderful place to visit that has great attraction sights, fun activities, and top tourist destinations. As with other places around the world, they’re always the other side of everything. New Zealand has its fair share of positive traits and negative traits. It would be wrong to pretend everything is a utopian wonderland while it’s not the case.

And now over to you. Do you agree with my list, or was I too hard? Or did I miss something?