New Zealand vs UK Standard of Living Compared

If you are keen on knowing whether the United Kingdom or New Zealand is a better place to live in, then you are in the right place. Though both UK and New Zealand are considered to be developed countries, there are many who believe that New Zealand could be a better place to live as far as standard of living and other such indicators are concerned.

Hence, we are making an effort to answer some pertinent questions that could throw more light as far as New Zealand vs UK living standards are concerned. I am sure that it will also be informative and throw a new perspective when it comes to looking at various aspects of New Zealand vs UK standard of living is concerned.

New Zealand was a colony of the British Empire and therefore the remnants of culture and way of life still continue to be there in this country. Further, New Zealand continues to have a close relationship with the United Kingdom apart from being a part of the Commonwealth Groups of Nations.


We need to look at things from different perspectives

Before we are able to find the right answer to the above questions, we should start with a framework. Countries and their living standards are compared across various parameters and attributes. Here are a few parameters that could help in determining which is a better country to live in.

  • Income
  • House prices
  • Rent
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Commuting
  • Health
  • Climate and Weather
  • Tourism
  • Entertainment

Let us now compare both the UK and New Zealand on the above parameters so that we are able to get a reasonably good insight into the standard of living of both countries.



The average median weekly earnings in the United Kingdom is around 1098 NZ$ compared to around 1000 in New Zealand when measured in the same currency. Hence it is possible that in terms of weekly income the United Kingdom could be slightly ahead of New Zealand.

However, one has to look at the income from the cost of living prism also. If this also is taken into account, there are reasons to believe that both New Zealand and the United Kingdom could be on an even keel. We also need to bear in mind that the income levels vary from location to location and region to region. While the average salary of people in London is around GBP 35,000 it is around GBP 59,700 in Wellington. Hence, there are also reasons to believe that when it comes to big cities and towns, New Zealand may have stolen a march over the United Kingdom as far as average annual incomes are concerned.


Housing prices

The average house price in the United Kingdom as of June 2019 was around GBP 315,000 which equals around 8 times the median individual annual income. The housing prices on average in New Zealand are around $687,000.

When we compare the above, it is quite obvious that the housing prices in the United Kingdom are still far below the average rates in New Zealand. The cheapest homes in New Zealand are available in Southland and the median average price is around $300,000 compared to a low-cost house in North-Eastern England for around $150,000. Therefore, when it comes to average housing prices, New Zealand is obviously quite expensive.

However, there are many who believe that the overall quality of life even in areas like Southland is much better when compared to such equivalent areas in the United Kingdom. However, on the other side of the spectrum according to many experts, the quality of urban life in New Zealand is almost the same as it is in any major urban area of the United Kingdom. The hard-selling of New Zealand as a better place of living may apply only to small towns and rural areas according to some.



Though the average house rental in New Zealand is higher than that of the United Kingdom, it may not be right to paint both countries with the same brush. There are variations in rental income depending on locality and regions.

For example, the rentals in Greater London are almost 33% higher when compared to any other city or town in the United Kingdom. It also is 100% higher in some specific areas of Greater London. The average monthly rent in the UK was around GBP 1600 during February 2019. Compare this with the average monthly rental of around GBP 500 in some areas and regions of the UK. Hence, it is quite obvious that there is nothing uniform about the rates and they keep changing depending on the place you are taking homes on rent.

The same is the case with New Zealand rental rates. They are generally higher than the UK but there are sharp variations depending on regions, towns, and cities. The average weekly rental is around $450 while it is slightly more in Auckland’s downtown area where the rates could be as high as $530 per week.

According to experts, though the rental rates could be slightly higher in the UK, on the whole, there are reasons to believe that both New Zealand and the United Kingdom have the same rental rates whether one looks at it from a weekly or monthly perspective. This is because rentals are highly volatile and they keep changing quite a bit in both countries because of various reasons.



Food is perhaps one of the biggest indicators as far as the cost of living and overall standards of living are concerned. When it comes to groceries, it looks quite clear that Great Britain and other parts of the United Kingdom are more expensive when compared to New Zealand.

Many British people often find it rudely surprising when they visit supermarkets. The price of groceries keeps moving northwards. However, when you compare the prices of groceries and food items of other countries with New Zealand then it is quite possible that many Kiwis may be in for a strong jolt. The average price of food items in this country down under is almost 505% more than that of some lesser developed or even developed countries.

While prices of groceries are higher in the United Kingdom compared to New Zealand, when the entire food basket is taken in totality, it is possible that the prices overall could be much higher in New Zealand. Here again, the typical stance of a better lifestyle in New Zealand compared to the United Kingdom may not cut much ice any further. If you are therefore moving to New Zealand for the job, business, or even for higher studies, please bear in mind that you will have to spend more money on food though groceries may be slightly less expensive when compared to the average rates in the United Kingdom.



The United Kingdom is strategically located and once you are in London or other important cities, you can move around the entire EU quite easily. Further, the airfares and train fares for moving from one country to another from London to the EU cities are much cheaper and many options are available.

Compared to this, traveling to New Zealand from other countries could be quite expensive. Even moving to Auckland, Wellington or other cities from most of the Australian cities on the eastern side is not that cheap. The average airfare to the major cities of New Zealand from Australia should be around $300. Compare this with fares from London to some major cities of the EU. It should not be more than $150 at best. Further, the UK also offers other cheaper modes of transport like rail and there are also water surface transports available.

Since New Zealand is not so strategically located geographically it is obvious that traveling could be more expensive at least to and from New Zealand. However, when it comes to transport and travel within New Zealand, the country has some well-developed means of transport and they are quite competitive and affordable.

Hence, at the end of the day, it depends on the kind of travel you want to undertake. If you are planning to visit New Zealand from other countries you will have to spend more when you are moving from the United Kingdom to some other countries. But within New Zealand, you certainly may end up spending less.



The life expectancy in New Zealand is around 82 years and it is around one year longer than that of the United Kingdom.

In terms of air pollution, there is no doubt that New Zealand is far ahead of the UK. The levels of PM2 pollutants in the air in New Zealand is around 4.9 micrograms per cubic meter. This compares extremely well with the UK where these suspended air particles are around 11.3 micrograms per cubic meter. 89% of New Zealanders are satisfied with the quality of water, and air. Wellington is second in the list of world cities as far as the quality of water and air is concerned.


Tourism and travel

Both New Zealand and the United Kingdom have many things to offer as far as travel and tourism are concerned. However, those who are close to nature believe that New Zealand has more to offer in terms of variety.

If you really want to enjoy New Zealand you must be ready to travel from the Great Plateau of the North to the mainlands of Canterbury. The Southern Alps offers some gorgeous peaks and hence in terms of variety, it has quite a bit to offer. The United Kingdom offers some great underwater and other such ocean-based places of tourism and travel. As far as higher education is concerned, both the countries are almost the same.



There are some areas and points where the United Kingdom is ahead of New Zealand. This is in areas of house rentals, new home buying, and perhaps food. But when it comes to the overall quality of air, water, recreational activities, and local transport, New Zealand could be better. Hence, there is a fine balance as far as New Zealand vs UK standard of living is concerned.