Emigrating to NZ from the UK - financial considerations


are there any ex-British Army ex-pats in NZ, who can give first-hand advice? asking on behalf of someone who is looking to emigrate with immediate pension.

interested particularly in the pension issues etc - is it still index linked when you emigrate over there, most cost-efficient way to get it paid (UK account, NZ account, other account) etc.

any other financial / pension considerations when emigrating out there, having completed >22yrs? immigration points etc not an issue here - just interested in the financial considerations.

also any comments on army pension vs cost of living, tax etc very welcome.

Bit of shite going on over here on the pension front I'm afraid.


The Express and Telegraph have a weekly publication down here and it's been a topic that's been rumbling on for a while.

Transferring money over is fairly painless, takes about 2 days from account to account. The banking system over here is light years ahead of the UK.

Cost of living? Well everything is relative I suppose. The $ is a bit high against the £ at the moment but you'll still get $2.50 - $2.70 to the £1 most weeks. Box of 24 stubbies $25, fuel $1.66 per Ltr (gone up 30 cents in a fortnight) 50 grams of baccy, rizzlas & filters about $32. Meat (beef) is cheaper, Lamb is shite, all the good stuff gets exported. Veggies etc all better and cheaper than UK. (Icecream to die for, cheap as).

Cars, Jap stuff cheap and plentiful about $5k for a decent 5/6 year old saloon, lots of Fords and Holdens. Some decent models not available in the UK.

White goods are pretty expensive but computer stuff nice and cheap.

Houses are allot cheaper, they do vary accordingly depending on where you go but typical 3 bed detatched, 1000 square yard section (garden) around here cost about $160k. look up lj hookers that'll give you a fair indication for the country.
We've been here for a little while now and I still don't quite understand the pension thing myself.
HMRC said we could choose to pay UK tax and continue to have it paid into a UK bank account, however the IRD of NZ web site states that we ought to be paying tax on it in NZ. That may not be a drama at this juncture until you factor in the 'Higher Tax Band' which means that at different levels of income you pay differing levels of tax which can rise up to 39% of income.
NZ IRD has also yet to determin whether or not they consider the AFPS to be a contributary or non-contributary scheme; one will allow you to receive your pension into a NZ bank account free of both UK and NZ tax for 49 months the other means they can start taxing you on your Pension straight away!

I have spoken to both HMRC and NZ IRD and neither seem to know their 'arse from their elbow' yet both are more than happy to collect their particular 'pound of flesh'. I am soon to go into a meeting with IRD; once I know more I shall post.
Can't comment on the financial considerations particularly, but having been out twice on holiday, and visiting ex-pat residents near Auckland, I can comment that their lifestyle is simply amazing compared to what they left behind in the UK.

The attitude of the country seems totally different and most pepole come across as having a pride in their country that Britain seems to have left behind in recent years. NZ is not afraid to show its national flag.

If the financial side works out, my friends out there would certainly recommend a move. And NZ is the home of L&P! :D



I have spoken to both HMRC and NZ IRD and neither seem to know their 'arse from their elbow' yet both are more than happy to collect their particular 'pound of flesh'. I am soon to go into a meeting with IRD; once I know more I shall post.

LWM, did you get to find out anything??
Seriously considering a move to NZ with wife and two pre-school aged kids in tow. We are well up on the requirements for immigration and have a few contacts in NZ itself. The bumpf for immigrating is of course Of course signing the praise for the country but one of the relatives sent us this link:

No Science Or Skills Shortage In New Zealand « E2NZ

Does this show the dark side of NZ or is this just a gathering of typical whinging poms? It has seriously dented our enthusiasm for going....
Sadly, a fair amount of the negative comments in that chap's blog are true.

NZ isn't the paradise it once was and the standard of living has fallen waaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind other comparable nations. Not sure I'd call it third world, but it definitely has it's problems. Racism is one of them and - yes - english immigrants are often but not always looked down on upon and shut out socially, I don't know why but it happens.

It's hard on the non working immigrant wives - they often feel very isolated for a very long time and tales of pommie migrants heading back to Britain or on to Aussie after a year or two because "the wife couldn't hack it" are legion.

A lot depends on whether you have a good job to come to, and what city you're headed for.

Any general questions please ask away - I'm very happy to answer queries about standards of living or whether XYZville is a shithole or whatever but for up to date immigration matters you MUST get competent legal advice.
Thanks Weetabix.

With regards to the wife, we would actually be riding on the back of her qualifications since she is far more likely to get a job offer prior to immigrating (medical radiographer). I am also making enquiries in my line of work. Our focus for the mo' is the Wellington area.

Aside from securing a job is the education, situation since the main reason is getting out of this grey stagnating Europe to find a better life for the nippers. I find the reports of systematic bullying and child diseases quite alarming in addition to the rise in violence in society in general.

I have one perhaps silly idea in my head since I visited the NZ army website. I have seen that they are actively seeking armourers. Since I have a mechanical engineering degree in my pocket and work on my private collection of guns as a hobby it is very attractive should I meet the residency and UK citizenship requirements. It is no small thing to join up and I have no contacts within the NZ forces to get an impression so I'm a bit lost there too...
Second attempt, first post got timed out by the server and eaten.

Wellington is easily the best city you could be considering. Large expat community, lots of cultural / sporting / recreational stuff happening, and the highest average income of any city in NZ. Crap weather but you can't have everything. It's also large enough so that you can choose a suburb with excellent schools - see below.

Your Mrs will piss into a radiography job but be warned: the reason for this is that radiographers are so badly paid that almost all of them have gone to Aus for better pay and conditions, leaving gaping holes in the workforce. I'm not exaggerating here - it's so dire that there was a national radiographers strike last year and the hospitals ground to a halt nationwide - the strike was rolling and spread over several months. Google "radiographers strike nz" and prepare to be amazed.

There is also a HUGE gotcha with registration. NZ has a terrible - and deserved - reputation for promising migrants medical jobs, and then declining them registration when they get here. I shit you not, this is a biggie and you MUST sort it before you leave. It's worst for eastern europeans and yarpies but it can happen to anyone and the number of Romanian and South African doctors/lab scientists/physios/radiographers driving taxis or repping for drug companies is frightening.

Make sure your wife has written confirmation that her qualifications are accepted and that she is registered to practise in NZ with no further preconditions or training (signed by Jesus Christ Himself) before she gets on the plane, or don't come. My guess is that the Wellington DHB will be so desperate to get her, that you can use them as leverage to get the registration approved - make the DHB's HR department do the running around to get the registration approved as a condition of accepting their job offer. I can't stress enough how important this is.

OK, your job: Again, registration issues. Make sure you can work here as a mechanical engineer or you'll be looking for $14/hr greasemonkey jobs on TradeMe the day you get off the plane. Professional engineers in NZ do quite well both in salaried and self employed positions but I guess it depends what you can turn your hand to, but there are definitely professional engineer jobs around and Wellington is as good a place as any. I wouldn't have thought that rejoining the army would be a very good move if you can get a civilian job...if you want let me know age/rank/experience/how many years out and I'll call the recruitment line and find out a bit more about it though. Let me know - it costs nothing for me to ask.

IPENZ Engineers New Zealand

Kids: They will have a better life and education in NZ than you could provide them with in the UK. No question. I'm 43, my folks emigrated from London when I was 5 for exactly this reason and my lifestyle compared to my relatives back in Britain just isn't in the same ballpark.

Wellington is big enough that you can choose to live in a suburb with very good schools...the kiwi phrase you need know to look out for is "low decile". Google it. Basically the higher the decile the higher the income of the parents at the school, and the lower the amount of bullying and disease. Choose a suburb with high decile schools and you'll be ok...areas with a very high Maori or Pacific Island population tend to be the ones with diseases and crime both born of poverty. Avoid. As far as tertiary study fifteen years down the track goes, a teenager can get a good degree or diploma or whatever here and do well, without beggaring their parents or incurring enormous debt themselves. It's easier for people to make something of themselves here I think.

Lastly, there is a plan B. If it all does go tits up here and you or your wife hate it, stay on until you get your NZ citizenship and then bugger off to Aussie and see if the grass is greener. Our citizenship arrangements are reciprocal and no small percentage of migrants use NZ as a back door to get into Australia - you wouldn't be the first.


So what's wrong with Auckland ? (Spare me the JAFA jokes) It's bigger than Wellington, warmer, sunnier, & has all the advantages you attribute to Wellington. The only advantages Wellington has, that I can see, are slightly cheaper housing & more public sector jobs. I'd agree with most of Mr Weetabix's points (you sure you're a Kiwi... it's called Weetbix here) apart from tertiary study costs. My eldest is 4 years into a medical degree, her student loan will be $70 - 80K by the time she finishes.
'Funny' that many of the comments about 'unwelcoming locals' and feeling isolated and the remark about Wellington being a good place to go as there's lots of ex-pats are the sorts of things we whinge about in the UK with foreigners coming to the UK. Not integrating coz it's easier to stick with your fellow countrymen than try to work your way into the new culture.

I've been fortunate to work and live for extended periods in 6 countries of between 1 and 6 years in each and i can tell you that all had unique merits (yep, even the Third World countries) and all had common goods and bads and unique bad aspects. There ain't no paradise but anywhere can be good whilst the going is good. When the shit hits the fan it's always better to be where you know the language, culture and laws the best.

The UK ain't what it used to be but then again, nor is anywhere else. The world is changing. The populations of poorer countries are able to see where it is better for them and get to those places more easily than ever. The global economic balance is moving to the Orient and Indian sub-continent. Non of this stuff is new. We must all adapt and try to contribute to improve our own little corners of it as best we can for our kids.

Immigration is great if you are running towards something but not if you are running away from something.

From experience though I'd still say "do it". It's not irreversible and the experience of living in another country is always a positive thing.

From experience though I'd still say "do it". It's not irreversible and the experience of living in another country is always a positive thing.D_B

D_B I moved from the UK as soon as I graduated, currently in Holland but seeking new horizons.. We have no problem moving to a new culture. The wife and I both moved over without a word of Dutch and now mainly only use English between us and at home. Despite this, after nearly 10 years here our only friends are linked to my job (big EU company) but even then we don't really socialise outside work hours (2 young kids doesn't help either). The Dutch are friendly but aren't neighbourly by nature, you just get home from work, shut the door and emerge the next morning. I would hope that NZ has a more neighbourly culture.

Weetabix (Weetbix?) - PM sent


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The Dutch are friendly but aren't neighbourly by nature, you just get home from work, shut the door and emerge the next morning. I would hope that NZ has a more neighbourly culture.

I had a mate that moved to Aus. On the surface the Aussies are really friendly and treated me very well. But I was a tourist and they knew it. My mate that emigrated said that if you're in your 30's and English they just didn't want to know. They ended up in a circle of Brits, not because they are xenophobic or unfriendly, but the Aussies assumed they were going to piss off home so why make the effort. And guess what, as a result they did. He's lived in different countries all his life but moved back to blighty after 2 years of trying. From what everybody else is saying it sounds like NZ is no different. An Army buddy emigrated to NZ and loves it, however he married a Kiwi and tapped into her social network instantly. He also really loves the outdoor lifestyle, which NZ has by the bucketload.

Sounds like either you have a local wife, or you learn to love scrabble and your remote.
You should check very carefully with the UK pensions people for I believe when you leave the UK for NZ your OAP stops on that day and when you eventually retire you get a limited UK pension with no increases. I found this out when I left the UK so came to Cyprus instead where you get the full UK OAP. Might seems a small thing if you are young but is now a problem to those Brits that left the UK many years ago and are now struggling financially.
C_M, amongst other places, I spent 7 years in Canada with my wife and had our 2 kids out there. We have dual nationality. I never had English friends and had a load of Canuck mates although i did work with a few Brits (who belonged to things like the 'Victoria Club' and other ex-pat groups). Loved the people and the outdoors. People tended to hibernate a bit in the long, cold winters but made up for it in the summer. It was those long winters and not having enough money to send the missues back to the UK every year or so that lead to her feeling isolated and us moving back to the UK. There's more to it all (as I'm sure you know well) than just material things. It's a lack of history (in Western Canada), higher costs for 'exotic' holidays, different culture, an insular 'outlook' on the world by the locals which you either embrace or reject. I embraced it and loved my hiking, mountain biking ice fishing and skiing. With young kids, my wife didn't have the same opportunities. I also travelled a lot around WestCan with work, she was stuck in Calgary all the time. However, having visited Calgary last summer for a month, it has changed so much it isn't the place it once was. Nowhere is ........

There are so many things that determine whether you as an individual or as a couple or family settle somewhere other than your home country much as there is just moving about the UK for some people.

Like I've always said: just do it. We moved to Canada in 1991 with £2000, 2 rucksacks and lots of ignorance and found out within 3 days of arriving that the memsahib was preggers. We just got on with it and the baby was a good way to meet similar people at a similar stage of their lives and with whom we remain friends to this day. Push yourself, you'll be suprised how far you can go :)
Having two pre-school kids will of course help to establish friends. Currently in NL we are not members of any expat clubs or such nonsense, we just learned the lingo and cracked on. I guess my deepest darkest fear is not finding a (good) job after nearly ten years in one secure highly paid job straight after leaving RMCS (as a civi). We are not leaving in search of a fortune, just a better, healthier life for the family.

Our other avenues of escape are possible Canada or the US.
RoverDriver have you visited you Auckland friends in winter and seen what their lifestyle is like then? NZ homes are infamous for their cold and damp, very few of them are heated, properly insulated or draught proofed. Bear in mind your friends are going to be showcasing the country to you because you're on holiday and are probably trying to make you feel just a little bit envious of them.

The cost of living is very high, NZ has frequently been referred to as 100% Pure rip-off and a great proportion of its population is on low wages or benefits.

Education may've been ok 20/30 years ago but that was before the introduction of the high school NCEA which has lowered standards and made it hard for students to fail at anything. Whilst it may be 'better' than the UK's system that doesn't necessarily mean its good.

Any one who is seriously contemplating a move should have a look at a site called expat exposed.com most of the people there are trying to get out of the place, or are sharing stories of their escape. There's a lot to be learned about NZ that isn't evident from the UK and which will only present itself to you once you live there.

Having recently left NZ after living there for 4 years my advice is to take a good look at Australia or Canada.


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Jeez. That Expat exposed site bags the hell out of the Kiwis. I've always found them a nice bunch. Having a quick read through of it it seems like there are some very negative stories out there. I guess the message is, if you're going you'ld better have enough cash spare for an escape route back home. This seems pretty common sense to me. Set aside enough money for your air fares back home and a shipping container to ship your stuff back.
I have a mate who has just 2 weeks ago moved to New Zealand with his kiwi wife and his young daughter. His plan is to spend two years there and then return to the UK. That may change though if he really likes it there. I look forward to hearing what he thinks of the place.