New Zealand Salary Deductions
March 12, 2016 1:59 AM   Subscribe

In the UK an employee's salary is subject to deductions – national insurance, income tax at varying brackets etc. How does this compare to New Zealand?

I'm currently trying to compare salaries in New Zealand to the UK and on average they look slightly lower, although that could be due to the exchange rate currently. But even on a lower salary, if NZ income tax etc is lower – an employee's take home there could actually be higher than in the UK … Right?
posted by stackhaus23 to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Kiwi living in the UK here. I've done the maths a few times... On the equivalent salary you do end up with more take home pay in New Zealand.

However cost of living is more expensive in NZ which makes the massive difference. Everytime I go home I go to the supermarket and marvel... The difference in food costs is insane. Also - you have to pay for things like GP visits out of pocket in NZ.

Comparing London v. Auckland I fare better in London due to a) food and b) transport. Auckland and indeed most of NZ is tricky without a car. I spent five years in Auckland without a car and the public transport just does not compare.
posted by teststrip at 2:08 AM on March 12, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks for the reply teststrip. Especially regarding healthcare. Presumably people have insurance like they do in the US?

I currently work in London, but commute. Hearing that you are better off in London is slightly scary, especially since I know how much property costs to rent and buy in London.

Auckland is of particular interest so thanks again for the info!
posted by stackhaus23 at 2:43 AM on March 12, 2016

Best answer: Yeah, the difference in cost of living is probably going to be a bigger factor than a raw comparison of take home pay. Right at the moment, for example, Auckland is in a housing crisis - when comparing median house prices and income it is less affordable than London (or, in fact, almost anywhere else in the world). Food costs much more; the same goes for furniture and electronics.
posted by Paragon at 3:12 AM on March 12, 2016

Best answer: Some people in NZ have health insurance but it isn't ubiquitous like it is in the USA. All my family and most of my friends are in NZ and I don't personally know anyone who has private health insurance. Mostly people just pay the upfront fees when they go to the doctor. It's relatively affordable. You aren't going to be hit with a multi thousand dollar bill like you might in the USA.
posted by lollusc at 4:13 AM on March 12, 2016

Best answer: Healthcare is low-cost, however if you would like to go private or skip lengthy waits, health insurance can be useful. I had it once via an employer but it is in no way essential. More than happy to answer any questions via MeMail!
posted by teststrip at 5:39 AM on March 12, 2016

Best answer: The NZ government is good at having everything online. It might take some looking around but seriously, everything is there and relatively accessible. Start here.

Health care is relatively affordable *if* you're eligible for the subsidy. Not all foreigners are. You can check in more detail here, and there will be links on that MOH website to what is covered if you are eligible. Dental care, however, is horribly expensive and generally not covered.

The only people I knew with private health insurance had it via work (which is a bit weird) and even then it was uncommon to use it. I looked into being added to my husband's work-provided plan and it was a total non-starter, very expensive and with no coverage for anything even remotely pre-existing (with a questionnaire asking about literally every time I'd been sick in my life). So I just used the public health like everyone else and it was fine.

Also we have nationalised no-fault accident compensation, so you'll get health care for any kind of accidental injury (including at work). This also has the benefit of making car insurance and similar a lot cheaper than e.g. the UK.

Lots of other things are also affordable if you're eligible, e.g. tertiary education, KiwiSaver (a type of subsidised retirement savings), paid parental leave, and Working for families benefits jump to mind. You my or may not be eligible for help from Work and Income if relevant. There may be other things, poke around the website I linked at the start if you have more questions.

You will definitely be covered under the normal workers rights, so holiday time, sick leave, etc, and generally the protections are pretty good. To see what kind of tax you'll pay, the IRD should have info and calculators etc on it's website.

And yeah, the housing market in Auckland has gone totally mental since I left five years ago. These days we literally could not afford to rent anywhere near where we used to live in an already-outer suburb, let alone somewhere actually close to work. And public transport is expensive and sucks. And the roads are also fairly mental, traffic just keeps increasing. When we visited last year I was surprised at how much more expensive and less livable it has become, given it was already pretty bad when we left. So take a good look around at real estate websites to see what kinds of prices you'd be paying and where they are located, because that's going to be a huge chunk of your salary right there. Trademe used to be a reasonable place to start for that, although it might have changed.
posted by shelleycat at 7:03 AM on March 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the replies, very informative!
posted by stackhaus23 at 7:14 AM on March 12, 2016

Response by poster: Paragon, that's really interesting relating to housing prices. Very interesting seeing how it compares to a city like Vancouver in that study, it's something people talked about a lot whilst we were there recently.

The article is very focused on property prices to buy, is it similar for people renting in Auckland?
posted by stackhaus23 at 7:20 AM on March 12, 2016

Rent is insane.
posted by shelleycat at 7:21 AM on March 12, 2016

Best answer: Some excellent points above. I'll add a few comments to them (I'm a Kiwi living in Wellington; I've lived in London for a total of nine years).

Kiwisaver/pensions: get advice from someone who understands the UK and NZ systems. The UK tax authorities have done something I don't quite understand where they don't recognise Kiwisaver schemes. This has a major impact if you're moving your UK pension to NZ - like losing 55% of it in tax. I'm not sure what would happen if you took NZ pension savings back to the UK, but would be worth checking.

Healthcare: NZ and the UK have a bilateral agreement, so as I understand it you should get the same treatment at the same cost as locals. Might be worth double-checking. There's a bit of controversy about this, as the UK has started levying NZers working in the UK for a contribution to the NHS, but as yet NZ hasn't changed things for Brits here.

Public transport in Auckland is improving, but from a low base.

Have you considered other cities? Wellington could work - it's a lot cheaper than Auckland, but average salaries are actually higher [lots of government jobs]. Transport times are lower. By way of comparison, my mortgage is around $500/week for a modest 3-bedroom house in a reasonable suburb. That's about the same as my rent for a one-bedroom flat in Brixton.

Food is weirdly more expensive. I don't know why - we pay GST (VAT) on food, and I guess UK supermarkets have economies of scale, but it's still strange how much things cost here. Imported goods (books, electronics) will cost more than in the UK too.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:47 PM on March 12, 2016

Best answer: Oh, I forgot. In NZ, tenants don't pay council tax ("rates"). So that's a couple of thousand/year that's included in the rent. Also, water is usually covered by rates - you don't pay a separate water bill.

On the other hand: NZ flats are traditionally rented unfurnished (although this is changing, especially in inner-city areas that cater to travellers/students). And our houses are generally poorly insulated compared to the UK, so your heating bills might be higher. I've found that flats in Wellington are more run-down than London - not in terrible condition, but they might need painting/doing-up.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:50 PM on March 12, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks Pink Frost, particularly interested in Auckland owing to it's creative industry, although Wellington is also of interest.
posted by stackhaus23 at 2:52 PM on March 12, 2016

Best answer: Also, water is usually covered by rates - you don't pay a separate water bill

Except in Auckland where tenants pay and it's a non-trivial amount of money. Maybe poke around the Watercare website and see if they give an idea of how much it's likely to be?

Good point about council tax though, in NZ your rent is supposed to cover all that (rubbish collection too).
posted by shelleycat at 4:18 AM on March 13, 2016

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