New Zealand has been ranked second-worst place in the world to move by immigrants, according to a survey.
The expatriate networking organisation InterNations surveyed nearly 12,000 respondents of 177 different nationalities, living in 181 countries. Respondents were asked how their new homes performed on factors including quality of life, cost of living, safety, financial outlook, bureuacracy, and ease of fitting in.
In a resulting ranking of 52 countries – those for whom there was a large enough sample size – Aotearoa New Zealand ranked in the doldrums, at 51. It was beaten to the bottom by Kuwait.
Australia was ranked ninth best overall – people arriving were far more likely to rate the economy positively, feel that they were fairly compensated for work, or think they had fair working hours.
New Zealand’s poor ranking may come as something of a surprise. During the pandemic, some of its cities were rated the world’s most livable, and “moving to New Zealand” has become a common catch-cry among Americans dissatisfied with their own country’s political outlook.
The country’s poor showing was attributed to lower wages and high cost of living. New Zealand was the worst-performing country in the survey’s personal finance measure: 49% of respondents said their disposable household income was not enough to lead a comfortable life, compared with 28% globally. For general cost of living, 75% rated the country negatively, compared with 35% globally.
New Zealand also ranked below global averages for respondents feeling fairly paid for their work, seeing a purpose in their work or liking their working hours. “The cost of living is too high here in comparison to the salaries,” one survey respondent from Botswana said. An expat from India was concerned about the “growing divide between the rich and poor”.
New Zealand is in the midst of what opposition politicians have dubbed a “cost of living crisis”, with rising costs for groceries, petrol and housing.
Its strongest suit was the outdoors – environment and climate was the only metric on which New Zealand ranked in the top half of countries. Its natural environment was loved by 95% of those arriving, compare with 83% globally – and on opportunities for recreational sports it ranked 84%, versus 75% elsewhere.
Mexico was ranked first in the survey, with particularly high scores for personal finance and the ease of settling in. Filling out the top five were Indonesia, Taiwan, Portugal, and Spain.
July 14, 2022 at 11:34AM Tess McClure