Expats ready to call NZ home even as costs rise, Mercer says   15 Jun 2012

Article - BusinessDesk

Expats ready to call NZ home even as living costs surge, Mercer says

By Hannah Lynch

June 15 (BusinessDesk) - Expatriates still think New Zealand is an attractive place to call home, even as the cost of living in Auckland and Wellington surges to record highs.

Auckland increased 62 places to 56 out of 214 countries, in Mercer's worldwide cost of living survey, while Wellington jumped to 74th place from 136th. The survey helps multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. It measures over 200 items such as transport, food, household goods and entertainment.

"In relation to other countries New Zealand is still pretty competitive - there are other cities that are far more expensive," Sarah Barnaby, senior associate at Mercer's information product solutions business, told BusinessDesk. "If we think about large multi-nations I don't think New Zealand would be the first choice - since our proximity means we will never be the closes but we are still an attractive option."

The increased cost of rental accommodation coupled with the high kiwi dollar helped attribute to the rise. Rent prices across New Zealand increased by 2.3 percent in the March quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand data. The New Zealand dollar has gained 0.6 percent against the greenback so far this year.

Government data out this week showed that food prices rose by 0.3 percent in May. That's the second monthly increase this year. Produce reported the biggest increase, up 3.2 percent, while the price of non-alcoholic beverages rose 2.2 percent and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food advanced 0.7 percent.

"Yet for expats, New Zealand still continues to offer improved lifestyle and career opportunities despite the rise in costs," Barnaby said.

Multinationals are able to take advantage of local and regional business opportunities in New Zealand. The country also acts as great base to Asia and is away from Europe's current economic uncertainty, Barnaby said.

Globally, Tokyo was the most expensive city, followed by Luanda and Osaka.

Across the Tasman, Sydney jumped three places to 11th most expensive, followed by Melbourne up six places to 15 and Perth climbing 11 places to 19th.

In the North Hemisphere, London dropped back seven places to 25th, while New York was the most expensive US city, coming in at number 33.

At the other end of the scale, Karachi in Pakistan was the cheapest city, followed by Islamabad, also in Pakistan on 213.

(BusinessDesk)

 

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