Always select this for every post in addition to the main category
When comparing the cost of living in New Zealand vs Australia, New Zealand is the more affordable country to live in.
On average, consumer prices in New Zealand are 5.40% lower than in Australia. Groceries and restaurant meals cost 8.28% and 2.73% less respectively. Your rent will also be less in New Zealand.
Percentages means little though. Let’s look at actual numbers instead.
The cost of everyday goods and services in New Zealand compared to Australia
This is how much rent, eating out and groceries cost in both New Zealand and Australia according to Numbeo (June 2021):
(Please note: These costs are correct as at June 2021. All costs are in New Zealand dollar for a side-by-side comparison but we’ve also added the Australian costs in brackets.)
|1-bedroom apartment in the city centre||1,597.95||1,755.46 (A$1,642.29)||
|1-bedroom apartment outside the city centre||1,238.19||1,354.51 (A$1,267.19)||
|3-bedroom apartment in the city centre||2,584.59||2,968.94 (A$2,777.54)||
|3-bedroom apartment outside the city centre||2,110.24||2,057.27 (A$1,924.64)||
|Eating Out||New Zealand||Australia|
|Meal, inexpensive restaurant||19.20||21.38 (A$20.00)||
|3-course meal for two people, mid-range restaurant||100.00||96.20 (A$90.00)||
|McMeal at McDonalds||12.00||12.83 (A$12.00)||
|Domestic beer, 500ml||9.00||8.55 (A$8.00)||
|Imported beer, 300ml||9.00||9.62 (A$9.00)||
|Coke, 300ml||3.36||3.55 (A$3.32)||
|Water, 300ml bottle||2.87||3.03 (A$2.83)||
|Milk, 1L||2.63||1.75 (A$1.64)||
|Loaf of fresh white bread||2.51||2.99 (A$2.7)||
|White rice, 1kg||2.97||2.90 (A$2.71)||
|Eggs, 12||5.40||5.06 (A$4.74)||
|Local cheese, 1kg||10.67||11.57 (A$10.82)||
|Chicken fillets, 1kg||12.96||11.59 (A$10.84)||
|Beef round, 1kg||19.84||19.45 (A$18.20)||
|Apples, 1kg||3.76||4.89 (A$4.58)||
|Bananas, 1kg||2.99||3.61 (A$3.38)||
|Oranges, 1kg||3.91||3.98 (A$3.73)||
|Tomato, 1kg||3.51||5.33 (A$4.98)||
|Potato, 1kg||2.94||3.47 (A$3.24)||
|Onion, 1kg||2.50||2.80 (A$2.62)||
Let’s also look at salaries to get the full picture
It’s not enough to only consider everyday costs when investigating the cost of living in a country.
You must also know how much you’re likely to earn to get the full picture. A basket of groceries totaling $100 won’t affect someone earning $10,000 a month the same as someone earning $5,000.
As most of our clients immigrate to New Zealand and Australia as skilled migrants, we chose the 22 industries you see below. The salaries are listed in each country’s currency but we’ve also listed the New Zealand salary in brackets for Australia for a side-by-side comparison.
You can search for your own occupation on Payscale if you don’t see it on our list.
Please note: These are annual salaries. All salaries are in New Zealand dollar for a side-by-side comparison but we’ve also added the Australian salaries in brackets.
|Job category||New Zealand (Annual)||Australia (Annual)|
|Chemical Engineer||65,667||60,908 (A$72,558)|
|Diesel Mechanic*||72,414||67,167 (A$72,909)|
|Early Childhood Educator*||72,414||67,167 (A$50,742)|
|General Practitioner*||147,277||136,605 (A$141,844)|
|Industrial Engineer||76,598||71,047 (A$71,399)|
|Maintenance Planner*||80,311||74,491 (A$93,551)|
|Mechanical Engineer*||66,186||61,390 (A$72,764)|
|Quantity Surveyor||71,611||66,422 (A$73,534)|
|Registered Nurse*||60,780||56,376 (A$64,782)|
|Social Worker||53,928||50,020 (A$67,548)|
|Software Engineer*||71,291||66,125 (A$78,577)|
|Speech Therapist||68,824||63,837 (A$64,760)|
*These occupations are on Australia’s Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List which was established in 2020 to address the skills needed to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cost of living in New Zealand is lower than in Australia. You’ll spend less at the tills when doing your monthly grocery shopping, and you’ll also spend less at restaurants and when paying your rent.
When considering these costs, it’s also important to factor in how much you’ll earn to get a realistic idea of how much buying power your salary gives you.
Immigration New Zealand announced this week that it’ll allow the immediate family members of some temporary visa holders to travel to and enter New Zealand, starting 30 April. This decision will allow families to reunite after spending many months apart!
Who qualifies for the border exemption?
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has enacted several border exemptions to enable specific groups of people to enter New Zealand.
The latest border exemption will enable the partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders who are still outside of New Zealand and fall within three groups to travel to New Zealand under the border exemption.
The three groups are:
- Partners and dependent children who held – and who continue to hold – a visa for New Zealand but were unable to join their partner or parent in New Zealand before the border closed
- The partners and dependent children of workers employed in critical health services
- The partners and dependent children of highly-skilled workers
1. Partners and dependent children who held a visa before the border closure
To be eligible to enter New Zealand, partners or dependent children outside of New Zealand must:
- hold a current visa based on their relationship to the person in New Zealand.
The partner or parent must:
- be currently in New Zealand, and
- have 12 months or more remaining on their work or student visa when the request to travel is submitted.
2. The partners and dependent children of workers employed in critical health services
To apply for an exemption to travel to New Zealand, you must:
- be the partner or dependent child of a person who is currently in New Zealand on a temporary visa.
The partner or parent must:
- be currently in New Zealand, and
- have a visa specifying they work in an occupation to deliver critical health services in New Zealand, and
- hold a visa that is valid for 12 months or more after the date the request to travel is submitted.
You’ll get an invite to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor visa if your request is successful. Your visa application must include evidence of your relationship with the primary visa holder. For example:
- Any supporting documentation demonstrating your partnership
- Evidence that your partner supports your travel to New Zealand
- Any other evidence showing a commitment to a shared life
3. The partners and dependent children of highly-skilled workers
You’ll be eligible to apply for an exemption to the border restrictions if you are:
- the partner or dependent child of a person who is currently in New Zealand on a temporary visa.
The partner or parent must:
- be currently in New Zealand, and
- earn at least twice the median salary, which is NZD106,080 per year at the moment
- hold a visa that is valid for 12 months or more after the date the request to travel is submitted
The person in New Zealand must also meet one or more of the following requirements:
- They have unique experience and technical or specialist skills not readily obtainable in New Zealand
- They have a role essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a government-funded or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and have the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to carry out this work
- A role essential for the delivery or execution of one of the following:
- An approved major infrastructure project or a government-approved event, or a major government-approved programme
- An approved government-to-government agreement
- Work with a significantly wider benefit to the national or regional economy
If your request is successful, you’ll get an invite to apply for a Critical Purpose Travel visa. Your visa application must provide evidence of your relationship with the visa holder in New Zealand. This evidence could be, for example:
- A description of your partnership, including details of any previously shared living arrangements
- Travel movements of you and your partner
- Any other evidence showing a commitment to a shared life
How do you request to travel?
To request to travel to New Zealand, you must submit an Expression of Interest. If INZ agrees that you have a critical purpose to travel to New Zealand, i.e. that you meet the requirements of the border exemption, you’ll get an invitation to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa.
How long does INZ take to process requests to travel?
INZ has published on their website that they aim to respond to requests within five working days. However, it may take longer depending on the volume and complexity of the requests INZ receives.
Can Intergate Emigration help me with my application?
Our team can assist you if you’re the partner or dependent child of a critical health worker or a highly skilled worker. You can reach us at +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our licensed advisors have helped many people apply for travel exemptions over the past year, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.
The New Zealand Government has removed the start date criteria from the border exemption for critical health workers. Medical professionals in New Zealand welcomed this decision.
What does this mean for health workers?
New Zealand has border restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are some exemptions, though. The border exemption for critical health workers is one.
The exemption allows eligible candidates from overseas to enter New Zealand to work. However, this exemption had a start date requirement. The requirement meant that new, approved employees had to start working for their New Zealand employer on or before 31 March 2021.
Now there is no start date requirement for critical health workers, which means the border exemption is indefinite.
Please note, though, that health workers still must meet all of the other border exemption requirements. Start dates are also still dependent on the availability of places in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
What type of health workers are eligible?
The removal of the start date criteria applies to the likes of:
- Registered health practitioners, including nurses, doctors and paramedics – this includes those working in hospitals, practices, and aged care facilities
- Internationally-qualified nurses, who still have to register in New Zealand
- Workers that operate and maintain medical equipment
Please see the complete list of occupations on Immigration New Zealand under the Critical Health Workers heading. If you see your occupation, book a free initial assessment to find out if you’re eligible for a work visa.
Why was there an expiry date on the border exemption in the first place?
The border exemption for critical health workers was one of the first exemptions Immigration New Zealand put in place. The expiry dates allowed Immigration New Zealand to review the exemption to ensure it was still required and that it was attracting the workers New Zealand’s health care system needs.
This is what the healthcare sector had to say
New Zealand Rural General Practice Network Chief Executive Dr. Grant Davidson welcomed Immigration New Zealand’s decision.
“Many of our rural practices rely on international doctors being able to enter the country to support their communities. About one-third of practices in rural areas have long-term vacancies and there aren’t enough doctors in New Zealand to fill these spots”, Davidson said. He continued, “Border restrictions have been disrupting our placement of essential health workers in jobs beyond March 2021. We are pleased this barrier has been removed.”
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners also praised Immigration New Zealand for their decision.
College President Dr. Samantha Murton said, “This is a major win for our GP clinics across New Zealand who are struggling to recruit enough doctors. Now with greater certainty at the border, general practices can attract overseas-trained doctors – and get them here, meaning more patients seen by a doctor and releasing some of the tension on other struggling GPs.”
Stay up to date with other COVID-19 related changes
New Zealand announced that it’ll close its South African offices by March. Immigration New Zealand also extended visitor visas by two months for some visa holders.
Extensions of New Zealand visitor visas
On 19 February, Immigration New Zealand extended the visitor visas of visa holders who are in the country and whose visas expire between 19 February and 31 March 2021 by two months from the date of expiry.
This extension by INZ is valid even though the new expiry dates are not yet visible on the visas. The new expiry dates will be available on the Visa Verification Service after 5 March.
Visa holders would have to apply for new visas to extend their stay past the new expiry date.
Please note: This visitor visa extension does not apply to COVID-19 short-term visitor visas.
Maximum stay rule for some visitor visas temporarily waived
People in New Zealand who apply for visitor visas before the end of June 2021 will get a temporary waiver of the maximum stay rule – visitor visa holders can only be in New Zealand for nine months out of an 18 month period. Those who apply will be eligible for a visitor visa for up to six months.
New Zealand’s immigration offices in Pretoria, Mumbai, and Manila to close by March 2021
Immigration New Zealand announced that it will close its offices in Pretoria, Mumbai, and Manila by March.
This decision comes as border restrictions remain in place almost 12 months after first being put in place. The restrictions have meant that incoming visa volumes from people who are offshore have decreased significantly.
Visa application processes – including appointments – will move online as part of the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority programme.
Deputy Head of INZ Catriona Robinson says that INZ has a responsibility to adapt to the changing environment and ensure we are contributing to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
“As a result, INZ has made the difficult decision to close our offices in Mumbai, Manila, and Pretoria by March 2021 and bring more visa processing onshore,” Catriona Robinson says.
“This is not a decision that we have made lightly. Our staff in these offices have made a significant contribution to INZ and New Zealand. However, these offices have been closed since March 2020, and with no certainty about when visa volumes may return to normal, INZ has had to make some tough decisions.“
Robinson believes that INZ is well-placed to increase its onshore processing capacity.
“The roll-out of new technology functions aims to improve efficiency and resilience throughout INZ, which will help to us to better manage peaks and troughs in visa volumes while giving users of the immigration system a better customer experience,” Robinson says.
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Last year, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) committed itself to processing border exception requests within two working days, except for other critical worker requests which INZ is processing within two weeks.
Due to ongoing border restrictions, the two-day time frame has been placing enormous pressure on INZ staff. Especially since INZ has been getting thousands of requests each month!
It seems likely that border restrictions are going to be in place for some time and the border exception environment is becoming more complex as new exception criteria are introduced.
As a result…
INZ has decided to change the processing time frame for border exception requests to five working days.
The average processing times largely depend on the type of request at the moment. For instance:
- ‘Family of a New Zealand Citizen or Resident’: Two days
- ‘Family of a Temporary Visa Holder’: Two days
- ‘Humanitarian’ category: Two days
‘Ordinarily resident’ exception requests, which are more complex, take longer.
You can find a list of the critical purpose reasons under which you can apply for a border exception on Immigration New Zealand’s website – CRITICAL PURPOSE REASONS TO TRAVEL.
The border restrictions in response to COVID-19 have turned many people’s lives upside-down.
One of the affected groups have been international students who were in their home countries when the borders closed. Unfortunately, these students have been unable to resume their studies thus far.
Thankfully, INZ has now announced that up to 1,000 priority returning degree and post-graduate international students will be able to return to New Zealand from April 2021.
The requirements of this border exception
- You must have already completed some of your study in New Zealand.
- If you enter New Zealand under this exception, you have to apply for and be granted a new study visa in line with immigration requirements. You can include your partner and dependent children, in line with visa requirements.
- If your application is successful, you’ll have to complete standard managed isolation and quarantine:
- You must book your space through the allocation system
- You’re liable for the standard charges of the isolation and quarantine
- Due to the employment pressures as a result of COVID-19 and increased living costs, you’ll have to be able to prove that you have NZ$20,000 per annum to support yourself for the duration of your visa.
Get expert assistance with your study visa application
Get in touch with our team of licensed advisors if you’re one of the 1,000 returning students and you’d like assistance with your visa application.
You can book a free initial assessment online or email us email@example.com.
Our team of experts can ensure that you still meet the requirements to apply for a study visa. We’ll also guide you through the preparation of your visa application and submit your application too.
Immigration New Zealand has made a couple of announcements that affect Employer-assisted Visas, Essential Skills Visas and Working Holiday Visas. Get all the details below.
1. Employer-assisted visas expiring from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 will automatically receive a 6-month extension
Employer-assisted visa holders whose visas are going to expire between 1 January and 30 June are sure to welcome the news of extensions for a further 6 months. This extension applies to the following visas:
- Essential Skills Visa
- Work to Residence Visa
- Special and Skilled work visas for China, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam
- Special category work visas for Japanese interpreters and Thai chefs
- Employer-specific work visas granted under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009
- Fishing Crew Visa
- Religious Worker Visa
- Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa
INZ is also going to extend the visas held by the partners and dependent children of eligible visa holders. All visa holders will get confirmation of the extension from Immigration New Zealand by March 2021.
2. Lower-pad Essential Skills Visa stand-down delayed for 12 months
The introduction of the stand-down period that was announced in July 2020 will be delayed until January 2022.
The stand-down period means that Essential Skills visa holders earning less than the median wage must leave New Zealand after three years for one year before they can return.
3. Working Holiday Visas extended by 6 months
Working Holiday Visas that expire from 21 December 2020 to 30 June 2021 will get a 6-month extension.
INZ will apply varied conditions to allow Working Holiday visa holders to continue in any employment that is not permanent in any sector until the expiry date of their visas. Furthermore, a time limit on total work for one employer will no longer apply.
Working Holiday Visa holders who are eligible for this extension will no longer be transferred to the Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visa when their visa expires.
Migrant workers who are already on an SSE Visa can continue to work in the horticulture and viticulture sectors, or apply for an Essential Skills Visa if they find alternative qualifying work.
INZ is making this allowance because New Zealand is facing labour shortages across many industries at the moment.
4. 2019 Median wage in effect until July 2021
Immigration New Zealand will continue to use the 2019 median wage of NZ$25,50 an hour to determine conditions until at least July 2021, at which point the median wage will raise to NZ$27 an hour.
Immigration New Zealand has advised that any migrants who are unable to meet the conditions of their current visa, including migrants who have lost their jobs, should make arrangements to depart New Zealand or apply for a new visa that best suits their circumstances. This may include applying for a Variation of Conditions.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed New Zealand’s economy into its worst recession in 33 years. Despite this, employment and career site SEEK recently reported that some industries are showing positive signs of growth compared to when the pandemic first hit.
SEEK found this when they collated data from July to August 2020 and compared it to data from March to April 2020. From this data, SEEK identified the top five industries in New Zealand for job ad growth at the moment as well as the 30 fastest-growing jobs in the country.
These were their findings:
1. Top five industries for job ad growth
|Sports and Recreation||125%|
|Farming, Animals and Conservation||83%|
|Consulting and Strategy||76%|
|Hospitality and Tourism||74%|
Hospitality and tourism was one of the country’s hardest-hit industries, so it’s encouraging to see it in this top five. We think it’s safe to say that this performance is thanks to New Zealand’s swift COVID-19 response that has enabled the country to go back to ‘normal’ faster than just about every other nation in the world.
The 30 fastest-growing jobs
|Industry||Role||Job Ad Growth|
|Government and Defence||Government Advisor||108%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Physiotherapist||101%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Storeperson||94%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Project Manager||82%|
|Community Services and Development||Social Worker||71%|
|Hospitality and Tourism||Chef||70%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Registered Nurse||56%|
|Trades and Services||Labourer||52%|
|Administration and Office Support||Receptionist||52%|
|Community Services and Development||Aged and Disability Support Worker||50%|
|Real Estate and Property||Residential Real Estate Sales||48%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Psychologist||32%|
|Sales||Business Development Manager||32%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Drivers||29%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Developer||28%|
|Administration and Office Support||Administrator||27%|
|Administration and Office Support||Executive Assistant||25%|
|Retail and Consumer Products||Merchandiser||17%|
|Administration and Office Support||Personal Assistant||16%|
|Retail and Consumer Products||Store Manager||16%|
|Administration and Office Support||Office Administrator||15%|
|Trades and Services||Cleaner||14%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Machine Operator||13%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Software Engineer||11%|
|Trades and Services||Carpenter||9%|
New Zealand recently had a federal election which explains the appearance of government advisor roles in the top spot. Storeperson roles, in at number three, are most likely on the rise due to changes in consumer behaviour. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many consumers to shopping online which means warehouses are busier than ever and in need of fast, efficient workers to get orders out the door.
But border restrictions are still in place, we hear you say
Yes, New Zealand’s border restrictions are still in place and still affect a lot of people. However, the fact that the job market is recovering is a positive sign of things to come. It means New Zealand’s economy and the country is a whole is starting to recover.
Another sure sign of this is the fact that New Zealand has already opened its borders to some critical workers. So, don’t put your dreams on hold! If you’re serious about moving to New Zealand, continue making it happen.
Our social media team did a poll on Facebook last week to ask our followers if they’re putting their emigration on hold due to COVID-19. Every single person who responded said that they have pressed paused until further notice.
Can you blame them?
New Zealand’s borders are still closed to most people from overseas and no-one can say when this will change.
With that being said, we don’t agree that putting your emigration on hold is the best decision.
Here’s why we say this:
1. New Zealand IS ACCEPTING visa applications under some categories
Immigration New Zealand announced in September that it’s now again accepting visa applications under four categories:
- Parent Retirement
- Migrant Investor (Investor 1 and 2), including Expressions of Interest for Investor 2
- Refugee Family Support (Tiers 1 and 2)
The rationale behind accepting Investor and Entrepreneur visas is that these visas brings investment into New Zealand and add jobs to the economy. This is much-needed in a post-COVID-19 world.
2. There is an ‘other critical worker’ border exemption in place since 11 September 2020
The New Zealand government has relaxed the criteria for some overseas workers to allow migrants with critical skills through the country’s borders. Primarily, the criteria now defines skills as ‘not readily available in New Zealand’ as opposed to ‘not available in New Zealand.’
The Minister of Immigration has said that this wording change reflects that, in some fields, there is a limited pool of experts and significant training would have to be undertaken before the skills were obtainable in New Zealand.
Here’s how it works…
You cannot request approval for the border exemption – it has to come from your New Zealand employer.
Employers can apply to bring employees to New Zealand under two categories:
- Short-term critical workers: Staff needed for less than 6 months in total
- Long-term critical workers: Staff needed for more than 6 months
Each of these categories has its own criteria. If you’d like to know more about these requirements, you can click here.
3. You can complete critical parts of your skilled migrant visa application despite the border closures
Let’s first explain why you’d want to do that. It’s simple. If you complete the critical parts now, you’ll be ready to submit your visa application as soon as the restrictions are lifted. You’ll be streets ahead of migrants who chose to wait and see what happens first.
Our advisors always tell our clients that their focus should be on the long term not the short term!
Let’s now look at some examples of those critical parts that you can tick off your to-do list. It is, for instance, your personal documents such as birth certificates and police clearances.
Keep in mind also that if you’re applying as a skilled worker you may need occupational registration and a qualification assessment. These are known to take long and may take even longer now. It’s therefore much better to start your emigration process sooner rather than later.
4. INZ could change immigration regulations which could mean that you don’t qualify to apply for a visa at all
We do not say this to scare you. This has happened all too often in the past.
Take for example the big changes that were made to Essential Skills visas earlier this year, including that your median wage would determine the family members you can support and in what manner.
Let’s not forget about when INZ closed the Parent Resident visa in October 2019 until February of this year. At the same time, INZ made a number of changes to the visa. One of these changes was capping the number of visas at 1,000 annually.
These changes scuppered many people’s plans!
Remember that generally you’re safe from any changes if your visa application is already in the system when it happens. This is another good reason to start your emigration sooner rather than later.
Ready to get going with your visa application?
If you read all of that and agree with us that the most sensible choice is continuing with your visa application, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.
Our advisors can assess your eligibility and work out a personalized immigration plan. Our administrative team can then help you get all the parts together.
The best way to start is with initial immigration assessment. This assessment is free and you can book yours online. You are also welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or to call us on +27 (0) 21 202 8200.
We want to see you realise your dream of living in New Zealand as much as you do, so we’re looking forward to working with you!
No EOI selections for residence under the Skilled Migrant and Parent categories for another 6 months
Immigration New Zealand announced on Monday, 19 October, that it’s deferring the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest under the Skilled Migrant and Parent categories for a further 6 months. The decision to defer this process was first made back in April due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Zealand Government has said that the continued deferral will give INZ the space to focus on processing applications from people who are in New Zealand or people who are eligible to travel while border restrictions are in place.
Can migrants still submit Expressions of Interest?
This is what Intergate Emigration’s licensed advisor Sarah Hewitt had to say when we asked her this question:
“The Expression of Interest for the Parent category is a hard copy that’s couriered to New Zealand, so while EOI selection is closed, migrants are going to be unable to submit EOIs. Applicants will have to wait for the EOI selection to reopen again.
My advice to skilled migrant applicants would be to also wait for EOI selections to reopen again. EOIs from offshore applicants are only eligible for selection with 160 points and a job offer, so it won’t make sense to submit an EOI in the interim. The best plan of action would be to look at the temporary route first and to do an assessment to ensure that you qualify for the visa.”
Contact us if you’d like to explore other visa options
Do you have your heart set on living in New Zealand but you don’t want to wait for the EOI selections to open? Don’t hesitate to contact us to explore other visa options.
You can take the first step by booking a free initial assessment online. You could also email us at email@example.com or call us on +27 (0) 21 202 8200.
We would like to see you realise your dream of making New Zealand your home as much as you do!