Auckland has jumped up the list of the world's most expensive cities in a survey by Swiss bank UBS.
Two years ago, Auckland was the world's 43rd most expensive city of 73 surveyed, on 49.6 points, now it was ranked 24th, at 73 points.
The survey also found executives in Zurich, Geneva and Sydney are the best paid in the world after taxes - but Auckland workers are not flourishing to the same extent.
Though the survey shows wage levels - taking into account exchange rate effects - have risen over 45 per cent in Auckland over the past two years, its living costs have risen by 58 per cent over the same period.
With 2011 wage levels in New York used as a benchmark, at 100 points, wage levels in Swiss cities Zurich and Geneva were 149.1 points and 107 points respectively, compared with Auckland at 64.3.
Two years ago, those same workers had net wage levels - still compared to New York at 100 points - of 119.8, 107 and 44.1 points respectively.
UBS said Oslo in Norway, Zurich and Geneva were the most expensive cities in the world among those surveyed, based on a basket of 122 goods and services.
Japanese city Tokyo was the most expensive city in Asia, and 6th in the world, while Paris stood at No 12, and London was 15th.
Sydney - now the world's 7th most expensive city - had surged up in the rankings from 36th two years ago, partly because of the Australian dollar's continued appreciation against both the US dollar (19 per cent) and the euro (5 per cent).
New York was the most expensive American city, occupying rank 14.
New York had previously been among the 10 most expensive cities, but had been affected by the recent general depreciation of the US dollar exchange rate against the world's other currencies.
Auckland was the only New Zealand city surveyed.
The world's 20 most expensive cities:
14: New York
19: Sao Paulo