Should you move to Australia?

Well, yes, say the majority of New Zealanders living in Australia contributing to the Herald debate on Your Views .

To them it's simple; better jobs, more opportunities, higher wages, and perhaps surprisingly, safer cities.

New Zealanders who have come back from Australia see it differently. They agree wages are higher but say they want a better lifestyle which they find here.

The debate - now running to 260 posts on our Your Views thread - has been sparked by a series of reports that show New Zealand's wages and gross domestic product falling behind Australia.

Yesterday the Treasury, Ministry of Economic Development and Statistics New Zealand released a report which painted a mixed overall picture of where New Zealand stands in the world.

New Zealand rates highly in quality of life indicators and its economy is growing at a faster rate than the average of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

But the quality of infrastructure is below the OECD average, labour productivity - or output per hour worked - is in desperate need of improvement and the average weekly earnings of full-time workers in New Zealand were below those in every state of Australia.

People have been debating the findings on nzherald.co.nz.

Much of it comes down to money.

One New Zealander, who appreciates the higher wages in Australia, wrote to the Herald putting it down to stronger unions, rather than lower taxes.

"Income tax rates are lower but the biggest advantage is the pay and conditions thanks to the unions and state awards. I'm earning 30 per cent more than I was in NZ as a skilled worker, my partner is earning 40 per cent more in her fast-food job (which has a union contract with penalty rates,unheard of in NZ). There is also employer-funded superannuation at 9 per cent of income. In addition to the above, most costs are lower in Australia. NZ is a nice place to visit but the average urban family is simply way better off in Australia."

Jaycee, who has lived in New Zealand and Australia and is currently in Brisbane sent us a breakdown of the daily cost of living. Jaycee argued that the problem is not New Zealand's low wages but that we do not have a low enough cost of living to match.

"The problem with New Zealand is the cost of living along with the low wages. For example. in retail, if you work in Brisbane you look at wages around the $17 mark an hour, that is one of the lower amounts. You get far less over there. Also we have rubbish bins you do not have to pay for. We also pay around $150 - $200 every 3 months for electricity, not $300 - $400. The phone is around $100 for a month, that as far as I know is pretty equivalent to New Zealand. If you rent you generally do not pay for water rates."

Andy, an expatriate in Melbourne, says he has found the cities safer than New Zealand.

"I hardly ever see crime of any kind (except for the syringes on the footpath) and feel safe walking home from town at 3am! The city center in Auckland on a weekend night is a dangerous place to be!"

One thing everyone agrees on. Even just across the ditch, New Zealanders get homesick and miss the country, as well as being proud of it and moved by things like the haka and the All Blacks.

Luke Thurlby has been living in Sydney for a year and he writes: "There are a lot of Kiwis living here, and every time I come across one and we get onto this very topic we always agree "there is absolutely no place like home".

"Sure there are opportunities to earn more money here, sure there maybe in general more things happening, sure maybe the weather is nicer. But when it comes down to it there really is no place like New Zealand. People if you are serious about wanting to move to Australia be prepared for the following, a higher wage - but higher living expenses. Better roads - but way more traffic,constant road rage, and tolls everywhere!"

Some respondents have pointed out that the lifestyle in New Zealand is better but at least one said the "lifestyle" in Australia is equally as good.

"Many Kiwis base their critique on major cities where they hole up for employment prospects," wrote one correspondent.

Peter, from Nelson, argued that too much of the debate about the merits of the two countries came down to just money.

"Is it just me, or do all the people who seem to love Australia like it just for money? A rich, white, middle-class suburb doesn't mean life is better, it just means you disillusioned by society! At the end of the day, both countries are beautiful, first world countries with first world opportunities. Having lived in Australia for 15 years, in my opinion, NZ is much better."

Your views

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