Britons find paradise in New Zealand

By Isaac Davison

New Zealand has been described as a "paradise" by British expats who moved here for a warmer climate and cheaper cost of living.

A NatWest International bank survey of more than 2000 British immigrants living in 12 countries found that Britons in New Zealand rated the country highly in all areas.

In the quality-of-life index, New Zealand came ahead of Canada, which topped the poll last year.

Respondents said NZ had one of the lowest average property prices in the developed world, and many cited lower taxes than in Britain, a better quality of life and less stress as benefits.

A favourable tax regime meant that although average wages were lower, earnings went further.

NatWest International personal banking head Dave Isley said expats reported they were living healthier lifestyles while benefiting financially.

The average salary in New Zealand was $28,427, compared with $65,841 in Britain, but the average cost of a home was only $293,000, compared with $592,000 in Britain.

In both countries an average property cost the equivalent of roughly 10 years' wages, but Britons who sell their houses find themselves with much more cash in hand when arriving in New Zealand.

Two years ago, Chris and Janice Gorman shifted from a three-bedroom house in Surrey to a four-bedroom house with a sprawling garden near the sea in Auckland.

"New Zealand and the UK are roughly the same size, but there are 56 million fewer people," Mr Gorman said. "It makes a massive difference. Everyone has time for you.

"We find it much more sociable here. There is a huge emphasis on family life and relaxation time."

The Gormans, who are two of more than 200,000 British-born Kiwis, said their only regret was not being able to visit family in the UK "on a whim".

Of all the expatriates surveyed, 86 per cent believed their lives were better than before they emigrated and 92 per cent said they were happier.

Despite the global recession, 87 per cent were better off, including engineers, teachers, economists, accountants, IT professionals and those working in financial services and marketing.

"Despite the global slowdown affecting everyone, the potential to earn more money abroad is clearly one of the main benefits expats are experiencing," said Mr Isley.

New Zealand and Canada were followed in the poll by Australia, France, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, the US and China. Singapore and Hong Kong came last.

- NZPA

- NZ Herald

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