Auckland and Wellington have become more appealing to expatriates in the past 12 months, a survey has found.
Both cities dropped four places in Mercer's global cost of living survey, designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.
Auckland moved from 54th to 58th position on the index, and Wellington from 75th to 79th.
New York was used as the base city in the survey, and other cities were compared against it.
The survey covers 211 cities on five continents and compares the cost of more than 200 items, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
Mercer NZ managing director Martin Lewington said dropping on an index was not a bad thing.
"Wellington's and Auckland's small drop in rankings is down to exchange rates and the strength of the US dollar compared to the New Zealand," he said.
"The results mean expats' dollars will go further in New Zealand than they would in say Shanghai, so we become more attractive for global talent."
The results of the index were promising for companies looking at establishing headquarters in the country or relocating expats, Mr Lewington said.
It was also important to remember there were other factors which made New Zealand attractive to growth markets, including living conditions, culture and security, he said.
Australian cities had some of the most dramatic falls in this year's survey.
Sydney, ranked Australia's most expensive city for expatriates, dropped 17 places to the 26th most expensive city.
Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide also had falls.
Mercer spokesman Ed Hannibal said rankings were affected by recent world events including economic and political upheavals.
These resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices.
While Luanda in Angola and N'Djamena in Chad - ranked as the two most expensive cities in the survey - were relatively inexpensive for local residents, they were costly for expatriates because of the price of imported goods, he said.
"In addition, finding secure living accommodation that meets the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly.
"This is generally why some African cities rank high in our survey," Mr Hannibal said.
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