Kiwi cities were topping tables in the annual EIU index of most liveable cities, but not the ones they wanted to feature in.
Wellington recorded the largest fall on the table, tumbling 46 places to 50th place, followed by Auckland which fell 33 to 34th, after both recording top 10 placements last year. Australian cities also saw a pronounced fall in the rankings, with Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane among the biggest movers down the rankings.
The yearly report on quality of life in the world's 172 largest cities analyses tends in living standards and progress for urban centres.
Measuring indices including healthcare, infrastructure and environment, the Economist's think tank has been using the index to forecast quality of life since 1946 and the post-war rebuild.
The Economist says the biggest reason for the fall in New Zealanders quality of life were travel-restrictions dragging on longer than needed and more infectious Covid variants in the community which "made closed borders less of a defence."
Auckland, which topped the 2021 table, saw a spectacular fall from grace. The EIU report said that the benefits had been lost after a period of effective pandemic management.
"Although New Zealand's lockdowns ended in December, before our survey period, its cities no longer have a covid advantage over well-vaccinated European and Canadian cities."
Australian cities saw similar loss of ground in the index, with the EIU blaming the slow reopening of states dragging down the quality of life for residents.
In spite of this Melbourne came joint tenth in the "top ten cities" for liveability. This was down to near perfect scores for the city's infrastructure, education and culture indices and quick bounceback from lockdowns.
"Adjusting policy dynamically will remain key to staying on top."
Vienna was the top performing city, more than a point clear of Copenhagen in second place.
"In general, mid-sized cities in the wealthiest countries tend to fare exceptionally well," said the report, which said that its top liveable cities list was dominated by urban hubs in Western Europe and Canada.
In spite of this Eastern European capitals saw a tumble as they fell in security and cost of living rankings, following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Kyiv was pulled from the table.
Moscow and St Petersburg also fell by 15 places each as sanctions bite into the everyday experience and living standards of residents.
In spite of this, the EIU ranked New Zealand's pandemic disruption to travel and infrastructure as more damaging than Western sanctions against the Kremlin.
At the bottom of the table the 10 worst performing cities showed little movement. Damascus was again in last place, followed by Lagos and Tripoli. However the index score for all of the bottom 10 - apart from Tripoli - increased in 2022.
In spite of the ongoing disrupting factors, the overall trend of liveability was upwards.
"The [average] score now stands at 73.6 (out of 100), up from 69.1 a year ago," read the report, although the average is yet to reach the pre-pandemic high of 75.9.