[b:4143124a1c]Cost of living not so bad after all
27 June 2006 [/b:4143124a1c]
By SUE ALLEN

It might not feel like it as you fill your car with petrol or face the supermarket checkout, but the cost of living in Wellington and Auckland has fallen in relation to other countries.

A Mercer cost of living survey in March found Wellington is the 105th most expensive place to live in the world. Last year the city ranked 76th.

Auckland slipped to 100 this year, from 69. Other main New Zealand cities are not ranked.

Moscow has replaced Tokyo as the most expensive city to live in, due largely to steeply rising property prices. Asuncion in Paraguay is the cheapest.

Mercer principal Rob Knox said the results were good news for Auckland and Wellington because the cost of living and quality of living were compelling reasons for organisations to consider establishing or expanding businesses there.

In the past year, Wellington has jumped two places to 12th for quality of living, and Auckland has moved from eighth to fifth. Zurich took first place and Baghdad ranked last.

In the cost of living survey, all cities are benchmarked against New York. Mr Knox said the fall in the value of the Kiwi dollar against the United States currency ? from 74 cents to 60 cents in the 12 months from March 2005 ? had had an effect.

The survey covers 144 cities and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Companies and governments use the information to work out pay and compensation for overseas postings.

Some of the biggest changes in ranking were in South America, where Sao Paulo jumped from 119 last year to 34, and Rio de Janeiro from 124 to 40.

Sydney, the most expensive city in Australasia, is 19th, up one place. Three of the 10 costliest cities are in Asia: Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong.