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    Default NZ cities more affordable

    NZ cities more affordable
    Last updated 13:31 07/07/2009

    A fall in the value of the New Zealand dollar has made Auckland and Wellington much cheaper places to live for expatriates working for multinational organisations.

    Mercer's worldwide cost of living survey, carried out in March and published today, showed the two New Zealand cities had close to the lowest cost of living out of 143 cities covered.

    Auckland was in 138th place, from 78th a year earlier, with a cost of living index of 54 compared to 81 in March 2008. The index is based on a figure of 100 for New York.

    Wellington is one place lower at 139, from 93 a year earlier, and with an index figure of 52.3, down from 77.6 in 2008.

    Rob Knox of Mercer said the New Zealand cities were "extremely" cost competitive across the Asia Pacific region for global workers, in comparison with places such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka, which all climbed the rankings this year.

    "This helps make New Zealand a very attractive hub for companies looking to grow their presence in the Asia Pacific region," he said.

    The cost of living of New Zealand cities benefited from a fall in the value of the NZ dollar, which at the end of March had depreciated by more than 33 percent against the US dollar from a year earlier.

    Also in this country's favour, Mercer's quality of living survey published in April ranked Auckland 4th in the world and Wellington 12th.

    Mr Knox said organisations needed to take the quality of living standards into consideration to establish the true "value of living" of a particular location.

    In Australia, Sydney remains the most expensive city for expatriates, but dropped from 15th to 66th place with a score of 75.5 points.

    Melbourne was down to 92nd with 69.9 points from 36th, Brisbane fell to 116th with 65.3 points from 57th, Perth fell to 117th with 65.2 points from 53rd, while Adelaide fell to 130th with 61.3 points from 73rd.

    Overall, Tokyo knocked Moscow off the top spot to become the world's most expensive city for expatriates.

    Tokyo with 143.7 points rose from second place in 2008, while second placed Osaka was up from 11th place with 119.2 points. Moscow fell to third with 115.4 points.

    The most expensive European Union city is Copenhagen, Denmark unchanged from 7th place last year with 105 points, while New York is the most expensive city in the United States moving up to eighth place from 22nd. Bottom of the list is Johannesburg with 49.6 points.

    The survey measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

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    You get more for your money in Wellington
    By KELLY BURNS - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 08/07/2009

    Foreigners get more bang for their buck in Wellington, which is among the cheapest cities in the world to live.

    Wellington ranked 139 out of 143 cities across six continents in the Mercer worldwide Cost of Living survey, carried out in March.

    Tokyo, ranked No 1, is the most expensive city and Johannesburg the cheapest.

    The survey measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items, including housing, entertainment, clothing, food and transport, in each location.

    A reshuffle in rankings because of the global economic crisis and currency fluctuations meant Wellington dropped 46 places and put Auckland one spot ahead at 138, down from 78 last year.

    Mercer spokesman Rob Knox said the flipside of the fall of the Kiwi dollar was that New Zealand cities were now more affordable for expatriates and were competitive places for overseas companies to develop business links and send employees.

    "This helps make New Zealand a very attractive hub for companies looking to increase their presence in the Asia Pacific region."

    At the top of the scale, Tokyo toppled Moscow, which now ranks the third most expensive city, behind Osaka. Zurich, New York, Beijing and Singapore were also in the 10 most expensive cities.

    London, which ranked third in 2008, dropped 13 places. In Australia, Sydney remained its most expensive city but dropped from 15th to 66th place.

    Vienna tops the rankings for best value in the quality of living and Baghdad was last. In the quality of living scale, Wellington ranked 12th and Auckland was tied for fourth with Vancouver.

    IS WELLINGTON A CHEAP CITY?

    Chloe Jung, 20, of Korea: "Not at all. I've lived in Tokyo before and housing and rent is about the same. Even the food is cheaper in Tokyo."

    Kelvin Kang, 22, from Malaysia: "No way. Accommodation and food are expensive here. But milk is cheap because we import milk where I'm from."

    Yang Yang, 18, of China: "Compared to China, it's expensive here but some things are cheaper like woollen clothing. Cars here are cheap and buying houses."

    Ausama Aldin, 30, from Palestine: "It's not too bad if you have a good job. The food is cheaper here."

    Samson Sahele, 35, of Ethiopia: "Yes, it is. The accommodation is cheap and the transport is handy, you don't even need a car here. But food is about the same."

    Gary Liu, 28, from China: "Ha ha, no, I don't think so. Everything is much more expensive, food and rent maybe three times more than my home town."

    THE FLAT WHITE INDEX
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    Snapshot of comparative costs in February in NZ dollars

    A cup of coffee, including service

    1. Tokyo: $12.61

    3. Moscow: $13.58

    9. Beijing: $12.76

    13. Paris: $11.42

    16. London: $6.17

    139. Wellington: $4

    143. Johannesburg: $3.49

    One litre of petrol,

    unleaded 95-octane

    1. Tokyo: $2.35

    3. Moscow: $1.12

    9. Beijing: $1.51

    13. Paris: $2.95

    16. London: $2.52

    139. Wellington: $1.57

    143. Johannesburg: $1.24

    Litre of pasteurised milk

    1. Tokyo: $5

    3. Moscow: $3.63

    9. Beijing: $5.10

    13. Paris: $3.61

    16. London: $2.13

    139. Wellington: $2.23

    143. Johannesburg: $1.86

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    Based on the comments from expat residents, it sounds as though these comparisons should also include income. A ratio of income versus costs may be more telling as to the affordability of these cities.

    After all, we know salaries are lower in NZ; At least versus Europe and North America.

    Brad
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