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What you need to know about moving from Australia to New Zealand


Moving from Australia to New Zealand

For a long time, Australia was the destination of choice for New Zealanders, for lots of reasons – employment and educational opportunities, public healthcare, and, of course, the great weather and relaxed lifestyle. But in recent years, that trend has changed, with the number of Australians moving to New Zealand now higher than New Zealanders heading in the other direction.

In the following we look at why this is the case and what you need to think about if you’re planning a move to New Zealand.

Why are people moving to New Zealand from Australia?
Firstly, it’s a relatively easy move to make, as Australian citizens and permanent residents don’t need a visa to live and work in NZ. This means that you can line up a job without the usual hassle of moving to a foreign country and applying for work visas, etc. And there are also a lot of Australian businesses that have offices in New Zealand.

Another good reason to relocate across the Tasman is the similarities between the two countries – we speak the same language (although a broad NZ accent can take a bit of time to get used to); the food is of an equivalent quality (the lamb and seafood is possibly even better!); and the cost of living is comparable on most levels. Keep in mind, though, that house prices and rents are pretty much on a par in both countries, particularly in Auckland.

Some of the things that are drawing Australians to New Zealand include a relatively low unemployment rate and a growing economy. But one of the main drivers, it seems, is the ability to live in a rural area while remaining in close proximity to a major city. This is clearly a result of the small size of New Zealand compared to Australia, where living rurally can often involve a long commute to the nearest city.

What does New Zealand have to offer?
Anyone who has spent time in New Zealand knows the answer to this question – it is a truly spectacular country, with everything from stunning beaches to volcanoes, some of the best skiing in the world, natural hot springs, lakes, glaciers, abundant National Parks and much, much more. It’s also an easy country to travel around, with well-maintained roads and a good bus and rail network.

New Zealand also has a number of industries where there are skills shortages, including Agriculture & Forestry, Construction, Education, Engineering, Finance & Business, Health and Social Services, ICT and Electronics, Recreation, Hospitality & Tourism, and in the Sciences.

In fact, up until June 2019, New Zealand is offering incentives to overseas trained teachers to relocate to New Zealand, including grants of up to to $5000 to cover moving expenses. Nationals returning home to take up teaching roles can receive up to $7000. If you think you may be eligible and the idea of teaching in New Zealand appeals, you can find the application form here.

If you do decide to take up employment in New Zealand, Australians are eligible for the popular employer and government-subsidised scheme called KiwiSaver, which helps people save for their retirement. Some providers allow you to transfer savings from your Australian retirement scheme too.

Healthcare in New Zealand
Citizens and permanent residents of Australia can access the full range of publicly funded health services, if you are staying in NZ for the long-term. You must live there for at least two years (or plan to do so) to be eligible.

Australians who don’t intend to stay for two years can access some medical support too. This covers hospital care, maternity and pharmaceuticals. It falls under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement that binds our nations, however this is only for people who need immediate care. Make sure you have your passport and Medicare card on hand to prove that you’re eligible.

Travel Insurance
If you are moving from Australia to New Zealand, you definitely should purchase one-way travel insurance (expat cover), which protects you and your family in the event of a range of emergencies, including:

  • All medical expenses from injury or illness
  • Theft of valuables
  • Damage to baggage
  • Interruptions to flight plans
  • Cancellations of flights
  • Additional accommodation and travel expenses resulting from illness or injury
  • Personal liability and legal liability

While expat cover is expensive, it’s definitely worth it, as the alternative can result in massive out of pocket expenses. To find out more, have a look at our blog post on everything you need to know about one-way travel insurance.

Studying in New Zealand as an Australian
Australian citizens and permanent residents are treated like domestic students in New Zealand. You don’t need to apply for a student visa and can pay local fees for education (including tertiary). Note however, you need to live in New Zealand for at least three years before applying for a student loan or Student Allowance.

Accommodation for Australians living in New Zealand
Australians living in New Zealand don’t have to worry about restrictions when renting or purchasing property - they face the same conditions as locals. While the New Zealand government recently banned foreigners from buying property, Australians are exempt from this ban.

When it comes to renting, the average weekly rate is $390 (NZ) a week for a small house and $525 (NZ) for a house with two to four bedrooms. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you might consider sharing a house with locals. ‘Flatting’, as it’s known, is popular among visitors who don’t have a family.

New Zealand quarantine and customs regulations
You must familiarise yourself with the customs regulations for any country you plan to visit. Like Australia, New Zealand has strict biosecurity laws to shield their wildlife from harmful pests and diseases. On your flight, you’ll be given a Passenger Arrival Card to declare any restricted goods (not doing so is a crime).

Risky items include: fruit, meat, fish, honey, bee products, certain medications, herbal medicines, plants and seeds, coral and wooden items. You can dispose of restricted items in marked bins prior to passing through customs, if you choose not to declare. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, err on the side of caution and declare it anyway, to avoid potential criminal charges. 

Pet Transport from Australia to New Zealand
If you’re moving to New Zealand, you’re more than likely going to take your pets with you – after all, they’re part of the family. Luckily, this is relatively easy for Australians.

Applicants from other countries must apply for an import permit. If this is approved, the pet will go into quarantine for at least 10 days in New Zealand. But this doesn’t apply to cats and dogs coming from Australia, for the most part.

This is because we have some of the strictest quarantine laws in the world, so our animals aren’t likely to carry harmful infections. Generally speaking, you only need an Australian-issued export certificate for your cat or dog. Your pet will be inspected when you arrive and you can skip the quarantine phase altogether.

Guinea pigs and rabbits can also be imported into New Zealand, but only from Australia. Animals that are not allowed include: birds, ferrets, mice & rats, reptiles & snakes, and certain dog breeds

While you don’t need to transport your pet with a specialised carrier, we highly recommend it. Most significantly, having specialist care helps to ease the stress on your furry friends, who have no concept of flying or turbulence, or the sensation of take-off and landing.  

This is why, at Chess Moving, we partner with Jetpets to help make the move as relaxing as possible for your pets.

Jetpets provide the following services:

  • Expert advice on quarantine and custom requirements
  • Airline-approved travel crates
  • They put your pet on the most direct flight
  • Their vets give your friend a full health check and make sure all documents are completed
  • Pet handlers will take care of your pet on the day of the flight
  • Door-to-door service
  • Priority check-in for animals
  • Your pet is looked after if there’s a flight delay or cancellation
  • They can deliver the animals to your new home

Moving to New Zealand from Australia? Let us look after you!
Chess Moving has been working in the removalist industry for over 100 years. Our practical and affordable solutions help thousands of Australians to overcome the challenges of settling overseas.

Our door-to-door services include:

  • Research and planning
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Storage
  • Cleaning
  • Moving insurance
  • Vehicle and pet relocation
  • Sea or air freight documentation and handling
  • International customs management and more

Visit our website to arrange a free quote or contact our friendly team on 13 14 69 for more information.


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