Nurse Salary in New Zealand: What To Expect In 2024?

Recent development in pay equity pay has helped increase the salary trajectory for New Zealand’s nurses. Raises by multiple thousands of dollars have been seen among all professionals, which came into force in March 2022. But what is the salary outlook for nurses in New Zealand in 2023?

Nursing is one of the most sought-after professions in New Zealand. Registered nurses can easily get a job in any part of New Zealand and earn a decent yearly income.

A nurse in New Zealand earns between NZ$66,570 to NZ$100,000 per year on average; it’s about NZ$4,383 and NZ$6,218 net per month. The salary depends on the city and specialization. Among the highest-paying nurses are Nurse Practitioners, with an average salary range from NZ$100,000 to NZ$130,000.

New Zealand is a fantastic place to work as a nurse if you are after the lifestyle. Salaries here are rather average, and nurses get paid better in Australia, for example.

Nonetheless, this article explains what you can expect as a nurse when working in New Zealand in terms of pay, but also working conditions, variations around different regions, taxes, social benefits, and some insider insights, then read along. 

Registered nurse salary in New Zealand in 2023

Are you wondering about nurse salaries in New Zealand? Employers pay a decent wage which depends on the location, qualifications, and experience, but generally ranges between NZ$66,570 and NZ$100,000 per year.

In terms of hourly wage, New Zealand nurses get between NZ$30 to NZ$46 per hour, while more experienced with management responsibilities get paid over NZ$50 per hour.

NZNO (New Zealand Nurses Organisation) worked on a salary increase for nurses of New Zealand, so the following new pay rates came into force on 7 March 2022.

Registered Nurse LevelRate from 7 March 2022 (NZ$)
Step 1 (New Graduate)$66,570
Step 2 $72,061
Step 3$76,554
Step 4$80,883
Step 5$89,868
Step 6$92,563
Step 7$95,340

Nurse salary in New Zealand is roughly between NZ$74,000 to NZ$100,000 annually.

Therefore, registered nurses get reasonable compensation, but the working conditions can be tiring, making it a challenging job. Eight to twelve-hour shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays, are parts of the job. However, the combined benefits and working conditions make the total package lucrative. 

We all know nursing is a very respectable profession and that nurses put in a lot of work to turn our sickness into recovery.

They use their nursing knowledge and judgment to evaluate a patient’s health needs and offer care, along with advising support to help patients manage their health.

Nursing practice in NZ is majorly based on teamwork, with families and sometimes even communities too. A nurse can practice in various settings based on their education and scope of work.

Overall there are about 2,481 vacant jobs available across New Zealand (as of April 2023).

North Island of New Zealand offers better opportunities for those in a nursing career as currently there are about 1,500 in North Island while the number drops to 587 in South Island.

It’s partly due to the lesser population in the South Island, but if you are a registered nurse looking for a livelihood, then North Island will provide you with better chances.

Taxes for nurses

As with anyone else, nurses pay income taxes when working in New Zealand. The tax system is slightly different from other countries, as employees don’t have to contribute to social security, but they still enjoy free healthcare.

So, don’t get scared; it’s not Europe, you won’t pay high taxes in New Zealand. Generally, rates range from 15% to 25%, depending on your salary.

Besides, if you work in New Zealand, your income tax will be directly deducted from your salary, so you don’t have to worry about it.  

Someone with an average salary of NZ$80,000 annually receives NZ$61,512 after paying taxes. That translates to an income tax rate of 23.11%.

Below are income tax rates that apply in 2023:

Tax rateTaxable income bracket​Tax owed
10.5%$0 to $14,00010.50% of taxable income
17.5%$14,001 to $48,000$1,470 plus 17.5% of the amount over $14,000
30%​$48,001 to $70,000$7,420 plus 30% of the amount over $48,000
33%$70,001 to $180,000$14,020 plus 33% of the amount over $70,000
39%​$180,000+$50,320 plus 39% of the amount over $180,000
Source: ird.govt.nz

You can calculate exactly how much you will earn by using this website.

Working as a nurse in New Zealand

“Christchurch hospital; Image credit: Michal Klajban, Licence

The nurses in New Zealand have multiple opportunities as well through which they can increase their income.

Even if you are not looking for a second job, you can get better pay in your existing job by increasing your knowledge or getting advanced degrees.    

In general, getting more education is always beneficial in all fields, but knowledge is a key component, especially when you are in the medical area. Below is a list of some key job opportunities you can pursue in nursing:

  • Anesthesia department
  • Endoscopy and colonoscopy services
  • Oncology department
  • Rehab and extensive care wards
  • Psych ward

A registered nurse may focus on mental health, child health, elderly care, oncology (cancer), community health, primary care, or health and safety in the workplace. Or still in nursing in intensive care or in the operating room.

The best part about nursing is that you have a lot of opportunities to play around and learn more dimensions, thus increasing your skillset and, subsequently, your pay scale.

A typical workday of a nurse will be spent planning and performing nursing care in their area of ​​expertise, monitoring patients, recording important changes in patient conditions, administering medications and drugs, checking equipment and supplies, or educating patients and their families about nursing care needs.  

As a nurse, if you are wondering how to increase your salary, the easiest way to do this is to upgrade your knowledge, get more certifications, complete specializations, do more training, etc.

Here are some in-demand areas of specialization that can get you some extra money:

  • Hygiene
  • Psychiatric care
  • Nephrology 
  • Geriatrics
  • Hospice care
  • Assistance and support

Training after a degree:

If you are looking for some training opportunities to enhance your skills and expertise, then below are some good options for nurses in New Zealand:

  • Oncology
  • Anesthesia and intensive care
  • Operations and endoscopy service
  • Specialized care expert/consultant
  • Specialist in-home care
  • Palliative care
  • Head/team lead

The nurses with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees who are also qualified for other positions earn the most money. The return on investment for someone who invested ten years in their field would surely be higher.

Your employer is another element affecting the amount of your compensation. Private clinics, practices, and businesses pay their nurses less on average than public hospitals with regulated collective contracts do.

The nursing profession comes with very long work hours, and it usually gets tiring at some point. The typical work week for nurses who work in the community or in hospitals is almost 40 hours and sometimes more.

Nurses may encounter difficult patients, infectious diseases, and bodily fluids while at work. They may also need to travel locally to see patients.

Nurse salary in New Zealand vs the UK

When you move to a new place, a lot of anxiety follows you. You are worried about the pay scales, taxation, work ethics and environment, and so much more.

Both New Zealand and the United Kingdom are great places for registered nurses to make a career. Let’s take a look at the salaries offered in both countries, along with the other benefits registered nurses receive.

According to the UK government, the average basic pay for nurses in March 2022 was £37,000 (NZ$72,831), and the basic salary for newly qualified nurses was £27,055 (NZ$53,255) per year. The numbers are comparable to New Zealand.

An average salary of a registered nurse in the UK varies between £25,655 (NZ$50,499) to £45,839 (Band 7) (NZ$90,230) for nurses with a Master’s degree and solid experience.

In the UK, a band determines the salary of a nurse, where the starting salary begins in band 5. The top level is band 9, which can be achieved with further qualifications and experience.

At band 9, nurses can expect a compensation of between £105,635 and £110,468 per year.

About 42% of all UK nurses are in band 5, which means a salary range between £26,104 – £32,915 per year. Band 6 is more senior nurses and specialists, and their basic pay is between £33,706 and £40,588.

Another bulk of British nurses falls into band 6 with a salary range between £33,072 – £40,736.

Consequently, the majority of registered nurses in the UK earn less than £40,736 (NZ$80,185) per year.

Read more about band structure for nurses in the UK.

New-ZealandThe UK
Entry Level$25.80$26.06
Early Career$27.84$27.54
Late Career$32.00$32.00
Average hourly wage$29.35$29.92
Source: medshop.com.au

Nursing salaries in the United Kingdom aren’t a lot better than in New Zealand. Besides, British nurses pay higher taxes as they have to contribute to national insurance, which we don’t have in New Zealand. Therefore, you will have more money left in New Zealand than in the UK.

For languages, fortunately, nurses don’t have to learn any new languages to work in the UK or New Zealand. They just have to be fluent in English so they can communicate well with the patient as well as the other hospital staff.

However, nurses in New Zealand who are fluent in Te Reo Maori get some other opportunities as well.

Nurse salary New Zealand vs Australia

According to Seek.com.au, the average annual salary for a registered nurse in Australia ranges between AU$80,000 (NZ$85,574) and AU$90,000 (NZ$97,640).

An Australian registered nurse gets an average hourly wage of AU$40 – AU$75. On the other hand, New Zealand nurses get paid between NZ$30 to NZ$46 per hour, on average.

The starting rate for an enrolled nurse in Australia is, on average, $62,789; it’s only slightly more than in New Zealand. In New Zealand, enrolled nurses get $61,146.

The average salary of a registered nurse in Australia is around AU$79,550 per year, which comes to about AU$41 per hour. Wages go as high as up to AU$97,568 per year for a nurse without an extra specialization.

An average salary of a Kiwi nurse with several years of experience is about NZ$80,883.

Clinical nurses can expect a salary from AU$70,000 and up to AU$108,000, while nurse practitioners get paid even better – between AU$101,000 and AU$127,000 per year.

A senior nurse in New Zealand enjoys an average salary of NZ$$106,016 per year.

Similar to New Zealand, the pay in Australia varies depending on the location, qualifications, experience, and seniority. For instance, nurses in Canberra get a whopping AU$123,000 and an incredible AU$135,300 in the Northern Territory. 

To conclude, pay is generally higher in Australia, but New Zealand isn’t far behind and is constantly increasing compensation levels for its nurses.

To help you to compare, here is an overview of hourly wages for registered nurses in various countries:

AustraliaNew-ZealandUSCanadaThe UK
Entry LevelAU$30.06AU$24.30AU$35.29AU$33.37AU$24.66
Early CareerAU$31.83AU$26.34AU$37.35AU$34.41AU$26.04
Late CareerAU$39.04AU$30.90AU$44.43AU$42.25AU$30.34
Average hourly wageAU$33.33AU$27.44AU$39.50AU$35.43AU$27.97
Source: medshop.com.au

The data shows that the salaries of experienced nurses are the best in the US, but Canada and Australia are also not far away. New Zealand still has to do some work to improve compensation for nurses, but it’s still better than in the UK.

Highest-paying nursing jobs in New Zealand

Nurse practitioners are the highest-paid nurses in New Zealand. They must work as a registered nurse for at least four years and hold a Master’s degree to reach this level.

An average salary of a nurse practitioner in New Zealand is NZ$70 – NZ$90 per hour or NZ$104,638 to NZ$132,078 on average. Amazing, isn’t it?!

Registered nurses receive different salaries based on their education, experience, and job responsibilities.

In clinics, nursing homes, rest homes, and hospitals, registered nurses diagnose, treat, and provide care for patients who are ill, disabled, or injured. An enrolled nurse’s annual salary ranges from NZ$61,000 to NZ$74,000, while registered nurses make between NZ$67,000 and NZ$144,000 annually.

Registered nurses in New Zealand

  • Registered nurses hold a university degree, which is a Level 7 or 8 qualification. 
  • Graduate registered nurses typically make NZ$67,000 per year.
  • The typical salary for registered nurses with three to seven years of experience is NZ$76,000 to NZ$95,000.
  • Senior registered nurses might make between NZ$121,000 and NZ$144,000 if they have greater experience and responsibility.
  • Also, licensed nurses can be paid overtime.

At the same time, enrolled nurses have significantly lower compensation, mainly because they possess lower qualifications. To increase your salary in New Zealand, you need to complete at least a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Enrolled nurses in New Zealand

  • Enrolled nurses don’t have to hold a university degree, but they are limited in their career chances. To start working as an enrolled nurse, you need at least a Level 5 degree.
  • Working enrolled nurses without experience make at least NZ$61,146 per year.
  • Nurses who are enrolled and have two to four years of experience typically make NZ$63,000 to NZ$71,000.
  • Nurses who are enrolled and have more than five years of experience can make NZ$74,000.

Responsibilities of nurses

During a typical day of a nurse in New Zealand, they are expected to carry out the following tasks:

  1. Patient assessment; nursing care planning and execution in conjunction with other medical experts; educate patients and help them take control of their own health; track patients’ conditions and note changes.
  2. Some nurses also undertake visits to patients, families, and community organizations to talk about health and avoiding illnesses and accidents.
  3. Under the supervision of a registered nurse or nurse practitioner, enrolled nurses offer patient care.

Registered nurses need to be aware of a wide range of topics, including how to assess and monitor patients’ illnesses and symptoms, in order to give their patients the best treatment possible.

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