What Is A Good Salary in New Zealand? [2024]

If you are considering working in New Zealand, the local salary is one of the most important things you must learn about. How much is a good salary, the average, and what the income distribution looks like- are all very relevant topics when moving for work abroad.

In New Zealand, a good annual salary is between 70,000 NZD (42,701 USD) and 80,000 NZD (48,802 USD) per year before taxes. It might be difficult to earn more. New Zealand tends to keep average earnings across many jobs. That said, it’s common for a household to have two income earners. Two salaries combined will satisfy the basic needs and leave some room for extra spending.

So, a salary of 70,000 NZD annually gives you 4,579 NZD (2,803 USD) net per month. It’s more than enough to cover the cost of living in any city in New Zealand, but only as a single. Moreover, with that income, you can rent a typical two-bedroom house, cover your weekly grocery bill, eat out, and travel for leisure across beautiful New Zealand and overseas.

If you are moving to New Zealand with a better half or even a family, you will need double that amount.

Keep reading this article to learn more about salaries and the cost of living in this part of the world. Also check out our comparison of salaries in the UK vs New Zealand.

What salary is considered good for New Zealand?

In New Zealand, with an average salary of just about 58,000 NZD, you are considered a good earner if you make above 70,000 NZD per year.

Some professionals in New Zealand make above the average, but the majority of people enjoy a very similar income which gives them a good quality of life.

For instance, the typical salary for a school teacher is 80,000 NZD, while lower-qualified workers like backers get about 50,000 NZD. That said, most workers in New Zealand earn between 40,000 NZD and 80,000 NZD per year.

Did you know that in New Zealand, you can apply for government support via Work and Income if you don’t earn enough?

Only a tiny part of the population earns a salary of 100,000 NZD and above. The majority of higher earners work in main cities like Auckland and Wellington. While a salary of 100,000 NZD leaves a lot of room for a single person, it barely allows a family of four to live a comfortable life.

What is a good salary in Auckland?

In June 2022, the average salary in New Zealand, across all industries, was about 1,093 NZD per week or 58,836 NZD per year.

At the same time, the median income was about 27 NZD per hour as of 2021 (56,160 NZD per annum based on a 40-hour week). There is also a minimum wage in New Zealand under which you cannot be paid legally.

Besides, as elsewhere, salaries increase with work experience and level of education. Hourly earnings for people with a university degree grow at a faster pace than for those with lower qualifications.

Moreover, employees with bachelor’s degrees earn 2% above the national average wage one year after their studies, and they reach a 67% higher salary after ten years of experience.

What can you afford with this salary?

No surprise that the cost of living in New Zealand is very high. Housing prices have been rising in the past years, and current inflation doesn’t help with managing living expenses.

To manage all necessary expenses, a single person needs between 3,000-4,000 NZD per month in a major city. A family of four can expect to spend 5,000-7,000 NZD per month to live on.

Read more on the cost of living for a family in New Zealand.

This amount includes renting a two-bedroom house, weekly groceries, owning a car, clothes, and eating out a few times a week.

For anything extra, you need to budget accordingly.

A salary of 70,000 NZD annually will give you 4,579 NZD net per month. Therefore, it’s a good salary for a single, while a family will need two incomes of similar size.

Minimum wage in New Zealand

From April 2023, the minimum wage in New Zealand is set to 22.70 NZD per hour. Even if someone is making a minimum wage, they can still afford a decent living. For example, a 40-hour work week at a minimum rate brings you 908 NZD per week, 3,934.67 NZD per month or 47,216 NZD per year. That’s not that bad.

After deducting taxes, it leaves you 3,276 NZD per month. On average, renting a two-bedroom house costs about 2,000 NZD per month.

Income taxes in New Zealand

Compared to many other countries, in New Zealand, employees don’t have to pay for pension, unemployment, and health insurance from their salary. They pay only the income tax and contributions for ACC (national accident insurance).

However, you can opt for private insurance, which can reduce your overall healthcare expenses. We recommend coverage from Cigna Global.

Current income tax rates in New Zealand (2023):

Salary (NZD)Tax rate
Up to $14,00010.5%
Over $14,000 and up to $48,00017.5%
Over $48,000 and up to $70,00030%
Over $70,000 and up to $180,00033%
Remaining income over $180,00039%
Source: ird.govt.nz

You can calculate your after-tax income on this official website.

Which city is the best regarding jobs in New Zealand?

Qualifications and salaries

Level of qualification plays a significant role in your income in New Zealand. There are several levels of qualifications, and the whole system can get pretty complicated.

That said, bachelor’s degree holders earn more than their counterparts with no degree. Moreover, the salary depends on the degree major, industry, and work experience. Someone with a bachelor’s degree in the medical field has a higher-than-average income.

Nonetheless, the higher the degree, the higher salary you can expect.

How much do graduates earn in New Zealand?

If you want to study in New Zealand, you probably want to know what salary you can expect after the university. The wages for graduates highly depend on the industry and specialization.

The average bachelor-degree salary in New Zealand is 64,600 NZD. The highest-paid sectors for new graduates are Energy and Utilities (72,912 NZD), Healthcare (63,458 NZD), and Engineering Consulting (62,368 NZD).

Salaries for graduates only slightly vary depending on the region (NZD):

  • Otago: $53,800
  • Canterbury: $54,600
  • Wellington: $55,500
  • Southland: $57,000
  • Auckland: $57,200
  • Hawke’s Bay: $57,500
  • Waikato: $57,600
  • Northland: $57,600
  • Bay of Plenty: $58,300
  • Taranaki: $60,000
  • Manawatū-Whanganui: $60,000

According to other sources, the highest salaries among graduates in New Zealand are in the following areas:

  • Recruitment & HR
  • Banking & Financing
  • Media & Communications
  • Technology

Here are New Zealand’s highest-paying degrees:

Degree areaPotential Salary
Civil EngineeringNZ$70,000
Software DevelopmentNZ$77,000
Computer ScienceNZ$153,000
Construction ManagementNZ$95,049
Business ManagementNZ$88,000

Salaries in New Zealand

“Wellington Waterfront”

Before coming to New Zealand, you must know that salaries here are not exceptionally high. And to be honest, money shouldn’t be your objective in moving to this country.

The average gross salary in New Zealand is 56,000 NZD per year or 27 NZD per hour. At the same time, the average household income in Auckland is 146,000 NZD. In other parts of the country, the average household earns an average of 118,000 NZD per year before taxes.

According to official statistics, the income level in New Zealand has been on the rise this year. For instance, in June 2022:

  • wages and salaries have increased by 96 NZD (8.8%) to 1,189 NZD
  • income from all sources increased by 78 NZD (10.1%) to 848 NZD

Median hourly earnings:

  • from wages and salaries increased by 1.90 NZD (6.8%) to 29.66 NZD

For example, according to Glassdoor.co.nz the average salary for a software engineer in Auckland is 95,000 NZD or 57,950 USD. According to Teleorg.org, for this job type, Auckland ranks 86th for salaries among 265 cities across the world – not the best score.

Here are some typical salaries for different jobs in New Zealand:

JobMedian salary in USD
Source: teleport.org

Based on this data, you can estimate what your salary will look like in USD.

Average salary in New Zealand in 2022

In 2022, the average salary in New Zealand was 58,836 NZD annually or 1,093 NZD weekly.

The average salary in New Zealand has been on the rise since July 2020. You can see the development of the net monthly salary on the graph below:

Source: www.ceicdata.com

The median income in New Zealand is 27 NZD per hour or an annual salary of 56,160 NZD for a 40-hour week. Salaries in larger cities like Auckland and Wellington tend to be slightly higher because the cost of living there is also higher.

If we compare New Zealand to other English-speaking countries, the average salaries here are on the lower side. Employees earn more in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia.

Despite the low average, some industries in New Zealand offer comparable salaries. So, not all is that bad.

Some of the best-paid yet not difficult to achieve jobs are project manager, operations manager, quantity surveyor, business development manager, and site manager. The lowest-paid jobs are in hospitality and cleaning. Well, that should not come as a surprise.

Average salaries in New Zealand by region (NZD):

  • Manawatu-Whanganui: $50,763
  • Waikato: $51,658
  • Hawke’s Bay: $54,424
  • Marlborough: $60,364
  • Northland: $61,572
  • Bay of Plenty: $61,743
  • Wellington: $63,241
  • Canterbury: $63,415
  • Auckland: $64,650
  • Taranaki: $68,183
  • Otago: $70,838

Average salaries in various industries

IndustryAverage salary (NZD)
Administrative and Support Services$89,799
Accounting, Administration & Human Resources$80,179
Architecture & Creative Arts$64,667
Public Administration and Safety$61,166
Banking, Finance & Insurance$81,318
Childcare & Education$75,938
Construction & Maintenance$65,637
Food Services$48,000
Healthcare, Pharmaceutical & Social Services$93,885
Hospitality & Travel$60,917
Information Technology$82,615
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services$66,472
Journalism & Translation$59,124
Law Enforcement & Security$68,167
Marketing & Sales$76,521
Wholesale Trade$60,806
Retail, Cosmetics & Customer Service$51,408
Shipping, Manufacturing & Transportation$48,455
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing$69,519
Transport, Postal and Warehousing$66,432
Source: nz.talent.com

The average annual salary for some typical jobs in New Zealand in 2022:

JobAverage salary (NZD)
Project Manager97,524
Civil Engineer91,800
Mechanical Engineer70,794
Project Engineer96,163
Business Analyst81,300
Registered Nurse75,670
Data Analyst78,965
Software Developer88,130
Primary School Teacher75,130
Office Manager55,833
Pharmacy Technician47,280
Dental Assistant45,300
Farm Worker43,522
Graphic Designer60,119
Veterinary Nurse43,200
Source: jobted.co.nz

But how much does the majority of New Zealanders earn?

You might be wondering what most people in New Zealand are making. It’s not easy to find accurate data on income rather than look into official statistics.

In the graph below, you can see the taxable income and amount of taxpayers for each income level in New Zealand in 2021. Surprisingly, many people earn less than 5,000 NZD annually. Other large groups of workers have the following income:

  • 40,000 NZD to 45,000 NZD: 146,690 taxpayers
  • 45,000 NZD to 50,000 NZD: 159,690 taxpayers
  • 50,000 NZD to 55,000 NZD: 157,590 taxpayers
  • 55,000 NZD – 60,000 NZD: 145,200 taxpayers
  • 60,000 NZD – 65,000 NZD: 128,480 taxpayers
  • 200,000 NZD and more: 44,030 taxpayers
Source: figure.nz – statistics New Zealand

Consequently, most people working in New Zealand earn between 40,000 NZD to 65,000 NZD per year before taxes.

Is 150k NZD a good salary in New Zealand?

A salary of 150,000 NZD gross is excellent for New Zealand, but it’s very rare. You will need a significant amount of experience and expertise to have this level of income. From the graph below, you can see that only about 10,000 taxpayers earn this salary.

That said, an income of 150,000 NZD is more manageable if you consider it as a household income combined. In that case, each spouse has to earn around 75,000 NZD, which is very realistic.

So, if one taxpayer earns 150,000 NZD gross annually, it leaves them 107,586 NZD annually or 8,965 NZD monthly after taxes. With that income, an entire family with two or more children can live comfortably in any part of New Zealand. 

Highest-paying jobs in New Zealand

The highest-paid sectors in New Zealand over the last five years have been mining, electricity, gas and water supply, finance, and information technology.

For instance, jobs in IT, finances, medicine, and controlling are almost always well paid.

The most well-paid jobs are in information and communications technology (ICT), with advertised salaries growing around 6% in the last quarter for an average of 111,000 NZD.

Here are some of the highest-paying jobs in New Zealand (source: Trademe.co.nz; Seek.co.nz):

  • Information architects (IT): $135,000
  • Data warehousing and Business Intelligence (IT): $115,000
  • Cybersecurity specialists: $105,000
  • Construction project and contract management: $105,000
  • IT Sales: $105,000
  • Finance managers: $100,000
  • Database experts: $95,000
  • Quantity surveying: $95,000
  • Surveying: $95,000
  • Test analysts: $95,000
  • Architects: $85,000
  • Geotechnical engineers: $85,000
  • Civil and structural engineers: $85,000
  • Commercial property management: $85,000
  • Accountants: $75,000

New Zealand’s highest-paying industries are:

IndustryAverage salary
ConstructionConstruction manager – 95,049 NZD
ICT managementManager – 135,000 NZD
Consulting and strategyConsultant management – 130,213 NZD
Information and Communication TechnologyDelivery services manager – 178,590 NZD
AccountingStrategy and planning – 130,000 NZD
LegalConstruction law – 120,000 NZD
Financial Managers and controllers – 124,000 NZD
Real estate and property Managers – 124,000 NZD
EngineeringMining engineering and maintenance professionals- 106,500 NZD; management – 122,000 NZD
Mining, Resources, and EnergyProject director in engineering – 169,000 NZD

How much money do you need to live comfortably in New Zealand?

Bear in mind that Living in New Zealand is expensive. You will need a higher than average salary to have a comfortable life. If you have children, both you and your spouse should have the income to ensure good living standards for a family.

Consequently, an average salary of 56,000 NZD – 58,000 NZD annually will bring you 3,780 NZD to 3,894 NZD net per month. While it’s enough of the wage for a single, you won’t have a comfortable life with a family.

To live alone in Auckland, a person should have at least 4,630 NZD per month at their disposal, while a family needs around 8,327 NZD per month to live comfortably. That means your gross annual salary must be at least 70,000 NZD for a single and 140,000 NZD for a family of four.

However, Auckland is the most expensive city in New Zealand. You will need less money in other places.

That said, New Zealand is ranked 12th out of 79 countries regarding the cost of living, with a price index of 184.

The second largest city Wellington is more affordable; 3,843 NZD per month for a single is enough, and a family requires about 6,890 NZD per month.

Christchurch is the most affordable big city in New Zealand, where a single person can live on 2,848 NZD, and 6,066 NZD for families. The average price of rent in Christchurch in 2022 is about 500 NZD per week.

Rent prices in New Zealand

Rent will take a large portion of your salary in New Zealand, and the rates are pretty high too. In Auckland, you will need at least 600 NZD per week or 2,400 NZD per month to rent a house in the suburbs.

For instance, in Wellington, two-bedroom homes rent for between 450 NZD and 620 NZD a week, and three-bedroom properties rent for between 630 NZD and 790 NZD a week.

Smaller cities tend to be more affordable, but not much. You should expect to spend between 450 NZD to 700 NZD per week on rent anywhere in New Zealand.

Of course, renting a room costs much less, and generally, a budget of 200 NZD to 400 NZD per week is enough for a decent room.

Here are current rent prices in Auckland for different types of housing:

Type of the housingAuckland
One-bedroom apartment (city center)$1,226
One-bedroom apartment (outside of the city center)$1,004
Three-bedroom family home (city center)$2,041
Three-bedroom family home (outside of the city center)$1,672
Utilities for 45m2 apartment$108
Source: numbeo.com

Buying a home

House prices in New Zealand might be shocking for many foreigners. Not everyone can afford to buy a property in this country, especially in Auckland.

Here are average house prices in different regions as of 2021 (NZD):

  • Auckland: $1.2 million
  • Bay of Plenty: $878k
  • Tasman: $860k
  • Wellington: $845k
  • Nelson: $802k
  • Waikato: $774k
  • Hawkes Bay: $770k
  • Otago: $695k
  • Christchurch: $660k
  • Northland: $650k
  • Marlborough: $650k
  • Manawatu/Wanganui: $626k
  • Gisborne: $615k
  • Taranaki: $535k
  • Southland $437k
  • West Coast: $272k


Food is the second largest expense you must budget for in New Zealand. Groceries are on the expensive side in this country. In fact, in 2021, New Zealand was ranked as the sixth most expensive out of 38 countries.

Only Iceland, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, and Japan have more expensive groceries than New Zealand.

A single person should budget at least 150 NZD per week on groceries; hence, a family of four will need at least three times this amount.

This doesn’t include eating and drinking out, where the upper limit can be very extensive. Yet, 150 NZD per week per person should be enough to satisfy average needs and desires. Overall, it comes to 800 NZD per month per person for food, including groceries and meals out.

However, you can use the services of HelloFresh to save some money on shopping. With their amazing, easy-done recipes, an average meal costs about 7.99 NZD. That’s cheaper if you would buy on ingredients yourself.

Get up to $120 off on your order at HelloFresh.

That said, a family of four will live fine with spending around 1,200 NZD per month on groceries only. With that budget, most of the meals would be cooked at home while groceries are of good quality and not the cheapest that is available.

Besides, you can add 300 NZD for several meals out with your family. It brings a total of 1,500 NZD for a family of four to spend on food in New Zealand without living very frugally but also not overspending.


In addition to the rent in New Zealand, you pay utilities that usually include only electricity (150 NZD per month on average). The price of electricity significantly depends on the heating method the house uses and how much you consume it.

The bill can be as high as 500 NZD for some families. If heating is done with electricity, the price will be on the higher end, while gas is more affordable.

Here are the estimated monthly expenses for a family with two children living in New Zealand:

  • Rent: 2,600 NZD
  • Groceries: 1,000 – 1,200 NZD
  • Food out: 300 NZD
  • Electricity: 200 NZD
  • Internet and mobile: 120 NZD
  • Petrol: 350 NZD
  • Total: 5,770 NZD

This amount doesn’t include additional expenses like daycare, clothing, cosmetics, and household items.

By knowing these numbers, you can adjust your salary expectation. That said, to live comfortably in New Zealand as a family, both parents need to bring the income in unless one spouse is an incredible professional and has a much higher than average salary.

The average cost of living for a family of four is between 80,000 NZD to 100,000 NZD (6,600 NZD – 8,300 NZD per month) per year, depending on where you live.

That means a family needs to have a before-tax income of between 110,000 NZD and 140,000 NZD, which can hardly be earned only by one person.


Most people drive a car in New Zealand. So you most probably will get one as well. The average price of the car can range anything from 2,000 NZD and 50,000 NZD for a middle-class vehicle.

The average price of a liter of petrol is 2.89 NZD. Plus, you must take car insurance coverage to ensure your safety. The least expensive option goes for 400 NZD per year.

Overall, you can expect to spend about 2,000 NZD to 4,000 NZD per year on running and maintaining the car in New Zealand.

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