Working in New Zealand: Tax Basics Explained

So, you are on your way to NZ, you’ve got your work visa all sorted but it’s just hit you: what about the tax when you work here?! Thankfully, New Zealand has one of the simplest and easiest to navigate tax systems in the world. Having said that, there are still quite a few issues for working holiday and recent immigrants to get their heads around such as getting sorted with an IRD number, income tax rates, ACC, KiwiSaver as well as they different types of employment and the tax implications of each of those.

This article discusses the following components of tax in New Zealand:

  1. Effective tax rates – the amount of tax you’ll pay on your earnings.
  2. Registering with the Inland Revenue Department –
  3. Goods & Service Tax (GST) – the equivelent of VAT in the UK.
  4. ACC Levies – deductions for personal accident insurance.
  5. KiwiSaver – a pensions scheme, much like Auto Enrolment in the UK.
  6. Employment types – from self-employment to your usual fixed employment.
  7. Tax implications – common scenarios and tax implication examples.

Income Tax in New Zealand

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is responsible for collecting taxes in New Zealand. Income Tax is calculated at different rates ranging from 10.5% to 33% for individuals, depending on how much you earn.

What are the tax rates in New Zealand?

Income Tax rate Effective tax rate
$0 – $14,000  10.5% 10.5%
$14,001 – $48,000  17.5% 10.5 – 15.5%
$48,001 – $70,000  30% 15.5 – 20.0%
Over $70,000  33% 20.0 – 33.0%
No-notification rate  48% 45%

The average New Zealander pays tax at an effective rate of about 20%, as they pay some at 10.5%, some at 17.5% and some at 33%.

For most workers, this tax is deducted at source by your employer and paid directly to the IRD by them. The deductions are based on the tax code that you declare to your employer when you originally start your employment agreement with them. More details on what code to select can be found on the back of the IR330 Tax Code Declaration Form. For your main source of income, with no New Zealand Student Loan, your tax code will likely be ‘M’.

The IRD’s website has a number of easy to use tools to allow you to calculate what your total tax payable is on an expected level of income. If, at the end of the tax year, you think your employer has deducted more tax than necessary, you can request a Personal Tax Summary (PTS) from the IRD. This document summarises your total income as declared to the IRD as well as all of the taxes and other deductions taken from it. If an over deduction has been made, the IRD PTS will show that you have a tax credit due to you. You can request the IRD to deposit this tax credit direct into your New Zealand bank account. In some circumstances, you may have extra tax to pay if your employer has not correctly, made deduction’s or if your income has changed throughout the year.

In order to have taxes deducted and accounted for correctly, you not only need the correct tax code, you also need an IRD Number.

Getting Sorted with an IRD Number

An IRD Number is a necessary thing for everyone who works, owns property or otherwise generates a living in New Zealand. It is an eight to nine-digit code that will universally identify you and your tax deductions to the IRD across your daily employment, bank savings accounts and will aid with links through to other services like ACC and KiwiSaver. If taxes are deducted at source by your employer, as is usually the case (more on this later), then the taxes are deducted and income declared to the IRD against your IRD Number, allowing you and the government to easily keep track of how much you have earned and how much tax you have paid on that income.

As with all bureaucratic processes, this can often take some time to get sorted so getting on to it as soon as possible is your best option if you plan to start working soon after touching down in New Zealand.

To get an IRD number if you have a valid work visa requires a few things:
• Your passport details,
• Your most recent overseas tax number (if you have one),
• Your Immigration New Zealand Application number (this will be on your visa letter they send you), and
• Proof of a fully functioning New Zealand Bank Account or completed customer due diligence if you don’t have a bank account yet.

The last point above is the most important as it meets your obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Act to prove that you are a legitimate person with a verified identity. It is a quick and easy process to open a bank account once you are in the country. Any of the major banks should be able to open it for you on the spot provided you have everything that they need to be satisfied in verifying your identity. Most banks do not allow to you finalise the account opening process without being in branch to be verified by a bank employee.

If you are going to be working soon after arriving, open a bank account as soon as you can and then send off your IRD Number application straight after that.

Goods & Services Tax (GST)

GST is the New Zealand equivalent of a Value-Added Tax (VAT). It is a universal consumption tax of 15%, charged on most products and services nationwide.

If you are running a business or are self-employed in New Zealand, then you may need to register with the IRD for GST. If your annual income is, or is expected to be, over $60,000 then you need to register for GST. You then charge GST on all of your sales and claim the GST back on all of your business related purchases, the net difference in GST collected and claimed back is what you pay to the IRD on a two-monthly or six-monthly cycle.

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) & ACC Levies

The ACC administers New Zealand’s no fault accidental injury insurance scheme for all work and non-work related injuries. If you are a resident, citizen or just a visitor, ACC provides you with the financial compensation and support you need to recover after you suffer a personal injury.

ACC is primarily funded through levies. These levies are collected from the wages of salaried workers, the declared taxable income of companies and self-employed people, vehicle levies (such as those included in fuel taxes and car registration fees), and a government contribution to cover the contribution of those that do not pay-in directly (children, the retired, unemployed and visitors).

If you are working in a salaried position, a portion of your income will be deducted as a part of your PAYE taxes and paid to the IRD by your employer. The IRD then passes these collected levies on to ACC.


KiwiSaver is a voluntary (opt-out) long-term savings scheme for New Zealanders. It was introduced as a catalyst to improve New Zealand’s poor rates of personal saving and boost the resources available to savers when they retire. Contributors can also pull out funds for the purchase of their first home if they meet certain circumstances.

Any person who is under the age of retirement (65) and entitled to live in New Zealand permanently is eligible to join a KiwiSaver scheme. The saver can then choose to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of their pay and have these deductions taken from their pay along with the regular PAYE deductions for income tax and ACC. Your employer pays the deduction direct to the IRD who in turn passes it on to the approved fund you have registered with.

Although the system is voluntary, eligible persons are automatically enrolled and can choose to opt out after the first two weeks of work in the scheme. Approximately two-thirds of the eligible population are enrolled in a KiwiSaver scheme and so if you are looking to settle in New Zealand long-term and have the ability to settle here indefinitely, it will be worthwhile discussing your options with an approved KiwiSaver provider and your employer. If you are not entitled to stay in New Zealand indefinitely, make sure your employer knows this and does not automatically enrol you. Getting back deductions that have been taken in error can be a time-consuming process as KiwiSaver deductions were only designed to flow one-way until you are 65 years old.

kiwisaver GoingNZ

Types of Employment and the Different Tax Implications

Permanent Employment

Permanency of employment is determined by the hours you work as well as the regularity and continuity of that work. This category is further split into part-time and full-time. Part-time employees work hours each week that range from just a few up to 30, while full-time employees generally work 30 to 40 hours per week. Whether part-time or full-time, if you are working on an ongoing basis for a set number of hours each week for the foreseeable future, it is likely you are a permanent employee.

As a permanent employee, your boss will take care of pretty much everything once you have signed up and processed all of the paperwork. They will deduct Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) taxes from each pay run and pay these direct to the IRD. These deductions are based on the tax code that you declare when you sign up to be their employee. Every employer should give you an IR330 to fill out. This form has a handy flow chart on it to help you easily select the correct code. A portion of your PAYE is also to cover your ACC levies. Additional deductions will be made if you are eligible for and have signed up to KiwiSaver.

Fixed-term Employment

If your work is not ongoing but is for a specific period, like over Christmas in a retail store or on a farm or orchard during harvest season, then you will not be a permanent employee and instead will be classified as a fixed-term employee. The tax implications of this type of work are very similar to permanent employment and your employer will take care of all of your tax deductions.

Casual Employment

Casual employees are a popular choice for a number of businesses in NZ, particularly in the service and hospitality industries. This type of employee has no fixed schedule and generally only work at short notice to cover busy periods or absences of permanent staff. Casual employees have the luxury of not having to accept every offer of a shift from their employer and as such many employers, especially bars and restaurants, tend to have several casual employees on a list that they can call up as and when required. Taxes are deducted as PAYE but you are not entitled to sick leave or holidays and so an extra 8% is added to each pay to pay-out your holiday entitlement as you earn it.

Contract Work and Self-Employment

With this type of employment, the responsibility for incomes taxes, ACC levy payments and KiwiSaver contributions lays solely with you as the worker, not with your employer. New Zealand operates a voluntary disclosure tax system which means that the IRD relies on people to disclose the income that they earn to them correctly. Many self-employed people engage the services of an accountant to ensure that they declare the correct level of income and claim all of their available deductions. Income taxes will be due in lump sums, one to four times a year depending on how much you have to pay. For this reason, it is important to save for your taxes from the moment you start working. Use the tax calculators on the IRD’s website to estimate your taxes due and the corresponding effective tax rate. Make sure at least this rate of savings is put aside so that you do not fall short and incur late payment penalties and interest on the sums.

There are quite a few things to get your head around with tax in New Zealand but once you have got past the first few hurdles of obtaining an IRD number and bank account, it is all pretty simple and user-friendly.

We were looking to write an article on this subject ourselves and came to the conclusion that it is a confusing subject which comes better from a registered professional. Chris Mercer from Mercer Business Partners very kindly offered his time up and put this awesome article together for newbies looking to work in New Zealand. If you have any taxing questions, we’d strongly recommend speaking with professional like Chris. Understanding the New Zealand tax system and what is expected will help you avoid any potential and expensive issues!

Get the most out of New Zealand’s Working Holiday Visa

The Working Holiday Visa (WHV) is one of the main reasons that my wife and I decided to move to New Zealand. We’ve both always loved traveling and experiencing new countries, but we often found ourselves wishing we could stay longer in NZ when it came time to leave. If we were going to drop everything and truly experience a new country, we figured that now is the perfect time. We don’t have kids, and we don’t have any large responsibilities (like a house), so why not travel to the other side of the world?

photos-of-new-zealand (4)

One of the main difficulties in traveling for a longer period of time is, obviously, the money. It’s tough for those of us without trust funds to afford a yearlong vacation. But, if we could work occasionally to supplement our savings, a yearlong hiatus would be much more feasible. Enter the Working Holiday Visa.

Kiwis (because they’re the best) created the Working Holiday Visa for travelers just like us. They want people to be able to travel and experience their beautiful country. Essentially, you just have to be young (18-30 in most cases), have enough saved up for a return ticket, and have the primary intention of traveling. If you meet these criteria, then you are most likely eligible. However, I’d recommend checking out the New Zealand Immigration site for all the details.


Once we had made the decision to move to New Zealand, the process was fairly simple. It only took us about 30 minutes to fill out the online visa application. Basically, the NZ government wants to know if you’re young, healthy, and have a small amount of money saved up to cover your basic expenses.  We were emailed our visas 3 days later. As Kiwis would say “Easy As.”

It’s important to note that ours was a best-case scenario. We have friends that had slightly more involved applications due to health concerns, etc. However, all things considered, New Zealand’s Working Holiday Visa may be the easiest and most straightforward visa application out there.

Here are a few tips to save yourself a bit of a headache when you’re filling out your visa application:

  • Be Honest – It’s way better to be upfront about any possible issues with your application than to get caught lying and be in a lot more trouble later.
  • Apply Early – Supposedly there are a fixed number of visas available for citizens of each country, so apply with plenty of time before your actual trip.
  • Try Multiple Browsers – The NZ Immigration website is very helpful and informative, but we had some issues where links didn’t work properly depending on the Internet browser.


One of the best parts about the Working Holiday Visa is that it allows you to work to supplement your savings. However, it can be quite scary not knowing what the job market is like in a different country. In our experience, the job market in New Zealand is fairly good. They’re certainly not throwing jobs out all over the place, but there are plenty of jobs to be had if you really want one. One of the best online resources for finding traveler friendly jobs is Backpacker Board.

photos-of-new-zealand (9)
Another way that we’ve had success finding jobs in New Zealand is through temp agencies. Temp agencies typically have lots of openings in blue-collar work, so if you don’t mind manual labor this could be a great option. Over the holidays, I worked with an air-conditioning company manufacturing and installing ducting in various homes and businesses. Not only did I learn a lot, but I also got great hours!

While our overall working experience has been positive, we faced one fairly frustrating issue when we first arrived in New Zealand. If you don’t have a permanent address in New Zealand, getting an IRD number (your tax number) can be quite tricky. Here is a basic rundown of our dilemma (hopefully you can follow).

  1. In order to be taxed appropriately (aka not 47% like I was taxed initially), you need an IRD number. This part makes complete sense and seems straightforward.
  2. In order to get an IRD number, among other things, you need a New Zealand bank account. Again, this seems pretty straightforward.
  3. In order to get a New Zealand bank account you need proof of address. This is usually a power bill or some official document showing your name attached to an address.
  4. If you’re on a working holiday visa, you may not have a permanent address because your primary reason for coming to the country is to travel.

There are a few ways to solve this issue:

  1. You could pay for a permanent address. Places like Backpacker Board offer services that allow you to pay for a permanent address.
  2. You could work with the bank to find an alternative proof of address.

We chose option number two. Because we are house sitting all over New Zealand, we don’t really have an official proof of address. However, after talking with ANZ (a New Zealand bank) we learned that we could simply have the homeowner sign a letter stating that we are looking after her home while she is away on holiday. Thus, after a bit of legwork, we were able to get our IRD numbers and now are taxed at a much more reasonable rate (closer to 20%).


There are lots of ways to work and travel around this beautiful country. We have friends who arrived, applied for jobs, and then settled down wherever they got a job. They simply wanted to relax and experience Kiwi life for a year. We have other friends who are living the vanlife for the year. Getting a campervan is a great and affordable way to see as much of New Zealand as possible. We also know people who are working on farms in exchange for food and accommodation. This is a great way to have zero expenses and be able to experience the classic Kiwi farm life.

We decided to do a hybrid of all of these methods of travel. We are house sitting all over New Zealand, but we also built a self-contained campervan that allows us to freedom camp in between house sits. House sitting allows us to settle down in an area for a few weeks before moving on and experiencing another part of New Zealand. Because we’ve lived for short periods in so many different areas, we’ve been able to not only live rent-free, but also see as much as possible of New Zealand’s beautiful countryside.

photos-of-new-zealand (6)

New Zealand is a beautiful country full of laid-back and friendly people. It’s a land of tall mountains, stunning beaches, crazy geothermal activity, and beautiful forests. Plus, it’s the only place in the world where you can enjoy all three kinds of kiwis (the people, the fruit, and the bird). The Working Holiday Visa is an amazing opportunity to explore this country and give this place the time it deserves. If you’re like us, the year will fly by and you may find yourself hesitant to leave.

If you’ve got any hot tips for getting the most out of a working holiday in New Zealand or have any questions please leave a comment below.

TheJoshAndMelissa-YonderstrokeAbout Josh and Melissa

Josh and Melissa are a couple of goofy Californians who love to travel and experience new things. Josh is a blogger/weekend warrior/quirky nerd with a large head. Whether it’s rock-hopping up a creek or hanging his toes from the end of his longboard, if he’s exploring outside with friends then he’s happy. Melissa is the funny one. She loves kittens and strawberries with a passion and is happiest when she’s documenting life with her camera.

A BIG thanks to Josh and Melissa for this fantastic article on getting the most out of New Zealand’s Working Holiday Visa.  Don’t forget to  connect with Josh and Melissa on their blog, Instagram or YouTube!

Disclaimer: Neither Josh and Melissa nor the authors at GoingNZ are immigration consultants, we’re people just like you? We suggest you discuss your migration and visa options with a qualified migration specialist and source info from such boring professionals websites and Government websites.

Migration Expos in the UK

Whether you’re simply thinking about making the move to NZ or in the stages of planning it, attending migration expos in the UK is a great way to learn more about life out there, and help you make those all-important decisions!

We went to the London one in 2014 and I don’t regret the effort – one year in and I am on the path to living our dreams in NZ! At the time I had a number of questions swimming around my mine:

Is New Zealand the right place for me? How can I make the move? How can I get a job?

If you find your self asking yourself any of these questions as well, then there are experienced people who can help you decide what’s right for you at one of these events.

Expos are brimming with UK and NZ based companies that can help with the big move, as well as recruiters hunting for skilled people for jobs. You’ll also meet lots of other people who are in the same boat, which is a great opportunity to get networking!

Expos happen across the globe, but in the UK there are two main events for those looking to go to NZ:

Firstly, there’s the The Working International Expo in London.

This happens three times a yea – unfortunately, they have been and gone for 2017! Look out for more updates soon for 2018 events. Tickets are usually around £18.00

Providing information on Australia, Canada and New Zealand, this event is described as your ‘one-stop moving shop’ as it really does help you plan the whole process, from visa assistance to setting up afresh following the move.

‘Working In’ hosts the event and is recognised as one of the world’s leading organisers of international job and migration. The experts present at the event are plentiful and can help you with every detail, including:

  • Finding a home in NZ
  • Transferring a pension
  • Exchange rates
  • Setting up bank accounts
  • Transferring your belongings; as well as yourself!

This video shows some happy campers at the expo, explaining how the event has been of great benefit:

Secondly, there’s the Down Under Live Expo.

This happens three times a year across the UK. Again these events were just in February of 2017, but keep checking back with us for updates on the dates for the 2018 events.

This event is unique in that it offers a seminar programme (see their Facebook page for details and updates) with experienced speakers presenting in a friendly environment, along with question and answer sessions so you can discuss any concerns.

The show is backed by the top magazine for life downunder, “Australia & New Zealand Magazine”, meaning you can be confident that you’ll receive impartial and practical advice.

Again, there are experts providing a wealth of information on the immigration process, including property agents and recruiters.

That said, it’s worth going to one of these expos with questions and ideas already in your mind. What property size might you need? What industry would you like to work in? Which aspects of the move do you need advice in – will you need to transfer a pension?

Also, remember these events offer an opportunity to make an impression. Seeing as recruiters are there and looking for their next great asset, it’s important you have an up-to-date CV to provide them, along with an enthusiastic attitude!

If you make the most of what’s on offer at an expo then you can come away having considered and started planning all the aspects involved in moving to NZ. Trust me it is a worthwhile day, or two, out!

The Pros & Cons of The KiwiSaver Scheme

Let’s get straight down to business…First question, What is it?!

The KiwiSaver is a voluntary work-based savings initiative in New Zealand that helps residents to set up nicely for retirement.

There are several options within the scheme, all of which are designed to be a hassle-free solution to long-term saving:

  • Regular contributions from your employer – most members will accumulate savings through regular contributions coming from their pay. You can choose to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of your gross wage or salary to your KiwiSaver account. Your employer then has to contribute to this as well, with at least 3% of your gross salary.
  • Annual member tax credit – This is paid by the government and to receive the full member tax credit you must contribute at least $1,042.86 per year. This amount is currently set at $521 per year.

The Latest

The government also used to offer a $1000 “kick starter” for those new joining the system. The latest news here is that on 22nd May 2015 the Budget for 2015 was announced, the NZ government have said due to the great success of the Kiwi Saver Scheme (over 2.5 million people have signed up for it!) they no longer see reason to incentivise the scheme to new comers. Therefore the $1000 kick starter has been scrapped! The government provided this tax free contribution to get you off to a good start!

What you can use if for:

  • Deposit on your first home – You can withdraw money from your KiwiSaver account to purchase your first home if you’ve been a member for three or more years. (You cannot use this for an investment property though.)
  • Grant for your first home – You may be entitled to a grant for your first home or land if you’re planning to build. This is known as the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant which was rolled out on the 1st April this year. Read more about the necessary criteria for this here.
  • Save towards your retirement…ahem!

Who can apply?

For someone who has a temporary residency you may be thinking that these options won’t apply to you if you’re not necessarily staying in NZ long-term. However, they actually apply to all residents and NZ citizens as long as you meet the varying criteria for each option. If returning to your home country you can claim the money back after a year of being away from NZ. (This includes the kick starter if you signed up in time before they scrapped it!) You must also be under the age of eligibility which is currently 65 years.

How to Join:

You can join the KiwiSaver in the following ways:

  • Automatic enrolment when you begin a new job
  • Opting in through your employer
  • Going through a KiwiSaver provider

If you’re self-employed or unemployed, you can still join by contacting a KiwiSaver provider and arranging a regular contribution amount. Check out the IRD website for a list of KiwiSaver providers.

Or you could just keep your money under your bed?!
Or you could just keep your money under your bed?!

The Pros and Cons:

As you’ve already seen, the benefits of the KiwiSaver are plentiful: government grants combined with employer contributions offer a great way to help people set themselves up for the future and make their money go further. I mean…your employer is emptying there pockets further and helping you save!

Having regular contributions in place makes saving easy, and what’s more, if you move jobs then the KiwiSaver account moves with you. The account is also flexible in that you can take a ‘holiday’ from saving, or make lump sum payments. You can find more information about this here.

You may also be able to withdraw all or some of these savings early under certain circumstances, including if you’re buying your first home, emigrating or suffering financial hardship or serious illness.

So what about the disadvantages of this initiative?

Several concerns over the effects of the initiative have been raised. For instance, while this scheme undoubtedly offers people an effective method of saving, there’s evidence to suggest that this can be used as a substitute for other forms of saving. Interest rates are far lower than the saving accounts that are available in NZ and this fact should not be ignored. People may well see this option as satisfactory enough, and not think to manage their own finances to accommodate for the future.

The initiative is arguably quite rigid in its structure and doesn’t take into account people’s varying situations, and whether this is the best form of saving for their individual needs. It also detracts from more imaginative and advantageous forms of saving: for some the best choice might be repaying a mortgage, investing in a business or farm, or perhaps acquiring financial assets. (Not to mention the fact that some individuals may be better off not saving at all in that stage in their lives.)

You can’t dip in and out of your savings like you can with other accounts. If you’re using KiwiSaver for your retirement then you can’t touch your money until the age you get New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super) which is 65. If you’re between 60 and 64 years old when joining then you can’t touch your money for 5 years.

All said, it’s advisory that you look into the Kiwisaver options available to you and how you can use these to meet your future goals. You can easily track your balance online and don’t forget you can get all the money back if do decide you leave the country in the future. However it is also important not to dismiss other forms of saving (the interest rates are not great) that could provide you with additional benefits more suited to your individual needs.

The Perfect C.V Kiwi Style


When reaching out to potential employers in NZ you want to make sure you stand out as much as possible! You may also want to make them aware that you are in the country to stay and that you are actually psychically in NZ!

I am not going to point out how to draft up a C.V as I am sure you all know how (but if you want some formal tips check out the link at the bottom of this article), but I will point some key points that will stop your C.V being filed away in 3.2 seconds into the recycling bin!

Firstly you need to make sure your number is a New Zealand mobile or landline number! If they see a UK number or a number from another country they will be convinced you have not even touched ground here yet.

Secondly make sure your home address is local to the company’s location. No point giving them your UK address, ask a friend or relative in NZ or even the owner of the hotel /hostel that you are staying at if you can use there address as a point of contact. It is unlikely the employer you will check you actually live there but if they see an address from overseas they are likely to disregard your C.V straight away!

State in your personal statement or covering letter what type of visa you are on. Make sure this is very clear and make them aware of your long term intentions of staying in NZ and why you are here. The amount of phone calls I have had from recruiters asking what type of visa I am on is endless! I learnt quickly to put this information in both the personal statement and the covering letter. It is usually in the second sentence so it doesn’t get skipped!

When stating your qualification’s put them in a format that makes sense to them. For example I got asked numerous times what GCSE’s were, I ended up editing my C.V to state I completed “high school” followed by the grades.

Also depending on the type of job (maybe avoid this if you are going for a corporate role) consider putting your picture somewhere on the C.V. This may not be typical C.V practice but tell me someone who doesn’t judge a book by its cover?!

And lastly (again less corporate roles here!) don’t be afraid to inject some humour into your Covering Letter, C.V and even in the interview stage. Kiwi’s are the friendliest bunch of people you will ever meet, they work hard and play harder and love a bit of banter. Maybe don’t greet the interviewee with “ What’s up bro” and/ or  start your letter wit h“Hey cuz” but do complement them on their lovely country by maybe expressing why you have moved here, do show them your humorous side and I guarantee you they will love the energy you could potentially bring to their team!

For more formal tips of C.V and Covering Letter styles check out the Seek website for tips below.

And if you need more help finding that perfect job jump over to article about where to start your search for that ideal job here!

Working Life in New Zealand

The New Zealand job market is expanding, which is great news if you’re hoping to live and work in this glorious part of the world! The NZ government are actively encouraging skilled person’s to come here and contribute to the society and economy of the country.

This means that you’ll be able to develop your career while enjoying the fruits of NZ. Before you arrive, though, it’s fundamental that you look into the desired skills list and also if you’re qualifications are accepted here. To read more about this, check out our article on Finding A Job.

Work-Life Balance

So once you’ve discovered you can indeed pursue your dream job in NZ, (you may even have it lined up for when you arrive) you may be wondering how working life will differ from what you’re used to. Well, be prepared for a surprise!

But don’t worry, it’s a pleasant surprise. If you’re coming from the UK and have become accustomed to ‘the rat race’ then you may find the pace in NZ a bit of a culture shock, as the common working environment here is considerably more lax than a lot of places! It’s still professional, yet very friendly and informal.

You’re likely to find that your lunchtimes are spent together out in the sunshine, and a day’s work isn’t complete without a quick detour to a city bar before heading home. You’ll also notice that work relationships flourish quickly, which is largely down to this enjoyable environment.

This can also be attributed to people’s more relaxed attitude in NZ. Many management styles are informal, with management and middle management being friendly and immersed in the team. If you embrace this, you’ll even find that your colleagues become more like a second family to you, with lots of social activities occurring out of work. We also have a few suggestions on how to settle into life outside of work which you can read here.

All said, you’ll quickly understand what people mean when they say that New Zealand provides the best work-life balance. The ethos out here is that life is for living, and employers whole-heartedly understand this and implement it in the workplace.

Lunch time Kayak?
Lunch time Kayak?

Salary & Taxes

When it comes to salaries, it’s a lot like the UK in the sense that salaries for the same roles can vary hugely between employers. In which case, you are the best judge to determine what your salary should look like based on your skill set and living costs. Having this in mind will help you filter prospective jobs, and find the right organisation for your needs.

Again, like the UK, all employees are liable to pay income tax in NZ. You do have the option to start a job without initially paying any, but this isn’t recommended as you’ll end up being taxed later on at a much higher rate to accommodate this. Before starting your job, it’s also important to check how much tax you’ll be required to pay, so that you can factor this into your budget and living costs. These links to income statistics will help you ascertain this:

In order to pay tax you’ll need an IRD number which is free and easy to obtain – usually taking only take a few weeks. You will need to fill in an application form called an IR595, available to download on the Inland Revenue website:

Be warned – if you don’t have this number then you will get taxed at a very high rate!

Tax from your income applies to your first dollar earned, and income tax is deducted at the following rate with the respective salaries/wages:

Taxable income Income tax rates for every
$1 of taxable income
(excl ACC earners’ levy)
PAYE rates for every
$1 of taxable income
(incl ACC earners’ levy – see “Note 1” below)
up to $14,000 10.5 cents 12.20 cents
from $14,001 to $48,000 17.5 cents 19.20 cents
from $48,001 to $70,000 30 cents 31.70 cents
$70,001 and over 33 cents 34.70 cents
No-notification – see “Note 2 below” 45 cents 46.70 cents

The only other thing that will be taken out of your salary is a small fee for the ACC (accident compensation injury insurance scheme) For more information about what this is check out my article here.

Employees Rights in New Zealand

For any job you do, you will have the basic employment rights set by the Kiwi government. These rights can differ largely from those of your home country; therefore it’s worth exploring these details online before travelling to NZ:

These rights are consistent for every employee in the country, so when you start your new job, make sure your employer is acting in accordance with the law.

Public Holidays in New Zealand

The following dates are the annual public holidays in New Zealand:

1st January – New Years Day.

2nd January – Day after the New Year’s Day.

6th February – Waitangi Day.

Good Friday.

Easter (Monday).

25th April – ANZAC day.

1st Monday of June – Queen’s Birthday.

4th Monday of October – Labour Day.

25th December – Christmas.

26th December – Boxing Day.

If any of the above holidays occur on the weekend then the following Monday is given off – happy days! Under the holidays Act 2003, all employees in New Zealand are eligible for a minimum of 4 weeks of paid holidays.

Taking everything into consideration, it’s safe to say that you can anticipate a healthy work-life balance in NZ. Enjoy!

Paying Student Loans Abroad

Ever wondered that if you lived in another country  would you have to pay your student loan back whilst earning in another country? We did!

Our research lead us to discover a massive misconception that if you are abroad you don’t have to repay your student loan and eventually your loan will be cleared. Sounds perfect, but that is incorrect, here’s the deal;

If you are living overseas for 3 months or more you are required to inform the Student Loans company, they will give you a “Self Assessment Form” to fill out, from what you put down on the form (so personal circumstances, income) they will decide how much of the loan you will need to pay off each month you will then pay it direct to them via direct debit. (So it is advisable to keep a UK bank account open for this) Evidence of your income will also be required, payslips would be sufficient.

The repayment schedule will be fixed over a 12 month period so do make sure if you income level drops for what ever reason that you tell them so they can reassess the payment amounts.

Just like in the UK, the Student Loans Company have a repayment threshold, earn over a certain amount and you start paying the loan back. For the UK currently it is earn over £16,910 and you start paying 9% of the loan back. For New Zealand the threshold is currently set at £20,290 which with the current exchange rate is just over $40,000 NZD. So if you are earning over this amount do make sure you contact them!

Apparently this amount reflects on the current economical climate of New Zealand, based on the externally published World Bank data that measures the cost of living in each country. For more detailed information on the World Bank Data click here. (Be warned it may send you to sleep!)

A scare mongering tactic from the student loan company is used in numerous ways! They say if you do not repay your loan or correctly tell them your income when you have moved abroad then you will get default payments of £295.20 (For NZ) billed to you each month! Or fines of £150 for failing to tell them or even asked (worst case scenario) to repay the entirety of you loan back!

It would also be naive to think, “Ah if I don’t tell them they won’t know” As it is likely your employer has told the HMRC that you are moving abroad (that’s if you employer knows?) when they submitted your P45!

Ah, well at least there is only 24 more years to go until our loan is written off completely!

For more information of click here! For ease the overseas assessment form to complete is here!


Finding a Job New Zealand

gizz job 2

If working in New Zealand is going to be part of your trip, then it’s really beneficial to start looking into potential jobs before you go.

You can even go through the interview process remotely from home and secure yourself a position before you get there, which will be a huge weight off your mind! Alternatively, it’s a good idea to have some interviews lined up for when you arrive, so you can start working as soon as possible.

Job Market in New Zealand

New Zealand has a growing economy with many opportunities for those looking to build a career here, or those just wanting to fund travels. If you want to learn a little more about what it’s like to work in NZ, taking into account tax systems, employee’s rights and the working environment, then check out my article here.

There is still a huge demand for skilled workers in many job sectors, and an existing ‘skills shortage list’ of industries where work is readily available. This list may be subject to change though, so it’s worth regularly checking for the most up-to-date version.

It’s also advisable to check in advance if your qualifications hold the same value in NZ. When registering with a professional body, often individuals find that they need to complete further study or training before they can get a relevant job in their profession. By knowing beforehand what may be required, you can start looking into possible routes as well as how you can fund this process. For more information check out government website here.

Speaking of financial considerations, it’s also recommended that you check what fees may be applicable when registering yourself with a professional body. This cost can vary from job to job, but can, again, be researched so you can explore funding options.

Job Hunting Process in New Zealand:

As mentioned before, being proactive and job hunting ahead of your trip to NZ will give you a much better chance of securing a job quickly. The best thing to do is register online at the New Zealand’s main job sites, such as New Kiwis and Seek. These websites are very useful resources, allowing you to shortlist jobs, upload your CV, and receive step-by-step guidance on how to get the right job and build your professional career in NZ.

By providing your CV you maximise your chances of finding a position, as employers can investigate your skills and contact you themselves through this site. Before uploading your CV though, make sure the style is consistent with that used in NZ. For tips on this check out our article on how to make your C.V NZ relevant here! We have made a list of the most popular job websites to sign up to, to check out our blog post on this click here! 

If you are not successful in securing a job before setting off on your trip, then don’t worry – just make visiting recruitment agencies a priority upon your arrival. But don’t forget to take job references from previous employers with you, as this can be really pivotal for a successful job application in NZ!

Good Luck!


Job Hunting – Useful Websites

We have created a nifty little list to get you started on your job hunt! It starts with the most popular websites through to recruitment agency’s that can help you land that dream role. Don’t forget to check out our article on how to create the perfect C.V kiwi style!

Happy Hunting!


A good place to Start:
A job vacancy site where job seekers can set up a profile and online CV.

An extensive list of job vacancies from employers across New Zealand and Australia. Also provides an email notification service and career development resources and training information. Very simular to the Jobsite website in the UK.

Trade Me Jobs
Trade Me Jobs is New Zealand’s most visited jobs site, and provides a wide range of vacancies.

Work and Income job search database
A large selection of current New Zealand job vacancies and general advice.

Aimed at connecting job seekers with recruiters. Job seekers can create profiles for viewing, and recruiters can list job vacancies.

If you are a graduate:

A website that helps graduates to find jobs in Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand self-promotion websites (If Linkedin is not enough!)

Green Sky
A website that allows you to promote yourself to employers by creating an online profile describing yourself and your skills.

I’m Looking
An online community that allows employers to connect with job seekers.

A site that matches job seekers’ skills with current vacancies in a wide range of fields.

An online open job market where people list jobs they need doing, and registered users submit a price for doing the work. Really good whilst you are looking for some more permanent but just need a bit of cash in your pocket.

If you are in New Zealand on a Working Holiday:
Search for seasonal job vacancies across the country, in many industries.
A job vacancy site listing a range of short-term work across New Zealand, mainly in hospitality, agriculture and horticulture.

Directed at new migrants:

Working in New Zealand
Find information on employers and recruitment agencies relevant to the occupation and industry you want to work in.

New Kiwis
A site that links New Zealand employers with skilled migrants who are eligible to work, and currently live or intend to live, in New Zealand.

Workhere New Zealand
Workhere New Zealand connects skilled migrants and expat Kiwis from around the world to New Zealand-based companies with jobs in demand.

Recruitment Agencies (there’s many!):

Able Personnel
A Hawke’s Bay general recruitment agency.

Fanselow Bell
A Nelson-based human resources company that helps people find work in Nelson and surrounding areas.

GBL Personnel
A Wellington recruitment agency that specialises in placing people in permanent, temporary and contract positions in the Wellington region.

A recruitment agency that allows you to search for current vacancies by region.

Advanced Personnel
A recruitment agency that places people across a range of industries, including engineering, roading, stores/warehousing, and building and construction.

Beyond Recruitment
A recruitment agency specialising in IT, accounting, marketing, communications, telecommunications, engineering and government positions.

Enterprise Recruitment
Enterprise Recruitment is a New Zealand recruitment and human resources agency, servicing all industry sectors

A recruitment firm focussing on providing HR and Recruitment services to South Island-based technically orientated companies

Frog Recruitment
Browse jobs available through this agency including Accounting, IT, human resources, and sales.

A recruitment agency operating over a range of industries, including business, IT, and sales.

Browse temporary, part-time, and permanent jobs on offer through this agency.

Kinetic Recruitment
Browse temporary, part-time, and permanent jobs on offer through this agency.

Lawson Williams Consulting Group
A recruitment agency with vacancies in a range of industries.

Martin Personnel
A recruitment agency website with current vacancies in a wide range of industries.

A recruitment agency with 10 specialist areas, including communications, finance, and bicultural employment.

A recruitment agency that lets you search for current vacancies in the main centres of New Zealand. Also provides an email address for sending CVs to the agency.

Salt is a recruitment agency that provides flexible and permanent positions from entry level to management.

Alpha Recruitment
A recruitment agency specialising in executive roles.

Connex Recruitment
A recruitment company based in Auckland, specialising in administration staff, sales, finance, customer service, and other related roles.

Greenlight Recruitment
A Christchurch-based job vacancy and recruitment agency that specialises in sales; accounting and finance; office and administration; and insurance.

Parker Bridge
A recruitment agency specialising in professional roles.

Rice Consulting
A recruitment agency that specialises in finding staff for other businesses in the recruitment industry.

A recruitment agency specialising in accounting, finance, marketing, sales, human resources, production/technical and general management vacancies.

The Ultimate Recruitment Company
A company that recruits for sales and marketing, support, operations and management roles across a range of industries.

Wheeler Campbell
A recruitment agency that specialises in providing recruitment and human resource advice to organisations throughout New Zealand.

Wholeoranges Consulting
A company that recruits staff for executive, managerial and administrative business services support positions.


Education Personnel
A recruitment agency specialising in education vacancies.

NZ Education Gazette
Has an extensive list of teaching vacancies.

Oasis Education Ltd
A Ministry of Education-accredited teacher employment agency, useful for teachers seeking employment in New Zealand (especially Auckland), and schools looking for a teacher (relief or full time).

Engineering, construction, transport, manufacturing and logistics

Agoge Recruitment
A recruitment agency specialising in transport, logistics, infrastructure, and manufacturing industries across New Zealand.

Agoge RecruitmentA recruitment agency specialising in transport, logistics, infrastructure, and manufacturing industries across New Zealand.

AWF Group
New Zealand-wide suppliers of temporary staff to industry.
A job vacancy site with a variety of roles for people wanting to work with buses.

Campbell and Partners
An agency specialising in automotive and heavy automotive recruitment for sales, parts and service-related jobs.

Career Engineer
A recruitment agency specialising in engineering and technical vacancies.

CRS Recruit
A recruitment agency that specialises in engineering vacancies in Auckland.

Dare Contract Services
A company that specialises in recruitment of engineers in the oil and gas, mining and infrastructure industries.

Engineer Network Group
A recruitment company that advertises engineering jobs in New Zealand, and also in Australia, Africa, and other countries.

Greenlight Recruitment
A Christchurch-based job vacancy and recruitment agency that specialises in logistics.

Inspirec is a consultancy specialising in the recruitment of oil and gas, engineering, and energy professionals throughout Australasia.

IPENZ Job Hunt
The Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) website provides a list of job vacancies in engineering.

JOBsmith specialises in technical and trade recruitment.

Refocus Recruitment
A recruitment agency that finds jobs for engineers, technical staff, and tradespeople.

Rob Law Max Recruitment
A recruitment agency that specialises in engineering, technical and infrastructure positions throughout New Zealand.

Solutions Personnel
A recruitment agency focussing on the warehousing, transportation and warehousing industries.

Tandr Recruitment
A recruitment agency specialising in engineering, construction, and infrastructure jobs.

Technical Recruitment Solutions
A recruitment agency that specialises in engineering vacancies.

Supplies temporary and permanent workers to the trade sector.

Government, law and safety:

Job vacancies and advice on careers in local government in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Government’s job vacancy website.

The Johnson Group
A specialist recruitment agency for policy analysts, policy managers and other government professionals.

Health and community

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists
A searchable database of senior medical and dental vacancies in New Zealand.

Au Pair Link New Zealand
An agency specialising in the placement of au pairs in New Zealand and overseas.

Castle Recruitment 
Castle Recruitment specialise in recruiting healthcare professionals for temporary and permanent employment for hospitals, rest homes, retirement villages and private care facilities.

Register for jobs in childcare, pet care, home tuition, house-sitting, gardening and elderly care.

Do Good Jobs
A website that lists jobs in the not-for-profit, charity and community sectors.

A recruitment company for voluntary groups, charities, and not-for-profit organisations.

A site that lists job vacancies in the New Zealand health and fitness, sport and recreation, and spa and beauty industries.

Frontline Health New Zealand
A job vacancy website specialising in health jobs.

Geneva Health
A recruitment service that lists health jobs in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the Middle East.

Recruitment website that lists public and private health care vacancies. Allows you to sign up for job alerts.

Health ProfessionalNZ
A recruitment agency specialising in health jobs.

Search for jobs in the health care sector.

Kiwi Health Jobs
Search and apply for jobs in the public health sector. Candidates can deal directly with employers.

KiwiOz Nannies
A company that fills childcare vacancies in Auckland.

Kiwis STAT
A medical recruitment company for locum doctors and allied health professionals, offering short and long-term placements in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

Lanz Recruitment
A New Zealand recruitment agency specialising in the placement of health professionals.

Life Recruitment
A recruitment agency for nurses, qualified social workers, locum doctors, home care and community support workers.

Medacs Healthcare
A recruitment agency specialising in health sector jobs.

A free recruitment service from a not-for-profit medical recruitment organisation. It specialises in general practitioner (GP), and nurse practitioner vacancies in rural towns.

Psych Recruitment Ltd
A specialist recruitment agency focusing on employment opportunities in psychology, corrections and mental health.

Hospitality, tourism, recreation and retail

Adventure Jobs New Zealand
Employment vacancy listings for the adventure tourism and outdoor industry.

Frontline Retail New Zealand 
A job vacancy website that lists retail jobs.

Search hospitality job vacancies.

A website that advertises hospitality vacancies from around New Zealand.

Hospoworld Resourcing
Recruitment agency website that lists hospitality and tourism vacancies.

Restaurant Association New Zealand
Browse food service and hospitality jobs.

Information technology and telecommunications

Candle New Zealand
A recruitment agency site specialising in the information technology and communications industry.

A contract and permanent recruitment consultancy working with IT and telecommunications professionals.

An online technology community with an extensive job listing section.

Pinnacle Recruitment
An organisation providing a list of vacancies in the information technology and technical electronics sector.

Find jobs in the information technology sector.

Searchworks Ltd
A recruitment agency specialising in IT and software engineering jobs.

And if all else fails you could grab a bottle of squirty soapy water and a window cleaner and stand at the traffic lights washing peoples window screens!