A couple who moved to New Zealand from England has unleashed on the country’s “terrible” public transport and unfriendly Kiwi “cliques” as reasons for moving back home to the UK.
Marie Edge and Tim Griffiths moved to Auckland in 2014 where they hoped to grow a family together. However, according to a post on a Facebook page where expats in New Zealand offer each other advice and support, the pair said “abnormal” rental costs made life difficult.
Speaking to New Zealand’s Stuff website, Mr Griffiths — who works in construction — said they were forced to move back to the motherland after forking out on expensive housing and living with a “disjointed” public transport system.
“When we first saw what the rent was we just couldn’t believe it. We had to significantly lower our expectations of housing quality,” he said of the popular city, which is one of the biggest tourism hubs in New Zealand.
“The bus network is so disjointed, it’s just not feasible to spend an hour-and-a-half to get around town,” Mrs Edge added.
“In Auckland, you need a car if you want to get around. But then when you do drive you’re just stuck in traffic for hours.”
In response to the post, another Facebook user in the group agreed with the couple — saying they were unable to break through any friendship groups in Auckland.
“It was hard to make friends. The cliques are so hard to break into — it just wasn’t a friendly place,” one person wrote.
“I’ve been here for 10 years and still want to go home. But my family are here now so I’m stuck.
“The rental houses are crap mostly, but if you expect everything to be like the UK you’ll never be happy,” another commenter added.
“They don’t build good quality houses — they get mouldy — but it’s so expensive to live there,” he said.
”One of the worst parts was that I was working in construction building houses around Auckland, and the quality was just awful.”
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It is understood the pair originally moved to Auckland in 2014 when Mr Griffiths was offered a job and visa sponsorship. However, shortly after living and working in New Zealand, the company folded and he was forced to move back to the UK where he tried to find another job in Auckland.
In 2018, Mr Griffiths received a new offer and relocated back to Auckland where he said they really struggled.
“I remember it was Christmas time … we were living in a three-bedroom with one heater, no airconditioning, and there was mould everywhere, and most of my income went into rent,” he said.
“In the end, we struggled so much we had leave.”
Mr Griffiths said he was now in debt after moving back to the UK, having had to pay back $40,000 for breaking his contract with the company.
“We have no money left from the sale of our house and no savings,” he said.
“But choosing to leave Auckland with debts and no job was still cheaper than staying in Auckland without those debts, with a job.
“We loved New Zealand and we’d love to go back.
“It’s a great place to raise kids, but it’s just so unaffordable.
”You’d really need to make about $150,000 to live comfortably in Auckland, but the wage doesn’t reflect that at all.”
According to Budget Direct, the cost of living in a city like Sydney far outweighs that of Auckland in New Zealand.
A one-way transport ticket in Sydney sits around $4.20 on average, while in Auckland you’ll pay around $3.75.
Rent in the city centre sits around $2730 per month on average in Sydney, while in Auckland you’ll be more likely to pay around $1800 per month.
Food and alcohol, however, is a slightly better playing field in comparison.
In Sydney, you’re looking at spending around $41.50 for a couple to dine at an inexpensive restaurant, while it’ll cost you just less than that in Auckland.
A coffee, however, is likely to cost you a smidgen more over the ditch, setting caffeine lovers back around $4.72 for a regular cappuccino, while in Sydney you’re likely to pay less than $4.20.
In 2018, a record 3.82 million visitors stepped onto New Zealand shores in the March 2018 year, Stats NZ said.
Auckland airport had the majority (71 per cent), with 2.72 million arrivals, up 189,700 from the March 2017 year.