Useful information about New Zealand
The official languages of New Zealand are Māori and English. English is the dominant language spoken.
New Zealand Time Zone (UTC+12:00)
The New Zealand Dollar (NZD) with denominations of Coins: 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2 and Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Goods and services tax (GST) is a tax on most goods and services in New Zealand, most imported goods, and certain imported services. GST is added to the price of taxable goods and services at a rate of 15%.
The electricity supply in New Zealand is 230/240V and 50 Hz. Plugs have 2 flat pins in an upside down V shape. Earthed plugs have 3 flat pins.
In an emergency dial 111 for Fire, Police and Ambulance.
The international dialling code for New Zealand is +64
Regional dialling codes:
09 – Auckland
03 – Christchurch/South Island
04 – Wellington
06 – Lower North Island
07 – Upper North Island
Tipping is not customary in New Zealand and is at your discretion.
In the summer months (Dec – Mar) temperatures average around 24C but does vary a lot between the North and South Islands. In the summer a t-shirt, shorts and jandels (aka flip flops) are fine.
In the winter months (Jul – Aug) temperatures dip to around 15C in the North Island but can get as low as -5C on the South Island. In winter you would normally require 2-3 clothing layers plus a waterproof layer.
No vaccinations are required before entering New Zealand
Always take out comprehensive travel insurance before leaving home. Most emergency treatment is covered by the accident compensation scheme (ACC). Some countries have reciprocal health care agreements with New Zealand which means if eligible you can receive free hospital treatment.
You can check eligibility here: www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/eligibility-publicly-funded-health-services/reciprocal-health-agreements
Customs and Quarantine
New Zealand relies heavily on its worldwide trade in agricultural products and so has to make sure that any pests and diseases that could threaten the agricultural and horticultural industries are kept out of the country. For that reason New Zealand has very strict biosecurity regulations and there are severe penalties for anyone who breaks the rules.
People failing to declare biosecurity risk goods can receive an instant fine of $400, be fined up to $100,000 and/or face up to five years in prison.
See the New Zealand Customs site for further information on what to declare on arrival.
There are a number of major banks in New Zealand:
All will accept international cash cards in their machines and allow you to exchange foreign currency or traveller’s cheques. If you are staying for a year then it is worth opening a New Zealand bank account. This will give you access to an EFTPOS card which is the card payment method available across New Zealand.
To open a bank account in New Zealand you will need identification. Usually your passport and evidence of where you are staying are a minimum requirement. Some banks also have an initial amount of money you must place in an account to open it. You can also open some accounts whilst still at home so it’s worth checking out their websites for more details. The majority of employers will want to pay directly into an NZ bank account so you will need to open one if you are heading to NZ on a Working Holiday Visa.
In order to open a bank account you need to have a permanent address within New Zealand.
New Zealand has many mobile phone networks all of which offer 3G (fast data) and now most offer 4G (super fast data). Internet can be expensive in New Zealand although it is getting cheaper. Most mobile phone companies allow you to bolt on data packs which you can then use your phone as a portable hotspot or just browse on your phone. You can get some great deals by buying prepay combo which offer you talk time, texts and data all for one low price.
In order to work and to get taxed properly in New Zealand, you need to obtain a tax number from the New Zealand Government. You can apply for this when you arrive in NZ. Don’t worry, it isn’t as hard as it sounds:
- Download the Tax Number Application Form (IR595) from the Inland Revenue website (www.ird.govt.nz). Or you can pick up the form from the Post Shop.
- Complete the application form. Please note: you need to have a permanent address in New Zealand to get a tax number. If you don’t have one already, you can usually put down the hostel that you are staying at, but check with the manager first if this is okay.
- You need photocopies of 2 supporting documents such as your passport and international drivers license – see the form for a list of suitable documents.
- Now take the completed form and photocopies of your supporting documents to a New Zealand Post Shop.
- Your IRD number confirmation will be sent to the postal address you supplied in about 2 weeks. Alternatively you can ring up to obtain your number (a free phone number will be on the receipt that you get once you have applied from the Post Shop). You can then give this to your employer when you start working. For more info on income tax see the NZ Inland Revenue website.