I get this question a lot too, especially from my Filipino friends in Singapore and anyone wanting to make a jump to the OFW life. It’s a bit tough to break it down, but ill try to be as comprehensive as possible.
As of posting, 1 SGD = 1.08 NZD
Cost of Living
This numbeo chart is a pretty accurate representation of COL
Tldr: New Zealand has cheaper rent & cars (WAY cheaper) but more expensive public transport and food/groceries.
By default, Singapore has a lot more jobs available since it is an APAC (Asia + Au/NZ) regional hub for the big corporations. However if farming or construction (huge shortage of surveyors and project managers here!) is your path then definitely New Zealand has more opportunities.
Pay & Taxes
A number of people who move from Singapore would get a bit of a paycut in Auckland due to varying income tax rates.
SG – Foreign employees in Singapore on a work permit annually pay a variable tax based on how much they have earned (starts at 2% on the first S$30,000). Once you become a resident, a ~22% is deducted on your monthly salary as a part of the CPF (mandatory social security savings scheme). Employers are also required to match this so you roughly get to save up 40%+ of your pay by only paying half.
NZ – New Zealand’s top personal tax rate is 33% for income over NZ$70,000/year. At the other end of the scale, the tax rate is 10.5% on income up to $14,000. In terms of social security, they have the KiwiSaver which is a voluntary, work-based savings initiative with a range of membership benefits.
SG – sunny and sunnier, rainy and rainier. Humid as. Save for the yearly smoke from Indonesia, it’s pretty much a disaster-free country.
NZ (Auckland specifically)- 4 seasons, but not to the extremes. Coldest days at -2C, and warmest would be around 30C in the summer. Earthquakes rarely ever happen compared to some places in the South Island.
SG – one of the best public transport systems. This is because of the price of cars are almost unaffordable by the average citizen and they limit the ownership too.
NZ – downgrade on public transport compared to SG, but almost everyone owns a vehicle anyway.
SG – For the most part, it’s NOT free. Singapore’s healthcare system uses a mixed financing system that includes nationalised life insurance schemes and deductions from the compulsory savings plan, or the CPF, for working Singaporeans and permanent residents.
NZ – If youre a resident/citizen/on a 2-year work visa, public healthcare is free (yay). But for GP, cosmetic, dental and similar visits, nope.
Both cities have highly expensive housing ($1m)
SG – Save for the Crazy Rich Asians, a condominium/HDB (Singapore’s ‘more affordable’ housing version) apartment is the only way to home ownership.
NZ – The Labour party has recently introduced the Kiwibuild, a real estate development scheme which began in 2018. It has the aim of building 100,000 homes by 2028 to increase housing affordability in New Zealand.
Here’s the catch: landed Kiwibuild properties are in a bit further areas of Auckland so unless you wanna live an hour from the CBD, your only options are a condominium (nobody wants a condo here tbh haha), or a 60+ish year-old resale home. Not only theyre expensive, but you’ll also be competing with 20 other families on that house you want.
Due to Auckland’s housing crisis, NZ has recently banned future foreign ownership of houses. They’re only accepting buyers if you’re a citizen of the ff countries: Australia, Singapore.
SG – an arbitrary(ish) type of decision-making process from the ICA. I moved to Singapore on a work visa in 2013 and have never attempted to apply for Permanent Residency because I personally know only 2 Filipinos who had them, and they both applied in the 2000’s. The rest got rejection letters.
NZ – Australian citizens are considered permanent residents and same goes for New Zealanders who want to move to Australia. Otherwise, it’s a black-and-white system. If you meet their required point criteria based on your credentials, you are likely to get residency. There are other means to apply for it too, look it up if your partner/spouse is a resident/citizen.
SG – wins by a mile being a huge international hub for business and tourism. You can get direct flights to 95% of the major cities in the world and the occasional little areas. There is a reason why they have the best airline and best airport (Changi for 39218312 consecutive years!)
NZ – getting to the nearest country is at least a 4-hour flight. Going to Europe would take at least 22 hours. Although flying to the West Coast in the US is *just* a 12-hour plane ride away, which i dont think is *that* bad
Singapore is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. The country thrives on global trade and tertiary education, and is a financial hub alongside New York, London, and Hong Kong. If you’re working towards that high-powered career that makes you earn ~da big buckz~ (specially in the finance/tech/logistics sector) this is definitely the place to be. I have a sibling who decided to stay there for the long haul (a permanent residency he got in 2007, an established IT career, a family, a side business, and a house), and it has worked rather well for him. Bonus if you’re Filipino: Manila/Cebu/Clark is just a 3-hour plane ride away! Lots and lots of traveling opportunities await!
If you want a simple, laid-back lifestyle, then NZ it is. There’s a word others use to describe NZ, and that is “chill”. Because they are exactly that. Hours spent at your workplace are definitely shorter since work-life balance is one of their huge advocacies as a society. 20 days of mandated annual leaves too (not the best, but better than some). This is also why NZ has always been on the upper tier of the Global Social Progress list along with the Scandinavian nations. People are a lot friendlier too so expect conversations even with complete strangers. Bonus part: it’s one of the most beautiful countries one will ever live in with all that scenic and nature goodness.