Does your money go further in England or NZ?

Famous for the royal family, historic landmarks and football, how does England – a country of 56 million – compare on prices to little New Zealand, home to 5 million. We take a look at some of the cost of living differences to see how far the British pound goes compared to the dollars in a Kiwi wallet.

While the United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, some costs – such as University fees – vary between the four countries, so we have chosen England as the place to compare against.

Where Kiwis do better

Tertiary education

Heading to university? In England the government caps the price per year at £9250 ($19,448) for an undergraduate degree.

Over a three-year bachelor’s degree, that’s £27,750 or a whopping $58,230.

In New Zealand, course fees are much lower than in England, ranging between $6000 and $10,000 per year. Currently, New Zealand first-time tertiary learners are also granted their first-year of study free.

Because courses in New Zealand vary in price, let’s compare a three-year bachelor of commerce to England. Looking at the main universities across the country, the average price per year for a commerce degree is just over $7000, over a three-year bachelor’s degree, that’s $14,528 with their first-year fees free. Universities also add a student levy fee, which differs per university. This amounts excludes that fee.

Turns out that gaining a higher education is much more affordable in New Zealand.

University cost in England compared to New Zealand (Source: 1News)

Live television

In the UK there are many different TV channels, some free and some paid for. But in either case, you need to purchase a TV license to view satellite TV or enjoy the BBC’s streaming service. The fee funds programs made by the BBC and it’ll cost you £169.50 ($356) per year.

Since 1999 New Zealand households haven’t paid for a TV license, but back then it was $110 per year. Now the government invests money into some local programming through NZ On Air but most programming is funded by advertising.

Eating out

Don’t feel like cooking? Let’s order out. A popular burger chain in England called Honest Burger costs £15.60 ($32.76) for a cheeseburger with bacon and a side of fries.

Compare this to Burger Fuel in New Zealand, where you’ll pay $23 for a similar burger and fries.

Tucking into your burger costs 30% more in England.

That’s the good news for Kiwi consumers, but now let’s take a look at some of the areas where you have to spend less to get by in England.

Where you’re better off in England

When it comes to buying your own home, the UK has a much lower average house price of £291,699 ($612,810), which might be a hard pill to swallow when compared to the average house price in New Zealand, which is just shy of $1 million ($925,812 to be precise).

In England, it’s nearly 34% more affordable to get the keys to a new home than in New Zealand.

The average price of a house in England compared to New Zealand. (Source: 1News)

Doctor appointments

In the UK, the National Service (NHS) is publicly funded and appointments with your GP are free.

In New Zealand, GP practices are privately owned but visits to doctors are subsidized by the government. The appointment fee depends on where you live and how old you are. Prices can range widely, reaching up to $88 for an adult, but the average across New Zealand is just shy of $38 dollars.

Getting on top of your health in England is much more economical than in New Zealand.


Let’s visit the supermarket. We compared food items at Woolworths in New Zealand to the UK’s Tesco. In England, your shop will cost you £27.42 ($57.58), but in New Zealand for the equivalent bag of groceries, you’ll be charged $85.07.

You’ll get more for your dollar in England, where groceries are 32% cheaper. This could be because most groceries don’t have VAT or GST on them and England boasts many different supermarket chains making prices more competitive.

So there you have it, there are many different perks to living in both countries. But if you’re in England you’re better off with free doctor appointments, filling up your pantry is a lot easier on the wallet, and with a lower average house price, it’s more achievable to make a start on the property ladder. But in New Zealand you’re better off when it comes to attending university, curling up to watch TV and eating out.

This information provides a snapshot as there are many variables in cross-country comparisons. It was collected through averages and converted in April 2024. The conversion rate was $1 equal to £2.10.

Tomorrow, in the second part of this series, we compare prices in New Zealand with costs in the United States.

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