New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria and the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films.
Population: 4.471 million (2013) World Bank
Currency: New Zealand dollar
Official languages: Māori, New Zealand Sign Language
Facts about New Zealand:
- Compared to the UK, with a top rate of tax of 60%, New Zealand has one of the lowest personal tax rates in the world. Average income earners, which account for 70% of tax-payers enjoy a top tax rate of just 17.5%.
- GST is set to be 15%, compared to a new 20% VAT rate in the UK.
- New Zealand has no capital gains tax and no inheritance tax.
- Much of New Zealand enjoys a largely sub-tropical climate.
- Being 10% larger than the UK, but with only 4.2 million people, New Zealand has plenty of space, making land much cheaper.
- It is estimated that 25% of people living in Auckland – the ‘City of Sails’ – own a boat.
- New Zealand’s recession was not as severe as that in the UK and is recovering well with demand for skilled labour still fairly buoyant.
- New Zealand is a perfect country for children to grow up in, where they can choose from a multitude of sporting activities: kayaking, hiking, skiing, bungy jumping, white water rafting, swimming, surfing, fishing and camping, to name but a few.
- The standard of living is comparable to the UK, but many things cost less such as petrol, which costs half that in the UK. Eating out is also much cheaper.