New Zealand offers Brits best quality of life

October 10, 2008

New Zealand has been voted the best place for Brits to live abroad, according to a new poll. New Zealand is the closest the UK gets to having a polar opposite. Yet it keeps topping polls as most desirable destination. Last month, it was the turn of Conde Nast Traveller readers. This month, the Alliance & Leicester has crunched the numbers combining quality of life with cost of living – but the result is the same, with New Zealand ahead of Italy and Australia. It was seen to be the best place for both the cost of living and the quality of life with average property prices at just over £105,000 and low costs for food, drink and fuel. The UK, which was included in a list of 14 destinations which are favourites with ex-pats, only came eighth on the list compiled by Alliance & Leicester. The score was made by combining the cost of living with the quality of life. Alliance & Leicester International acting managing director Simon Ripton said: "Costs and quality of life are often not the primary reason that many UK citizens decide to move abroad, particularly if work takes them to another country." "However these are certainly important factors once they are in their new home. New Zealand does on average appear to offer a high quality of life at a reasonable cost - attributes that many people value in their country of residence." Top destinations: 1. New Zealand2. Italy3. Australia4. Portugal5. Dubai6. Spain7. South Africa8. UK9. Florida10. Singapore11. Canada12. France13. Hong Kong14. New York. "New Zealand is like Britain, but with better scenery and weather, and it's got the best wine in the world," says Lyn Hughes, editor-in-chief of Wanderlust magazine. But many nations can claim ascendancy over the UK in terms of countryside, climate and cabernet. New Zealand's supremacy is a result of several other factors says journalist, Simon Calder. First, the people have an open, accepting attitude. When I am travelling through New Zealand with nowhere to stay on a particular night, the solution is simple: start hitch-hiking. From experience I know that I will be picked up by people who will, without a second thought, invite me to stay at their home. Next, New Zealand benefits from a sense of space and serenity that few spots in Western Europe can match: it has one-20th of the population of the UK in a nation of about the same size. And, like Britain, it has diversity of landscapes and peoples: Auckland, the largest city, has become deliciously cosmopolitan, while the capital, Wellington, has become a film industry powerhouse, thanks to The Lord of the Rings. Third, and importantly for so linguistically challenged a nation as Britain, the language is a close approximation to our own. In an age when you can get to almost anywhere on the planet in under a day, the far side of the world is tantalisingly distant. But when you need to reassess your priorities, distance can be a good thing. And if you can sort out your life amid superb scenery with a glass of sauvignon blanc in your hand, so much the better. "Everyone (who visits) comes back raving about New Zealand," says Stephen Bath, managing director of Bath Travel.