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Struggling Kiwi takes job 2,500km away to afford mortgage: 'Pay is so much better'

The cost-of-living crisis is being felt across the ditch, with this Kiwi deciding to defect for a better paying job.

A couple struggling with the cost of living in New Zealand moved 2,500 kilometres to Australia and can now comfortably afford their suffocating mortgage back home after landing a better paid job.

Matthew Campbell felt he had very few options to survive on his wage when the fixed-term loan for the apartment he bought in Wellington back in 2021 ended. For two years, his interest rate was locked at 3.5 per cent, but it skyrocketed to a whopping 8.5 per cent, near doubling his monthly repayments from $1,680 to $3,080 (locally that's $1,800 to $3,300).

“You can't live your life,” the 33-year-old told Yahoo Finance. “It was really stressful ... over this six-to-seven-month period. It was just taking its toll and it's not going anywhere.”

Matthew Campbell and his wife alongside picture of his apartment causing him mortgage stress
Matthew Campbell and his wife moved to Brisbane because it was too difficult paying his mortgage in New Zealand. (Source: Supplied)

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Because Campbell got a home loan from a non-bank lender he was expecting the rate to go up, but was “shocked” when he saw the actual figure and said it left him “no room to breathe”.


So, instead of staying in Wellington, the couple packed up and moved to Brisbane.


“I feel like I can breathe over here. I can afford to have a meal and not have to worry every fortnight when the pay comes in,” he said.

Campbell admits it wasn’t easy because they were moving to a place where they didn’t know anyone and had virtually zero work connections.

But the health and safety manager was able to find a job that not only paid for his mortgage back home, but also allowed him to live his life in Australia.

"I love New Zealand...but I don't know why I didn't do this years ago. Everything is so much better, like the weather, and the pay."

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The New Zealand couple are now living comfortably in Brisbane.
The New Zealand couple are now living comfortably in Brisbane. (Supplied)

Australia an escape from cost-of-living stress in New Zealand

Campbell said the financial struggle he faced in New Zealand is not exclusive to him.

The average base salary in New Zealand is $73,679 (NZ$78,956), according to Salary Power. Across the ditch in Australia, the average wage $85,743 (NZ$91,900).

“Everyone I speak to is struggling with just buying the bare essentials,” he said.

“The toilet paper and the food and everything is so expensive. You're already spending so much on the mortgage. And then, on top of that is all the expenses.

“I wasn't living over there anymore.”

The Kiwi now has no intention of returning and has put his Wellington apartment up for sale. He's not had a single inspection.

So, he is now renting the space for $600 a week but he said that doesn't cover the mortgage "let alone the body corporate" and other related expenses.

He said his job in Queensland now gives him enough to cover rent in Brisbane, his mortgage in Wellington, and a social life that was impossible back home.

More than 15,000 Kiwis moved over to Australia for work in the last financial year.