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06 December 2005
A list comparing English and New Zealand prices on the website New Zealand Now (newzealandnow.info) has been described by Immigration Minister David Cunliffe as a snapshot of "common grocery and household items" that showed how much cheaper the items were in New Zealand.
National MP Katherine Rich said the site, run by the Labour Department, trivialised the issues New Zealanders working overseas really cared about. Cheaper PlayStations and hair gel also feature on the list.
"The website makes some fairly trivial comparisons in my view.
"If you're in London and you're earning thousands of pounds are you that interested in the price of condoms and hair gel? I think not," Ms Rich said.
Mr Cunliffe launched the site last month as part of an advertising campaign that will cost the Government $850,000 this year and $1 million during the next two years.
People would see that many of the items on the list were "significantly cheaper in New Zealand", he said.
Unfortunately, most of the typical grocery items, such as bread and milk, are cheaper in Britain, according to the website. One litre of English milk costs the equivalent of 73c, compared with $2 here. A loaf of bread, at 60 pence, is more than $1 cheaper than New Zealand bread when converted.
Assuming most returning New Zealanders are not teenagers, the list does not seem that enticing.
The website lists low unemployment, an upbeat entertainment industry and lifestyle opportunities as other good reasons to move home, but Ms Rich said it missed the big issues such as tax, salaries, the economy and long-term work prospects.
"It doesn't address the issue of low salaries (in New Zealand), which is a chunky one for expats."