(My Mission To Find A Job In New Zealand & Get A Work Visa)
I’ve been waiting a LONG time to get some pennies (or cents rather) into a New Zealand bank account. Now I’ve finally been paid. Thankfully. I’m just about scraping the barrel on my savings, so the wages have come just in time. When I was planning this trip, I initially gave myself three months to get a job offer and a work visa. Then I extended that to four months. It was four and a half months before the work visa came through. By the time I got to open a bank account and got an I.R.D (tax) number set up I had just missed the two weekly payment run. So all in all, from the time I landed in New Zealand on 7th September until now, it’s taken nearly six months to get my first New Zealand wage packet. I’m proud of myself for making it this far financially. It wasn’t the fact that I was stingy with my money, I was just being stringent with my outgoings.
The I.R.D. told me that it would take between eight and ten working days to process the application. I didn’t realise that I had given them the incorrect postal address until my landlady told me that I should include the P.O.Box number in my address. Where I’m living is in a very small rural village in the South Island of New Zealand, called LakeTekapo and every address here has a P.O.Box number. So you have to go to your Post Office box to pick up your post. It doesn’t get delivered to your door. I had forgotten to put in the P.O.Box number in the address, so they called me and asked me to clarify my address, as it wasn’t valid in their system. They could give me my I.R.D. number over the phone but the official letter from them didn’t arrive for another four days. The tax system here is based on a tiered level of earnings. Income up to $14000 is taxed at 10.5%, income over $14000 up to $48000 is taxed at 17.5%, income over $48000 up to $70000 is taxed at 30% and any remaining income is taxed at 33%.
I then had to go and open a bank account. There is no bank in Tekapo, only an ATM machine. So I had to go to Fairlie, the nearest big village and open a bank account there. I did call the customer service of Westpac a week before, to see if I needed to make an appointment with the bank manager in Fairlie and they said I probably didn’t need to. But I did actually. I told the woman behind the counter that it had taken me two weeks to arrange a lift from Tekapo to Fairlie, as I have no car and wouldn’t be able to get back to Fairlie for another few weeks. So they had to find a bank manager to open an account for me.
That process was pretty simple and fairly quick. I was looking for a bank with an internet banking service, which they provide – luckily. Most of the banks here do. The thing is that they do charge $1 for other bank ATM useage such as balance enquiries/cash withdrawals/transfer of funds. There is only an ANZ bank ATM in Tekapo, so I’ll have to be careful when I’m withdrawing cash from this ATM as I will be charged for every cash withdrawal. EFTPOS or pin card usage might be a better option for me. As someone who prefers using cash, this might be hard to get used to. I know it’s old-fashioned to use cash and everything is electronic these days but I’ve always been and always will be an old-fashioned type of gal!
I also had to make an appointment to see a doctor, as I have medication that I need to have regularly. With a New Zealand work visa I had to pay $85 to see the doctor. If you’re a New Zealand resident, then it only costs about $35 or so. I think too that when you’re a resident, if you have health insurance you can get a percentage of that cost back from the insurance company. The blood test that I had to get done cost $11.50 and then paying for medication set me back about $35. It is quite expensive to live here. I guess though living in a small village means that I can save some money. That has both good and bad points attached to it, which I might delve into at a later stage. I need to start saving again but for now it will be good to be earning something.