Mercer quality of life survey ranks Auckland third out of 221 cities worldwide with Wellington in 13th place

For the fourth year running, Auckland has been named the third best place to live in the world out of 221 international cities in terms of quality of life.

According to Mercer's 2012 quality of life survey, designed to help multinational corporations and other organisations compensate employees fairly on international assignments, the nation's capital is also an attractive place to live and work, ranking 13th just behind Sydney which came 10th.

Vienna and Zurich took first and second place respectively with Baghdad ranking dead last.

Martin Lewington, head of Mercer NZ, said the rankings cast New Zealand in a favourable light for global companies contemplating overseas projects.

“The survey provides global employers with the knowledge to select and promote specific locations to potential expats."

"New Zealand continues to present itself as an attractive destination for skilled workers due to our world class schooling, public services and high living standards,” said Lewington.

"The consistently high quality of living ranking of our cities ensures New Zealand continues to offer multi-national organisations an appealing destination to set up a regional hub into new Asian markets. While our market continues to face skills shortages in some industries, local employers should promote the benefits of living in the region when undertaking international recruitment, to help attract much-needed talent.''

Mercer’survey is based on an evaluation of 39 criteria for each city, grouped in ten categories, including political and socio-economic environment, medical and health considerations, education, transport and housing.

Considerations such as housing and accessibility are all monitored and scored in relation to their potential as international destinations for employees of global organisations.

Based on infrastructure alone, Auckland's ranking dropped to 43rd place with Wellington not far behind at 48 and Singapore finishing first. The strength of a city's infrastructure ranking is based on electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transportation, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports. 

Lewington believes New Zealand is in a strong regional position for global companies looking at overseas projects, and for skilled workers seeking new employment opportunities overseas.

Mercer Quality of Living Survey – Worldwide Rankings, 2012

Rank   City     Country
2012   2011
1   1   VIENNA     AUSTRIA
4   4   MUNICH     GERMANY
10   11   SYDNEY     AUSTRALIA


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Need to convince negative Kiwis of this!

I would say that Wellington has a far better transport infrastucture than Auckland. It has not had the problems with power and water that Auckland has had in recent years either. Given the population drift to Auckland these problems will need continuing attention. Wellington should be rated ahead of Auckland in my opinion.

Wow, Germany has three cities in the top ten list and yet their population is contracting.

And yet it has one of the most sustainably successful ecconomies in the world without the need for running a population growth, pump priming ponzie ecconomy.  Makes sense doesn't it, no need for the country to chase it's tail building new infrastucture and housing for an ever  increasing population.  They just need to focus on suppling their own needs, a very successful export ecconomy and a great quality of life.  They have a really well worked out ecconomy, apart from their clinging to the Euro currency concept.
Having said all of that for the pure geography of the place I would rather have most parts of NZ including Auckland.

The argument has been made that the Euro provided Germany with a discounted currency to support their export economy.  So in that regard it was a good move for them.

True.  They seem to/will be saddled with the lion share of the cost of the consequences for the failures that the common currency is causing.  Maybe that is just a calculated cost of the larger benefits that they enjoy.  That aside there is a lot that seems well managed in their economy.

Auckland is a nice city but it needs to be borne in mind that this survey is created for the purpose of multinationals looking to deploy very highly paid staff around the globe, not from the perspective of liveability from a local citizen's perspective. It does not take into account costs of living for locals earning local incomes. If that was accounted for Auckland would rate a lot lower, as would Sydney and many other places on this list. Cost of living is a major factor in quality of living!    

Thanks for the clarification MIA. I was about to leap in there and bag the place from the perspective of having lived there and other cities around the world. Yes if you can afford to live within walking distance of the CBD and don't mind that central Auckland now resembles any downtown asian city centre (I call it 'GAC' - Generic Asian City), and money isn't much of an object, then sure, I'll go with 4th.

However if you value culture, entertainment, and a little bit of excitement occasionally then it's waaaaaay down the list!

Nothing wrong with asian people.  South Auckland is also Auckland, so do you call it GMC/GPIC?  It's bullshit.

I didn't say there was anything wrong with Asian people. I live in Chinatown in Sydney. We are practically the only europeans in our entire apartment block. But Sydney has it's own cultural diversity and heritage in the CBD, with Chinatown being a special part of that, and rather nicely Chinese. 

When I lived in Auckland last I rented an apartment in Parnell and walked along Fort/Custom Street. What used to be a character part of Auckland is now bland apartment blocks reminiscent of any recently developed Asian city. You could be in downtown Shanghai, Bangkok, or Hong Kong. Hence the GAC moniker. I was making a point about the soul-less development of Auckland, not Asians.


I agree that your comment had no racist overtones. It was about place and character
One of the great things about Adelaide is that there are still plenty of old established specialty stores in the CBD, as opposed to generic chains. Like Auckland, there are  alot of Asian people downtown, which is great, but the fact is it still feels very much like an Australian city, probably because they've done a better job at keeping old buildings, and there's fewer crappy tourist and convenience shops and generic glass towers  

Exactly. Chinatown in most cities rocks. In Auckland, not so much.

We don't really have an official Chinatown as such in Ak....closest would be Dominion Road or a subset of Howick/Pakuranga I'd say....sad though :(

Yes, AK does have an official Chinatown. It's called Sky City Casino.
Even at the Hamilton casino it's hard to find a dealer who speaks english, let alone a fellow punter.
I go over to the Pacific Islands or Vegas now when i feel like a binge at a casino. Can't stand the constant jabbering and poor manners of the chinese at casinos here.

Yes, AK does have an official Chinatown. It's called Sky City Casino


Well said, nothing to do with the normal people. I attend a Board meeting once a month in Auckland, airport via taxi into CBD in the morning with the chair usually organising a helicopter out early evening to avoid the traffic to the airport. No one on that board would have a clue what infrastructure, or lack of in Auckland is really like. Only two of the ten live in Auckland(part-time) and I'm the only other kiwi on the Board, the other seven fly in from all over.

Most places are very livable in this circle of comfort. Yes I would do the Board gig in London and NYC on the same terms thank you....given the opportunity.

These surveys are even now of limited value to this company as mid -level in a serious multinational you can live where you want to be. Key element of executive retention.

Good point. When I was working in Wellngton we would sometimes fly to Auckland for a day in our office in the CBD. It actually took longer (over an hour in peak time) and cost more (over $100) to taxi from Auckland airport to the CBD than it did to fly from Wellington.

Auckland infrastructure is appalling. One of the reasons I left Auckland was because I had to drive into the city, and if I went out for drinks afterwards the cost of leaving my car in the city overnight and getting home and back into the city next morning was over $150. And who doesn't go out for drinks/dinner after work most evenings???

They're probably good for the over 40s or with kids group.
Pretty dull otherwise.
Dear hotshot 28yr old London analyst,
- fancy a five year relocation to thrilling Dusseldorf?
Thought not.

Copenhagen FTW.

So basically Auckland is a great place to live if you are rich, or your company is paying your housing expenses etc. It's a great place for 1% of the population!

FML notch, surely you are a member?

lol, I must join...

c'mon notch take a positive pill, go for a walk along the water-front tomorrow or on the weekend and tell me Auckland isn't one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I love it here and I'm glad my kids are growing up here.
And i've just added visiting Vienna & Zurich to my bucket list!  

I wish they had a pill that works ;-).  I was just annoyed that the story is very misleading for 99% of the population. There are much better places to live given the income available in NZ. 

I don't see too many 'regional hubs' being set up, so in reality, this is only important to narcissists living in those cities. A similar judging panel in Latin America would probably name Miami or Montevideo, as it all depends on the point of view of whoever they are.

Those in Auckland who have to life there will of course defend its so called quality of life. Those who don't have to live there will thank God they don 't have to put up with its traffic congestion, terrible wet climate and high crime statistics such as burglaries. It all depends whether you have the ability to live in nicer NZ cities or  you feel you have to live in Auckland because you were born there and you do not have the drive to try somewhere else to live or you need to stay in Auckland as you cannot find work elsewhere. One just has to wonder who the heck comes out with this rubbish and who is paying who.

These surveys are a dime a dozen these days. Investigative journalism please: who funds them and what is their ultimate purpose?

Obviously Mercer has different criteria from the rest of the 99%.  They should do the survey from the perspective of ordinary citizen, not from the perspective of top 1% expat senior executive with big fat global package.

How much did len brown pay for this ranking.

Simply put Auckland provides many in NZ with very satisfying careers that they couldn't achieve anywhere else in the country.
If you have such a career the cost of living is well worth it and if you don't it may not be unless are angling for one of course. The survey is clearly aimed at professionals that do have such careers, these people want the quality of life NZ has to offer but also want to pursue a career that is probably only achievable in Auckland.

If I could do my job in another the part of the country would I consider moving, yes.  If I couldn't do my job anywhere else in NZ would I move to any of the other cities in that list, no.

satisfying career but crap lifestyle when you take into account the traffice congestion ,weather and crime statistics. It would be great if you could stay at work for 24 hours a day but you do have to go home and face the reality of traffic congestion and hoping you have not been broken into while you were at work. Oh and the rain.

Mr Misery - if you dont like it - dont live there - quite simple eh?
Not too much congestion on the ferry from CBD over to Waiheke.
Even has a bar!

While you waste time on ferry rides I am already at the golf course having a few holes of golf. Adding up your travel time wasted getting to and from work over a year might just shock you ,ie if you are brave enough to be honest. And they call that quality living. What a load of bollocks.

No complaints from me on the commute, it's a bus ride north along a dedicated bus lane, buses leave every 4min, only makes a few stops at the park-and-rides and goes as fast as a car with no traffic.
I wish it would rain more because I keep having to water the garden!  Never been broken into either...

riding a bus is pure luxury. I cannot wait each day to get on one.

The correct terminology is "loser cruiser"

Who is the loser, the one driving a car in traffic or the one who sails past in a bus relaxing with a book.

The one who spent $10 on gas and $15 on parking or the one who spent $5 on a bus.

The one who pollutes the planet traveling by himself in a car or the one on public transport.

Never sat in a car on my own crawling along in rush-hour traffic - anyone doing that missed a serious life lesson along the way somewhere. I saw a sign a while back that totally summed up the experience - "you are not stuck in traffic, you are traffic". Seems a strange way to start the day, and as you point out, the idiocy of all these individuals cocooned in their own car, listening to breakfast radio (i'd rather pull my inner ear out with a crochet hook personally), clogging up the road, dispensing carbon monoxide, unconsciously doing their bit to make the planet that bit more crappier for their kids. Insanity.

Still doesn't detract from the fact that the bus is typically a rather lame experience also.

To true, I like the you are traffic comment.

ngakonui gold | 05 Dec 12, 11:53am
"How much did len brown pay for this ranking"
Rephase that to: How much did len brown pay for this ranking on your money..

Interesting, great places to Live for people who like cold crappy weather.  They are great though I have heard that Vienna is boring.  Sydney would be my pick if you lived in a great area plus the weather is better than the rest.  Auckland is quite a good city , its just needs to think better about what it builds. It should not have been given permission to build apartments without decent balconies.  Needs a decent walk way at least 8 mitres wide at the water all the way along the coast. Needs a good public transport.  Its not too bad in Auckland.

Have lived and worked in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dubai, KL, London, Tokyo, Melbourne, and now back in Auckland. They all were what you made of them; and all pretty good. 
Auckland certainly works for us; albeit living pretty centrally in Mt Eden.
Traffic is fine if you manage it; education for children fine, access to entertainment good; restaurants, cafe's etc good. Variety of life is good enough to keep us interested. The internet keeps the world handy. Crime seems low/ non existent where we are. (Seems to me if you don't want to die a violent death in NZ, don't live in a small town, although even there of course the odds are no doubt very low, and manageable to a large extent).
There is a little big city tension on getting ahead, however that is personally defined; but a bit of that tension helps make any place vibrant and interesting.