New Zealand: Health and education

Health insurance is a must - and watch out for ‘voluntary’ school fees

Depending on what visa you are on, you may or may not be entitled to free healthcare in the public system in New Zealand.

Depending on what visa you are on, you may or may not be entitled to free healthcare in the public system in New Zealand.

 

Health

Depending on the type of visa you have, you may or may not be eligible for subsidised medical treatment in New Zealand’s public health system. Residents and those on migrant work visas of two years’ duration or more should be covered. If you are on a visa for less than two years, full charges will be applied for healthcare but most costs of injuries from accidents are covered by the accident compensation scheme (ACC). Check your eligibility on the Ministry of Health site.

No matter what, you will be treated in a public hospital in an emergency. Please make a note that 111 is the Kiwi version of 999.

As in Ireland, many New Zealanders take out health insurance, particularly to avoid long waiting periods in the public system. There are two main types of health insurance: comprehensive, which covers both hospital treatment and everyday medical costs, such as GP or physiotherapist visits; and elective surgical and specialist care cover, which takes care of hospital bills, but not other medical treatment.

You can learn more about the health insurance products on offer on Everybody.co.nz or comparison shop for cover on insureme.co.nz.  Your monthly premium is likely to cost between NZ$40 (€26) and NZ$100 (€65), depending on your age and cover needs.

Dental treatment is free for children under 18, but adults must pay for private treatment. As ever, shop around for the best value.

Education
In New Zealand, children must attend school from age 6 to 16, but most start at age 5. Primary school runs through to year 6 (age 10), then children attend intermediate school for years 7 and 8, before going on to secondary school for years 9 to 13. Confusingly, intermediate schooling might be in a separate school, or in a primary school or a secondary school. Secondary schools are sometimes called high schools, grammar schools or colleges.

Expect to pay a voluntary contribution to the school. This ranges up to NZ$800 (€518) a year, and depends on the “decile ranking” of the school, which indicates where it sits on the socioeconomic scale. These “voluntary” fees can be as much as NZ$4,000 (€2,590) in integrated schools, which are former private schools that are now part of the state system.

There is also plenty of information about the different types of school and choosing a school on the New Zealand Now site http://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/ and the Ministry of Education site. http://www.minedu.govt.nz/ For more information on all levels of the education system in New Zealand, take a look at Education New Zealand’s website.

The third-level system is not dissimilar to here, although fees can be high for international students, ranging from NZ$20,000 (€12,970) to NZ$75,000 (€48,640) a year. Children of parents on working visas may qualify as domestic students, which brings fees down to a starting point of NZ$5,000 (€3,240).
 

Additional reporting by Gráinne Loughran

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