Auckland Gains Bronze In Quality Of Life Survey

February 21, 2014
Iain MacLeod

My home town of Auckland continues to do very well and this year again appears in the top three cities in the world based on quality of life measures in the latest Mercer 2014 Quality of Living worldwide rankings.

Coming in third behind Vienna and Zurich, Auckland outranks all Australian cities and interestingly most in North America and Europe also.

Behind the top three were Munich at 4 and Vancouver at 5 (always, like these other cities, a top performer).

Without sounding smug this is not at all surprising to me.

The survey is provided for companies which plan on sending ex-pats to cities on assignment and provides a tool for establishing ‘hardship’ allowances.

It looks objectively at 39 criteria across 223 cities.

The survey takes into account:

  • Political stability, crime, law enforcement
  • Currency exchange regulations, banking services;
  • Medical availability, levels of censorship, limits on personal freedom;
  • Standards and availability of education and international schools;
  • Availability of public services – electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion;
  • Availability and quality of restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sport and leisure;
  • Availability of consumer goods including food, cars
  • Housing – rent a housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services
  • Climate, record of natural disasters

Those that live here would have little reason to question or challenge the outcome.

I have often described Auckland as almost the perfect sized city. With around 1.5 million people there is a wide variety of activities, housing types, schools, universities, theatres, sport stadia and everything is pretty much within 30 minutes drive of downtown. Although the traffic can be manic at peak hour by New Zealand standards lasting for anything up to two hours in the morning and late afternoon, Jakarta, Sydney or New York it ain’t. The finishing touches are being put in place to complete a freeway ‘loop’ which allows traffic to enter and exit the Auckland isthmus from north, west, south and south east.

Public transport initiatives across the city are working to get people out of their cars.

My eldest son recently moved into a flat with some friends and when I asked him about getting him a car he said he really doesn’t need one –buses are regular and take him wherever he needs to go cheaply and conveniently.

Yet drive out of this very liveable city for 45 minutes and its inhabitants have some of the cleanest beaches in the world, rainforests, nature and marine reserves, farms, rural villages with farmers markets – peace and quiet in abundance.

And when one tires of the great outdoors on their doorstep they have rock concerts on most weekends, professional sport, theatre and stage shows and for those that prefer the thrill of shopping, malls (yuk).

Last weekend alone in Auckland was fairly typical especially over summer:

  • Eminem was in town and played in front of an audience of 60,000 (including my two sons)
  • Eden Park as sold out for a weekend of Rugby League Nines (professional sport)
  • The Lantern Festival was enjoyed by tens of thousands over the course of the weekend

On so many levels we are truly spoiled for choice.

Interesting to note:

  • Sydney came in 10th
  • Wellington came ina creditable 12th
  • Singapore came in 25th
  • Durban 85th
  • Cape Town 90th

Worst places based on these criteria?

  • Port –au-Prince, Haiti
  • Baghdad
  • Brazzaville, DRC
  • Sana’a, Yemen
  • Bangui (where????) – Central African Republic – I think if my boss suggested I was being sent on assignment to Central African Republic what he is actually saying is, Iain old chap, I think it’s time you looked for a new job….

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