Before we landed in NZ  a friend who had lived here previously, enthusiastically highlighted how easy it was to do most things particularly in terms of administration, e.g. getting a bank account or setting up a business. We thought, “that’s nice”, but we (or maybe I…) really didn’t think of the implications  of this.

Well, here’s the thing… you sell up your life, land in a new country, get off the plane and reality hits, and suddenly you realise, apart from the cash in your pocket you have nadda, nil, zilch money to exist on, and you need to make sure your salary is paid into your bank account. We had a week to sort financial matters before I started work the week after we landed, but in my instance, I was going to be at work for one day and my boss was then leaving for the UK, so everything needed to be sorted and in place for the Monday I started work. Eek…!

To be paid, we needed a bank account. In the UK this can be quite a complicated proces but not in NZ! Before we landed, we made contact with KiwiBank, and the lovely Juanita sent my good wife, Mrs.E, lots of friendly, chatty, emails to organise matters, even asking about when The Spaniel was landing! Needless to say, she was simply lovely, and set up an appointment at the KiwiBank branch in Albany, near where we were first staying, for us to get a bank account. KiwiBank is “100% New Zealand owned and operated” (see here: http://www.kiwibank.co.nz/) and operates out of New Zealand post offices.

On the Monday after we landed (we landed on a Friday), we met our agent to open up our bank account. We thought this would just be an initial step and then our application would be processed, and we would get our bank accounts and bank cards at some point a week or so later. WRONG, it took about 30 minutes, and the agent (I forget her name, but again she was lovely – this is a Kiwi thing, more to follow on another post) filled in  a few forms for us, checked our passports and visa, and 30 minutes later we were issued with temporary bank cards and our permanent PIN numbers! Yup, we were ready to spend our cash in a dash (if we wanted to…). SO, that’s right, to our astonishment, after a 30-minute appointment, we not only had a bank account, but also had bank cards… BINGO!

But, it gets better… in NZ, you also need an IRD number, which is a unique number to you, which you need to get paid, set up a business etc (see http://www.ird.govt.nz/how-to/irdnumbers/). We mentioned to our agent at KiwiBank that we didn’t have IRD numbers, and she promptly replied “no problem, I can help with that” and she filled in the IRD application form for us. Again, it was done, we just need the IRD cards to be processed and sent to us. So, literally, within 30 minutes we had everything we needed, financially, at least to function in NZ.

Before I arrived, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t “Compare back…”, as a wise friend in the UK told us we mustn’t do, so I wont do that here (ignore the rogue sentence in paragraph 3…), I’ll maybe let you do that. All I will say is it really was “as easy as ABC…”

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