Want to Know if New Zealand Is Safe?
We spent 2 fabulous, fun-packed weeks in New Zealand, covering a good part of both islands. When people ask us “Is New Zealand safe to visit?”, we respond by telling them it is one of the safest places to which we have travelled.
If you’ve read our blog about Why We Think New Zealand Is Worth A Visit, then you will already know that New Zealand is a country filled with natural beauty, stunning landscapes and vibrant culture. In this blog, we will offer up 10 reasons why we consider New Zealand to be a safe place to visit.
1. The Low Crime Rate
New Zealand has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. This is according to Vision of Humanity’s Global Peace Index which consistently ranks New Zealand in the top 5 of the world’s most peaceful countries.
While crime is low, it is still important to remember that petty crime exists especially in larger cities, crowded tourist attractions or low-lit areas at night. Just exercise the same degree of caution that you would anywhere else in similar circumstances.
2. The Kiwis! (The People, Not the birds)
The locals in New Zealand are referred to as Kiwis, and they are some of the most welcoming, warm, and hospitable people in the world. It is in their nature to be helpful, and they are especially so towards visitors.
Walk into a local diner in a remote village or town and you will be greeted with a friendly smile and warm hello. Before you know it, you will be striking up a conversation and suddenly you feel like you are part of the community. That was our experience on more than one occasion.
We found New Zealanders to have a strong sense of community, a deep respect for others and a genuine tolerance for diversity.
3. The High Standard of Healthcare
New Zealand has a very high standard of healthcare that is provided through its publicly funded Universal Health Care System. This means that all residents have access to New Zealand’s healthcare regardless of their ability to pay.
Visitors from Australia and the UK, also have access to New Zealand’s healthcare through a reciprocal healthcare agreement among the 3 countries.
If you are involved in an accident and require emergency medical attention, you will be given emergency treatment no matter what your insurance status or ability to pay is. You will, however, be required to pay for follow-up treatment if that is required.
4. The Clean Environment
With its clear skies, pristine water and fresh air, New Zealand ranks in the top 10 on the world’s Environmental Performance Index.
This makes it a safe place to enjoy lots of outdoor activities. And when it comes to drinking water, you can safely refill your reusable bottle right from the tap or from a fresh spring.
New Zealanders as a whole are more concerned about environmental issues than most other countries in the world. They have strict environmental regulations aimed at improving their environment especially the quality of their air and water.
5. The Stable Political Environment
New Zealand is considered to have a very stable political environment. It is a parliamentary democracy with a history of supporting social welfare programs and it has a strong commitment to preserving the environment.
It is uncommon to see protests or riots in New Zealand. Peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins do occur occasionally which typically target social issues, climate change and racism.
6. The Strict Firearms Laws
New Zealand has traditionally been one of the safest countries in the world due to its strict firearms laws. After a high-profile mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch in 2019, which killed 51 people, the country introduced even stricter laws.
New Zealand has banned most semi-automatic firearms and has imposed very strict regulations on who can purchase and own guns.
New Zealand has one of the lowest firearms-related homicide rates in the world, ranking with Iceland, Japan, and the UK.
7. The Stable Economy
New Zealand is known to have a well-managed economy, with relatively low unemployment and steady economic growth. Even coming out of the economic challenges of the Covid-19 period, New Zealand has managed relatively well compared to many other countries.
Despite having a relatively small economy, it is very diverse. Agriculture, tourism and manufacturing are its key industries, and it is able to support a strong social welfare system with a high level of income equality compare to other countries.
A well-managed economy goes a long way to making its population happy, which in terms translates to a healthy and safe living environment.
8. The Strict Driving Laws
New Zealand’s driving laws tend to be stricter than other countries and are focused on ensuring the safety and protection of its citizens and visitors.
The speed limits in New Zealand are clearly posted and the limits are strictly enforced. New Zealand uses police cars equipped with radar as well as strategically placed speed cameras to monitor drivers.
New Zealand has a zero-alcohol limit for drivers who are under 20 years of age. For drivers over 20, the limit is .05 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Depending on your gender, size and the food you’ve eaten, that limit could be reached with less than one drink.
New Zealand also has very strict laws against distracted driving. That means no texting and talking on handheld devices while driving.
Like most countries around the world, New Zealand also imposes seat belt laws. All passengers in a vehicle must wear seatbelts. Keep in mind that the driver is responsible and will be fined for any passengers that are not complying with the law even if the driver is.
New Zealand has implemented these driving laws to help protect the safety of both its citizens and its visitors.
9. There are no Dangerous Animals in New Zealand
Aside from some venomous snakes and spiders which aren’t considered harmful to humans, New Zealand has no dangerous animals.
In fact, because New Zealand is an island nation, it has its own ecosystem, which interestingly consists of no mammals other than a native bat. There are no large predators that would be considered dangerous to humans like bears or wolves that are found in other countries.
10. The Public Transportation System
New Zealand’s public transportation system is governed by strict safety regulations and is both safe and efficient.
Operators of the public buses, trains and ferries are all required to be certified and are strictly regulated for health and safety standards.
Public transportation is widely available in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown. You can even access public transportation to popular tourist destinations which is a great, inexpensive option for those travelling on a budget.
It is worth noting, though, that in the more remote and rural areas, public transportation may not be readily available so you may need to rely on car rentals or taxi service.
We chose to rent a car in both the North and South Islands as we were travelling to some of the more remote areas. The car rental option is also a safe way to go as the road infrastructure is quite good throughout New Zealand.
Some Things to Keep In Mind About Safety in New Zealand
So, now that we have given our 10 reasons why we think New Zealand is safe, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
✅ New Zealand is a new country in the grand scheme of things. It was formed because of volcanic and seismic activity due to its location on the edge of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Volcanos and earthquakes do happen, so it is important to pay attention to the environmental broadcasts to know where there might be current activity.
✅ New Zealand is a great place for outdoor activity because of its magnificent mountains and stunning shorelines. If you do take in hiking trails, mountain climbing or various water sports, be sure to use common sense.
✅ We recommend hiring a local tour company or guide if you are unfamiliar with the area or activity that you want to participate in.
✅ Be sure to read our blog which shows you New Zealand is worth visiting and all the top things you should do while there.
The Final Word…Is New Zealand Safe?
We spent a considerable amount of time in New Zealand in both the North and South Islands. We visited Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown as well as many small communities in remote areas.
No matter where we went, we found New Zealand to be a safe and welcoming country with breathtaking natural beauty, energetic culture and some of the friendliest people we have ever met.
For us, New Zealand was a must-visit bucket list destination that left us feeling safe and full of unforgettable experiences.