High accommodation costs and a soaring dollar have driven Auckland and Wellington more than 60 places higher in world rankings for the most expensive cities for expatriates.
Tokyo tops the list in consulting firm Mercer's 2012 worldwide cost of living survey, pushing Luanda, Angola to second position.
The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including transport, food, clothing, household goods, entertainment and accommodation.
Auckland is in 56th place and Wellington 74th on the list, both up 62 places.
Mercer principal Milan Taylor says all cities surveyed in Japan, China, New Zealand and Australia increased in the year showing the strengthening Asian economies against the US dollar.
Mr Taylor says Moscow is also getting more expensive, with a cup of coffee there now costing more than $10.
Karachi is ranked as the world's least expensive city for expatriates, less than one-third as expensive as Tokyo.