Auckland is not universally liked in New Zealand, even by Aucklanders, so it may come as a surprise to hear that the Queen City has topped a list of the world’s most liveable cities.

New Zealand’s most-populous city, home to 1.7 million Kiwis, beat out more obvious choices such as Tokyo and Vienna, the champion of the last poll in 2019.

Wellington also rocketed up the list, with “The Coolest Little Capital in the World” sitting at number four on the list, released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

So what does Auckland have that the rest don’t?

As it turns out, the question answered by the poll is what doesn’t it have?

The answer: Covid.

Other cities saw their ratings tumble as the effect of the pandemic dramatically curtailed the quality of life for their residents.

Lockdowns imposed around the world lowered cities’ scores in the survey’s “culture and environment” category.

The four other categories are stability, healthcare, education and infrastructure.

“New Zealand’s tough lockdown allowed their society to reopen and enabled citizens of cities like Auckland and Wellington to enjoy a lifestyle that looked similar to pre-pandemic life,” the EIU said in a statement.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on global liveability,” the EIU said.

“Cities across the world are now much less liveable than they were before the pandemic began, and we’ve seen that regions such as Europe have been hit particularly hard.”

So Aucklanders, next time you’re sitting in traffic, waiting for a bus that never turns up or dodging window washers at the intersection, remember that you don’t have it so bad.

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