The league table ranks 140 cities on a range of factors, including political and social stability, crime, education and access to healthcare.
This is the widest gap between the two cities since the survey began in the 1990s, although Manchester's ranking declined in the last year's index following the Manchester Arena attack. Kuala Lumpur, Kathmandu, Colombo and Dhaka's ranking fell due to various cultural and environment indicators.
In its own turn, Singapore's score also registered an improvement in the public healthcare category, boasting the highest possible score, the release said.
Large cities inundated with crime and those torn apart by war or natural disasters have proven to be the world's most unliveable cities.
It has since been dropped by his successor Phil Goff, and the the city's economic development agency ATEED said it's now all about "jobs".
Japan has two cities in rank among the top 10 - Osaka in third place and Tokyo in seventh.
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The nearest to New Zealand was Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, at 136.
Australia and Canada dominated the top ten, each boasting three cities.
Melbourne had held the top spot for seven years. "The "big city buzz" that they enjoy can overstretch infrastructure and cause higher crime rates", it says.
The cities considered the most liveable tend to be those which are in wealthier countries and are mid-sized.
The survey also looked at cities where long-term improvements had been made.
Researchers said wealthy financial capitals such as Paris (19th), London (48th) and NY (57th) tended to be "victims of their own success" with higher crime rates and overstretched infrastructure dampening their appeal. Rounding out the list is Copenhagen in ninth place.
At the bottom end of the survey were Damascus, Syria and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Almost half the cities in the survey saw their ratings improve over the previous year.