What I noticed the last time I went back to NZ (9 years ago), and which struck me as odd, was that people I didn't know kept asking "How are you?" or "How's it going?". I'm not sure if this had changed since 1989, or was a feature of North Island English (Wellington) more than that of the South Island (where I come from).
Thus, I would be greeted by shop assistants, librarians, bank tellers, etc. with "How are you?", and by strangers in less formal contexts with "How's it going?". This often seemed to be used even without saying "Hello" or "Good morning" , "Gidday" etc. (although I must say that I don't know many people who use that expression, as it sounds lower class, or at best, childish) first.
At any rate, the expected answer was still "Fine, thanks" or "Good, thanks" (I don't say this either, as it is grammatically incorrect).
@Leni: Auch wenn es Deinem deutschen Sinn für Effizienz widerstrebt, wäre es ratsam, auf das "Begrüßungsritual" einzugehen. Schroff zur Sache zu kommen würde jedenfalls unhöflich wirken (übrigens, auch für die Österreicher wirkt die oftmals floskellose deutsche Art am Telefon unhöflich.)