Migrants Tales – No NZ Lifestyle For UK Plumber
Continuing in our popular and ever expanding series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the immigrant experience of New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.
Today’s story was sent in to the blog by Mat, a UK qualified Gasfitter and Plumber who also taught at Unitec for a period.
This is his story:
I am a UK qualified Gasfitter and Plumber and and have a story to tell that is now 6 years long, now culminating in a complaint concerning cheating and corruption against the PGDB which has resulted in an ‘independent’ (i dont believe that) QC currently carrying out the investigation into it.
I couldn’t, and wouldnt want to, recount the whole sorry saga of our migration to this country beginning in the UK in early 2004 (its been too painful and makes me too angry).
It would take days to put down all my opinions, experiences and feelings and i do not see it as beneficial to myself or my family.
However, if someone specifically wishes to ask for my advice on a matter etc. i am more than happy to receive their questions.
The only open comments i would make are as follows -
1. If you can run a business here, you can run one anywhere – a large percentage of people delight in breaking agreements, not paying their bills, and trying to get something for nothing. There is very little honour with regard to verbal agreements and for the first time in my life i have had to instigate written ‘terms of trade’ due to customers failing to pay accounts. In 10 years of running a limited company in the UK i had 2 people who argued over payment – in the last 6 months here i have had 6 people arguing / wasting my time over payment (no issues with the standard of work though!)
2. It is a country with developed world desire and a third world economy – a Kiwi mate of mine said that to me!
3. It is a country of greedy importers / leeches who scam their own people – people are getting ripped off by importers with everything they buy – copper is 3 times the price of the UK – the worst example i have found so far with regard to % increase on a product is 600% – the excuse being that it costs so much to get it here. With regard to that product i personally imported a box of 12 of that item (duty and freight paid)for the same cost as the importer wanted to charge me for one! That is sheer unadulterated greed and nothing less!
4. There is very little history / culture present here, but that is because the country is relatively young and you cant complain about that as you should have known about it in your research.
5. The outdoor life is fantastic – we sea kayak and have seen and done things that we never would have in the UK.
6. We work longer hours here for far less money.
7. This country has the same problems as any other country in the world – in some areas the problems are worst / in some they are better.
8. If you came here thinking that all your problems would go away you were naive – and we were in some respects.
9. Housing stock is poor and not designed to last more than 30 years without major refurbishment.
10. My first boss said to me when i asked him for a wage rise of $1 per hour to bring me up to $23 (I was earning 55 pounds an hour in the UK before i left in 2005)-
‘Mat, you come to NZ for lifestyle not money’
My reply to him was -
“There is fuck all lifestyle without a living wage!”
Kiwi bosses delight in suppressing their workers and not paying fair wages. Once again a third world economy but you will find a small percentage of individuals with vast wealth. I personally believe that the gap between rich and poor here is more vast than the UK.
11. What sort of country is it where it is cheaper to buy crap take away food than fresh ingredients?
12. The standard of education is appalling – i taught at Unitec for 3.5 years and was shocked at how low the standard was.
12. The average family goes camping for their holiday – some delight in this but the reality is that its because they cant afford to leave the country because from the very first dollar they earn they are paying tax at a high rate on low salaries.
13. The general Kiwi ethos is that we dont care how anybody else does it, we will do it our way – how ignorant and naive is that? but it is dressed up as Kiwi Ingenuity.
Someone (most likely a proud Kiwi) will undoubtedly slag me off for writing these points and being a whinging pom, but before they reply i would ask them to carry out some soul searching – have they ever lived outside of this country? (i have and know things could be better) – are they happy with their wage packet each week? (i am now i work for myself) – do they go camping but would like to go abroad and cant afford it? (im not counting the Gold Coast because that just a mini Las Vegas) – do they delay paying bills until the last minute? (i pay them when i get the work done) – do you watch programmes like Time Team and find them fascinating? (i do and cant wait until they are on again)
Its taken over 6 years to become marginally settled and i still long to go home on holiday, but sadly finances dont allow for a $10k family trip – I feel trapped in NZ but i selfishly hope in one way that when i do return to the UK it appears to be a dump and all the reasons we had for leaving are still there. That will make me feel like the nightmare we have gone through has been worth it.