Kiwi Dream Beyond Reach Of The Young


A quarter of young Kiwis want to leave New Zealand as they believe the Kiwi dream is beyond their reach, according to the results of a Fairfax survey that is being widely reported on by the press.

ONE in four young Kiwis would rather live somewhere other than their home country, especially those from shaky Christchurch.

A media poll found 24 per cent of New Zealanders under the age of 30 were either “considering” or “definitely” leaving to live overseas.

While the poll didn’t say where they planned to set up base, recent figures show Australia is heavily favoured.

A net exodus of 3300 Kiwis came to Australia in May followed by 3100 in June – the heftiest departures across the ditch in 30 years.

Labour’s economic development spokesman David Parker told Fairfax New Zealand the number of young people planning to leave was “shocking”, and placed the blame squarely on the conservative National government.

That’s terrible and it’s because the Kiwi dream is beyond their reach, partly because house prices are beyond their reach and put more out of reach by our tax settings, which benefit the people who own multiple houses because of tax advantages,” Mr Parker said…more here

The present NZ National government once pledged to reduce outward migration across the Tasman, but permanent and long term departures in June were at their highest for 30 years. The NZ Herald reported

The net outflow of 3100 migrants to Australia was up from 1800 in June last year and the highest June total since 1981, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) said.

For the year to June, the net migrant flow of 29,900 to Australia was the largest June-year loss of people across the Tasman since 2008.

SNZ said net migration had been negative since March, when there was a jump in departures from Christchurch after the February 22 earthquake…”more here

The great Kiwi brain drain is nothing new but these new figures support other data that shows that a significant decline is underway in New Zealand, not all of which can be attributed to the earthquakes or the GFC.

New Zealand’s population is aging rapidly, with some districts of the country predicted to have 30% of residents aged over 65 by 2031.

In  May 2011 Stastics New Zealand said the  country’s population continued to age, with the number of New Zealanders aged over 85 having tripled in the past 30 years. Half of New Zealand residents are now aged over 36.8 years, compared with 34.6 a decade earlier.

An increase in longevity means 1 in  60 New Zealanders is over the age of 85.

New Zealand’s reputation as  being a great place to raise kids is a thing of the past because the family unit is fast disappearing. The number of couples without children at home has overtaken couples with children at home for the first time since World War II. And, shockingly, one in five of those children live in poverty.

A survey conducted by Horizon Research showed that the “burgeoning gap between the haves and have-nots is frothing over into resentment, anger and disillusionment” in New Zealand:

Wealth gap divides nation

Those who are struggling are slamming the government for giving tax breaks to the rich, and for the perceived “propping up” of failed finance companies, while there is a growing tranche of middle- to high-income earners who see those on welfare as a drain on the country’s resources.

According to social researchers, the size of the gap between rich and poor can lead to a welter of other societal problems.

In their 2009 book Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue that almost every social problem common in developed societies – reduced life expectancy, child mortality, drugs, crime, homicide rates, mental illness and obesity – has a single root cause, inequality.

And the British academics say New Zealand has greater inequality than most countries.” source

A recent report complied in New Zealand showed that

“NewZealand’s children suffer notonly  a higher rate of hardship than other New Zealanders, but a greater share of New Zealand’s children face hardship than  in many other countries.

New Zealand’s older population faces a low rate of hardship relative to the other New Zealand age groups and relative to the same age groups in other countries. Having about one out of every five children facing hardship is a situation that must be improved.  The comparison to other countries shows that New Zealand is unusual in choosing to impose such a burden on the youngest segment of the population.” (Source NZ Institute report NZ Ahead)

What is to keep them in New Zealand if other countries can offer them greater opportunities and brighter futures?

More to the point, why are migrants still being attracted to the country, and risking their own childrens’ futures, in pursuit of something that even the locals have trouble finding?

You may also be interested in

Migration to New Zealand continues downward spiral (June 2010)

Economics, Demographics and Immigration Stats and Facts page

Education and Children’s Issues page