Migrant Tales – Irish Construction Workers Beware in Christchurch

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of the immigrant experience of New Zealand gathered from locations around the net.

Today’s tale follows on from a story from a British plumber which we published yesterday.

The following account first appeared on the forum at Expatexposed.com and was written by someone who works in the NZ construction industry and whom is concerned about third world standards and lack of care that cost lives in all manner of industries.

It comes as inquiries are still underway into building failures during the Christchurch earthquake, the shocking revelations of the Pike River Mining disaster, the impending prosecution of two companies in the blast death of a female Canadian civil engineer in Auckland and news of a very near miss at the Huntly Colliery in Waikato. In all of those incidents immigrants or visitors from western countries were involved.

New Zealand: not a western country

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:13 pm

“I need to rant so I thought that I’d also make it into a public service annouchment.

I work in what passes for New Zealand’s construction industry. Currently these nasty toe-rags are touting this awful country to construction workers from overseas (mainly Ireland) in order to get folks in to fix Christchurch (which, to be honest, should just be levelled and abandoned- only the foolish would want to live there now).

If you are thinking of coming here, don’t do it. Because, despite what you may have been told, New Zealand is not a western country. Sure they speak English and rather a lot of them are pale-looking, but that is where the similarity ends.

New Zeland is a Pacific island nation more akin to Fiji, Tonga or Samoa than Europe. Sure the place looks good on paper, Kiwis write reports as if their life depends on it (their life DOES depend on it). If they can’t spin a good yarn to unsuspecting foreigners no one will come, which means no one to fleece.

At the moment I’m dealing with something that has just pushed me over the edge, the proverbial straw the broke the camels back. Thankfully I’m nearly out of this damn place. I’ve been tasked with sorting out a problem due to an incident that could very well have cost a few people their lives lives. It was only luck that stopped a catastrope. If a similar situation occured in the UK it would be an issue of national concern, with a proper inquiry. Heads would roll.

In New Zealand, sholders are shrugged and a few folks meet and discuss it. Nothing done about it, though. The problem could reoccur today and people could die this time. Welcome to New Zealand’s laid-back lifestyle. You see, in New Zealand I often get asked to sort out problems. But only if it doesn’t upset the nicely laid-back (lazy) Kiwi mentality. They want the problem fixed, but without actually fixing the actual problem (as long as it looks like they tried), whilst not spending any money (because there isn’t any- that’s right folks, New Zealand is broke, it just doesn’t know it yet), and yet the half-cocked “solution” will probably end up costing more than doing the job properly.

That is the unreported toll of the NZ lifestyle. People die here all the time, needlessly. Children get killed on badly designed driveways and tourists on badly managed activities. Kiwis know nothing of accountability, Helen Clark’s nanny-state took away any need for personal responibility over here. People die and the nation shrugs it’s shoulders. If you read this and still make your way to this turd of a county, all I can say is it serves you right.”

For more migrants tales please click on the links in the menu bar above.

Workplace death statistics from the NZ Department of Labour

Key  annual statistics for 2010  

  • 75 workers killed at work
  • 5,945 serious harm notifications
  • 89 cases  where an employer or employee was successfully prosecuted for breaches of health and safety  legislation.

2 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – Irish Construction Workers Beware in Christchurch

  1. To the right of this page is a workplace accident news feed, this is what it is showing today. The first two items are about the lone worker death of Tony White at Hall Spars and Rigging company in Silverdale in Silverdale, Auckland on the weekend. He fell into machinery.

    Workplace accident news

    Workmates given help after machinery accident
    Colleagues of a man killed in a machinery accident will be offered grief counselling to deal with the loss of their workmate.Tony White, 44, died when he fell on to machinery while working at the Hall Spars & Rigging company based…

    Machine death baffles friends
    Horrified yacht rigging company owners are puzzled how worker Tony White was killed after falling into machinery.Hall Spars & Rigging president Eric Hall told the Herald on Sunday from Rhode Island in the US his colleagues were…

    Former miner: It was safer in my time
    A former miner who worked at the Huntly mine now at the centre of two separate investigations has slammed its safety procedures.Robert Kaweroa, 76, worked at the Huntly coalface for more than 40 years and also worked as a mine safety…

  2. Yip I would Pretty Much Agree Ive seen so many close calls that would end up in death and people just laugh it off I work in transport/roading and 8 people a month are killed or seriously injured working around roading i would hate to think how many are a killed in construction they say gone are the days of the “tire kickers” and “she’ll be right” this is not the case at all NZ needs to take a good hard look at the way things are done we have the biggest prob down the coast were the 29 men who are still waiting to go home its really disturbing and its not going to get better with National and john key been in power this is why im moving to aussie next year for better conditions and better pay NZ is going donw the gurgler at a rapid rate. We are pushing water up a hill with a rake in this country.

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