Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of migrant life in New Zealand.
This tale was written by a British migrant.
I will start this with an apology, as the content of my letter does contain a fair bit of profanity. However, it isn’t written glibly, without meaning, but in fairness to myself, it is heartfelt. I think it will strike a chord with many, and may cause pause for thought to some, who might otherwise think NZ is a Shangri-La of utopian values.
I have HAD IT with New Zealand’s rip off culture. Its official, I am sick to death of it. They can stick their over-inflated prices up their arses.
NZ has to be the biggest rip-off country in the world when it comes to pricing, well, for just most things. My latest occurrence was when trying to purchase a demolition drill bit for a particular drill I have had for years. I rang around for ages trying to find anyone who stocked them. It was as if I was trying to find a stockist of rocking horse shit. Eventually I managed to find a company in Timaru, who said they had one in stock, but they weren’t sure of the price??!! It’s not the first time I have come across that here, a company who has what I want, but doesn’t know by how much to rip me off… errrrm, charge me for. Eventually I got a price out of them. It would be $120 plus 15% GST plus postage, which might be around another $20 on top. So, circa $160 all up. OUCH!!!
So, I decided to look again locally, on the off chance. I rang Makita, as apparently they did the same item, under their brand (although I had been told differently by one of NZ’s top tool companies, who swore absolutely they didn’t!). Anyway, I contacted Makita NZ who said yes, we have them in stock. Okay said me, how much are they. We don’t know they said. What do you mean said I. Well we can’t sell them to you, you will have to go through a retailer, and we have no idea what they will charge you….. And so here we go again I thought! Once again, New Zealands ‘lets see how many hands we can run it through’ culture. Anyway, I ended up contacting the tool store that I was directed to, and they eventually gave me a price of $58 +GST or less… yes, or less, is what the guy said. He promised me the $58 would be a maximum, but he was sure it would come in under that (why, God only knows). I ordered it, and they said they would phone me when it arrived. A day or so later, I ended up chasing them, and guess what. I was then asked how much had I been quoted (it was the same guy), and then a silent pause and followed by “well we can’t do that I’m afraid, that’s what WE pay…” in other words, they had stuffed up. They now wanted circa $100….. or more! He would tell me exactly when I go in to pick it up. WTF… seriously?
Bottom line, I will not be picking up the tool I ordered from them. Instead I have gone back to my old friend Amazon. I decided to check overseas (UK) prices. Yep, sure enough they were in the stores from around seven quid upwards. That is around $14NZ to you (less than a tenth of the price of my first local quote). Postage would be less than $14NZ, so all in all $30NZ gets it to my door.
So, my first quote here was over TEN TIMES what it should have cost, or at least what it would cost in the UK. My second quote was more reasonable, at first, being only nearly five times the UK price. That was until they told me they had stuffed up with the price (yeah right!). Anyway, now I will have to wait a few days, but hey, its worth it, as I will be saving about $70.
John Key plans to jump on anyone who orders online for (overseas) goods. Why? Well it’s a combination of reasons, but mainly so that they can bleed us for more tax, as if we don’t pay enough already that is! But also, because NZ retailers are trying to get the government to stop, us, the consumers, from buying online, as they are losing out. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for buying local, keeping the money circulating here that is, whenever possible, but not when I’m paying three, four, five… TEN times what I could be getting the same goods for, and when the retailers are getting their goods from overseas anyway!
Kiwi’s with their gullible sheep-like attitude, do not actually stop and think when it comes to such things, but let me highlight just how badly we get ripped off here.
At first glance, we might think we are better off than some countries, with our 15% GST. The UK for example have 20%VAT. That said, many countries have far lower sales added tax, and many have none at all. Hong Kong for example. Many well-off migrant workers live the high life in HK, and when they spend their money they get stuff at rock bottom prices, and no sales tax to boot! Here however, we are taxed on every dollar we earn, then taxed again when we spend whatever’s left! Okay, well that can be said for the UK too, but the rub is this. If for example we take the previous item, a tool bit, and say we live in the UK. We would buy this for seven pounds (say $14) including the 20%VAT. The tax element of this would be about $2.30 Now, lets suppose we have bought locally, here in NZ. After the same item has been imported by a business for re-sale, shuffled through a whole selection of distributors, and finally the retailer, who sticks a price tag of $120 +GST on it, well, then the tax element we are to pay will be $18 In other words, not only are we asked to prop-up local businesses who often do nothing more than order in products from the same overseas companies you can yourself, then charge you absolute extortionate prices for the privilege, when these same retailers and other hangers-on have finally gouged up the price as much as anyone could ever think possible, we are then asked to pay a 15% tax on the whole dam lot!
No wonder the government want us to pay as much as dam possible for our goods, because when we do, it ensures that they rake in a HEFTY sum for doing absolutely NOTHING. In other words, the more we are stung by unfair overinflated local prices, the more the tax man takes.
Now, if we look at it another way, if we say that the tool bit has a sensible worth of $14, however we are asked to pay $120+GST just because we live in NZ. We pay 15%GST here, but instead of paying it on the real (the sensible worth) cost of this item, which would be $2.10NZ, we have to pay $18.00 GST, which in real terms is a whopping 128% Yes, that’s 128% In other words, a tool worth $14 (to the rest of the world) has netted the government 128%GST from you, do to the fact the value of the article has been artificially hiked up by the old “well you’re in New Zealand now mate” mentality.
This is only one example, but if you take this across the board, you will understand why here in New Zealand, people generally can’t afford to buy decent (most) goods, and are penalised when they do have to put their hand in their pocket.
My wife and I used to wonder why Kiwis in general looked so shabby, so “yesterday”, and why the whole country seemed to be held together by bits of wire and string, for want of a better way of putting it. Now we know. Because NO FUCKER CAN AFFORD BETTER! Yes, foul language, but that’s from the heart. That’s how we feel. The only thing that makes Kiwis feel like they are better off these days is all the cheap nasty plastic throw-away shite that they buy from places like The Warehouse. Do you remember back in the eighties in the UK we had a company called Franklin Mint, who advertised their wares as “collectables that will only increase in value over time”, and other such claims. Well, it came to pass that they sold overpriced shite to the working class, who wanted (bless ‘em) to impress each other with their latest collection of medieval Japanese swords or statues of Elvis, complete with gold plated rings and cape… and so on. Don’t even get me started on the “miniature cottages..” Well, here we go again it seems! But now it’s the Chinese who are running the show. But I digress. If however, you want anything, and I mean ANYTHING approaching quality goods in New Zealand, from the UK, Europe or even the US for example, expect to be grabbed forcefully, stripped, bent over and fucked up the arse… not once but twice. Once by the retailer, then again by the government.
But here’s the problem. Should you even dare question the fact that the price seems awfully high, you are dicing with death. You run the risk of being tarred, feathered and run out of town. Thankfully, they stopped burning witches at the stake back in the eighties here (no… the nineteen eighties!). Well, in the more populated parts of NZ that is!
Interestingly, I was fairly recently admonished by the NZ customs when I rang to ask advice about a certain category of personal import. I was told quite sternly that I should buy local, and I had (get this) “no right to go importing things privately..” man I kid you not, I was absolutely spitting fucking blood. Who the hell was this brain-dead fucktard, who obviously had a notion that she had some sort of power over ANYONE who wanted to import goods, for their own use. I mean, it wasn’t as if I had asked, “hey, can I bring in ten kilos of smack for my own personal use?”, no, it was work boots…. Yes, fucking WORK BOOTS! Which by the way were a third of the NZ shelf price! Anyway, this jumped up bitch tried to tear me a new arse, telling me, and I quote “you should buy locally and support New Zealand’s manufactures…” AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!!
Are you fuckin’ kidding me? Do you hear what you are saying? Okay, lets calm down, lets analyse this. If I go into a shoe shop, of all the dozens of pairs of shoes/boots that I see, how many are made here in good ol’ New Zealand?
Answer: NONE…. Absolutely fucking NONE! Unless you count the furry Possum slippers that cost slightly less than buying a human kidney on the black market. Hang on, wait a minute mind, although these are made from New Zealands very own furry tree rats, and marketed as genuine Kiwi products to unsuspecting tourists, why the fuck then are they actually made in China?…. yes CHINA. Oh I see, its so the Kiwi owned company can remain “competitive” is it!… So why the fuck does a pair of these cost more than did my first car? Anyway, while we’re at it, what about Fisher & Paykel and Norsewear? Good ol’ Kiwi companies who put all their Kiwi workers out on their arses, only to set up production in China, employing, well, CHINESE. Where was their loyalty to their beloved Godzone country huh?
So, back to the near brain-dead customs employee, lets see, shall we have that fucking conversation again luv, regarding “supporting local manufacturing”?… come on, lets, I just fuckin’ DARE you to say that again!
Many NZ stores are ordering from a wholesaler, who gets from a distributor, who orders from overseas, well, you get the point. And each time it goes through someone’s hands, the cost gets added too, and not slightly, they hike it up further than a hookers G-string on a Friday night, and the GST is only then added on top. When I can get on the phone, or the t’inernet, as we now all have access to, and order the fucking thing m’self, why in the flying fuck sake would I want to order it locally, and pay double, triple… more, for having to drive into the city and pay someone else to order it for me?
The world is, no it HAS changed, but NZ is trying to stay put and fight against it. The people here are being punished for taking the initiative and seeking out better products, better prices. We are being fleeced by government, by scared retailers, by greedy tradespeople who until now have had the monopoly… we are being fucked up the arse every time we want to get our moneys worth. I’m sure, no I’m absolutely adamant, that the ploy is, keep ‘em sweet, keep ‘em dumb, by promoting sport, promoting the “kiwi way of life” (which is sport… booze, low expectations etc)… all in a bid to keep the average Joe, working hard, being tough, expecting little and being grateful for all of the above.
No wonder Aussies knickname Kiwi’s as “their poor cousins”…. Yep, the jokes on us!