Migrant Tales – Biotechnologist Says NZ’s Universities Are A Ponzi Scheme


bioreactor NZ universities Ponzi scheme

A bioreactor, a rarity in NZ. But at least NZers know how to brew beer.

Continuing in our popular series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand

Our second tale today was written by a biotechnologist who lived in New Zealand for 9 years before returning to the US.

There are many things the author won’t miss about NZ: crime, a substandard education system, lazy workers, high cost of materials, clueless investors, difficult working conditions imposed by “partners” and the lack of qualified talent. She describes New Zealand’s universities as a Ponzi scheme by the government to indebt students for degrees no one gives a toss about because the degrees are useless.

I just returned to the us after 9 years in NZ and despite the problems the US has, it still offers better opportunity than NZ will ever have. So the deal is I grew up in what is now Silicon Valley. After my wife died I decided to quit the rat race and move to NZ where the promise of better work/life balance a more laid back approach to life and the beauty were a real draw. I found a job in biotech and was made an offer. So the process to migrate began. I should have known from the very start when my case officer screwed up my application that this attitude was endemic in NZ. Bottom line is don’t drink the NZ 100% pure kool-aid. NZ does a great job of marketing, but there is little substance to what is there.

When I arrived it was clear from the beginning that there is a habit of new people going to NZ full of promise, ideas, energy and such. But after a few months of hitting brick walls, people saying “go back where you came from, being robbed and generally finding the cost of living to be much higher than the government sites would have you believe, the blom was already of the rose.

That’s okay, I have lived in many states in the US and in countries, so I am no stranger to adaptation. But what I did find was gross racism, nepotism, an attitude of “we don’t care” and having time off is more important than working. Unfortunately I didn’t learn that until I started a biotech company and couldn’t find talent, and the “talent” I did find was under qualified and not willing to work very hard. On top of that the investors I had, farmers and property developers, were expecting to get returns like they had with farms and housing. To top it of the government gave us a grant, but applied compliance terms that were unprecedented. It is no wonder there is no biotechnology in NZ (Sorry, that’s not true. they consider new forms of grass and breeds of cows and sheep to be biotechnology! What a joke!) All the talent we did find was imported from overseas and the resentment of the locals was palpable.

so now I have acquired the rights to the technology I had in New Zealand and brought it home to the US where the talent, resources and capital are literally falling at my feet! But wait, now my former company is not honoring my license, so what am I to do? Sue? Yeah, right. As others have posted the NZ courts are more like a criminal day-care system. After being burglarized twice, robbed three times and my son being mugged I found little to no solace with the police or courts. So I would rather live in the US where criminals are actually held to account, rather than NZ where crime is merely a way of life.

When I was recently asked what I missed about NZ, it came down to one thing: the scenery and being able to be in the country after a few minutes drive. I don’t miss the attitudes of (most) Kiwis, I don’t miss the high cost of living, I don’t miss the BS of “clean and green,” I don’t miss the horrible food, and I don’t miss the fact that Air New Zealand has a monopoly on air travel and will cancel you flight at a moments notice and not give a toss. As a business owner there are many other things that after 9 years I won’t miss. Lazy workers, high cost of materials, clueless investors who only want quick returns, difficult working conditions imposed by “partners” the previously mentioned lack of qualified talent, etc, etc.

Oh and to those of you who are thinking of getting an education in NZ, the educational system is also horrible. For example, my daughter, who attended a high school in the US ranked in the top 1% was told she was not qualified to graduate because she didn’t have all the UK and Maori historical BS. This despite scoring very high on her SATs. The solution? An online GED that allowed her to get into a top US University. To top that of, the university my labs are at offers a “Biotechnology” degree they proudly tout as the first “named Biotechnology degree in the world” Yeah? So what, when you idea of biotechnology is brewing beer! The “biotech engineers” I hired had never even seen a bioreactor. The university system is merely a Ponzi scheme by the government to indebt students through student loans for degrees no one gives a toss about because the degrees are useless. This is why most University professors are home grown. All the good Kiwi professors I have worked with are overseas at real universities.

So farewell NZ. Nice to visit, will never live there again.

8 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – Biotechnologist Says NZ’s Universities Are A Ponzi Scheme

  1. Having just spent 15 years working outside NZ I can attest to every single statement in this article as being true. The food is crap: cheap, poor quality, no choice and pretty much controlled by Goodman Fielder – a former NZ company, now owned by the filthy Indonesian agribusiness, Wilmar: the cost of living is beyond belief: power, water, rates, insurance and after 10 years in Europe I can say this. If you can get out and go to a civilised country, then you should. NZ is now a destination for people from developing countries and they are bringing their despicable behaviours with them. Time to pack up and leave……

  2. Ok can’t help myself,so many people here work at minimum wage jobs it’s just ridiculous,most of the consumer goods are just pure shit absolute shit,the staff at stores have been trained to defend the pure 100% crap they sell ,so with a straight face they question you about returning the shit you bought from their store which didn’t last 5 minutes ,it’s unbelievable ,they know it’s the worst of the worst but are so desperate for their minimum wage job they follow company policy of fraud.Mitre 10 is one of the worst ,an item which would cost $1.20 in the U.S sells here for $60.00 .ha everything at that store is shit and priced about 20 times above what a person would pay for the real itemm in the U.S ,welcome to retardsville N.Z

  3. The 26 year old man who works at my local liquor store is a fully qualified N.Z trained and certified Pharmacist ,he gets to sell booze now and will never get a job here unless he can buy a business .

  4. This is a country with a system lacking any kind of moral compass.The government will do anything to entice people here for work and to become students just bring your money( lots of it ),pay immigration N.Z ,pay the institution you want to enrole in,when you’re done paying and done getting your worthless degree and squeezed dry financially and emotionally you can fu..k off back to whatever uncivilised Sh.t hole country you came from ,you should have done your research and it’s your own fault you can’t get a job.Guess what ,there are no jobs here ,why do you think hundreds of thousands of people have been leaving this country for decades,.because there were well paid jobs here?
    Just go look on the Internet skills shortage hahaha there’s a shortage of employers who will pay you half of what you’re worth and quarter of what you will need to survive.Look at the crap on the Internet trying to sucker people to come here,just search degree courses and careers in any given subject ,then read the blurb about your chosen subject,they’ll tell you that there’s a need for people in this industry and future career prospects are looking strong with high future demand blah,blah.
    What they don’t mention is that all their graduates from the last 5 to 10 years are now working in liquor stores and driving taxis.
    It’s getting to the point whereby if you do believe the complete bullshit about ample Job opportunities and skills shortages in N.Z you must be a complete idiot ,akin to believing one of the Nigerian Internet scams ,it’s no different other than here the scam is being run by the government.

  5. Having spent 5 years trying to make it work in New Zealand, I recognise all of your comments and wish you well in re establishing your self in the States. Since being back in the UK, I recognise that it’s 2 years to pick yourself up and dust yourself down and another 3 or so to start making financial progress again.

  6. 9 years good stretch that i did 7. Strange how Kiwis and Aussies alike generally get a walkover here in the U.K. Work our bars etc and are accepted because Aussie and N.Z. are the places to go. Yeah go for a holiday live there at your peril…

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