Migrant Tales – New Migrant Doctor Laments 3rd World Housing, Says So Bad Will Leave NZ.

housing-in-upper-hut

Homes in Upper Hutt (source RadioNZ)

Welcome to our latest Migrant Tale – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.

Today’s tale concerns a topic that is very common among new migrants in New Zealand. Poor housing standards is often the first inkling that honeymoon-stage migrants get that something is wrong with New Zealand. After a while they realise the factors that cause (and excuse) New Zealand’s third world housing problem also influence other facets of New Zealand life.

Here’s the tale, originally published in two separate threads on reddit New Zealand:

We moved from Europe a year ago to New Zealand. We were recruited because the hospitals here need our skillset. We’re actually very upset that we may not be able to stay because of housing. We’ve been looking since we got here and haven’t found any suitable homes which is really a nightmare.

We love everything about New Zealand, the schools for our children are great, the people are very friendly, the government is civil and responsive, everything is beautiful, we enjoy our jobs, and the homes here are so bad that they overshadow all of that.

We’ve given it another 12 months but if we don’t find a home we will eventually let our contract run out and leave.

Thankfully we are not in Auckland but the quality of homes here is third world and the prices are just as expensive as back home where for $600,000 NZD you would get an immaculate fully-modern home with probably doublethick insulation and modern argon-filled double glazing with rooms that have no drafts or open seams.

The homes here are below what we even saw in some developing countries.

It is the one attitude that I simply cannot understand. Kiwis are such great people and they have no common sense with homes. I speak with our friends at the bar and they honestly cannot understand why I would be upset with single-pane glass or why not having wall insulation is such a big deal. They also think I’m truly crazy for wanting heat in every room of my home, because they simply don’t heat their bedrooms in Winter. Which to me makes THEM crazy.

And the process where we are from is so strict that home buying here seems wide-open… I can’t think of an appropriate English expression. When you buy a home in the EU there are often mandatory inspections and checklists and reviews of all titles and transfers and permits. This is standard and normal for every transaction.

Here it seems like you can do anything.We have had real estate agents actually laugh at us for asking for official builder reports.

So we are counting down. Find a home in 12 months that is either to a good standard or can be brought to a good standard with investment, or we leave.”

“There was a suggestion from some (including friends) that we simply buy land and build a home but we are also very apprehensive to start this process because we have heard horror stories about the quality of even new homes and how contractors here have a very poor reputation for doing what they say they will do. Our Kiwi friends have said that they have even gone so far as to stay home or take off work so that they can always be at the property when work is being done to ensure real materials are being used and not swapped for cheaper substitutes and that things are being done according to code. Which again to me is unthinkable.”

Some replies:

Great write up. You should post a new thread. Just don’t delete this account or the thread will go. You won’t insult anyone as we know our housing and pricing are shit. I am interested to hear why they are so shit in replies.

Yeah you make an excellent point about the process being stricter in the EU. Even for renting. My sister rents in Berlin and it’s a huge process, but after that the apartment is basically yours- you can do all sorts of things to it and live in there like a real home. Here you can’t even put bloody blu-tac on the walls in some houses, and fuck investing any time or money into a flat to make it livable because you can be booted out by the landlord whenever they decide it’s convenient.

I can totally understand the need to vent about this. However it’s kind of frustrating for the average Kiwi to hear because we know, we can’t do anything about it, and we’ve had to live with it for much longer than you have. It’s like tourists complaining about all the rain in the UK. It’s not even like we hid it from anyone – a little research before moving to NZ and you would have known.

We’re fucked on the cost of materials due to virtual monopolies in some areas and cartel behavior by suppliers. So for tradies to make a decent margin they have to squeeze everything they can, because the end consumer still wants a reasonable price.
You may have noticed we are at the arse end of the planet. Everything is more expensive here.

Dunno why people are trying to defend the shitting housing situation in New Zealand. It’s true, in Europe the kind of standard we have here would be unthinkable. And don’t give me that ‘it’s warm in New Zealand’ bullshit. Rental houses are cold and uninsulated because landlords are lazy and greedy.

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13 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – New Migrant Doctor Laments 3rd World Housing, Says So Bad Will Leave NZ.

  1. http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2017/03/new-zealand-housing-most-unaffordable-in-the-world-the-economist.html
    New Zealand housing most unaffordable in the world – The Economist
    10/03/2017
    By Caley Callahan

    (File)
    (File)
    It’s official – New Zealand has the most unaffordable housing in the world, according to The Economist.

    Across five different measures, New Zealand has come out on top of three of the five measures for the most expensive global housing market.

    New Zealand has had the highest rise in house prices, costs the most against the average person’s income and now has the biggest difference between house prices and renting prices.

    Living up to the idea that only the best are allowed into Heaven – er, Godzone!

    • And naturally, I trawled to find a comment with numbers:
      [–]unmaimed 44 points 12 hours ago
      Was doing a little bit of thinking just now on how much this sucks. Consider that according to parents (boomers) every couple should be good little NZers and breed as well as buy a house.
      Going to have to go on averages here…
      Average NZ house = 600k @ 5.8% (current floating), at 10% deposit = $38028 p.a.
      Having a kid costs about $150k 0-18 (so roughly 8300 p.a) and as good little NZers we should have 2 of the little shits: $16600 p.a.
      So before we allow ourselves a single bite to eat for the year, or a single bit of power / transportation or insurance, the average couple with 2 kids needs to make $54628 AFTER TAX – This is equivalent to a household income of about $68000 p.a.
      NOTE: Median income in NZ is $45,800 per year for one person, which means $68,000 per year is 1.5 times income per family = 1 person working full time + 1 person working part time … AND earning more than what the bottom 50% of the country get. Interesting odds, wonder if they are sustainable.
      The question then becomes- do you compare this the median (85k) or average (68k) household income?
      Consider that the 68k calculated above is for a your own home and keeping 2 children alive only, and that there are significant costs associated with every other aspect of life (i.e. food and power for yourself), are we in the position where the average kiwi couple now must choose family OR home.
      Compare this to the common tale of boomers ‘doing it hard’ buying a house, raising 2.4 kids on 1 income.
      How many people in their 50s and 60s are happy that they look at their kids and say “I am happy that the NZ I left you makes you choose between either a secure place to live or having a family.”

      Maybe they should just marry one of those cashed-up foreigners, unless of course they want that elusive “racial purity”, CONservatives are very good for that.

  2. The quality of New Zealand houses is not only bad, it is dangerous. Around 40% of the houses have mould problems. This is a MAJOR contributor to the hundreds of children admitted to hospital each year with respiratory related conditions, and the 100 or so who DIE each year from these conditions. Diseases like pneumonia are not uncommon in NZ, and the country has one of the highest asthma rates in the world.

    It isn’t difficult to see that a large proportion of NZ homes are unliveable; a house should not come with the risk of your children dying, because of health related conditions caused by it.

    • This country has very little regard for human life in general ,the child abuse stats provide a picture on the lack of compassion toward the young and vulnerable ,the insanely violent way they operate motor vehicles displays both their lack of regard for thir fellow humans and their deep seated aggression,so child death due to mouldy damp and cold houses is just another unavoidable tragedy here in N.Z

  3. I just don’t understand New Zealanders.

    They seem to have this weird pride about living in cold (uninsulated) houses. When I complain, they look at me funny and tell me to “harden up”. I get told to wear more warm clothes and use more blankets at night…

    No! I want my house to be warm when I arrive after work. I want to be able to rest in a warm place when I’m tired and exhausted. I don’t want to “harden up” and wear more clothes looking like an Eskimo. I just want a nice home that is well insulated. Why is this so much to ask in this country? Why is it so outrageous that I want a home that a human being can live in? Why is it normal for people to live inside a freezer in this country?

    This is only one of millions of complaints I have about this country. I’ve been totally scammed about how wonderful New Zealand is.

    • If you notice many of them are unwell and look old before their time ,lots of arthritis and winter is just back to back cold season with different strains week after week ,strange that living in a warm home I haven’t had a single cold in three years and I didn’t even have to harden up.!

  4. Regrettably, NZ relies heavily on planned obsolescence to continue the circulation of wealth. By constructing poorly insulated homes, they create sick people and in turn more revenue for doctors, healthcare system and pharmaceutical companies as well as more revenue for electricity providers and more employment opportunities for tradesmen to do maintenance work. From you back to you.

  5. It’s easy to understand why houses cost so much in N.Z ,just go to the paint/hardware store and purchase a medium grade wall paint 1 gallon/4 litter can of paint $80.00 go to the Home Depot web site in the U.S ,same grade of paint ,same quantity $13.97 so with the exchange rate let’s say $20.00 ,to clarify 1 litre of paint in N.Z costs $20.00 ,1 litre of the same paint in the U.S $5.00 apply this across the board for all building materials in rip off N.Z and there’s your answer.Everything costs 3 times more here why? and it’s not due to economies of scale,if N.Z wants to address the housing crisis ,firstly they will need to bring down the billionaire cartels who control the supply of building materials.

    • Can I add to your comment @mcleoudkiwitony that imagine if someone decided to build their own home with their own materials and live as isolated as possible from the magical fairies New Zealander’s. The government/police/government agencies/army would track you down, harass you, throw you in jail and hang you like a human sacrifice for the pagan gods of New Zealand. They will all read their newspapers and clinch their fists and go YEAH YEAH GOOD GOOD, I’m so happy making someone else miserable. Kiwi’s love to see people suffer, and the bully billionaire gang lord cartel’s will do everything in their power to keep up their control grid on prices, and domination. Thanks a lot New Zealander’s, you really have turned me into a misanthrope, hopeless human being. There is no hope here. Get out if you can, get out, get out, get out, get out, get out.

      • You’re not supposed be self sufficient how’s a lazy incompetent council member or politician ,CEO etc going to live off your back if you go off grid,it’s really not possible as the country is set up in such away that you can’t really survive off the land ,all kind of special licences and consents required to do anything ,I have a couple of acres and have my own sewage system etc ,no rubbish collection,no street lighting no council dependence for anything and my rates are $2700 per annum.So I pay this to receive nothing in return ?

        • Nice comment. Every single year I get a message from the council saying to save water and to only water your garden every 2, 3 days or so. Even though we have had a very rainy summer and we have an abundant river nearby. Could it be maybe that the council don’t have enough water storage containers and have failed to deliver and can’t do their job. They are brainless, jock’s (I think that would describe the typical kiwi), who can’t put 1 and 1 together to get 2. Here’s an idea, build more water containers with all the millions of dollars you get from rate payers? I wonder what these council members do with their time. They set up stupid little flower beds and that is about it. These people are criminals, miserable horrible criminals. It’s never ceases to amaze me how someone can closes their mind to all the bad things are happening and not be honest and address the problems and maybe even ummm fix them…

  6. Yes it’s hard to go home and have freezing cold zones in your house just because they are not in radiated heat reach of a fire or electric heater,Very sad that the government ran an insulation programme for a short time and then withdrew it ,maybe the government really prefers that people consume and waste vast amounts of electricity during the 8 month winters in N.Z makes the people they sold our electrical generation companies to very happy.

    • I once saw a campaign run by the government to help people save power. They sent out pamphlets to people’s mail boxes. They focused on changing your lightbulbs to energy savers – that was it.. There was no mention of getting your home insulated at all; no mention of blocking off all the draughts that plague NZ homes; no mention of using better energy efficient heating (and cooling); no mention of dealing with dampness — nothing. I took one look at the pamphlet, laughed hysterically, and threw it away.

      I should add that the NZ definition of an “insulated” home is to put the insulation in the ceiling, and nowhere else: no double glazed windows, no insulation in the walls. So, an “insulated” home here is only marginally better than an uninsulated one.

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