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.”
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.
For more Migrant Tales click HERE