Continuing in our very popular Migrant Tales series – first hand accounts of migrant life in New Zealand.
Today’s tale was sent in by an American stuck in New Zealand. They live in Wellington and say the natural environment is awesome but say they’re shocked by the terrible salaries, abysmal housing stock and the climate – its windy and there is no summer. The author also has some comments to make on Kiwi hospitality and culture…
Here’s their tale
“Some of you may have heard that a Deutsche Bank ranking just rated Wellington as the city with the world’s highest quality of life, beating out Edinburgh, Sydney, Melbourne, and so on. Their rating was based on the following: Purchasing Power, Safety, Health Care, Cost of Living, Property Price to Income Ratio, Traffic Commute Time, Pollution, and Climate.
I’ve lived in Wellington for about four years now. (The past three not at all by choice). To its credit, the natural environment is awesome, and although everyone complains about the traffic, in reality it is very easy to get around by car or (incredibly expensive) public transport.
But really, on all the other metrics, I am flabbergasted that Wellington would be even in the top 10. In most sectors, the salaries are pretty awful by comparison to other major cities in the world. The housing stock is abysmal — insulation is still rare, and double-paned windows even rarer. This becomes a major problem when the wind comes ripping through your house. Seriously, at times I have been unsure whether the windows are rattling because there is an earthquake or because of the wind. Central heating? Yeah nah. House prices aren’t as bad as in Auckland, but they are rising. And they certainly aren’t cheap.
And the climate. Well, it is true that it doesn’t snow here. But there is also no summer. At all. It’s also windy as hell (remember: Wellington, not Chicago, is the windiest city in the world) and rains all the time. I used to have an umbrella, but the wind ripped it inside out so I gave up.
Wellingtonians are a super-reserved bunch, in my experience. Four years on, ZERO of my Kiwi colleagues have even invited me to their house for a drink or dinner. It is virtually impossible to establish friendships, except with expats. People are rarely friendly to strangers or acquaintances — I went back to the states recently and was astounded that people actually chat to each other in parking lots and public spaces. Smiles are rare in Wellington. It baffles me.
There is virtually no culture here, and as others have documented on this blog, any dissent from the notion that NZ is the best place on earth is met with criticism and the typical “what, you think it’s better in your country?”
How did Wellington get itself into the #1 position this time? I can only imagine it’s the Kiwi spin campaign in action. Absolutely, positively, Wellington! (Bleh)
Don’t believe the hype. This is most definitely not the best place on earth. By any stretch.”
More about the Deutsche Bank survey
This year Deutsche has added a few new series to its real time global prices.
In particular average after-tax salaries, average 2-bed apartment rental costs and finally a quality-of-life index that is the most subjective measure in the report and will probably cause most arguments, debates and disagreements. A lot of the data in the report is crowd sourced (including this new quality-of-life index).
The data was collected by http://www.numbeo.com – a large crowd-sourced information database on global prices, quality of living etc. The data is based on the following 8 variables; purchasing power, safety, healthcare, cost of living, house prices/income, commuting time, pollution and climate.
Within the quality of life table, somehow Wellington was placed first overall but 12th for safety, 23rd for healthcare and 28th for cost of living.
As we know, crowd sourced data is easy to influence, and is not an objective nor a scientific metric.
Currently the OECD has New Zealand ranked 7th on its 2016 Better Life Index below Norway, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada and Sweden – all of which make far better migration destinations than New Zealand. Interestingly, Finland, USA, and Iceland are ranked just below New Zealand.
Here’s the rankings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OECD_Better_Life_Index#2016_ranking