What are some of the downsides to living in New Zealand? (reddit thread)

Visiting New Zealand as a tourist or migrant? the locals see their country differently to you.

Source: Reddit New Zealand thread Late Oct 2017: You can either talk about this article in the comments section below, or on Twitter here.

Azz13: Ive heard and seen a tonne of pros to living with the kiwiws, but was wondering what are some cons you guys have to deal with living in NZ?


  • Superficiality/indirectness/fake friendliness: lots of smiles, questions and ‘interest’ but genuine friendships are difficult to come by. Information and opinion is often conveyed poorly.
  • Isolation: cultural and geographic isolation means understanding of different cultures and perspectives is often lacking. Also inflated opinions of many: it’s easy to be in the top 5% or 10% of four and a half million. This would be a city or small state/province elsewhere.
  • Prices: small market, geographic isolation and poor regulation (lots of duopolies) means prices are very high.
  • Housing: poor construction standards, house and rent prices.
  • Driving: practical driving training is not required/unregulated and licensing is basic meaning that New Zealand drivers are not trained to drive well. This results in many poor practices and habits.
  • Drugs: effective customs and small market means that drugs are difficult to obtain, often of poor quality or are highly priced.
  • Public transport: severe lack of funding and infrastructure. Approached as a ‘market’ instead of being ‘public’ which leads to high prices. Peak prices are higher than off-peak! The opposite to Europe where they want to incentivise public transport usage in peak times.
  • Electricity: prices are too high due it being a market rather than a public utility.
  • Wages and conditions: wages are low and poor conditions (time and a half and double time is rare). Very poor health and safety practices in many sectors. Low union membership (might have something to do with the rest of it…).
  • Lack of entertainment: very few international bands, acts, performances come to New Zealand due to distance. Not much to do in the weekends other than to drink and watch sport.

logantauranga:Food, electronics, and higher-end goods are more expensive than in a lot of places because of our distance from markets, consumption tax, and not enough population to sustain competitive practise for everything.Going on holiday to anywhere except Australia and the Pacific is really expensive compared to US/Europe where you can get cheap flights.Torrenting TV/movies is the only reliable way to get all the new stuff quickly. NZ Netflix and other subscription streaming services are quite limited in content.So yeah… all the problems associated with being small and far away.

Glomerular: The cost of living is insanely high. Salaries are low and although Kiwis are friendly in casual social situations they are not going to be your mates or invite you into their social circles.

Punderstruck: This way be situational, but here are a few problems I’ve had:

  1. It’s really lonely. Kiwis often have all the friends they need by adulthood, so if you move, be prepared to have a hard time making friends. I’ve been here almost 2 years and all but one of my friends are ex-pats who have had the same problem. This is despite multiple phone apps, MeetUp events, and travelling.
  2. You have to be able to drive. I haven’t lived in Auckland but in both Wellington and Hamilton the city is really difficult to navigate without a vehicle. I know my ex takes Uber a ton in Wellington, even for simple errands.
  3. A level of homophobia I haven’t seen for a decade. For example, I wear a pink shirt to work (a professional setting), and get people going “oh, you look like a pansy” and “be careful, don’t want people to get the wrong idea…”

That said, I’ve enjoyed my time here and agree with all the great things I heard before I came. I came here specifically for a job (I was replacing a friend in a field where there’s a shortage of workers), so I can’t comment re: work. Housing is bonkers expensive. I’m renting a place with mouldy ceilings, lifting/stained carpet, and a draft that will literally blow pieces of paper off my kitchen table, and its market value is something like $500K. Can’t answer re: help from the state, since you have to be here for >2 years (I’m just under) before you qualify. I will say from a medical perspective, medical error is better managed and compensated than Canada or the US. It’s not as adversarial as the North American systems.

Sakana-otoko:  Everything is bloody expensive because:

a) we import it and importing is expensive due to our location

b) we sell all of our good product and everyone is left to fight for the scraps, which according to basic economic theory results in astronomical prices

Also NZ pay is generally low compared to most OECD nations, which is why most of our top minds disappear overseas to get jobs in professions that actually pay what they’re worth

Azz13: How much more expensive are things? (on average)

murl:30%.I find that in countries with large populations, retailers have sales with big discounts to clear last year’s stock.In NZ the discounts are piddly, Or the retailer hangs on to old stock for ever.

vontysk:I was back in Europe over Xmas and I’d say basic food stuff (butter, bread, milk, beer, etc) can easily be a 75% (or more) mark-up.For example, from a quick Google I see milk at Tesco is NZ$0.84 per litre, whereas the cheapest you can get it in our supermarkets is NZ$1.72 per litre – over twice as much.Out of season, fruit and vegetables in NZ are incredibly expensive, so not only are you generally paying more for groceries than in other countries, you also have far less choice in what you can realistically have. So you better hope you don’t feel like Mexican food in winter, since avocados and bell peppers will each be $5 a pop.And to top it all off, wages here are generally very low. I think that, in general, what NZ society sees as a “comfortable” lifestyle would appear pretty Spartan to a lot of foreigners. Basics (food, rent, power) take up a much larger chunk of your salary than (from my experience) they would in European countries like the UK, Sweden, Denmark or Germany.

DEATH0WL: Our shoes are rubbish too. Customs is still protecting local shoemakers, despite there being fuck all left in the country (McKinlays in Dunedin is the only one I know of).Take a walk down Lambton Quay and you’ll see a few decent-looking offerings, but if you want high-quality internationally renowned shoes or boots for the RRP, you’re shit out of luck.This makes for an entire nation of people wearing god-awful shoes. Interrupted by the brave few who emptied their wallets for something decent. It’s a national travesty.

the_kraken_stirs: 1 seems to be mentioned by a few people in this thread, and is definitely something I’ve seen come up a fair bit in articles and websites. It is hard, kiwis are generally friendly & helpful, but not interested in being your friend. As you said, they have all the ones they’re interested in. I didn’t realise how lonely I’d get until I moved and started working somewhere without backpackers and travellers.

I should probably get out more now that I’m working less and try some clubs/hobbies whatever. I got on great with all my kiwi coworkers, but they all had their own circles & I didn’t exist outside of work

Kim_Jong_Phil:  Sometimes talking to New Zealanders can be pretty frustrating when they know almost nothing about the history of our own country. It’s honestly bizarre.Like, I could ask many, many people that I know to name New Zealand Prime Ministers, for example, and they could probably name Bill English, John Key, and Helen Clark (and now Jacinda Ardern)? It is bad because it means that New Zealanders do not understand why the present is like it is. University assistance to Maori is a great example; the government literally classed today’s Maori students’ grandparents as fundamentally unfit for higher education; it is written in government documents. Yet people wonder why Maori need additional aid today? It’s just a weird scenario all around. I think the curriculum has a prohibitive fear of ever being political, meaning that people do not learn about the Seddon and the Liberals, or the first Labour government, or even the neoliberal revolution and the end of fortress New Zealand. It would just take a few weeks in school to touch on these things, and would actually give people my age (20s) a basic understanding of why our country is like it is.As it is, we New Zealanders are a people who can seem almost entirely detached from our own past, and it leads to very weird understandings and assumptions about why things are the way they are.

nlogax1973: Many others have mentioned my biggest bug bears already: housing (expensive and shite), cost of living/purchasing power, etc.Along with those I’d like to add that we are very car-dependent compared to most places (3rd in the world, I believe). This, along with a traditional preference for standalone suburban homes, has led to most of our urban centres sprawling in all directions, limiting the utility of public transport, and making cycling and walking less practical.There are improvements happening though, a surprising number instigated by the former (National) government in recent years, and likely to accelerate under the new govt.

HistoryQuickly: I love this country a lot, and I’d say most of the problems are much smaller than the ones other countries face in general.That said;The culture isn’t necessarily for everyone. I don’t know how old you are, but you might find older Kiwis are a bit quieter and self..reliant(?) then your used to.The weather isn’t for everyone, either, but I’d be surprised if many people aren’t happy with a place like the Hawkes Bay in this regard. Pretty isolated. This’ll probably be most jarring if you came from, say, the US- tons of services don’t work here, or our equivalents suck (I’m looking at you, shitty Netflix and ridiculous shipping prices). I hope you like holidaying to a place thats basically the exact same but with killer spiders.Housing crisis. In the big cities, housing sucks. Its bad.Tl;dr For a certain kind of person, its an outdoorsy paradise, but its not for everyone.

 Porirvian: I think it depends entirely where you live…But generally it’s the food prices at supermarkets is stupid expensive, while restaurants and takeaway is pretty damn cheap.The other thing that surprises people in Wellington and Auckland is how wet and cool it can be, sometimes the summer never seems to arrive. Along with our housing…My God it’s so bad. I have mould growing on my wall and curtains in my flat because of the leaky windows and the tenant owner just tells me to open the window to dry it out…I wish we had double glazing…

Mana_Maor: Cons is the distance. My sister lives in London and is travelling to a new country every other week. We are so isolated, so it makes it a bigger hassle to see other countries and cultures. Not to mention the flight time is enough to put you off, let alone the expense lol.

tonylee0707:Low salary compared to house prices. I moved to Sydney for an identical position which pays me $25k more and I pay the same rent. I never dreamed of owning a home in Auckland but 2 years since I moved out I have saved up around $50k.


willprobablybebanned:  You keep telling yourselves that, but it’s simply not true.Let’s do the math with a hypothetical $100k income:

Bracket Tax Paid Disposable
AAC Tax 1.39%* $1390 $98,610
0 – $14k is 10.5% $1470 $97,140
14k – 48k is 17.5% $5950 $91,190
49k – 70k is 30% $6300 $84,890
70k + is 33% $9900 $74,990
15% GST $5624-$11,249 $37,495-$0

* – I’ve been told this is higher now. Thus taxation on a $100,000 of income produces $25,019 in tax revenue, an effective tax rate of 25.019%…

equal-in-the-end: Shitty road surfaces. Everything gets torn up by trucks and patched terribly.

jaydonemunching: Cold houses, bad drivers, expensive milk, certain areas full of themselves, homophobes, hooligan sports fans, shit beer, shit expensive beer, rivers with no water, rivers with polluted water, rivers with cows shitting in water, politicians saying the water is ok.

southhere: High prices of everything, goods you simply can’t find to buy within the country, sometimes rubbish weather and some ferals.

volpygregor: Internet. NZ still has one of the worst . edit: forgot to add the increasing monopoly throughout NZ industry. There are several companies on the same field owned by the same giants creating an illustion of competition. You get angry at a company, you spend your money elsewhere just to realise the money went to the same pocket you were avoiding in the first place.






3 thoughts on “What are some of the downsides to living in New Zealand? (reddit thread)

  1. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11940110

    Topless Schoolgirls Take Hamilton School Boys Leg Out!

    They get a slap on the wrist and of course by the time they have hit 30 they have ridden a mile of crotches and likely single mothers in this failed degenerate emasculated feminist indoctrinated gynocentric cuck society, And add Xenophobia, poor values, education and isolation and rest to the mix and you got NZ. Ask me and I will tell you, these girls are asking for it.

    I have lived here a good decade of my life and wasted much younger days, seen people die, seen friends drift and go into mental illness and some doing menial labor, every sector of this country is subpar including the weather, houses, jobs education and down to the water and prices of food and everything really. This country has been the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. Its good to know some of these Kiwis are getting it now through their 100% pure BS. Let me give you a first hand quick tour.

    You want LOTR beautiful scenery? Well the country has little of it, and it wears off fast, go look at older forests and rivers in europe. Dont come here to live too long.

    You want an education here? No sorry we are teaching 5th grade stuff in Uni and need you to go on a enormous student debt.

    You want a job? sorry, dont have any fields for your qualifications, no industry, no nothing, do menial work, get treated as subhuman for menial pay.

    You want a house, sorry there aren’t enough houses to rent, Go look at 20 homes in a month and you still wont get one that easy anymore, sorry we dont want non kiwis.

    You want to buy a house? Well go ahead, buy our $50,000 rust bucket for $500,000 Mortgage, and work your life as a slave paying it off,

    Money? We want your money because our nation New Zealand pays 15 Billion Dollars Every year as a Over Draft Fees per say, the fine for keeping their Enourmous Debt. Wonder why Christchurch was not Rebuilt? Not only poor kiwi ethics, and management but fact that its got no money.

    And you want to date locals? Not only 75 – 80% of us are ugly and have a mile of riding experience and likely 5 kids from ten different guys while we get free jobs or go on dole, we also so dont like Europeans/Americans/Asian/Russian/Arab Insert your country/ethnicity. May be ofcourse once in a full moon through a bottle while our boyfriends drunk on the other room but hush hush.

    Jesus, if you aren’t one of them, good luck living among these degenerates low life crab bucket scum.

    – Here’s my advise, unless you are balls deep, dont finish education here, cut your loses, build up your finances best you can, set goals and then head out, while you are here, find jobs in smaller places, avoid big chains as you will get a hassle, non of them will pay right, if you are lucky enough to have your own business then focus purely on exit strategy, make a few good friends if you are lucky, but chances are they are also out casts by the locals or a victim of the system who realized too late. dont buy a house, be vigilant how you take people, show no weakness and be ready to strike anyone down with gods wrath, dont make cigs and drinking a habit, dont bother watching tv, just do your own things and outdoor stuff, if you want companionship from the opposite sex, hers some redpill for ya, avoid Kiwi girls in general like the plague, You are better off sticking to some of the post school girls from germany on their gap year backpacking and slutting around here then these ugly locals with princess syndromes, yes even they will have more to offer in terms of being a human than these. Human Rights? Its an Island, what happens here, stays under carpet. Family? You will have bad relations with them if you have them here, they will degrade with you, the locals mostly do. Everyday life, views, not much to it, no real views, no real good weather, rains all the time, no real friends, no real good feeling being around these people as they are so sub par. So forget all that, you will be lucky not to lose your mind here if you lived here for a decade.

    This country will either Break you to rebuild you as a Slave or turn you into a Beast, and neither is good for a human being.

    • Agree with everything said here. Get the fuck out if you can. This place will gobble up your will to live.

  2. The above comments, observations, and conclusions substantially reflect my own thoughts and experiences. For me personally it is the blatant state of denial which permeates right across New Zealand society that is the underlying issue – turning the country’s massive social problems round and making it appear these problems are way worse in America and elsewhere.

    Just the other day I happened to catch a television news item on the New Zealand state broadcaster about the amount of illiteracy in the US. Running such an item on nationwide television is just SO kiwi. Making it appear that things are incredibly bad elsewhere in the world and that we should be SO grateful we live in New Zealand.

    It is rare for kiwi television cameras to actually venture into the other (less-fortunate) side of New Zealand. Such stark reality does not sit well with the kiwi-bourgeois viewing public. Kiwis seem to be happier basking in the sleazier aspects of American and British culture (through television and the internet) than they do with what really goes on in their own country.

    If you even attempt to discuss New Zealand’s social problems with many kiwis you are labelled boring (a broken record), a whinger, and negative. REAL kiwi discussions centre round rugby and the weather. If you wish to get-on in life here you simply have to shut up and harden up (work a double shift or play a game of rugby with a broken arm).

    Life is indeed simple and clear-cut for those who fit the kiwi mould – however it can be hell for those who don’t.

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