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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: low pay, high taxes and almost twice as expensive (housing excluded so it’s not five times more expensive) than just about anywhere else on the planet.
DeusVultRightNow : High taxes? NZ has the lowest tax in the entire OECD.
willprobablybebanned: You keep telling yourselves that, but it’s simply not true.Let’s do the math with a hypothetical $100k income:
|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|
* – 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.