Don’t Move to New Zealand

starving piggy bank

“I am so tired of Kiwis making a virtue of necessity – there’s nothing here to compensate for the forced pennypinching”

This story was originally published on the discussion forum Expatexposed.

A US migrant in New Zealand tells how grinding penny pinching becomes a way of life in NZ with nothing to compensate it, rather than a short term measure to get ahead.

The poster also tells of how carefully ‘Brand New Zealand’ is manipulated to attract people who turn out to be unsuitable migrants.

This is the sort of honesty that seldom gets published about New Zealand, and we’re honored to be able to host it here:

I am so tired of Kiwis making a virtue of necessity. They should be honest that THAT is what it is – making do on a cute remote island. Nothing more than that. Not an arcane “lifestyle” to be aspired to (cue: clink wineglass of Sauvignon Blanc, look out to blue water, flash impossibly white teeth at partner that you would never see on a Kiwi because most of them don’t do dental).

There’s nothing here to compensate for the forced pennypinching – little opportunity, no rich culture, you can’t easily travel to other places for a change – nothing. The government and migration agencies are dressing New Zealand up and not being honest about what it is really like here – THAT is my biggest gripe.

If you are rich, boaty and/or fetishize nature, you will LOVE it here, and you won’t have to make sacrifices, or the sacrifices may well be worth it. I am not rich, boaty and do not fetishize nature.

I DO wear woolly socks and jumpers inside, and I did that before I came here. I shop secondhand “just because it is sensible”. I make food from scratch. I totally agree – it’s sensible and no less, regardless. I have NEVER had central heating or double-glazed windows in any house I have lived in, though I aspired to such back home where I was able to afford to buy my own house. I used to put thermal plastic sheeting on my windows to keep warm in winter. I will hunt that stuff down for this year in NZ if I haven’t been able to leave by winter. At home, I had a gas furnace (not a standalone heater) and my heating was, under a special distributive program where they spread the money out for winter heating to summer months so you don’t get these big lumps to pay in winter) about 80 a month USD (that’s about, what, 100 NZD?). Just to give you a comparison.

The difference is that back there, I lived this same way and was able to save money and get ahead by being frugal. I could afford better food and I didn’t have to darn big holes in socks. I’d darn a little hole or two and then when the socks persisted in developing more holes, I would give them away to the local animal shelter inside a pillowcase for the animals to use. I had money to travel and visit people.

I’ve lived frugally before – and was able to GET AHEAD by doing so. I was able to save thousands a year doing that. Here, you are FORCED to live that way just to keep your head above water, and you are lucky if you can save anything. Maybe some year upward mobility will pull you into its wake if you can catch the wave at the right time…you can only climb the rungs of the ladder with great difficulty in New Zealand, and just hope you don’t have a setback that sends you back to START. It’s easy to have that happen to you if you have no family here to cushion your setbacks for you.

I do not consider that the people of New Zealand are beneath me. I perceive that they “make do” valiantly with what they have. I have seen them be amazingly creative making good useful things out of nothing. The housewives use everything but the squeal. Jesus, do I have to want to live like that, though? This is admirable, and I’d do it if I had to, but why pay out the nose to do that? Kiwis are both shaped and limited by having to live that way. They don’t have time for intellectual pursuits? Just LIVING here occupies enough of their effort, so ok, it’s understandable (Google “culture of New Zealand”, “anti-intellectualism” if you think I am being a snob). People have crafted the Wiki entry to reflect reality, better, I think, since I came over some years ago, and I think prospective migrants should read it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_New_Zealand#Anti-intellectualism (See below*)
I don’t think you’re aware of how carefully they manipulate Brand New Zealand to attract people who in actuality turn out to be highly unsuitable migrants. That’s where I perceive my fight to be on EE, is representing the reality of New Zealand as I personally experienced it, as one of those unsuitable migrants, so I can prevent other people from making the same mistake I did. It’s the only way I can make lemonade out of my own lemons! That’s why many of the members post here – they are either venting or making sure the downside gets “out there”, hoping that googlers will be able to find and read it through all the net-bombing by “paradise”-mongers who are trying to represent New Zealand as a place that it is NOT.”

*Anti-intellectualism in NZ (Wikipedia)

Unlike many European countries, but in common with other ‘Anglo’ countries such as Britain, the United States and Australia, New Zealanders do not have a particularly high regard for intellectual activity, particularly if it is more theoretical than practical. This is linked with the idea of ‘kiwi ingenuity’ (see above), which supposes that all problems are better solved by seeing what works than by applying a theory.

This distrust of theory manifested itself in social policy of the early and mid twentieth century, which historian Michael Bassett described as ’socialism without doctrines’: although the policies of the first Labour and other governments pursued traditionally socialist goals, they were not based on any coherent theory. A major break with this tradition came in the 1980s when the fourth Labour and fourth National governments enacted a series of reforms based on free market ideology.

This reinforced many New Zealanders’ distrust of intellectual theory, as many consider that the reforms increased poverty and inequality in New Zealand. Despite the prevailing mood of anti-intellectualism, New Zealand has reasonably high rates of participation in tertiary education and has produced a number of internationally renowned scholars and scientists, including Ernest Rutherford, J.G.A. Pocock and Alan MacDiarmid. It should be noted that both Rutherford and Pocock spent most of their professional lives in Britain. For many years this was a common occurrence, and a consequence both of New Zealanders’ attitudes and the low population which made it hard to support major research.

Attribution

Because New Zealanders often have to relocate to achieve worldwide fame and fortune, New Zealanders are keen to claim famous people as being New Zealanders, however short their residency in New Zealand might have been.

While people born in New Zealand are certainly identified as New Zealanders, those who attended a New Zealand school or resided in New Zealand also qualify, irrespective of national origin. This sometimes leads to famous people and innovations being identified as coming from both New Zealand and another country—such as the pop group Crowded House, the race horse Phar Lap and the actor Russell Crowe, all of whom have been associated with Australia and New Zealand.

Because the measure of New Zealand success was often how well a person did internationally, anything from ‘Overseas’ is seen as holding more cultural capital than the local equivalent, regardless of its quality.

This means that New Zealanders are often lured to the performances of “international acts”. This is exacerbated by New Zealand’s isolation and small population causing it to be skipped by the international tours of all but the most commercially successful musicians and performers. The flipside to this phenomenon is that famous people from overseas can be quickly embraced by New Zealanders if they visit regularly or for an extended period or claim an affinity with the country.”

http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3355/features/2475/the_unfriendly_isles.html
“We invite them to live here, then set them up for failure. Immigrants and refugees have a tough time settling in New Zealand, and it’s costing them – and us – dearly”

“New Zealand has never been particularly welcoming to immigrants, but a National Business Review-Phillip Fox poll this month suggested that attitudes of ordinary New Zealanders to non-white immigrants are hardening.”

“The requirements for immigration and the requirements for registration [as a teacher] are very different and it’s never been made explicit. So they come here on the basis of their teaching qualifications and can’t register. We suspect it’s the same with other qualifications, particularly those with a registration component, such as engineering.”

Although politicians attack migrants for “taking taxpayers for a ride” by claiming sickness and hardship benefits, a recent Victoria University survey found that a majority of New Zealanders are accepting of immigrants, but they have little to do with them. Those at the bottom of the socioeconomic heap who have most contact with them often perceive them as a threat. Chile was called in recently to sort out a dispute for an African migrant family who bought a house in South Auckland. “The people next door set the dog on the woman of the house and the children have been beaten up.”

(E2NZ.org is being updated all the time, for the latest of hundreds of migrant tales click on this link e2nz.org/tag/migrant-tales. If you would like to send us your migrant tale please leave it in the contribute section).

Everything you read on this site is genuine. We cite all our sources so people can judge the authenticity for themselves. People may not want to believe what they read here, and its easier to dismiss the site than deal with the numerous issues it raises; BUT that is what we call the “New Zealand condition.”

Let’s face it, if New Zealand was that great why does a country larger than Britain have more sheep than people, and a population of a little under 4.5 million. Did you know  >1 million Kiwis live overseas, ever wondered why they do that if ‘everything is awesome’?

Please take a while to read some of the comments that were left on this thread since it was first published in Feb 2010 – scroll to the bottom of the page to get them.

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779 thoughts on “Don’t Move to New Zealand

  1. WE DID IT!!! I know all caps is rude, but I’m excited!!!
    We sold our Auckland house, in this crappy market, we did it!
    Before it all goes to rats and the Auckland market goes down we’re out!!!
    Hoping to actually be leaving the country at the end of this month!
    With a solid 100 thousand pounds deposit for a house back home in North Yorkshire!
    No more late nights worrying about my three old, in light of recent stories about teen depression and suicide, with absolutely no plan by the government in how to even being to tackle it.
    I don’t have to worry that someone is going to try to teach my kid to ‘toughen up’ ‘take a concrete pill’ ‘a little buyyling makes us what we are’ none of that crap for my boy.
    No more worries that even if I did manage to push him through ’tis woefully lacking school system that he’s still going to have sky high student debts with slim chance of a job at the end of it all.
    No more worries that he will never, never own a house.
    Or even more worrying that he will need up in a Rickety old crappy house, that is slowing killing him.
    No more worrying about whether we can have meat for dinner or not, on a combined income of over 170 thousand we still struggle to decide what to eat because our budget is so tight.
    No more being told that as an immigrant i took someone’s job-get off your ass and go to dental school if you want me job!
    Or that it’s my fault the house prices are so high! Are you shi**ing me! I live a full 50k drive one way from work, my commute 1 way is over an hour and half, and that’s cos that’s all we could afford!
    No more watching shops open and close open and close at my local plaza, it’s so depressing, Auckland feels like people just clawing over people to try and get businesses up and running, just to try and survive.
    No more having to read comments on my local ‘free stuff’ Facebook group like ‘does may have any spare antibiotics? My kid is sick and I can’t afford the doctor’, ‘does anyone have any spare clothes for a four year old, my kid doesn’t fit his anymore and I can’t afford to get him some’.
    No more taking my life in my hands when I drive anywhere. Seriously, what the heck is wrong with the driving here???
    We did 6 years, I feel like I let myself slip back job wise, my husband certainly has never had the work opportunities here he did in the uk.
    Neither of us have had the respect or the gratitude from our workmates here that we did in the U.K. In fact here, were met with mistrust and outright distain.
    And the biggest sign that we should go? My Facebook post to announce we’re leaving…all my kiwi friends ‘ah well, yes, English do struggle here, its a shams you couldn’t make it work’ YOU. Like it’s all my fault. Like they don’t see at all, even 1 bit of our point of view.
    Or ‘god, you’re going back to England? Why?! It’s soooo much better weather here!’ No it’s not. Not when you think at least when it rains in England I’m in a good, warm, solid house.
    ‘You’re going back? See you in 6 months when you realise your mistake’ nope you just won’t!!!
    Ain’t no way we’re coming back!
    We’re outta here! And it’s the best nights sleep I’ve had in three years when we found out we had sold the house!!!
    Bring on North Yorkshire!
    We just can’t wait!

    • Thank you!!! I’m just utterly relieved!!!
      Can’t wait to get home!
      Only looking forward now!!!

    • Congrats Lauren,

      I remember the relief when I finally unloaded my house in Whangarei last years after 7 years of trying to move it. Even though I took a loss I was glad to get out of the Housing Market in ‘Retardocon 6’ (as other posters have called NZ) . And with the strength of the Kiwi $ verse the weakness of the GBP you should have made a nice little earner too 🙂

      Good luck to you back home in blighty

      • Thank you very much! I remember your story, the 7 years haunted me! I just kept thinking ‘please don’t let it take that long’ I really honestly think we would have rented it or and still gone had it not sold- so much was our desire to get out of here!!! 9 days left at work and counting!!!! Can’t wait!!!

    • Well done. I want to leave too. Do you mind telling me how you saved up enough money to leave, if it’s not too much trouble?

      • Hi there, how did we save? Or how much did we save?
        It’s taken us three years off putting aside, and not going out! To save the money for container and flights, is that what you mean?

        • Simply love this story of yours. Went through the same hell with no perspectives at all. We eventually called it quits and returned to Switzerland after being one year in NZ. Well done to you, being such a courageous person.

        • Lauren, I guess you are back in the UK now. We are getting to move back. Is it as good as I remember? I grew up in NZ but lived away for 20 years and returned. My husband is English and we hate it here. Just wondered if you had any regrets at all?

      • When you have a small popultion that is not uncommon. But the problem is that people with no skills or qualifications will get the ‘plum’ jobs. NZ is a compete joke as a nation. In fact, it should be an Australian state.

        • intermedx,

          You’re probably correct. Although some small countries prosper because of geography NZ isn’t one of them. NZ was invited to join the Australian federation about 100 years ago, however New Zealanders rejected the offer. Perhaps Kiwis realise that they made a very bad mistake, but they won’t admit it, so they resort to Oz bashing.
          It’s too late now, the window of opportunity has closed.

    • You’ll feel like you’re on footballers wages when you get back, you’ll be able to sample all the things you can’t afford in NZ. Trips to the pub, new clothes, days out with the family, holidays, doctor’s visit etc etc etc and best of all………. You’ll not hate going to the supermarket. Our first trip to Aldi after 6 years getting fleeced in NZ was mind-blowing.

      Plus we got back at the start of winter and listen to this, I could walk around the house at night in just underwear without getting frostbite!!!!!!

    • It’s a kiwis dream they don’t know any better they are not all so thick and slow

  2. O.k… pretty sure I’ve heard enough to change my mind.. i was thinking ahhh an English speaking country with a great landscape, rolling countryside, England in the 50’s, an old mates been living their over ten years, community ready, cosy pubs, get a job and grow fresh veg in the garden and go explore….sounds like a don’t…Where do I go instead? 🙂 :/ It’s not what the Immigration page stats is it!!

  3. OUR TAKE ON NZ – PART 3 (JOBS AND EMPLOYMENT) In this comment I want to share my opinion (with tips) on what is possibly the most important aspect of any new immigrant’s first concern when arriving in NZ – finding a job.

    NZ is a low wage economy with many jobs demanding long work hours whilst employers tip toe around the edges of the employment laws and stringent Health & Safety requirements. There is a definite gender pay gap and overall prejudice throughout much of the work environment, and this is especially prevalent in the employment process. Job seekers’ very first task is to navigate their way through what can often be frustrating and ongoing casual, part time, and temporary fixed term/contract work situations.

    A recent (May 2017) news editorial in one regional newspaper stated, “Bias is a growing concern for New Zealand businesses trying to increase diversity and inclusion in their workplace, according to new research. The latest New Zealand Diversity Survey reveals that 48 percent of organisations identify bias to be a key issue, up 18% from the previous survey six months ago.” All of which I believe is a somewhat subtle, understated way of simply saying that many aspects of the NZ workplace are not transparent and lack integrity. The encouraging news here is that as with many other things, NZ is slowly but surely starting to at least become aware of its inherent workplace prejudices.

    The current minimum wage is ($15.75 per hour) which I think is fair pay for a student or someone just starting out. The problem is that this is not a living wage by any measure. If you have a family, or are a single parent with one or more children in your care, you have almost no hope of keeping up with the daily cost of living (even if you work 60+ hours each and every week). If you are thinking of getting a second or even third job as a means to top your income, you may want to think again, as the secondary tax implications make this an almost futile proposition. More and more, the only way to cope on the minimum wage is to tap into the welfare system for assistance. You need a permanent residence visa to be able to do this. To be fair, the NZ welfare system does provide a lot of ongoing assistance for people in this position, and especially those with children and health issues. There are also special tax rebates (credits) that can help families scrape by on their low income on an indefinite basis.

    The bulk of the NZ work force earn between $15.75 and $25 per hour with many living payday to payday. Your average qualified professional can earn anything in the region of $25-$65 per hour, and then there are the fortunate few that earn the really big dollars (for these people, NZ truly is paradise). The 2015 median (middle) annual gross income across all NZ salaries and wages was $46 000. When you run these figures through the exchange rate of some countries (just a few) they may actually look quite attractive, but you will quickly change your mind when you get to experience NZ taxation, and the high cost of living. When you do secure a job offer, a good tip to remember is that given the choice, rather than accepting a fixed salaried position (which is very tempting when you first arrive in NZ), in many cases it may be beneficial to rather opt for an hourly pay rate. Otherwise, you could end up working a whole lot more hours for no extra pay whatsoever (employers really like that). Overtime and after hours extra pay is fast becoming a thing of the past, so make sure you know exactly what the position requires in terms of the working hours and so on. This all sounds so obvious, but it is very easy to overlook these basics when you first arrive as an excited, eager to please immigrant, seeking work in an unfamiliar and intimidating job market.

    Some immigrants may be lucky enough to arrive with a secure offer of employment, and that’s great. For the vast majority, including my husband and myself, we had to begin what was to be a long, stressful journey in order for one of us to finally secure full time employment, and the other to still be working year after year on a renewable fixed term contract ‘arrangement’. This type of ongoing repeated year after year temporary work contract is actually illegal in NZ, but persists throughout my specific work industry without so much as the slightest concern or redress from any official governing body.

    Do not be fooled, the trick in NZ, is not only to find a job that suits your experience, qualifications, skill set and interests, but to actually be able to retain the position with opportunities for advancement. Be warned, Kiwis do not like to deviate from the Kiwi way of doing things. Many immigrants have to step very lightly in the workplace (especially when employed part time or on temporary, renewable contracts) for fear of upsetting the status quo, at least until they have settled in and been offered a permanent position (which could take anything from a day to never).

    In NZ, think of a first time job search as a long blindfolded walk through a minefield with the addition of smoke and mirrors! The chances of being successful are extremely low, but you cannot stand still forever, so you slowly try to move forward one small step at a time, in the hope that you will eventually safely get to the other side.

    There are many minimum wage job opportunities available. Jobs like fruit picking, cleaning, labouring, serving and casual student type jobs are relatively easy to come by. There are a few reasons for this, the first being that many Kiwis could not be bothered to work for the minimum wage when welfare is so easily accessible (more about this in another comment). Another reason is that so many Kiwi applicants fail the entry drug tests at their initial job induction. Some others simply forget if, and where they are employed, failing to arrive for work due to their unabated consumption of drugs and alcohol. You may think that I am joking, but I am actually serious about this.

    Higher paying jobs are a lot more difficult to find and even harder to secure on a full time permanent basis. The big cities (Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington) are your best option for most employment opportunities, but they each have their own pros and cons in terms of living costs, weather, traffic congestion and other factors. There is no doubt that the regions are growing fast, but many of these more remote areas still have limited job opportunities and a very tight ‘Old Boys Club’ network (more on this later). Ultimately it is all about what you do, and where your specific working potential will be best suited in terms of location. It is quite possible that you could be extremely lucky and find your dream job well off the beaten track, far away from the city. You could even live happily ever after with the basic needs of a carefree lifestyle with few of the trappings of city living. This type of lifestyle will not suit many people, as it will severely limit your options in terms of schooling, healthcare and so on.

    So what are some of the other every day barriers facing immigrants wishing to find employment in NZ?

    I make no apologies for being blunt and direct with my opinion of the prevailing situation in the NZ job market. This minefield can be the biggest hurdle in a new immigrants life, and can quickly create a sense of failure and desperation, leading to a breakdown in self-confidence, as one ponders the question “What am I doing wrong?” At times like this, you must remember – it is not you!

    Keep in mind that the deck is stacked against you, as there is very little integrity in the NZ job market. Despite the daily media ramblings of jobs galore and booming equal opportunities for all, the secret is out that this is just another typical Kiwi marketing exercise to portray a thriving NZ job market with unprecedented growth, and a fair go for all. I would really relish in describing many of my own, and my husband’s personal job search experiences, as they are truly unbelievable and even comical (now that we can look back on them). Unfortunately, I cannot do this for fear that someone out there may identify either of us and put our current employment situations at risk.

    In short, here are just 5 things you should take into consideration during your NZ job search:

    1. The highest qualified applicant does not always get the job. The most talented applicant does not always get the job. The most experienced applicant does not always get the job. The best suited applicant does not always get the job. And not even the highest qualified; most talented; most experienced and best-suited applicant always gets the job. It’s all about ‘The Fit’! This could mean absolutely anything from the fact that the potential employer does not like the way you look, the way you talk and/or the possibility that you are higher qualified than they are, have more worldly experience than they have, and may ultimately become a potential threat to their own position of authority.

    2. Kiwi experience trumps all other experience. This is the way it has always been. It does not matter if you invented the aeroplane; were a recent long serving certified head flight instructor and pilot for a major international airline; have flown around the world 46 times; and then journeyed to the moon and back on the weekend – the exit strategy from a potential employer may still sound something like this….. we regret to inform you that unfortunately it is clearly evident to us that you have limited experience within the New Zealand aviation sector. To add to this, you have little or no practical Kiwi flying experience either. These limitations are of concern, and may be a possible obstacle pertaining to your suitably and fit for the position…, we suggest…, we would love to hear from you in the future when…

    3. Just because you have internationally recognised qualifications from one or more of the finest universities and/or other education institutions in the world, does not necessarily mean that you are entitled, qualified or recognised to work in NZ. Luckily, there are plenty of NZ bridging courses and other retraining opportunities available to get you ‘up to speed’ and in tune with the way things are done in NZ. These will however take some time to complete, and cost a fair amount of money. Student loans are readily available for immigrants that have a permanent residents visa.

    4. A number of advertised jobs vacancies that are placed in print, online and sometimes even with recruitment agencies, are simply not genuinely available in the first place. Unsuspecting job seekers’ can end up spending a lot of time, cost and effort pursuing an advertised employment opportunity that is actually already allocated to an existing internal candidate/placement. Keep in mind the fact that many large corporates and businesses, as well as government departments, local councils and other public service organisations advertise their ‘available’ employment positions as a legal/internal compliance requirement. This deceptive practice is designed to give the impression of equal opportunities and a fair go for all. In cases like this, unsuspecting new job applicants (puppets) will be required to perform all the usual job application and interview requirements/processes in a well orchestrated, staged production – filled with smoke and mirrors.

    5. The Old Boys Club runs deep in NZ! It is the usual story of: it is not what you know, but rather who you know that can assist you with securing employment. This practice is common in other countries too, but in NZ there is the added undercurrent that many of these same people have a network of deep-rooted influence, manipulation and control that extends way beyond employment issues and what could be called ‘accepted business norms’. The tentacles of The Old Boys Club extend throughout most areas of NZ business, local governance and everyday society, as they work the system for their own self interests and ego, and that of their mates and other club members. Strangely, these people are still held in high regard, championed by the establishment, media and many people in NZ that simply do not (or do not wish to) see the situation for what it is – a perpetuation of prejudice, bias, corruption and missed opportunities. Remember, these individuals have long standing Kiwi experience, this is how things have always been, and no one does it better than a Kiwi!

    The Old Boys Club revolving door style practices are well known, but rarely addressed. Keep your eyes open, look around, and you will find them moving from business to business and organization to organization, selling their personal brand endorsement and stamp of approval. If you are planning on starting a business, you may even want to think about having one or more of these notable individuals on board as a business partner/shareholder, ensuring a guaranteed fast track to success (sad, but true). Fortunately, more and more of these gutless old school dinosaurs are slowly but surely becoming extinct, as they get older in years and are put out to pasture to enjoy their well feathered nests. Thankfully, the Internet also continues to be of great help in exposing the network, movements and influence of The Old Boys Club that exists in many parts of NZ.

    So there you have my candid views on the NZ job market and employment minefield. Not pretty! The situation is very frustrating in the beginning, but knowing what you are dealing with, and being confident and determined whilst staying true to yourself, can make all the difference. As they say, forewarned is forearmed. More in Part 4 (to follow).

    • An unbelievably good and truthful representation of the employment situation in NZ. I am what I call a new age Kiwi that immigrated here 22 years ago and am trying to give and do my best for all. I am an HR employee representative for a large building and fabrication firm. Almost every week I have to deal with substance abuse issues with employees. The excuses are endless with some even saying that they cannot get to work because they or their partner have spent the fuel money on “piss” as they call it. It’s the worst just after pay day. We find it very difficult to find dependable workers. So many are stoned both day and night. Many of these same peopl complain that they cannot afford to feed their families, but are always smoking, drinking and buying takeaways. So sad, NZ is not the same place as it used to be.

    • Dear Barbara,

      Once again you have hit the nail on the head, there is zero transparency involved in the NZ recruitment sector and petty jealousy or ‘tall poppy syndrome ‘ is rampant.

      I remember being interviewed for a mid-management post at the Dept of Internal Afairs for a job as Strategic Targeting Coordinator of their Internet Policing Unit after returning from a 3 year stint working overseas for the UN

      One of the interviewsite actuality said my CV read like an James Bond novel and then proceeded to be the most antagonistic obtuse interview I have ever met…to the point where one of the other interviews had to rebuke him for being so disruptive!

      As far as struggling on the lower end of the pays scale to get by, when I finally landed a job it was with NZ Fire service in Wellington. 6 month’s in they decided to move their offices from Johnsonville outside the city to above a Fire Station in the CBD. They offered no compensation to staff for the huge parking costs or the alternative of train + bus fareally cast (and 2 hrs extra commute time) to staff.

      This move had a 6 month lead in. By the all but 1 of the Admin staff had left for other local jobs and the 1 remainder left 4 months after the move. They just didn’t care at all about the impact on staff and their considered a very good public sector employer in NZ…but only if your a Fire MAN!

    • Even at lower level work, nepotism is strong. When I’ve worked in factories, I’ve asked other others how they got their jobs there, and the reply has been – my aunt worked here, or my father etc etc. Because I don’t have the all important contacts, I’ve had to get any work the hard way – through papers etc. When trying to transition into a new career it can be difficult. It’s really a Catch 22. You’re asked if you have previous experience in the field, and when you don’t, that’s it, but when you ask how you get the all important previous experience. you’re told you have to have worked in the field before. I’m much more a believer in transferable skills than I am in previous experience.

  4. OUR TAKE ON NZ – PART 2 (PEOPLE, CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE). I have to be really careful here that I do not get too carried away. From our experience during 7 years of living in New Zealand, we have met many cheerful, caring and sincere people. Most of these are immigrants themselves and some others are really incredible born and bred New Zealanders. There is however a definite (and partly understandable) feeling amongst many of what I call mainstream Kiwis, that immigrants and new residents/new citizens are a thorn in the side of traditional NZ – a costly imposing burden that have little to contribute towards the betterment of the country. Some of these feelings most certainly have merit as rampant uncontrolled immigration has contributed to many new problems in NZ, with explosive rising living costs being top of the list. None the less, 7 years in we still encounter many situations that make us feel like second-class residents and outsiders.

    My overview and experience of NZ and its people, culture and lifestyle is that many NZ born Kiwis can be a somewhat strange bunch, blissfully happy in their own ignorance and self-praise of everything great about themselves and NZ. Kiwis love to promote and plaster pictures of themselves all over their vehicles, business signage and on the products they sell. This, in an effort to possibly display their status and validate their professionalism with a sense of ‘look at how well I’ve done’. All forms of advertising in NZ are heavily dependent on endorsements from so-called local sporting heroes. Even council organizations climb on board with this never-ending NZ sports hero worship. It is as if one cannot market a product or service if it is not connected to rugby in some way or another. Home building packages, vehicle sales, realty agents, clothing and all manner of foodstuffs – absolutely everything is endorsed by current or ex rugby players, their coaches, trainers and other extended family members. It’s just a total overload of the same thing over and over again. NZ sports people; mostly rugby players, are highly revered and idolised in every aspect of NZ culture. Our children are conditioned to look up to these so-called role models. And when one or more of these ‘heroes’ fall from grace on anything from drug charges, to drink driving and other indiscretions, the average Kiwi (and in some cases even the legal system) are very quick to go easy, forgive, forget and nurture these ‘national assets’ for fear of tarnishing The Game and individual player’s future sporting prospects.

    We are all sold the idea that NZ is 100% Pure. Kiwi experience is what really counts, and that everything in NZ is the best or at least amongst the finest in the world. NZ has few problems, most everything is great, and if you work hard, everyone gets a good deal and a fair go. From the dairy, meat and wine industry to tourism and agriculture, jobs, training, healthcare, schooling and governance – nothing comes close to NZ. It’s paradise! From my personal experience, much of this stems from the inherent insecurity of many small thinking Kiwis, and their recent newfound access to the real world. If you dare criticize anything about NZ, or offer an opinion in contrast to the accepted norms, you are seen as a rogue agent and whinger. Kiwis constantly sing their own praises, grandstanding about most things with shiny tacky window dressing. I say much of this bleating is 100% beef manure!

    Perhaps these types of Kiwis should stop and think for a moment about just how and why they coined the phrase “No. 8 Wire Fix/Can Do Attitude”, for if they had completed the job correctly in the first place, they would not need to fix or do anything ingenious that involves the use of a piece of wire. Everything about NZ seems to be re-active rather than pro-active. Fix it when it breaks – “We have always done things this way” and “She’ll be right mate”. I regret to say that a fair amount of the Kiwis we have encountered are out of touch in world terms, refusing to acknowledge that NZ is actually about 10 years behind the curve ball in many aspects of other developed countries. This fact does of course have its own attraction and allure for some. It also provides some big advantages, especially in terms of untapped business opportunities, booming tourism markets and new technological developments etc… some of which I hope to comment on later.

    A large component of the culture of living in NZ has to do with the colourful and all-important Māori Culture. Not knowing enough about this subject, I have quickly learned to keep all my thoughts and comments to myself. This is not that I have anything bad to say at all. The truth is that both my husband and I have just been too busy working 12 hour+ days and raising our family to engage and learn more about NZ Māori. Our bad, as they say! Our children have however acquired a good general knowledge and basic understanding of Māori culture from their school education, sports and other extra mural activities. I think it would be fair of me to say that there are however some ongoing problems and challenges concerning Māori in NZ.

    This brings me to the growing issue concerning the behaviour, health and rebellious culture throughout a wide cross section of NZ youth. In general, I find that NZ youth are totally lacking in discipline, and are disrespectful towards their elders and almost any form of authority. Manners and morals have gone straight out the window. Despite what official statistics may suggest, during our 7 year stay in NZ, we have noticed a steady increase in youth offending and criminal incidents. There is a growing trend for young children, teens and adults to challenge authority at every opportunity. Alcohol, drug abuse and STD’s are at what many would describe as pandemic proportions in NZ. If I had just 5 words to describe the NZ lifestyle/culture, they would be: Rugby, Alcohol, Sweet My Mate! Drink driving is commonplace, as are youths fleeing from police in stolen vehicles. With endemic alcohol and drug abuse, comes an increase in vehicle and workplace accidents with more and more senseless injuries and fatalities. NZ also has some of the world’s highest levels of other dangers such as bullying, broken family situations, domestic violence, child abuse, child deaths, mental health needs and suicides of all ages. It is very clear to me that all is not that well in the social fabric of NZ.

    By now, some readers may be thinking that I am making NZ sound like an absolute train wreck. It is not. My point here is that many countries have similar societal health and order issues, but in NZ they are often hidden, pushed under the carpet and not openly discussed or spoken about. Possibly for fear that many New Zealanders may be shocked to realise that there are indeed many serious and dire social needs that require urgent attention. NZ needs to pull its head out the sand, slow down on the marketing and relentless self-praise and concentrate of getting the basics right. Please remember that all my comments are based on my family’s experience of our life in NZ so far, and are given as useful and hopefully informative, helpful advice for those who wish to hear my opinion.

    The good news is that despite my negative comments and frustrations, I can honestly say that NZ does indeed offer a great outdoor lifestyle opportunity for those who can afford the time and expense to explore and enjoy all that is on offer. During our first three years in NZ we were still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ as they say, and in a reasonable financial position to do some extensive road trip travel and exploration throughout NZ. In hindsight, maybe we should have saved that money for…. well everything! Getting back on point, NZ offers almost every outdoor activity and attraction I can think of. There is so much to see and do. Thankfully, lots of free or low cost activities such as swimming, tramping, cycling, fishing and hunting are within easy reach for most people, given the time and opportunity to get out there. Other more adventurous adrenaline activities such as river rafting, jet boating and a host of tourist-focused options are very, very expensive. Great beaches, wetlands, forests, mountains, ski slopes and an endless array of scenic coastal locations are part of most everyone’s reason for immigrating to NZ. Make no mistake; NZ is blessed with natural beauty. The NZ outdoor lifestyle is wonderful, but an undisputed utopia it is not, especially as things are starting to change with the rapid degradation of the NZ natural environment (more on this later).

    I say again, the main downside or limiting factor for my family’s NZ lifestyle is the overwhelming cost of living. Eating out at a modest café and going to the movies with some drinks, popcorn and ice cream has become a really expensive pastime, easily costing around $200 for a family of 4. A single large coke, large popcorn and an ice cream cost $16 in the cinema. Utter madness!

    Property/building costs and property rental rates are astronomical – and are in fact amongst the highest in the world. Food costs are very high (more about this in a later comment), clothing too, and petrol/fuel is taxed to the hilt. Home appliances, electronics and household maintenance items are also becoming way too expensive. Most people we know have to buy lesser ‘on special’ budget food options and cheap clothing as anything of really good quality is simply unaffordable when one has to budget for the family essentials and basic weekly living costs. For us, it’s been 4 years since our 3 year long honeymoon phase came to an end, and further travel and holidays are still simply out of the question.

    I know that I must sound like a sour, ungrateful, disgruntled snob when I say I am a hard working, qualified professional with a Masters Degree in my field of work, my husband is responsible for managing 20 co-workers in a large business with a six figure weekly turnover, and yet after all these years, we are financially worse off than the day we arrived. On top of this, we have to think twice about buying our kids some treats at our local cinema during the school holidays. Some Kiwis tell us that we just “expect far too much from NZ and need to adapt, tighten our belts, save more and cut back on our spending. Do the hard yards and you will eventually get ahead” – all of which is hard to accept and implement when you have already exhausted so much effort and resources in an ongoing struggle of long demanding work hours and shift work (my husband), together with the rigors of raising a family with two very active young teenagers.

    To sum up, there are many hard working parents like us that simply have less and less available time and money, despite earning what sounds like a decent income. An annual income of 60k, 70k, 80k or 90k+ for a family of 4, may sound fine, but as mentioned, with more and more taxation, together with relentless rising living costs, the buying power of what is essentially a fixed income is becoming less and less by the day, and so too, the NZ lifestyle becomes less and less easy to enjoy. As for how single parents, or those with other challenging living situations and/or circumstances cope, is beyond my understanding. Our family finds it really tough, so they must find it near impossible.

    My bottom line belief is that if you want to enjoy a quality family orientated Kiwi lifestyle in NZ, you need to have a good work vs. play balance in your life, at least some discretionary income and a respite from constantly chasing the dollars in an effort to simply keep pace with the cost of living the lifestyle that enticed you to NZ in the first place. There’s more to come in PART 3 (if you will have me after this somewhat long-winded commentary).

    • Well put, and very comprehensive. There is an element of delusion in the thinking here. Only yesterday in a National daily paper, a survey said Wellington was the best city in the world to live. I think the editors of the paper trawl the internet find a flattering survey. There are dozens of surveys like this, naming a range of cities as the best. Then there’s the Kiwi Connection, doesn’t matter how minor, a major event has one. So the news becomes not about the event, but the Kiwi connection to it.

      The easy going nature is only on the surface, probe deeper and it becomes less savory. An example, the driving – why would a affable person become a monster when they get in car? because it’s underneath.

      There is violence here, I experienced it first hand at school back in 1970, Being grabbed by the hair having my head shaken, straps, canes, grabbed by the throat – good teachers don’t need that.

    • Checked out this blog and
      in the words of Simon Cowell— WOW WOW WOW!!!
      You should be a full time journalist writer or better still in Parliament
      all your comments are smack on target
      — exactly where NZ is at right now!
      More people should speak up like this
      — you and your family are welcomed as fellow New Zealanders working for a better NZ

      Kia Kaha!

    • Dear Barbara,

      Your spot on with your observations.

      I myself moved to NZ about 12 year’s ago but after a 2 year ‘honeymoon ‘ left to work abroad as I’m single but even I had trouble have the life of knew in the UK on the wages NZ pay.

      Every time I return to NZ, I am shocked by the rising cost of living and insular thinking of my new work colleagues. All my friends seem to be immigrants and travelers.

      Now I have finally sold my rural home (at a loss) I don’t even know if I can be bothered to return for 5 years at 60 to qualify for the pension I am due. I mean how much is $20k going to be worth in 11 years?

    • Never a true word spoken brilliant dave fuller yeovil somerset england, been NZ atleast 30 times was going to move no sense of humour there at all I must of met all the thick slow ones

  5. OUR TAKE ON NZ – PART 1 (COST OF LIVING). I have to agree with a lot I read here. Me, my husband, and our two school going children followed our immigration dream to New Zealand 7 years ago. We are now starting to think we have made a mistake. Despite having good full time jobs, we still find each and every week to be a constant battle. We are time poor as we chase the dollars to make ends meet in an effort to provide a healthy and fulfilling upbringing for our children. The cost of living in NZ is sky high. We are slaves to our ever-increasing expenses and weekly rent of $580 – for a very average three-bedroom house in a mostly good suburb – around an hour commute from both our workplaces. Yes, we could save a little on rent, but many cheaper options are located in drug infested suburbs and streets consisting of high density/shared living situations with constant noise, reckless drivers, open drunkenness and loud unsettling domestic disputes. Relocating away from the large NZ cities is not always do-able as job opportunities can be very limited. One also needs to retain as many existing friends and family connections as possible to help you live life.

    Add to this, the cost of schooling/sports and medical expenses (which are not free, despite what you may hear), insurances, water, power, phone, vehicle and maintenance/fuel costs, clothing and food, and you will do very well to cap your (family of 4) weekly outgoings to $1300. To service these basic outgoings you will need an annual NZ gross income of around $85 000. Remember, that you do not own your own home, and have not included any money for dare I say entertainment, holidays, household purchases or savings. With this said, there are many people who do somehow exist on far less – certainly not a desirable situation to be in. The cost of living is constantly increasing too, so the game gets harder and harder as the deficit and divide gets bigger and bigger between The Haves and The Have Nots (which also means more crime and not quite as much freedom as in previous years). Our rent increases by 5% per annum, insurances by a whopping 20% and other outgoings by around 10%. It is a no win situation as neither of our earnings can keep pace. We are working harder and longer for less, at the expense of our family’s wellbeing! Owning our own home is a pipe dream. Are we really supposed to lower our morals and living standards further by sharing accommodation in a commune with others, or perhaps living in a motor park or caravan? We arrived in NZ as working professionals, qualified and positive, ready and willing to contribute and give our very best. Alas, slowly but surely we have been broken down to our seemingly futile ‘worker bee’ status. If you are thinking about moving to NZ, you must ensure you are financially sound and able to purchase your own home outright. This will help insulate you and your family from the pressure of chasing income at the expense of time and lifestyle. And then there’s more in PART 2 (to follow).

  6. Yes, indeed! The sand flies are one of those unspoken NZ pests. The bites are nasty and can last months. Miserable.

  7. I need to go back to Nz to sort out some things. Come from a country that needs visa.
    Firstly Nz immigration tourist visa resulting time is officially 20 working days on their website. While even that is a crazy long time, after my application I have received an email saying that New Zealand immigration is very busy and the visa application takes as much as two months at the moment what the…!!!!

  8. The only things kiwis like to screw more than sheep is working migrants. Cost of living is high, wages are low, it’s like Tasmania but the inbreeding is not allowed to extend to cousins. For a country with dual language national anthems, haka, Waitangi treaty etc it is full of racists

    • I returned back from a trip to Queenstown and the most friendliest lot of people there happened to be Brits, Asians & Americans. While checking out from a hotel, I saw one friendly receptionist (perhaps American) at concierge who was more than happy to collect few suitcases from the room of one of the hotel guest and I was (not) surprised to see his colleague showing off eyes to not go beyond call of duty.

      The drive to Wanaka was beautiful but small tiny little flies along the beach took away all the fun, their sting was so painful. Literally returned back to the car with 70 odd bites. Please do not fall for the picture perfect scenes on post card, the smell & moss on the beach is horrendous

  9. Thank you! House goes on the market in two weeks time! Couldn’t be sooner!
    I’ve become very zen about the whole thing, we’re going with ‘this has been a great adventure, but now the adventure is over, and we’ll start another one!’
    And I’ve been replying to bitchy comments with ‘just because our paths different doesn’t mean they’re wrong’ seems to stop them moaning at me!

    • Dear Lauren,

      At least in Auckland you sure to get a quick sale and profit, my house in Whangarei took 7 years to sell! and I sold it for less that I paid for it.

      So glad to be out of the NZ Property Nightmare before the bubble breaks

      • 7 years? Poor you! I’m in whangaparaoa so I’m hoping it does sell! Quickly too!
        I just want to get out now

  10. So this is my first time reading this blog. I thought I was alone. My husband and I came here 6 years ago from uk. We live in Auckland; I’m a hygienist and my hubby works in computers. I graduated the year before we came, so we’re used to living frugally! But not like this. We earn well here, but the house prices have meant we have a huge mortgage, I know that’s our choice, but the rental are so expensive and so shoody that we had to buy. We have 1 son now; he’s three. We simply cannot afford another child. I work 11 hour days and my commute can sometimes be 2 and a half hours a day, one road in one road out!
    And I can survive this, just about. But it’s the attitudes I can’t take. For 6 years, all I have heard is how high and mighty English think they are, how better trained they are here in nz; how England is screwed but we’re doing fine down here. They don’t make friends with you. They will tell you that is the friendliest place on earth, but we’ve been invited to 1 birthday party since we came.
    And the driving, well, it drives me insane. I really recently had my car totaled on the motorway by a non concentrating, tail gating idiot. After 13 years of driving with not one accident, I now have a totalled car and I have to get a loan to get a new one, cos the insurance sucks here!
    So all in all; I’m gloomy. I’m tired of having to buy crap food at high prices, I’m tired of not having friends of being tutted at, at work when I dare to suggest anything different.
    im really thinking of going back to the uk. 😟

    • Leave now while you still can extract some money from your house. The housing debacle is on the verge of tipping into the abyss. The facade may last untill the next election but after that it’s all bets off. NZ will become the wild west as people realise they actually they are screwed due to the mountains of debt all have acumulated. In NZ there will be no walking away from this they will strip you of every asset and make you pay off the debt until you die. They will then probably try and pass it to you children by invoking some new law. This includes any retirement funds you thought were safe. The game is over.

      • Well that settles it then! Booked the estate agent to come and value the house on Friday; I think it’s time to put plan b into action.

    • As a New Zealander, your comments strike home. I’ve lived here and overseas and I was struck by how parochial and insecure we are when I returned home for the first time. But you must never question anything in NZ or suggest that it’s overpriced or crime-ridden. That triggers a fairly aggressive resonse of “if you don’t like it then leave!”

      I remember a fairly innocuous comment during a World Cup querying why a cup of mediocre coffee cost more in Newmarket (in Auckland) than in Rome, and the writer copped a ton of abuse.

      We crow about being family friendly, but have some of the developed world’s highest rates for infanticide, teen STD rates, teen depression, teen suicide, teen pregnancy, domestic violence. Read Gordon McLauchland’s book on Kiwis – The Passionless People – it will explain a lot.

      We Kiwis have a huge blind spot when it comes to ourselves. That goes some way to explaining the hypocritical outpouring of grief for John Clarke, who died today. He was a brilliant comedian who was forced to ply his trade in Australia because TV in this country thought he was too political. What does it say about us that we let the NZBC drive talent offshore?

      • In the past few days, having said to the very few kiwi friends we do have, that we’re going back to the uk, they have turned on us!
        ‘Yeah well some people can hack it and some cant’, ‘take a concrete pill’ and the ever amusing ‘England is shit’ from people who have never been!
        They have served to make me stronger in my resolve to go.
        I don’t want my boy growing up thinking life is about just getting by.
        I don’t about everywhere else but where we live, not many have done the ‘oe’. I had to explain to my friends daughter not to go on holiday to turkey.
        I used to love not really being connected to the rest of the world, but now I realise we can’t bury our heads, my son needs to know he is part of a global community.

        • I enjoyed reading your thread Lauren. Where I came from in the UK is actually a much more innocent place to raise children. I could give you a long list of unpleasant influences my children have been exposed to here in NZ. I am talking 13 year old children and the sort of stuff going on with their classmates, sex, drugs, suicide, depression, alcohol, late night parties etc Mothers taking their 13 year old daughters to get tattoos. Obviously this stuff also exists in the UK, but not where I come from, at such a young age.

          • George, what your describing would be referred to in America as the life style of ‘Poor w**** Trash’,

            Yes it existing in the UK but generally only in urban sinkhole housing estates.

            Unfortunately in New Zealand it also appears to be widely spread in the rural small town as well where there are limited prospects and recreational activities for both young and older generations so drinking drugs and misbehaving become the norm…basically standards of behaviour have total gone to hell!.

          • Hi George, where are you from in the uk? We’re from North Yorkshire, and like you, I knew of some of this bad influence but in general it was outweighed by a much nicer way of life.
            I have seen it a little in whangaparaoa , but I know it exists in others areas outside mine, from what I read and from what friends tell me, and that was one of the reasons we have decided to go back to the uk. It was either stay here in Auckland and battle on, or go back to the uk, because we saw a move out to the ‘provinces’ a worse solution than just going back to the U.K. There’s a lot of Bordem I think here too for the teens that causes them to fall into bad things, again, I know in my village that won’t happen!

          • I am from Sussex, Lauren. My children seem keen to shift back to the UK when they are older. They are sort of outsiders here but I expect they will feel the same there now. I just can’t see an affordable future here for my children, but not sure now if it is better elsewhere. However, my friends back there seem to be doing all sorts of stuff that we can’t afford to do (Holidays).

  11. I have seen a few articles pop up on Reddit about the IQ points of NZ children dropping significantly such as this http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11820523 Often people ask migrants why they chose NZ and many of them will say because of the quality education for their children which is obviously a myth because even in high decile schools the atmosphere at school is anti-learning because of the anti-intellectual culture. NZ school environments are not conducive for learning and brighter children often have to be quiet or dumb themselves down to be accepted by their peers to not become victims of Tall Poppy Syndrome. My father asked our Chinese friend if she would consider moving to Australia or NZ from Southeast Asia, I remember her response being not until our children are over 18 because she knew many Chinese families whose children suffered greatly especially from the culture shock, bullying and declining educational standards. It seems education and schooling are greatly declining in terms of their quality all over the world. The only way for children to truly excel and reach their full potential as critical thinkers and future leaders of the world is by homeschooling. Fortunately for people in NZ homeschool is legal.

  12. I really have had this existence up to the eyeballs. Everyday is all about forcing one positive step forward. It sounds like madness, but I actually only have to leave our house once a month to keep things ticking over, but that is one too many times for me.

    Kiwis are the most angry, unhappy and soulless of people I have ever come across. They don’t trust each other. Nobody looks strangers in the eye, and they are all stepping on each other in some small way.

    Every single time I am tailgated when I go out, my blood boils. Not positive, I know, but there is something wrong here. A empathy vacuum.

    Also, I distinctly remember seeing a lot of antisocial stuff in the EU, but it is all here too with extras. The difference is that the gangs here are so conspicuous and threatening. They travel around in Van/Motorcycle convoys, for christ sake, with their patches displayed on their backs. That is in these vans? Are the police part of it? Because I see and hear the bikes all through the day, but I have never seen a police car or anyone in uniform. Do Kiwis have any self respect?

    • As a New Zealander, these comments are embarrassing, but it’s a factor of isolation and insecurity. As an example, look at all the eulogies for John Clarke who was driven to live in Australia because he was too ‘political’ for New Zealand. Everyone says what a great Kiwi he was, while conveniently overlooking the fact that the country didn’t care enough to keep him over here.

      NZ is overpriced and insecure. Try not to let the negativity get you down.

      • Thanks. I remember I had a bad day topped off with the ubiquitous social retard sniffing my arse for ten minutes. I needed to get it out of my system.

        Overpriced is right. I socialise with migrants and refugees (which I highly recommend), and the cost of living, second only to alcohol abuse, is a common point that people want clarified. They think they are doing something wrong, somehow, because they can barely afford to eat properly!

  13. [Deleted: ‘Don’t like it then leave’ type comments are not permitted. Don’t troll. Admin.]

    • No they’re not, not in the way they are being used here. Comments like ‘I know how you feel and I agree, maybe nz isn’t the place for you’ but ‘don’t like it leave’ is petty and has bullying overtones.

      • On that topic of bullying…here is one gem from the “rare” news:

        https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nz-second-worst-in-oecd-teen-bullying-survey

        Not sure if it needs to be classified under “achievements” or “compliments”. Shame Kiwi future only seems to be reflecting current fabric of NZ society.

        A friend of mine just returned from Queenstown, he probably was nice enough while giving way to couple of cars at an intersection and a typical half brained kiwi moron started showering expletives just because my friend inadvertently blocked his car for “TWO MINUTES”

  14. Second most backward country I’ve worked in after Afghanistan. Visit, it’s quite pretty scenery, but a fortnight is enough.

  15. I dont know where to begin so i will just randomly vent.I was born here in Auckland 1989. I am now trying to leave NZ as I cannot afford the housing here anymore. I earn a little over 50k a year. Now that the average crappy looking house is over 850 000 and banks requiring 20 percent deposit on top of student loan debt I can not imagine a future in Nz without incurring huge debts. I work for Govt department and was kept as a temp for over 2 years after uni. When a permanent position arose I was declined the role because in nz it’s all about who you know not what you know. I took my company to court to keep my job. We had staff members killed within the last few years as the media have painted us as an enemy. My company xmas lunch budget is $12 per head because it is tax payers money. After bills etc I am left with $200 per week. From that I must save over 150k for my first home deposit . Even after saving that amount the bank told me my income could not support repayments crushing my dreams. Growing up i have been assaulted by racist members of public. Police in nz are simply there to generate revenue. NZ is happy to have its citizens stretched to financial limits to repay national debt. Now they are adding road tolls in Auckland and claiming that this will reduce traffic but it’s all really just about money. Weekend nightlife at teen ages is all about fights drugs drinking in cbd area. Gangs use children to break into houses and commit crime as there are no repercussions. I am Fijian by decent and even I can see how the law is designed to incriminate pacific people. Instead of rehab it’s straight to jail if your Maori. Police hold checkpoints outside of university to target students. They stop pulling you over every day after age 25. They are very under resourced aswell in nz if someone breaks into your house they won’t even come to check things out. I live in Mt roskill which is close to a 1million dollar suburb. When I was around 10, houses were around 350k mark now the same houses are over a million. Income has not increased much over the period with the average educated person earning below 60k per year before taxes. Taxes only keep increasing aswell any amount earned over 50k is taxed at 30% per year on top of introducing road tolls. High power. Internet data at $10 for 1gb etc. NZ is slowly pricing out its citizens and replacing it with wealthy migrants. Cheaper areas of nz have limited job opportunities. It is just mum and I. Mums sick and does not want to move. I don’t know what to do. We grew up poor but this is not the life I imagined post 40k tertiary study. During uni I had to work full time to support mum. Welfare system is very soft but also very low. Loan sharks exploit the vulnerable. Kiwis are huge on debt. Govt is all about looking good on global scale while people suffer. Media in NZ promotes National Party all for increased privatization. Survival of the fittest etc. NZers told to save water whilst foreign companies can take the water we save and sell it overseas. Healthy food is expensive. Fizzy drinks are cheaper than water. Most nzers live on television as too broke to do anything else. Govt is all about band aiding social issues until media move onto next irrelevant topic. Nothing ever gets done in nz just costs keep increasing. NZ pick and choose Scandinavian policies as it suits them but only as a check boxes. No real meaning behind their actions. Paula Bennet is the worse representative NZ could ask for and is now deputy prime minister without public support or consent. NZ JUGGLES THE SAME POLITICIANS IN DIFFERENT SECTORS. No one ever has a burning passion or adequate knowledge to run Govt sectors but are recycled from areas outside of their expertise. NZ invests the minimum to future proof the country. Currently building roads expected to be done in10 years. By which time everything will be dug up again and redone as population increases. 100 percent of costs are passed onto tax payers. NZ is all about money. Govt revealed raising super annuation age to 67. Well above my people’s life expectancy aswell as most pacific islanders meaning I will work till I die. NZ is great for those who purchased properties when they were cheap. Now Nz life is week to week paycheck to paycheck. What you save you can’t buy anything with. I was born here did the norm that Kiwis do but life here will always be only about money.

    • I believe I understand where you are coming from. I, too, currently work for the New Zealand Government. It’s dog eat dog. No one above me seems to be answerable to anyone! Absenteeism is a constant problem because people simply hate the work environment and the meagre pay. How anyone is supposed to get ‘job satisfaction’ in such an environment is beyond me. No one cares! And sadly this is reflective of the whole country of New Zealand. A non-caring society which is poor, tired, and in decline.

    • Can agree with this. I was born here too. Everything is too expensive. I want to leave but it’s really hard to save, especially being on the benefit. There’s hardly any jobs and you have to be “qualified” to do anything, even if it’s fruit picking. When I tell people I want to leave they ask why. Why leave the amazing country and live in somewhere really bad like Australia, USA, Canada… I live in a small town filled with cafes and hairdressers. We have tourism but the tourists pay a lot for the “experience”. I really don’t understand why everything costs so much. They idolise sports people, and expect you to do the same. I try to be friendly to tourists, smile at them etc even though I’m shy. People judge you, sometimes based on things outside your control, and it feels like they expect you to fix that, just because they don’t like it. I’ve grown up learning to hide a lot of what I’m feeling. Image is everything. The Prime Minister wants it to look like New Zealand is a great country, filled with wonderful people, culture and scenery. It can be, depending on where you go, but in reality, it’s not that great. When you get past the scenery and see how corrupt it’s getting, it’s sad.

  16. The link below represents the reality and attitudes of New Zealand.

    Many New Zealanders find themselves in the situation however you will note the total lack of empathy or concern by the majority of commentators.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/89153505/budget-woes-for-hamilton-couple-with-child

    Basically whilst a few are concerned many commentators say

    1. You are poor – Don’t have children
    2. Get a better paying job (which is laughable as there income is probably average)
    3. Stop spending money on any kind of perceived luxury (i.e. accomodation/telecommunications – which I argue is necessary).

    The core issues are living in New Zealand is expensive and wages are extremely poor. THAT IS THE REALITY FOR MOST.

    • Hamilton living cost have shot up a lot in the last few years as more Aucklanders use it as a commuter belt, but the prices are quite shock. I’ve always though that Hamilton was the equivalent of a middle income providential UK city, like New Castle (but maybe that Dunedin?).

      I did quick Cost of Living Comparison between Hamilton & Newcastle UK..its shocking!

      You would need around NZ$ 5,847.05 in Hamilton to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with NZ$ 4,695.91 (2,700.00£) in Newcastle Upon Tyne (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living. This assumes net earnings (after income tax). You can change the amount in this calculation.

      Indices Difference Info
      Consumer Prices in Hamilton are 30.80% higher than in Newcastle Upon Tyne
      Consumer Prices Including Rent in Hamilton are 24.51% higher than in Newcastle Upon Tyne
      Rent Prices in Hamilton are 5.70% higher than in Newcastle Upon Tyne
      Restaurant Prices in Hamilton are 10.86% higher than in Newcastle Upon Tyne
      Groceries Prices in Hamilton are 50.02% higher than in Newcastle Upon Tyne
      Local Purchasing Power in Hamilton is 5.79% higher than in Newcastle Upon Tyne

      • [Deleted – contravention of the ‘other places’ rule. Please read the comment guidelines again – the ones you agreed to abide with. Admin]

  17. Well this has been an interesting read. For years I applied for positions etc within New Zealand but to no avail. I am starting to believe that after all the rejection, I possibly dodged a bullet!

  18. “Wrong to slander a person or culture” “depth and beauty of this place and its people”. I agree that New Zealand is beautiful and I have developed some good friendships in my time here. However, there has always been a compromise that I have to bite my tongue on a variety of matters related to New Zealand. I have sold my soul to fit in here and I warn others that NZ will be a lonely and hostile place if you start speaking your mind in a way that you are used to in countries like the USA and UK. However, I do take my hat off to some New Zealanders who speak their mind and must have the thickest skin. Millie Lovelock springs to mind who writes a column in the Otago Daily Times from the perspective of a student and gets a lot of hate for giving her honest opinion on matters such as Rugby, misogyny, the clean green myth etc.

  19. A remarkably long-running dialogue. Full of problems with adaptation, broken dreams, bitterness, sense of betrayal, grass always greener somewhere else. A Japanese colleague describes culture as “…an aggregate of divergent and contradictory pictures…and each of them is true.”

    I think of myself as a “processed Kiwi”. I came here by choice 42 years ago. I left behind a secure executive role and a six-figure salary with a SF Bay Area company. Family and friends thought I had completely lost the plot. Immigration was a major struggle. t took me more than three years to be accepted as a resident, but I had an “inner knowing” (not easy to explain if you don’t know what that means) that I was supposed to be here, and I persisted.

    I’m semi-retired now, but I worked for many years in the Management Studies department of Auckland University, faculty of Commerce. I specialise in cross-cultural studies, and I consult with companies that want to fast-track entry into China. I have traveled in more than 40 countries, and lived for a year or more in each of three Western and three Asian countries; I know that immigrants face a hard ride.

    Emotionally and psychologically, Aotearoa-New Zealand is a crucible; everyone who comes here is tested. The strong adapt and grow stronger; the weak whinge and leave, usually within the first year or two. Big egos typically don’t last long here. I accept that many who come here become dismayed or disappointed with some aspect of the culture or the environment, and my wish for them is that they find their “place”, where the land and people suit their temperament and they grow and prosper. I accept all of the critiques of this country–and even though most are different from my own experience, I can easily understand how the negative side of some Kiwi core values could leave a bitter taste.

    However, it is wrong to slander a person or a culture on one’s limited personal experience, which for one reason or another never connected with the depth and beauty of this place and its people.

    • ” I came here by choice 42 years ago. I left behind a secure executive role and a six-figure salary with a SF Bay Area company.”

      According to the Social Security Administration the national average wage in 1975 (42 years ago) was $8,630.92 So in a time when a substantial number of Americans weren’t even raking in $10,000 a year, you were earning six figures? Funny, I don’t imagine working in the Management Dept. at the University pays particularly well these days. Is that why you must pimp New Zealand to overseas businesses to help ends meet?

      “Emotionally and psychologically, Aotearoa-New Zealand is a crucible; everyone who comes here is tested. The strong adapt and grow stronger; the weak whinge and leave, usually within the first year or two. Big egos typically don’t last long here.”

      You describe a most unwholesome and unappealing situation. It’s absurd and untrue, of course, especially the bit about adapting and big egos. I’ve observed that Kiwis don’t seem to like people who use “big words” (perhaps seen as having ego?), but as for having big egos and boasting, Kiwis love to repeat all the BS about “best place in the world…” It’s very tedious, actually.

      My spouse, by the way, has prospered in NZ. Both of us can’t wait to leave, and take our hard earned money to a gentler, more polite environment, where bullies and bogans don’t rule.

  20. I ruined my life coming here. It’s a wasteland, one big expensive retirement village…. and now I’m stuck….

  21. [Deleted, don’t troll. Lol, after trying to pester us on twitter you change gender and come here to try to cause trouble 🙂 Learn some social skills before you return home to Hamilton. How are you enjoying Suncorp/Australia, does your employer pay you to troll with their internet connection? Admin.]

  22. Been here nine years, first in Wellington, then in a rural town not too far north. Fantastic scenery, open spaces and a great primary school – ideal for bringing up young kids in a free-range fashion.

    But once they hit 11 or 12 things go wrong. Under-stimulation, homogeneous culture, lack of intellectual ambition, etc. These are, I think, due to a lack of *need*. You can try hard, or not try at all, and the result is likely to be largely the same. Couple that with easy access to illegal drugs and it’s not surprising that the youth suicide rate is so high (along with depression, anxiety, etc.).

    We’ve met some lovely people here, but it took several years to notice that all our close Kiwi friends had spent several years living abroad – and had their minds opened as a result. Untravelled Kiwis tend to be very much closed-in and uninterested in events or ideas outside their everyday lives. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. To those who come here from elsewhere, it’s an unbridgeable gulf.

    We have no financial troubles (though I recognise other posters’ descriptions – it can be hard here) but still we’re moving to Europe later this year. I like NZ in many ways and part of me will be sad to leave. But I’m slowly going spare here and I don’t want my kids to suffer an unstimulating adolescence when there’s so much more to see in the world.

    As for nature, NZ is utterly beautiful but appearances can be skin deep. Check out how many rivers are unsafe to swim in.

    Before we moved here, a friend described NZ as being like a curry from which the chef had unaccountably left out the spices. I knew what she meant within a month of moving here but was optimistic that the situation could change with effort. It hasn’t. That, I think, is largely a consequence of low population and remote location. I don’t *blame* Kiwis in any way for that, and I’m grateful for our time here. But it’s no longer the right place for us.

    • You are so right. I, too, lived in NZ for 9 years and finally had to pull the plug. My experience was very similar to yours, except I had no children with me.

      The NZ Tourism “100% PURE” campaign is 100% PURE BS. So many of the rivers are polluted with agricultural runoff that you cannot swim in them due to algal blooms. The scenery is wonderful until you get close and see all the garbage the locals have dumped by the side of the roads, just like in South America or other parts of the world.

      Kiwis are also rather racist, or more specifically xenophobic. They resent virtually everybody as an artifact of their Kiwi “excellence”, read “We can do anything with #8 wire.” As a person who went to New Zealand at the invitation of the government to set up a business, I have to say they made it impossible to succeed, while at the sane time funding third rate “research.”

      There is essentially nothing I miss about New Zealand. It is too far from anything (Air New Zealand has a virtual lock on air travel making getting there or leaving expensive); the food is depressing and expensive (why can I buy NZ lamb cheaper in California than I can in NZ?); housing is sub-standard and overpriced (my house was so windy inside we actually flew a low wind kite inside to demonstrate); education is substandard ( 8th graders who cannot perform basic mathematical functions?); employees are lazy and ‘protected’ by labor laws; the police are above the law, or they just don’t care; etc., etc.

      After 9 years I was so happy to be back in the US, despite all the problems we have here. As others have echoed, I can work, live frugally and still save. In NZ, unless you have property and are a slum-lord (the preferred way for Kiwis to ‘create’ wealth, you are will be lucky to have money at the end of the month. NZ is set up for business people so they can write off every thing they spend money on. But for a wage earner, wear that yoke with pride. Or just leave for a better lifestyle.

    • As someone who is nearing the end of being churned through the awful education system, I’m looking desperately into the face of a life of poverty, or as we kiwi’s like to call it ‘getting by’. I completely agree with your earlier comment, the general atmosphere of most schools is slack and lazy. The teachers don’t try to educate, they just lay information out in front of you and say, “here, do this and pretend you care”. I am lucky to have intellectual friends who have been wonderful at opening me up to opportunities that would’ve otherwise never have been offered, and this is at the high end of public education. But my parents have been awful at teaching me about the sense of global community. The school system is so fixated on teaching us badly about Maori culture that they forget to mention the rest of the world. I just want to get out, run, flee. But unfortunately the prices for flights say no.

  23. I can second this. I live in New Zealand and have for my whole life. I would love to leave but can’t afford to. Rent is expensive, with or without roommates. Food, entertainment (eg. movies) etc. are expensive. I don’t buy a lot and still I feel like I have no money. There’s hardly any jobs. Sure the scenery is nice. There’s a couple of nice beaches and forests but I feel like no one gets anywhere here.

  24. Life isn’t about making money. If you want to enjoy your life and appreciate what you have now, NZ is for you. If you are only about capital gain, Kiwis don’t want you. We are a simple people with simple expectations. Leave us alone to live our lives in peace, free of international war mongering. New Zealand is the new Athens.

    • Chris,

      You should read some ancient history. NZ isn’t remotely like Classical Athens, which was a remarkably creative but extremely aggressive and war-like city state, btw.

      I doubt that New Zealanders really want to be ‘left alone’ in all circumstances. If there’s another severe earthquake or a serious security issue, ‘who you gonna call’, it’s Australia isn’t it?
      NZ is essentially a 7th state of Australia, we could really leave you alone, if that’s what you want.

    • >We are a simple people with simple expectations.
      The truth is that even these simple expectations are expensive and such a basic expectation like a house would cost you a fortune and probably not only for you but for yr children as well.

      So, nowadays life in New Zealand is about making money, unfortunately

      • “So, nowadays life in New Zealand is about making money, unfortunately”

        I think your comment is a bit generous. I would change it to read….. “So, nowadays life in New Zealand is about surviving, unfortunately”

        NZ is one small crisis away from a major societal breakdown. A few % increase in the OCR. A drop in house prices. Another big EQ and it will all be exposed.

        Why do you think all the politicians are resigning and moving overseas. Its starting to spiral and there is nothing they can do about it.

  25. I’m a permanent resident of NZ, who left after 10 years and for the last 2y works in Africa for the UN. Apart from the 2 yearly (UN funded) return trip to visit friends (very few who are Kiwis to be honest, I don’t intend to return any time soon, there is nothing there to attract me anymore.
    I finally sold my house (for a loss no less) after 10 years am glad to be out of the Looney tunes property market where householder who sensibly insure their homes are penalized with huge levels for the earthquake commission and Fire Service to pay for those who don’t insure their homes.
    The cost of living is high and quality is poor, wages are low and taxes are high. The anti-foreign, anti-innovation, anti-professionalism attitude and ‘jobs for the boys’ cut back the ‘tall poppies’ is alive and well.
    I might return at 60 years (for 6 month of the years) till I’m 65y to get my taxes back and qualify for a full pension, but by that time I serious doubt it will be worth the trouble, better to just live cheaply in SE Asia somewhere and enjoy my retirement.

    • Ricardo,

      We had a similar problem here in my home state in Australia, ie insured home owners subsidised uninsured home owners. The state government legislated to force all home owners to pay for the fire services through their property taxes. The solution is simple.

      • The ambulance service is a charity run from donations and with volunteers like St Johns Ambulance, there is also Wellington Free Ambulance in the greater Well Area. They may get some government & local funding via grants but basically its goodwill run.

  26. My husband was recently in New Zealand and agreed with most of the comments listed on this site. He has explained that the KIWIS are not at all friendly, they would rather give you dirty looks than a friendly smile. The Mowry`s on the other hand are very friendly and polite. Crime is constantly on the rise and not as safe as what everyone claims it to be. Drugs are also posing as a huge concern which obviously have a direct impact on crime. If someone commits murder, they are charged with manslaughter and given only about a 10 year sentence. Therefore how can anyone believe their crime statics if the proper crime has not be recorded accurately?

    Most of the houses are not built from brick and because of the winters being so cold, windy and wet, very harsh conditions, it may cause many sleepless nights. There is absolutely no courtesy on their roads and everyone drives as they please, switching lanes and the car behind you will have to give way. The traffic is so hectic that you have to leave for work before 6am every morning to avoid congestion.

    They advertise their high standards of qualifications and expectations, and that their requirement for English is extremely high, however, most people there, cannot speak English well. He added that this is not a get rich quick country as everyone lives hand to mouth. He has even seen elderly people who can hardly walk still working! Accommodation is also extremely expensive and most people are still renting after living there more than 20 years because they cannot afford to buy a house.

    We are sitting with a huge dilemma, my husband was offered a job in New Zealand and we have to decide if it is the right thing to do. Currently we are living comfortably and financially secure in South Africa. The crime here is way more violent than New Zealand and we have 3 kids and hope they have better opportunities should we decide to immigrate. Another problem we are faced with, is the expense involved in relocating and if we are going to be able to survive. The medicals, visas and flight tickets are not cheap and we would need to rent a house. Our 2 eldest kids have completed their schooling years and would have to attend university which is going to cost a pretty penny as we are not residents.

    So what should we do? Should we take the chance, seeing that we are from South Africa and I am sure many of you are aware of the economic status, high unemployment rate and high crime statistics South Africa has.

    I do believe that New Zealand should not advertise false hope to migrants, such as ourselves. Free education, fee medical care, crime free, safety and security and New Zealanders are the most friendly people in the world! This as my husband says is a load of lies and propaganda.

    • Thank you for your reply. We most certainly will take your advice and seek elsewhere. NZ is not what everyone expects and appreciate the honesty in these articles.

      • Have you thought about Australia or Canada as other possible migration options? I have have meet people from both countries and they seem friendlier, and more outgoing, and more likely to embrace newcomers and new migrants. Better living standards, better housing, better pay in most cases. Many skilled New Zealanders when they cross the ditch to Australia, can’t believe how much better off doing the same work, because of the pay increase, – better climate as well, – I wouldn’t advise anyone to migrate here – not enough opportunity, and an “old boy” network exists if you want to get anywhere – unless you know people or have been born here – you’re on the outer, which relates to my previous point about accepting new migrants and embracing them. when Kiwi employers say they want people with Kiwi experience, it’s really a just a polite form of racism. In other words, or a better translation would be: We only want people who were preferably born here, look like us [ white NZ] sound like us, and have the same culture,attitudes and values – forget it if you come from somewhere else, have a different, not Anglo Saxon name, from a different culture, and of a different skin colour.

      • Everything that was said is true-I am so sorry that I came to NZ with my family.Go Australia rather!!

  27. These are the reasons that I can’t and won’t stay in this country anymore. NZ u have taken everything from me and more this place is heartless and cruel and definately not for the faint hearted.

  28. A very accurate analysis of life in NZ I think. We lived there for 8 years, moved to Australia and have now moved back to UK. I miss NZ every day, despite it’s myriad problems. Compare their political issues- to change or not to change the flag, compared to what’s going on in Europe….no comparison! It is true that NZ is a good place for those seeking a simpler, more laid back life style, but you definitely need a good income, as nothing is cheap here, and housing prices are ridiculous.

    If it had just been myself and my husband, I think we could have had a lovely life in NZ, but our teenagers were always bored. If your teens love to fish, hunt, tramp, swim etc then lucky you! They will love it here too!

    I do hope we return one day, maybe when we retire….or maybe sooner if the SHTF over here!!

    • Why do you think that? I am thinking more of a political SHTF rather than an environmental one. Europe is experiencing a ‘terrorist’ attack on a regular basis at the moment and with Brexit, things aren’t great in the UK, and bound to get worse!

      • I am not the same George as above but a quick reply to your comment. NZ has a lower risk from a terrorist perspective but in other ways a lot more dangerous. About 4 years ago there was a published study that said NZ was 2nd in the OECD for death of young people. Mostly by motor vehicle accidents and suicide. The motor vehicle death rate in general per year, per capita is 300% higher than the UK. The workplace can be dangerous here. There was an article in the media about 4 years ago saying you would be in less danger being an NZ soldier fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan than being an NZ Forestry worker. There have been a lot of problems with workplace deaths in recent years. The news is more focused on the USA. There will be a big headline about a child being murdered in the USA but then I will read some smaller story about a small child being kicked to death in NZ and the Dad charged with assault. The threshold for the murder of children is very high in NZ. I don’t know what extreme act of violence a person would have to commit on a child before it is deemed a murder, given the number of cases in recent weeks where people have been charged with manslaughter or assault.

        • Two of those factors would have a common origin, – the oppressive masculine type culture over here. It’s really important for young men and men to be validated by other young men, not by their female partners , It’s why it’s so important to men ‘ to go out with the boys’ or ‘to be with the boys’. Strangely, they never say “I’m going out with the men”. So to impress other young men, they drive too fast and crash, or maim themselves or kill other people. The second factor which is usually caused by depression, because the young man, even a man, feels he hasn’t measured up to his peer group and feels inadequate. I’ve seen it many times over the years, and it’s why you see groups of men hanging around together, or even today at social functions e,g, a summer barbecue there will be a division – men in one group talking sports, cars, how much they earn etc, and the women in another group. The lack of safety standards comes from the same attitudes – reckless and over confident. This type of unusual male bonding really only exists here and in some parts of Australia, although Australian culture has changed due to the European influence coming in – Italian, Greek and other European.

  29. New Zealand is a great country in my opinion. However NZ is definitely not for everyone and it takes a special character to be able to enjoy NZ to it’s fullest. New Zealand is a remote country, an island, people here have a completely different way of life than Americans or Europeans where life is very fast paced. Here in NZ life is slow paced and it’s a retiree dream or a chill out person who’s goal in life is to get away from the politics,business and all that other bs and just enjoy a beer in the pub or a swim in the beach. A lot of young kiwis don’t enjoy here because they are looking for that party life, for the fast go,go,go life where 100 things are happening at once, whre in NZ there is just NOTHING to do for young people, simple as that.

    My being an immigrant from Europe and being young, been here for 8 years since teen years i can definitely relate to other young like minded people who just cannot enjoy NZ because it’s not their type of country, not their type of life. People here are a special bunch, they are used to their home, they are used to their slow pace and enjoy it. Yes while not everyone, a good majority of kiwis are enjoying life in New Zealand just because that’s what they are used to. For an European or American to come to NZ is a shocker, in most cases it will bring utter boredom and to some extent,hate towards a country which is otherwise a very nice and beatuful country with very nice and warm people. NZ is best for retirees or people who are slow paced, beach all day and relax kind of people, the ones looking for the wild parties, 100 things happening at once it’s a nightmare and i am speaking from personal experience here.

    The majour problem here as well is finance! While NZ is presented as a well off country in media,ads etc it is really NOT once you go from vacation to living here. Living in Auckland where most of the immigrants go due to the job opportunities it’s a night mare and it’s getting worse by the day, housing is unnafordable, literally people living in parks in tents or in their cars, wages are nothing compared to basic costs such as food,rent,transports, ohh and don’t get me started if you need to use the health system. Docs are useless, just take your $50 for the appointment and don’t do jack shit, dentist prices are astronomical, for basic dental services your looking at spending about 50% of your weekly pay check and god forbidd you need some real dental work done, because your looking at thousands of dollars which will probably come from a loan you will need to pay of for years just to get your teeth fixed, so that explains why many kiwis got dental problems.

    For everone who is looking to relocate in NZ i can only advise that they have some strong financial support before hand because your looking at a complete night mare having to work here and make living in Auckland especially. However, if you have some stable financial resources, you can enjoy NZ to the fullest and it really is a beatuiful, good,easy going country and people here do have a special character that has to be appreciated. So goo luck to everyone has decided to make NZ their new home but just be careful how you go about moving over here because withtout being well off in advance, your looking at being stuck here paying off debts for years.

    • NZ wasn’t so bad once – but it was many years ago, the level of inequality in cities such as Auckland is very noticeable now – the wealth gap which wasn’t so wide , it could be NZ had more benign Governments back then, healthcare was more affordable – Doctors, , Dentists have always been expensive.

      One of the biggest problems New Zealand has, is really low wages, which don’t offset the high cost of living. It’s something skilled migrants from New Zealand going to Australia find straight away, how much better off they are, doing the same work, but for much better pay and the general cost of living is similar.

      • rik,

        Both the CER and the trans Tasman migration agreement were developed to integrate NZ and Australia economically. So a large gap in per capita GDP between the two countries, theoretically, shouldn’t have occurred. For some reason NZ hasn’t benefitted from access to the much larger Australian market. Instead of exporting goods to Australia Kiwis have exported themselves.
        Is there some part of the culture that has prevented New Zealanders from seizing the opportunity? Or perhaps the country hasn’t recovered from the neoliberal ‘reforms’ of a generation ago.

  30. i know that if jesus christ lived in new zealand he would rather comit suicide and try to leave than stay

  31. In summary about New Zealand:
    Unaffordable and poor quality housing.
    Not enough interesting or highly cultured people.
    Too many rip-off artists, drunks, dope heads and wanna-be business people
    Too few opportunities for educated professionals
    Corruption well covered up in government and state departments.
    A country full of sheep run by a bunch of old boys club members.

  32. Why are wages so pathetic in this country?, and the real lack of opportunity – nothing out there. As for some New Zealanders having false teeth – million dollar smiles on $10 faces. No wonder so many go to Australia to seek their fortunes – I went to school here and just about every second person I know lives there.. Weird noninclusive mentality. If John Lennon’s father had won the custody battle when young John was one, and taken him to New Zealand as he intended to do, John could have been a real success story, – he might have been fully qualified panel beater, even owned his own business working in Glen Eden, instead of wasting his life as musician.

    What’s with customer service here? – the assistants instead of greeting you, barely utter a word. I could go on for many pages, but I’ll leave it for tonight.

  33. The low wage/high cost of living is HUGE.
    Any time you go to purchase, investigate costs online, you quickly realize how expensive things are and how little/low the pay scale in NZ is.

  34. I’m 23 years old and a NZ citizen. I’ve been working at McDonald’s for 9 months now and guess how much I’ve earned in total. Only $5000 before tax!! That’s ridiculous and what’s worse is that $3000 of that was from Sept to Dec last year! So I’ve only gotten $2000 this year from Jan to June!!

    • Hi Leah,

      I can see some positives in your situation. You could walk into any McDonald’s in the World (Or other fast food chain) and be ready to work so great experience if you are contemplating the “OE”. Normally when a young person goes overseas there can be a couple of months of downtime looking for work. McDonald’s is a high pressure, fast paced work environment. You have gone in there and survived so you put that on your CV as that transfers to other work environments. Personally, I have never worked there myself but think that would have set me up well when I was young. It is minimum wage but will hopefully be a good stepping stone for you.

  35. New Zealand likes The money people bring. The shinny dollars are welcome, once here they can’t care less. With experience I worked for the government I can say they are not interested in people. They may attend multicultural events, but that’s it. The rest for them is considered too much. NZ do not know the great values of family and community that their immigrants have. I never in my life have seen more racist people even from d office of ethnic affairs that once they told me the officials need to look foreigners but been born in Nz. Nine people were sucked or “made leave” by force in a year. There was a team of no more than 20. The “kiwis” stay. It is embarrassing of how intelligent people, extraordinary people are left to drive taxis or even clean. That’s how it works in nz, I once was told in my face they didn’t want to give me a job in a shop because I have an accent and kiwis don’t like that. I have a masters degree. With pride I have encouraged people I know to not go to nz it would be the worst time they have had. The shinning happiness last 2 years then reality kicks in, and ain’t beautiful. With people who will never accept you, or burps everywhere no matter what status they have. Getting drunk is their sense of pride, cero knowledge of great thinkers, cero knowledge of international politics. Their first question is where are you from, the second, always is, do you like it here? So arrogant they still think their small island is the best in the world. Proud of being hard, they have a bad health system, they do not fight for their rights, the lack of passion don’t drive them to amazing politics, they only like their rugby and sports. So tight in their thinking that they don’t even rinse the dish liquid out of the dishes to save water I supposed… Proud always of the do it your self they would never think in the help they would provide to people that need opportunities of work. Bad dressed like I never have seen, not even to mention the third most obesse country in the world. And they are proud of that.

    • 40 years a patient with dental school NZ. Have been banned from treatment,why? 1 Because I mentioned that there was an item on an invoice which was pure fiction amount $40. It took 18 months and the name of the student to be granted a credit of $40. Then banned with lots of unfinished outstanding. Can’t recommend the dental school.

  36. [Deleted, read the comment guidelines. Don’t like what you read here? don’t read it. Admin]

  37. [Deleted, you may like the taste of Kool-Aid, others don’t. Can’t handle that? don’t read it. Admin]

  38. Im a born Kiwi, but I can relate to many of the immigrants that have posted here explaining that they are unhappy, find it hard to make friends, and live day to day “because thats how you survive”.

    As a kiwi, I would love to see my fellow kiwis cut the shit and stop trying to be something they are not. We are trying to prove to the world that we are a highly advanced, prosperous country with all the class and sophistication that comes with being at the centre of the world. Fact is, we are at the bottom end of the south pacific with a gigantic sister country casting an enormous shadow over us. We need to get real – wake up from trying to drive the most expensive car, owning the biggest house, not talking to others because we are on imaginary high horses. Stop taking on more debt than we can afford! Its superficial, its arrogant, its rubbish.

    Once upon a time Kiwis cared for there fellow man. We respected peoples differences, we invited them in and made them feel welcome.

    We should be ashamed of what we have become.

    • I was watching that Sunday programme last night about Tarawera (Kawerau) High School. I take my hat off to the Principal for doing a great job at that school. The materialistic section of NZ society always seems to be in denial about the social problems that exist here. It just surprises me that people are always saying it is great to live in a country with no crime or poverty. When in fact there seems to be quite a bit of both. It is hard to address problems when people deny there are any.

    • ” We respected peoples differences”

      Even just this would be of great help.
      Yet, what you find is resentment, envy, and jealousy. This is just “social”.
      When you get into the work place there is rejection, under-utilization, and a bent for “torpedoing” migrants’ careers.

      I often tell people that Kiwis would be seen as “cool” because of their sayings, accents…
      Here, migrants are pilloried for these things.

    • So true. We should be ashamed of what we have become, but first, we have to drop the denial! That and the 100%clean, green and friendly rubbish. It’s just embarrassing!

    • NZers are small minded self centred idiots.

      Trying to talk reason with anyone under 40 is just plan madness. All they seem to care about is ensuring everyone is worse off than them or as a minimum paid their dues. Kiwis (under 40) generally have no empathy or morals.

      I am a very tolerant Kiwi and have tried my best to reason with people and make this country a better place .

      I now believe I am the idiot for continuing to try.

      There must be somewhere better.

      Does anyone know how Canada stacks up for family? I am highly qualified as is my wife.

      God help this place. No one else will.

  39. Great website. It’s essential for expats to know as much as possible what to expect before moving here. Yes, life is expensive, but like anywhere it is possible to live cheaply, for instance, buying second hand appliances, shopping at the farmer’s market, home cooking, among other things. I was fortunate to be able to purchase a home prior to the big increases in real estate, so I count myself lucky. I installed insulation and heating through a government subsidy, although I still suffer from the cold in the winter. Salaries haven’t increased much, which is an important consideration for those moving to Auckland where house prices are outrageous. A plus is the beautiful, clean and fairly safe environment, good primary schools (not so good secondary schools) and the fact that Kiwis are friendly, helpful and honest. I appreciate the good, decent values of most of the people I have met. The downside is the macho rugby culture and the culture of the corporate workplace. My workplace experience ranged from the pleasant (nice students) to the mostly harrowing, which was due to the seventy-hour work week, egregious bullying, harassment, contempt for staff and intimidation by management. The latter lessened somewhat after anti-bullying legislation was introduced some time after 2000. When corporatization was implemented it was accompanied by rolling cuts, downsizing, redundancies or threats of redundancies, impossible targets, draconian and irrational policy-making and under-resourcing and underfunding. Poor financial decisions and ongoing disruptive industrial action made the very low morale worse. This kind of nightmare can take place anywhere, but when you don’t have the usual support network it can be very tough. If you are coming here to take up an employment opportunity, you should consider the way you handle isolation, homesickness, high levels of stress, workplace politics, the lack of a level playing field and inadequate mentoring and promotion opportunities for women. I am now retired and am still trying to come to terms with all this. All things considered, I don’t know if I made the right decision to move here, despite the fact that at the time I felt I had no choice (sole parent with a young child to support). We are all different, our situations are different and we handle things differently. All I can suggest is that the kind of experience I had is not for the faint-hearted, so try to find out as much as possible what you’re up against prior to moving here.

  40. I’ve lived in New Zealand my whole life and I can honestly say as a whole NZ is quite a boring country to live in, however it depends on what sort of person you are and what sort of things you are into. If you like scenery and mountains then I guess you might like it here, but if you’re looking for something a little bit different NZ probably isn’t for you. In terms of racism, it really depends where you go. Not everywhere is racist and Wellington is an amazing multi cultural place in my opinion so you won’t have many problems there. Yes, New Zealand is expensive, so know that if you are thinking of coming here. I will agree that most New Zealanders do get quite defensive when you say something negative about their country, and most of them are insecure. New Zealanders are also pretty stereotypical, most of the population have the same views on things, and all seem to love sport (rugby, cricket or both) But really, I would say it depends on who you meet and where you go. Personally, as a whole, I see more cons than pros – boring place to live, expensive, people aren’t that outgoing, and feels like a country that is going backwards. As a New Zealander myself, I will agree with most of the comments on this forum.

  41. I am a New Zealander and it is only because I had the great fortune to be born to a non citizen that I can agree with everything stated above. There is a underlying arogance in the New Zealand culture that has been fostered by the afore mentioned “make do with very little” way of life. The subtlety of this arrogance is what makes it so uncomfortable to live amongst people that can’t take constructive critisim. The worst expression of this arrogance is also the tall poppy syndrome that is obvious in this culture. The continued fostering of hypocritical views does us no good either, our belief that we are some how envirnmental ambassadors to the world is the biggest lie everyone is happy to swallow. Compared to many countries we look down (that is how it feels) NZ is an environmental disaster, more extinctions at the hand of man, more cars per capita than the US, more land altered by man than many developed countries, less recycling, and lets not look at fresh water quality because, due to our love of the money that dairy brings in fresh is a loose term to describe many of our rivers if they havn’t been drained to water the grass for those cows feed on. Would you see this if you watched the NZ tourism adds played around the world to attract well intentioned but naive migrants, never. Dont mention this to a kiwi because you will get a ambivalent shrug that offers no constructive defense. Our national bird, the one we named ourselves after is on a steady decline on the mainland yet as long as we can happily feel unique about this name we use (kiwi) who cares. Without facing this lack of intelectule culture we are stuck in a cycle of critising others then quietly adopting outside/other countries practises that we verbally dismiss, I don’t mean it as derogatory but just look at how the consumer culture of the United States has been incorporated into our way of life. Put simply “we are great and unique and your country has been corrupted by extravagance and shallow media…….but while your away we’ll just give it a try. What a shame, this isolation could have bred an independent colorfull culture but instead we have ended up with a insipid and corrosive jealousy of what we didn’t have. I love the country but the people need to pull there heads out of the ocean that surrounds them and see that the sheep references makes a good analogy for the people, happily ignorant followers. I personally hope that we adopt as many migrants as possible as the colorfull cultures they bring are a welcoming refreshment to my way of thinking, sorry about the conditions untill then.

  42. Do not move here if you have a sense of humour or like having fun or fitting in with people. No one goes out for a beer and if they do they are worried about spending their money. Kiwi’s are very very frugal and it shows. Maybe because they have to be to get by. Can’t wait to leave and get back to the UK with culture, humour, friends and good times. Here it sucks big time. The amount of people I have met that are downright rude and arrogant is also very concerning. They think its ok to speak to people like dirt. Horrible, nasty place to be. DO NOT come here if you like fun. My soul is being drained away here. It is just so boring.

  43. Thank you all !!! I thought, I was the only one….
    Going back from CHCH to Germany in a couple of month!
    Nebula, you are great!

  44. Found mention of an interesting essay by an American academic, David P. Ausubel, The Fern and the Tiki,” published in 1960, I haven’t read the essay, and it’s interesting that I’ve lived here over 10 years and haven’t heard anyone speak of it, either in forums or media, in all this time. It seems to be mentioned primarily by academics:

    http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-PeaFret-t1-body-d9.html

    “The national self-image, as Dr. Ausubel sees it, is of a people reserved and modest, easy-going and friendly, practical and adaptable, forthright but courteous. But in fact and in contrast he found us reserved and introverted, hostile to strangers, touchy in our interpersonal relations, contentious on committees, intemperate in the correspondence column, maudlin In Memoriam, prickly under criticism, assertively egalitarian in principle but in practice both deferential and secretly resentful towards authority. We are hostile to the intellect; we are lackadaisical in our attitudes towards work, having neither ambition, efficiency, enterprise nor foresight; we reserve our best energy for sport and for home jobs. Our smugness about our place in the world, about our educational system, our standards of public health and our standard of living are not in fact justified, and, further, it covers a sense of insecurity and a sense of international insignificance of which we prefer not to be reminded and which we conspire to ignore.

    “It is of course a criticism of pakeha New Zealanders that they could not respond to Dr Ausubel’s comments and questions without a mixture of defensiveness and aggressiveness, often anti-American…”

    I would add that since the essay was written in 1960, the New Zealand government and tourist board decided to market New Zealand as an environmentally forward-thinking country with a clean, pristine environment, using the misleading 100% pure “nation branding” ploy. They did this to entice immigrants to a country that has historically lost it’s best and brightest, and just average, in great numbers, hence the low population. They also used it as a marketing scheme to get an edge in their international exports of dairy and meat products. It’s a complete con of course, with no basis in reality, but try convincing the sheeple of New Zealand, who’ve spent their lives drinking Kool Aid.

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