WELCOME please read


There’s a reason why so few people live in NZ.

To borrow a phrase from Glenn Greenwald, we commit journalism here.

Through this site and our Twitter account we “actively trigger discussion and examination of claims” about New Zealand, “rather than mindless recitation, ritualistic affirmation and compelled acceptance.”

Accordingly, this is a Kool-Aid free site. You may find that something of a novelty when it comes to NZ information, but we are refreshingly honest.

Rest assured, everyone who runs this site was once either a migrant or a student in New Zealand. Our present locations are varied and include the UK, Canada US, Asian and Pacific countries.

We also have a group Twitter account which has a broader social media brief than just New Zealand, you can follow us at: E2NZ

On this site you’ll discover some of the unexpurgated truths about New Zealand, something that you seldom find in these days of mass marketing and nation branding.

Are you considering a move to New Zealand? perhaps you’re thinking of living there long-term, going out to join family (married a Kiwi perhaps) or you want to sample the lifestyle for a while and then move on.

Are you taking your children to NZ for a better life? Did you know in 2016/2017 New Zealand students had their worst ever results in the international education tests? and Kiwi youth have some of the highest rates of suicide in the world.

If you’re coming from Europe, or any other developed nation,  you may soon find out the meaning of the following (originally about Egypt and adapted from Michael Palin’s “Around the World in Eighty Days” TV series  )

“What, in Europe, had been problems to solve, in New Zealand will become limitations to accept.”

This is a blog dedicated to giving you as much information as possible to enable you to make an informed choice because it’s always better to go into these things with eyes wide open and rose tinted spectacles consigned to your back pocket. Because, as one of our posters commented, “too many people come here with what they want the place to be and not how it really is“.

We’re here to tell you how it is, no punches pulled – straight up. Are you ready to hear it?

There is a wealth of information on the world-wide web about the upsides of New Zealand. They mostly centre around the beautiful landscape, how pure it is, the laid back lifestyle and how great a place it is to raise kids. Whilst these things may have an element of truth how realistic are they? Usually when something sounds too good to be true it isn’t, perhaps a little balance and honesty is called for, its about time.

The days of the New Zealand Company’s propaganda are long over but has anything changed since the 1840s? this is from that era:

“The immigrants’ dissatisfaction was compounded by the misleading propaganda that the Company’s London office had put out. They had been told that New Zealand was a fertile Eden; that economic prospects were unlimited for the hardworking man; and that almost every form of agriculture, manufacture, and commerce was possible, and would yield high returns. The Company had depicted the Maori race as eager for the white man’s ways and merchandise. They had glossed over the difficulties of pioneering, and suppressed all negative reports of New Zealand…
By the mid 1840s, the four New Zealand Company settlements all had similar problems. The immigrants were angry. Many regretted their decision to come to this country and damned the Company for its misleading propaganda. They began leaving the settlements in droves, and by 1848, only eighty-five of the original 436 Wellington colonists remained.”

This following extract is taken from Wikipedia – Pakeha Settlers

“Campaign posters advertising New Zealand in England did give many settlers false hopes, manipulating their reasons. These posters often described New Zealand as an island paradise, complete with white sandy beaches and coconut trees. This heavenly image also did a lot to attract settlers to New Zealand, as it was such a welcome contrast to the rain and cold weather in England. Many settlers also believed that the paradise New Zealand was presented as would be good for their families’ health as the warm weather as well as the small population in New Zealand could keep dangerous diseases that were rife in England to a minimum in New Zealand.


Another factor in attracting people to New Zealand was families who had already settled writing to their relatives back in Great Britain telling them what a wonderful place New Zealand was. Sometimes these letters were sincere and people truly had discovered a much better life in New Zealand and wanted their relatives to share in the spoils, but sometimes there were other motives. Pure loneliness and isolation could encourage people to write exaggerated letters to their relatives in the hope that they would make New Zealand sound so good that their extended families would come and join them thus providing them with some comfort. There were also settlers who were too afraid to admit to their families back home that they had made a mistake in coming to New Zealand and so, to save face they chose to exaggerate the positive sides of living in New Zealand and keep quiet about the negative factors. This writing of letters by settlers back to their families in the United Kingdom resulted in what’s called a chain reaction as more and more people were encouraged to come out and join their families.”

These days we have the benefit of the internet. Emails, blog journals and social networking sites  are replacing the letters home. Many a propaganda campaign has been launched and waged on sites like YouTube and Facebook.

You may also like to see how modern day marketing methods are presently being aimed at potential migrants from wealthy countries a comparatively short distance from New Zealand:

“The bait was better working hours, cheaper cars and housing – and in three weeks thousands from Singapore have registered their interest in living in New Zealand…”

Shame the campaign didn’t first stop to find out the correct spelling for Singaporean: “New Zealand open arms to Singaporians.” It’s not a good overture from a country that’s marketing itself on the excellence of  its education system.

But these hard sell messages are difficult to resist, New Zealand has gained an international reputation for being a leader in Nation Branding, a skill that has been honed to perfection ever since the 1840s. This is taken from the Korean Times

“A clean and green oasis, 100 percent pure, and the land of “Lord of the Rings” are some of New Zealand’s signature images that have been shaped over the years, transforming the southwestern Pacific dairy country into the world’s fourth most desired place to visit in 2006. How did this happen?

Competitive national branding, says the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), adding that an equivalent tourism and trade boost would happen here if Korea benchmarked some of New Zealand’s winning points.

The trade group highlighted that the “all-natural” country has successfully positioned itself through an effective private corporation, thorough brand research and clear goal-driven strategies.

Starting in 1999, New Zealand _ well known for its environmental efforts _ campaigned with the catchy slogan “100% Pure” in all of its key markets for trade and consumer events, advertising and marketing.

Although the principal tag line is “100% Pure New Zealand,” the government allowed private corporations to extend the campaign to fit their businesses, such as “100% Romance” and “100% Pure Adventure.”

The catch phrase is now used by some 170 exporting and services companies, said KOTRA.

The country’s well-kept environment successfully translated into money as a 2001 study by New Zealand’s Environmental Ministry said the “clean and green” image would be worth “hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars.”

And to sustain its competitive national brand, KOTRA added that the birthplace of bungee jumping carries out ongoing market research with a global advertising agency, which also helps to tweak branding strategies…

read on

But one of the dangers of these campaigns is that if the country doesn’t live up to visitors’ expectations they are going to feel duped. Just take a look at any of our posts tagged 100% Pure Myth to see what we mean by this. It’s going to be even more difficult to maintain the 100% Pure advertising slogan now that pressure is on to open up the land for mining to release $140 billion worth of minerals and $100 billion in lignite.

Our Aim

Our aim is to try to cut through the hype and show you some of the present day issues you will encounter as a visitor or migrant in New Zealand.

These include archaic working practices, low remuneration, appalling poverty – especially when it impacts on children and young people, poor housing standards, the risks of damage from earthquakes, the high levels of crime, widespread drug abuse, the shocking numbers of deaths and injuries on the roads and those that arise from tourism activities.

Whilst you’re here why not take a look at our “Migrant Stories”  “Kiwi Talk” and “Facts and stats”  pages, get the inside scoop and see what migrants and local people are saying about New Zealand.

Read what a poet says about his home town in the Lawless North: “Ode to Whangarei”  and contrast that to the images that are put out about New Zealand and you’ll see the reality behind the façade.

We hope you get something out of it and a desire to find out more for yourself.

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121 thoughts on “WELCOME please read

  1. I am an immigrant to NZ who has now been here 25 years and I just can’t believe the negativity on this site! No-one gets anywhere by being negative. NZ is of course not perfect but overall it is a great place to live.


    • Chris I completely agree. I have only been here six months and I love it. Why would anyone spend so much time to be so negative. Get a life people and cheer the hell up. Look – problems don’t disappear when you move here…that must have been the leaflet from heaven you read by mistake. I have a job…it is a beautiful country, people are nice, food is great – there is always stuff to do… the government is so honest it is funny. I come from the West of Ireland and I am proud of where I come from – but there I have no job, there is nothing to do in the winter apart from drink and the government is as bent as a cork screw…so go ahead – give me your highly intelligent retort….if you don’t like NZ – you know where you can go…


  2. 25 years in New Zealand and you still think of yourself as an immigrant?

    No-one gets anywhere by being negative

    That’s very true, people get a lot further by being realistic.

    Good luck for the next 25.


  3. Yes, people migrate to another country because of the limitations and lack of opportunities in their own, as they perceive it. Much of the time the limitations were personal and no matter where they go this will be their constant.

    NZ does not need or want small-minded, self indulgent whingers, so the sooner you all pack up and leave the better for all, yourself included.


    • Yes, people migrate to another country because of the limitations and lack of opportunities in their own, as they perceive it. Much of the time the limitations were personal and no matter where they go this will be their constant

      Yes, perhaps this is why one million New Zealanders live abroad and migration to Australia has reached another high?

      NZ does not need or want small-minded, self indulgent whingers, so the sooner you all pack up and leave the better for all, yourself included.

      But are you sure this is the best course of action, wouldn’t you rather people stayed and tried to make the country work better for everyone, if for no other reason that the country has made a massive investment educating and training them?

      The great Kiwi Brain Drain is estimated to cost New Zealand $14,000 for each person that leaves the country through foregone tax and costs of government services such as education, according to World Bank research.

      More Kiwis left to live permanently overseas in October than in any month since January 2009. 6610 left in October, most of them to Australia. New Zealand needs to stem its brain drain before it becomes either the retirement capital of the world or over-populated with benefit claimants.


      • Just to add that New Zealand has the highest level of tertiary students who leave the country after finishing their education in the OECD.


    • “NZ does not need or want small-minded, self indulgent whingers, so the sooner you all pack up and leave the better for all, yourself included”.

      I guess that’s why so many Kiwis leave, every year


  4. in the news, a small article, just an everyday occurrence.
    “Air New Zealand is removing a billboard in Nelson with the tagline “Fares lower than your grandma’s boobs” after it sparked complaints that it is tacky, ageist and disrespectful to women.”

    I have been sent so much ageist lookist dumb stale “humor” e-mails (Britons think Benny Hill, Americans think Spencer gifts+BeavisButthead) from Kiwis making fun of old women’s bodies. Cr*p! They seem to be arrested in a very low stage of maturity, and they think people who offend others are tough and cool. People who react to abuse are uncool for reacting. What age does that sound like? What sort of citizens do these sound like? They are like 13-year-old bullies who don’t even realise what they are because they have always been that way.

    further, from that article.
    “Grabaseat manager Duane Perrott said the slogan was an entry in a competition from a Wellington resident whose grandmother lived in Nelson. “What this person thought was funny, as did many others, clearly didn’t resonate with some individuals today and Grabaseat will be removing the billboard shortly,” he said.

    You can ascertain from this that most Kiwis thought it very funny, just like most Kiwis thought Paul Henry was a riot. As long as it is other people being made fun of, your own sense of humor is the problem. Once the spotlight is on them, however, it’s anger all out of proportion to the comment and “hit the road if you don’t like it”.


  5. Agreed, we could probably post much, much more than we do on our subject matter – there is so much material to chose from.

    Its all clearly set out above jon. In short

    “This is a blog dedicated to giving you as much information as possible to enable you to make an informed choice because it’s always better to go into these things with eyes wide open and rose tinted spectacles consigned to your back pocket.”

    “Our aim is to try to cut through the hype and show you some of the present day issues. These include the problems that migrants are still having, the appalling poverty – especially as it impacts on children and young people, the high levels of crime, widespread drug abuse, the shocking numbers of deaths and injuries on the roads and those that arise from Adventure Tourism.”


  6. I concur that sites like this one are needed. It isn’t about negativity. It’s about balance. If vested interests were not applying so much spin, sites like this would not even be needed. New Zealand is not a puppy being kicked. It’s one that needs a rolled-up newspaper.

    Examples –
    “New Zealand is laid back”. Actuality – they’re just slack.
    “New Zealanders are friendly”. Actuality – when they smell money.
    “New Zealand is an outdoorsy nation”. Actuality – their indoors are so appalling that they don’t want to spend any time in their homes.
    “New Zealand is a classless society”. Actuality – there are property owners and non property owners. Productive skilled people have all buggered off.
    “New Zealand has free health care for everyone”. Actuality – it’s not free, it’s cheap, and you get what you pay for.
    “New Zealand is a 100% Pure Clean and Green Nation”. Actuality – there are not enough people for there to be too much pollution. They are not any greener than other comparable sparsely populated nations. They do moralise about the topic a great deal, however, while waving around glossy photos of their scenery.


  7. New Zealand is like a beautiful apple on the outside, all shiny and pure looking, sparkly to visitors, but with a rully rotten inside! The farther into it you go, the rottener it becomes. It’s sad that so many have been tempted to come so far to live here, and experience such loss when they find out that the land of the long white cloud has many more problems than it cares to let on.


    • Yes, we do thanks. But if you’d like to see where the quake happened please read this blog entry Kermadec Quake Shakes New Zealand

      FYI The earthquake was in the Kermadec Trench (B) at 34.29°S, 179.03°W. The Kermadec Islands (A) are about 600km NNE of the epicentre.

      Kermadec Islands and Quake

      The quake was 540 km from Whakatane and was heard as far south as Christchurch.


  8. http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/packaging-a-nation/2

    New Zealand capitalized on the exposure it earned from serving as the gorgeous, real-world fairy-tale backdrop to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. “They took an isolated, rural, English-speaking country in the South Pacific that got there by accident and turned it into the idea of purity,” says Olins. “Very clever.” The country increased its annual intake from foreign tourism between 1999 and 2005 from $3.2 billion to $5.2 billion.


  9. http://www.kiwipolitico.com/category/propaganda/
    This blogger is returning to New Zealand after living in a country where everyone knows how to access variety in news. He writes about the “controlled information” in New Zealand, which is partly deliberate and partly the fact that people cannot AFFORD access to other viewpoints. This is nothing some of us living here do not know already, but as always, the truth is almost impossible to demonstrate to those who have not experienced life here, or anyone with any stake in New Zealand at all, or any need to rely on Kiwis. This latter group has to mouth the party line if there is any risk of being identified.

    “That brings me to my only concern in returning to NZ: the lack of variety in news provision. Although Stratos is an excellent provider of alternative views, as is Maori TV (I am not sure if Triangle TV is still on air), and there is plenty of the usual US and UK news channels on Sky cable, the hard fact is that in NZ there is a paucity of choice when it comes to news gathering. Although I can still use web surfing to access alternative sources of information, the problem of limited choice in news gathering is acute for those who do not have access to cable TV or computers with internet connections (i.e. the underclass). Couple this with the idiocy and vapid “human interest” stories that occupy a large part of NZ newscasts and you get a situation ripe for content manipulation by corporate broadcasters and government, whose line on a range of issues often dovetail in very neat ways….”

    Beautifully put!

    “That is why I return to NZ with my one concern: the difficulties in maintaining good triangulation in news gathering. It says a lot about NZ’s media culture that I have more choice here in the authoritarian red dot than I do in Aotearoa. Some might argue that is a function of market size, but the hard fact is that where I currently live has almost exactly the same population numbers as NZ in a much smaller land mass, with similar GDP and education levels, and equal if not more access to news sources even though all cable TV and internet provision is in the hands of two state-controlled monopolies. Hence the answer for the lack of choice in news-gathering in NZ either lies outside the market or rests on a particularly Kiwi media market dynamic that prefers ignorance over choice and spoon-feeding over triangulation. Which is it?”

    This up-front person does not seem like a good candidate for returning to NZ, if you read about his experience there (link below) but it looks as if the partner found a job there so is going for financial reasons.


  10. What a strange site. NZ isn’t perfect, but the hysteria on this site is bizarre. You have an article titled ‘Shame about the inbred psychopaths’ and you say this is in some way balanced?

    There is a higher cost of living than some people are used to, but this requires a slightly different attitude to money than many people are able to fathom.

    NZ is like the wild west in many regards, people with drive and passion can make it here – be they ‘good’, or ‘bad’.

    Such has been the experience of myself and my immigrant girlfriend – her immigrant friends, and almost everyone they know.

    Moving country is difficult. However there seem to be people blaming their abstract concepts of NZ, for there own failures – be they emotional, or financial.


    • Perhaps you should read it Wandaroo. The full title is Nice Scenery, Good Wine and Food. Shame about the Inbred Psychopaths and it appears in our “What Kiwis Say About NZ” section.

      It was written by New Zealander Scott Alexander Young, aka ‘Jet Set Hobbo’, and is about the New Zealand Institute’s Report that stated that New Zealand has one of the worst murder rates in the whole of the OECD.

      We included it because it shows why some of the country’s brightest and most talented people leave and never return, and how a once decent and peaceful society can be changed for the worse within a couple of generations.

      With regards to your “Moving country is difficult” comment.

      Of course it presents challenges and people, by and large, are prepared for that. What they’re perhaps not prepared for is a country that has been actively mis-sold to them. When they realise how disadvantaged they’ve become they feel understandably frustrated by their situation and leave, in the same way that many Kiwis also become disaffected and leave.

      If a country can’t retain its own, why should immigrants be expected to do any better? The problem is that New Zealand needs immigrants and the wealth they create to keep the economy afloat, but immigration is now falling into negative numbers. Why is that and why is the country failing to attract and retain more of the people it needs?

      In 20 May 2007 John Key promised:

      “If I have the great honour of becoming Prime Minister of this country then I want to leave a legacy too.

      My legacy will be a strong New Zealand economy with higher wages, lower taxes and greater competitiveness. My legacy will be a country that young New Zealanders want to stay and work in.That’s what a National government will give you.”

      Now Kiwis are being told that being earning less and being cheaper than other countries is a good thing for them because it makes them ‘more competitive’

      “…analysts say promoting the country as a low wage option for foreign companies sends a dangerous message.

      “If you are sending a message to young New Zealand graduates and ambitious people that we are going to be selling New Zealand’s low wages. The message they are sending to them is that if they want good wages, go somewhere else,”

      Is it any wonder than NZ’s immigration is now in negative figures as more and more people leave for brighter and more secure futures abroad?


      • A fair enough response.

        I recently returned to New Zealand after spending 5 years in Britain.

        New Zealand is an infinitely better place to live and raise children, in my opinion.

        I also earn far more money here – though, to be fair, it also costs me more to live.

        I did read the actual article itself, and found the opinion inside to be nothing but ridiculous hyperbole. I lived for 8 years in Auckland, and frequently walked the streets at night – while I’m not dishonest enough to suggest that the entire city is a sanctuary, the opposite is what the author says. This is just demonstrably not true.

        Try walking through South London at 3am, or Buenos Aires, or Glasgow.

        I for one, don’t think highlighting every single crime and negative statistic available suggests much of anything, aside from an ability to read. Anyone who thought they were moving to paradise, is probably, without being too rude – a moron.

        All my overseas friends, some of whom could be classified as ‘the best and brightest’ have plans to return to New Zealand within a year or two. The lifestyle available to them in New Zealand is superior in ways that matter to them, aside from money.


        • New Zealand is an infinitely better place to live and raise children, in my opinion.

          Except for the rampant bullying, and the poor standards [kids coming out of school not able to read], but besides
          that, it’s great.


          • Could not agree more. It was because of this that we left NZ after 3 years. The quality of education is just too low. We had to transfer one of our kids to a private school because the (highest decile) public school was absolute crap. And that was one of the best schools in Auckland. It’s like Europe 50 years ago, lack of resources, lack of good teachers (good ones are leaving for OZ) etc. etc.


  11. http://aboutourism.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/destination-branding-workshop-part-three-branding-strategies-in-action-new-zealand/

    New Zealand is a place branding “case study” for marketing students. Its self-marketing misled a large number of people to think it was something that it wasn’t, and migrate here. Because of the expert way it controls its own image, some people who were attracted to this country were not aware of the effect that the numerous downsides would have on their lives. Sites such as this exist to correct that situation and provide the “missing information”.

    The link above is entitlted:
    New Zealand: From Fuddy-Duddy Destination for Émigrés to Funky Hotspot for Adrenalin Junkies

    Core Brand Values
    A focus on the natural environment as New Zealand’s core proposition ran through everything from agricultural produce and tourism to the way people thought and behaved, thereby endowing New Zealand produce with a premium perception. New Zealand is not unique in having a commitment to an unspoilt natural environment and quality produce. But it has successfully managed to capture the world’s imagination with its consistent branding that has, for many years, put natural values firmly at its core.
    Clear values were articulated, which transcended the main sectors of natural produce, sport and tourism. These included: quality and excellence; achievement; environmental responsibility; honesty, integrity and openness; cultural diversity. These were refreshed about ten years later to: new Pacific nation; entrepreneurial spirit; globally connected; resourceful; space and openness.

    Suffice it to say that many of us who post on sites such as these came and didn’t find any such qualities or at least did not find them in the measure to which they were held up as core values(!!) Just as the Better Business Bureau and other consumer opinion sites exist to allow consumers to rate products and companies, migrant sites such as this one must exist to fill a void in information about the “products” that entire nations have transformed themselves into by branding themselves. Information not supplied by those with a “fear” of negativity or some kind of stake in the country’s image, even if this stake is nothing more than a psychological justification to themselves for having decided to continue to hang out there despite the disadvantages of doing so.


  12. Wandaroo you say you last lived in Auckland 5 years ago, would you walk the streets of Auckland at 3am now?

    Rest assured we do not highlight every single crime or negative statistic, we simply don’t have the resources. Unlike the well oiled NZ PR machine (thank you for the link e2nz contributor) which is very conscious of the brand image and will only promote the positives. So much so that the country’s PM will make futile attempts to defend the image by refuting facts when presented with them.

    Do you agree with the comments the NZ public made about John Key’s interview on the BBC’s Hardtalk interview?

    How many of your friends that have plans to return will actually be able to do so and how long do you think they may stay before the drivers that caused them to leave influence them again?

    Do you think your children have a long term future in New Zealand?


  13. http://www.management.co.nz/Editorial.asp?eID=51777&Wcat=7
    THE DIRECTOR : It’s lonely at the top – What to do about depressed CEOs

    Are boards responsible for the emotional well-being of their chief executives? Or should they, at the first sign of stress, bundle their high-paid CEOs out? Clive Plucknett tells Reg Birchfield how boards should react. By Reg Birchfield

    Listen to Clive Plucknett, a self-confessed “type A” chief executive who spends far too much time in his office, and you might be forgiven for thinking that depression among chief executives is spreading like a volcanic cloud. He calls it a “silent, spreading epidemic”.
    The Challenge Trust CEO says no one is doing any meaningful research into the incidence and effects of executive stress in New Zealand, but he bases his conclusions on his charitable trust’s building workload and US and European research. He also points to research that claims 52 percent of top executives die of stress-related diseases.

    Challenge Trust offers specialist mental and physical disability health services for organisations and individuals from every sector. And the incidence of executives suffering from depression and stress-related illnesses is growing demand for his organisation’s services.
    Plucknett recently told the National Business Review that stories of CEOs and directors going bush or attempting to commit suicide are “just the tip” of a very large iceberg. For every one incident that spikes media interest, he believes 100 go unreported.
    The statistics and predictions on the growing global incidence of depression are, frankly, depressing. According to the World Health Organisation, depression will deliver the world’s next health crisis in the 2030s.
    US statistics suggest that stress and depression are now that country’s number-one reason for sickness. Nine out 10 American companies claim that workers’ performance and productivity is undermined by stress-related issues. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine says stress contributes to 85 percent of all medical problems.

    The increasing incidence of depression and stress in executives is, in Plucknett’s opinion, different from the incidence pattern in the general population. He blames the New Zealand psyche for the spiralling trend, which is coupled with an ingrained institutional and individual resistance to do anything about it.

    “We have a bullet-proof mentality,” he says. “We are so macho. Even our women are macho. We don’t share personal stuff with other people. And that adds to the problem in New Zealand.”
    He is also critical of New Zealand’s approach to health management generally. “We do not look at wellness,” he says. “We look to fix things once they have broken.” This approach, he believes, applies right across the health system, not just when it comes to dealing with stress and depression among CEOs.

    The recession, says Plucknett, has triggered a dramatic increase in stress-related incidents among high-level executives. The problem is worsened by CEOs who internalise and bottle up their pressure problems.
    “They can appear to operate effectively for some time, then all of a sudden they hit the wall,” he says. But before the crunch, CEOs stop performing and that becomes expensive for the enterprise – regardless of what happens to the individual and his or her family.
    His comments are backed up by the new book, The Stress Effect, by leadership expert Henry L Thompson, which explains how senior executive stress undermines good decision-making. Thompson argues that stress and depression are often the real culprit behind leadership failure.

    When leaders’ stress levels are too high – whether in the boardroom or on the management front-line – using their emotional intelligence and cognitive ability in tandem to make wise decisions is impaired.
    New Zealand boards are, in Plucknett’s opinion, not facing up to the problem and often irresponsible and callous in their approach to dealing with CEOs that confess to any stress pressures.
    “After the NBR story, I had one chair ring me and asked to meet to talk about his CEO who had admitted he was stressed. I agreed to meet, thinking we would talk about ways of helping the CEO. All the chair wanted to do was work with me to provide ammunition to get rid of him. This seems to be the prevailing mentality in New Zealand.”

    Plucknett believes there has been a major shift in both the US and Europe in the way boards work with CEOs suffering from stress and depression. Apart from any humanitarian consideration, Xerox estimates that it costs the company $1.5 million every time a CEO dies on the job.

    “There has been a real awakening to what it costs to lose or replace a CEO,” he says. “Looking after the CEO is a wise business decision and not just a benevolent one.”

    The best companies are, he says, implementing comprehensive wellness programmes for their CEOs. They provide, among other things, diet, vitamin supplements, fitness, psychological and mentoring support.
    “Our boards should take a look at what is done for our All Blacks,” says Plucknett. “We need to treat our top CEOs in the same way. We have a culture that is based on a belief that CEOs are paid big bucks and must therefore perform. If they don’t, the board’s answer is to get rid of them.”

    Too few local boards recognise or care to understand a wellness concept, according to Plucknett. “They opt instead for sending the CEO for an annual medical check-up. That is not sufficient. It is all about mindset. Our boards, generally speaking, do not think about anything other than financial analysis. They are not too interested in the wellbeing of the individuals involved in running the business.”
    The CEO’s work environment has changed significantly, says Plucknett. What has worked before is not working so well now. The pressures from global competition, technological change and tough economic times are conspiring to make the CEO’s life more difficult and demanding. Combine these factors with our inclination to “tough it out and not talk about personal problems” and we have a recipe for more problems in the future, he adds.
    Boards have to think differently about what CEOs need to help them lead today’s more complex enterprise.

    “A CEO’s life is pretty lonely and particularly in a country where the culture mitigates against talking about personal problems. I don’t see a lot of evidence that boards are yet willing to think differently about how they tackle issues like this.
    “I have one CEO who is paranoid that his board might find out that he talks with me. We meet out of town. He believes that if they find out that he is meeting with a consultant like me that he’s dead in the water. That adds even more stress.”
    Plucknett is also critical of New Zealand’s director training programmes. “It is all about the hard stuff,” he says. “It is about risk-management, about figures and meeting key performance indicators. There is nothing about leading to get the greatness out of people. To teach anything else might be an admission of weakness and that is something we prefer to cover up.

    “The most important value-add decision a board can make is to ensure that a CEO is performing to his or her best and leading in a way that ensures the whole team is performing to its best,” says Plucknett.
    “Boards must wake up to the truth of what is happening out there. They first need to understand that it is through the CEO that they can make their greatest positive impact on their organisation; then they need to ask how they can best support the CEO. In my opinion the answers to that are vastly different from what they have been in the past.”

    Look out
    There are five warning signs of depression, says Clive Plucknett:
    1. Feelings of anger or rage at small things that would not normally upset you.
    2. Difficulty with going to sleep or, more commonly, waking up at 2am or 3am and not being able to get back to sleep.
    3. Forgetting things that cause embarrassment and looking for elaborate ways to cover up.
    4. Drinking more alcohol than usual.
    5. Feeling unable to cope, even if only momentarily. Being panicked by deadlines.


  14. Old story but still very much applies to the present.

    The Unfriendly Isles
    28 Aug 2004

    Noel O’Hare

    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.

    In August 2002, Louisa Lee tried to kill herself for the eighth time. Since Lee migrated here with her husband and daughter from Hong Kong in the early 1990s, her life has been a well of unhappiness. She came to New Zealand because her husband wanted to, but she has never settled and still desperately misses her family and her homeland. Unable to speak English well or engage with the New Zealand way of life, she found her life beginning to unravel. “My marriage began to break down, so around 1994 I separated from my husband. We tried to unite in 1996, but the marriage was very unstable. I became depressed. My health was poor. During this time my husband began to have affairs with other women. My depression got worse. I began to isolate myself, I was afraid to see people … I didn’t realise I was suffering from mental illness. When it became too hard to bear, I tried to overdose on drugs.”

    New Zealand prides itself on being a friendly, easygoing country, yet for some immigrants and many refugees this green and pleasant land is a toxic environment where they become socially isolated, culturally adrift, wracked by loneliness and homesickness, racially abused and discriminated against by employers. These lives of quiet desperation we only glimpse through the occasional newspaper headline. Last week, police shot dead Iraqi refugee Haidar Ebbadi Mahdi, who was attacking his wife with a carving knife. He was reportedly suffering from mental illness.

    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. In that poll, 45% of those questioned thought there were too many Asian immigrants, 39% thought they were too many from the Pacific Islands and 39% thought we had let in too many from the Middle East. Ironically, the increased xenophobia coincides with skill shortages right across a booming economy and a new “invitation only” immigration system that appears to target white Anglo-Saxon migrants when the big talent pools that would make a high-tech economy viable here are in China, India and Eastern Europe.

    Never mind the price tag of trying to maintain a little Britain in the South Pacific, the failure to use the skills of migrants already here could put our prosperity at risk. “Employers do show a reluctance to employ new immigrants, particularly those who don’t have a British surname, perhaps have an accent or don’t have New Zealand experience,” says sociologist Professor Paul Spoonley. That reluctance may be costing the economy billions of dollars. No one has tried to quantify the loss to New Zealand, but a Canadian immigration report estimated that the undervaluing of immigrant skills was costing Canada “as high as $15 billion annually”. That’s not factoring in immigrant links to the home country, which include

    knowledge of home-country market, language, preferences and business contacts. US research shows that immigrant links to the home country have a strong, positive impact on exports and imports.

    The social costs of our unwelcoming attitude to migrants may also be considerable. Last year, a report by the Asian Public Health Project identified mental health as “the most important health concern for Asian communities” in Auckland. Migration, the report said, “acted as a catalyst for mental health problems”. Studies have shown that migration can affect physical health through dietary changes, exposure to local viruses and diseases and lowered immunity due to stress, but in itself does not cause mental disorder. However, as Ruth de Souza, a nurse educator who has written extensively about migrant mental health, says, “migrants have poorer mental health than the people they leave behind in the country of origin. And they have poorer mental health than the people in the country they’ve migrated to. There’s something about the migration process that’s very stressful.”

    Particularly in New Zealand. This country is about 30 years behind Australia and Canada in its resettlement policy for migrants, says Spoonley. “We do very little for them. We don’t provide them with very much by way of support or monitoring once they’ve entered the country. There is support, but it tends to be oriented at problems and be reactive rather than proactive.” In contrast, Australia, despite its tough stance on asylum-seekers, has a comprehensive resettlement programme for migrants and refugees that includes up to 510 free hours of English language tuition, skilled migrant job placement programmes and specialised migrant health teams.

    Back in the 1970s, Australia and Canada adopted multiculturalism as official policy, but in New Zealand our focus has always been on biculturalism. Spoonley believes that neoliberal policies from 1984 onwards meant our immigration policy remained “hands off”. “We tend to pick skilled people or people who’ve got venture capital and then we expect them to know how to operate once they get here.”

    Even for the well prepared that can be difficult. “We’ve got friends who try to start a business here, but the market is so small, it’s so different,” says Anne Ho, whose life fell apart when two businesses failed (see box, page 18). John Wong came here from Hong Kong in 1992 to set up an import-export business. He spoke English well, but Kiwis found his accent difficult to understand and vice versa. “For the first year I told my wife I speak English more in Hong Kong than in New Zealand, because I don’t have friends who speak English.”

    Because of local monopolies, his attempts to set up a business came to nothing. The family were very homesick and unsettled. “My wife cried every day for two years. I didn’t know how to deal with it.” He became a volunteer social worker in the Chinese community “with the thought that I learn some skills to handle my family by helping other people”.

    He studied for degrees in counselling and is now manager of Problem Gambling Foundation’s Asian services (problem gambling among Asian migrants is on the increase). He finds the work rewarding, though it pays a lot less than he used to earn as a businessman. His friends, he says, have not been so lucky. “Some of my friends who have been in New Zealand for 10 years have still not settled. They’re still trying to find the job they want. Some are unemployed, some underemployed.”

    Auckland psychiatrist Dr Sai Wong sees the results of our poor resettlement programme every day. Failure to find suitable employment is a key contributor to mental illness in migrants, he says. “They come here with the illusion that New Zealand is a paradise, that their skills are welcome here and they can settle down with no difficulty and get employment.”

    Dr Anne Henderson of Massey University’s New Settlers Programme knows from her research just how big an illusion that can be. Henderson followed the fortunes of a group of skilled thirtysomething Chinese migrants from 1998 to 2001. All had been employed in managerial/administrative positions before immigration and had a good basic level of English language proficiency. Four years on, only half were in some form of employment, many working only part-time and most were underemployed. Many had used the time to obtain New Zealand qualifications, including MBAs.

    But employers, says Henderson, insisted on New Zealand qualifications and New Zealand work experience. Migrants could obtain the former, but the latter left them in a catch-22 situation. Nor was it enough to speak good English. A New Zealand accent was often an additional requirement. “In the English language proficiency study I did,” says Henderson, “some recruitment agents for middle- and senior-level positions stipulated the requirement of having a New Zealand accent.” One government employment agent deemed a Chinese engineer with very good English and studying for a master’s degree unsuitable for a position at a McDonald’s outlet, because she “did not have New Zealand English”.

    “If you don’t succeed in the labour market and you don’t succeed economically, then practically everything else is more or less doomed to failure,” says Spoonley.

    Migrant stress levels rise from the moment they land at Auckland Airport. The Immigration Service provides no orientation programme or follow-up. If immigrants manage to find their way to the Auckland Regional Migrant Resource Centre in Three Kings, opened only last year, they will receive plenty of advice on settlement, employment and language tuition. With its multilingual friendly staff, the centre is a one-stop shop and a model for resettlement services, but it is only one in the vast sprawl of Auckland, a city with poor public transport. The centre, which has an outreach office in Manukau, can only do so much. “We have people with scientific and engineering skills who have been here for more than five years and are not employed,” says settlement services co-ordinator Asoka Basnayake.

    Teachers also find it difficult to get jobs, says Penny Jorgensen, the centre’s executive director. “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.”

    The simplistic solution is to insist that migrants have a job offer before they are allowed in. “Job offers are not actually jobs or they may not pan out or may break down for other reasons,” says Jorgensen. “I don’t think, for instance, you can force people to live in Dunedin once they’re here. If they want to move to Auckland, they’ll move there.” Jorgensen cites the example of an employer who brought over a skilled migrant to help expand his business. “The whole thing fell over very quickly because this new migrant had bought a car and had been ripped off in the process. He was involved in an accident and the car was written off. He wasn’t insured. He spent all his time sorting out the problem with the car so he could just get to work every day, then lost his job.”

    An immigration policy that focuses simply on employment while ignoring other settler needs does not work, says Jorgensen. Migrants, for example, can find it very difficult to hold down a job when they’ve got partners at home who are depressed and not coping. “What we know is if someone’s depressed, half the partners will also be depressed,” says de Souza. “It runs in families and it’s catching. You can’t help but be affected by it.”

    The incidence of poor mental health among migrants is unknown because much of it goes undiagnosed. Research in Auckland found that 27% of elderly Chinese had depression that would have required treatment, says Sai Wong. However, many Asian migrants are reluctant to seek help because of the strong stigma attached to mental illness. Instead, they may go to their GPs with headaches, insomnia, unexplained pains. “The GPs have no time to explore further and they take it for granted that they’re hypochondriacs or whatever,” says Sai Wong. “But if you ask, it’s there. Somatic problems are commonly presented, but most are related to an underlying depressive state.” It’s only when the mental illness is severe that many Asian migrants will seek help from mental health services.

    And that help is seldom adequate. Apart from the cross-cultural difficulties, interpretation is often problematic. “When you go to a mental health service with an interpreter, it’s like talking through a veil,” says Sai Wong. “Often things get downplayed or somehow misinterpreted. Sometimes interpreters not only interpret but advise the patient what to say. The health-care giver is not aware of the immensity or the severity of that distortion.” Migrants also worry that interpreters may not have the same constraints of confidentiality and their personal affairs will become the talk of the small community. Adding to the difficulty is what Wong calls “migrant paranoia”. They worry that their mental health difficulties will be recorded on the computer and count against them when they apply for citizenship.

    The same official indifference to the health and welfare of migrants is experienced by an even more needy group, refugees. Initially, refugees do better than migrants. They have six weeks’ orientation and health screening at Mangere Refugee Resource Centre. They are helped to find accommodation, given a benefit and assisted for six months in settling by a volunteer sponsor from the Refugee Migrant Service (RMS).

    Many refugees have mental health problems. Overseas research estimates the number at more than 50 percent, “ranging from chronic mental disorders to trauma, distress and a great deal of suffering”. Caught up in the daily struggle to build a new life, however, refugees often put their mental anguish down to the difficulties of finding a job or separation from family, says Wong. “They think that pathological depression is just a common variety of unhappiness.”

    Medical intervention, though, may not be the answer. A study of Australian refugees found that practical help such as finding a job and securing stable housing for refugees “may be much more therapeutic than Western-style psychiatric interventions”. For refugees often overwhelmed with guilt at having to leave behind family members, family reunification can be an obsession. Mental health services, however, are not designed or funded for those sorts of interventions.

    Bernard and Pauline Guerin of Waikato University have been involved with the large community of Somali refugees in Hamilton for five years. “At one time all the Somali women in one street were on antidepressants,” says Pauline Guerin. “They didn’t know what it was called, how they were supposed to take it or when it was going to work. All they knew was ‘my doctor gave me a happy pill’. One woman came to the house and emptied out a whole shopping bag of anti-psychotics, antidepressants. ‘This is the way I get treated when I complain about my problems.'”

    In the main centres, Refugee Migrant Service volunteers do their best to help refugees settle. “But I fear the reality is overwhelming for volunteers,” says Dr Love Chile. “Take a Somali woman who has lived in a refugee camp with two or three children for nine years and relocated to a state house in New Lynn. It’s not a pretty picture.” Chile, programme director of Unitec’s School of Health and Community Studies, has been deeply involved with New Zealand’s African community since he came here 18 years ago.

    Lack of support for refugees means New Zealand is importing an underclass, believes Chile. “The majority of refugees have low language skills and are unable to access high-paying jobs. The majority of them are on a benefit.” From that survival benefit, many send monthly sums as high as $500 back to their

    families overseas or take loans to do so. “There is little opportunity to break through the poverty cycle.”

    Though English language acquisition is the key to upward mobility and access to services, language support is quite minimal in New Zealand compared to other countries, and it’s classroom-based, says Spoonley. “In places like Israel, they would offer an extensive programme that would be done at the place of work, combining work experience with language that’s relevant to the workplace.”

    Chile advocates intensive English language training for teachers already in the immigrant communities so that they can set up their own classes. That, he says, has the advantage of creating leaders who are able to work not only with their own ethnic groups but also link with the wider community.

    Nearly 17,000 refugees have arrived in New Zealand over the past 25 years, but there is still no refugee-specific employment placement service, apart from a few recent pilot schemes. According to a recent report on a refugee resettlement programme funded by the J R McKenzie Trust, negative attitudes of some employers were a significant barrier to refugee employment and “the level of discrimination encountered appears to increase with the skill level for the job”. WINZ, according to some project staff, “takes punitive views of refugees” and pushes them into dead-end jobs to get them off the benefit.

    In the absence of any national strategy, resettlement assistance can vary widely and is virtually non-existent outside the main centres. Selwyn College, in Auckland, sets a benchmark for community support of refugees. The college has not only taken the Kosovar refugees who arrived here without warning in 1999, but also the Tampa boys in 2002. The college has become a community hub for Kosovar, Afghan and Burmese refugees. It set up English classes for mothers and grandmothers, who are often left out of the assistance loop, and now has a preschool centre where parents can leave their children while they learn English. College staff help refugees with everything from getting a driver’s licence to forcefully advocating for them when they get ripped off. “Refugees really need help for four or five years down the track,” says Selwyn teacher Margaret Chitterden. “There is very little follow-up to see what happens.”

    The Immigration Service has begun a research project to inquire into the resettlement experiences of refugees. In its report “Refugee Voices”, released last month, it found that a number of service providers felt that refugee mental health “was an area of serious concern … One-third of recently arrived refugees at six months said they had experienced emotional problems since coming to New Zealand.” In 1997, Chile says, he wrote to the then Minister of Health, Bill English, warning that some refugees with unresolved trauma and stressed by culture shock could be “walking timebombs”, but nothing was done. Though organisations like Refugees as Survivors (RAS) are now better resourced, the situation is far from satisfactory, he says. Young refugees are a particular concern. “Some of these children have been born in refugee camps and you don’t know what events have shaped their lives.”

    According to recent newspaper reports, community workers are “up to their eyeballs” with clients suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other disorders. In Wellington, 93 young people aged under 20 are waiting to be seen by the mental health team at Wellington Hospital. Some have waited for nearly six months. “We need to be proactive, rather than wait until something happens, especially with young people,” says Chile.

    Marginalisation has been shown to be associated with the poorest mental health, and migrants and refugees with poor English have been among the most marginalised here for decades. Belatedly, this year’s Budget allocated $62.39 million over the next four years for resettlement initiatives, including the development of a national strategy and employment and language services. But it has come too late for many. As the McKenzie report says, “The waste of potential is illustrated by poignant anecdotes of Vietnamese and Lao employees, who came to New Zealand 20 years ago and are in low-skill jobs for life, despite their potential to develop further.”

    Access to services and jobs are important, but attitudes can also make a real difference to how well migrants and refugees resettle. 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.” In Glen Innes, some Burmese have had a rough time, says Selwyn College’s Roy Clements. “The Burmese people are small,” he says, and members of one more long-standing migrant group are large and “given to bullying. Some [Burmese] last year were feeling embattled. A whole family would never leave the house.”

    Once stereotypes take hold, they can be hard to dislodge. In Auckland recently, teams of Korean students have been picking up rubbish in the central city to counter the perception that all Asians litter. As Elsie Ho of Waikato University’s Migration Research Group says, “Whether migrants adjust to a new environment is really a two-way process. It’s not just themselves, it’s everybody’s reaction.”

    Copyright 2004, Used with permission from the New Zealand Listener.


    • This is a good example of targeted marketing in Asian nations. The piece is from 2006.


      “Chinese movie star Xia Yu wrapped up a two-week visit to New Zealand this week, saying he wants to promote the country as a movie-producing paradise to the world’s most populous market.
      The Chinese equivalent of Ewan McGregor was invited by Air New Zealand as an ambassador to send virtual postcards back to China through his personal weblog, which is popular among Chinese movie fans and people in the movie production business.
      Xia is the first of five Chinese celebrities who will travel in New Zealand over eight months as part of Air New Zealand’s $4 million marketing campaign for its new direct services linking Shanghai and Auckland.
      During his stay, he visited Northland, staying at Kauri Cliffs, saw the best of the Central Plateau from Huka Lodge, headed south to Queenstown where he stayed at Eichardts Private Hotel before taking in the Waitemata Harbour from the Hilton.”

      How many Chinese will realise that Kauri Cliffs is an impossibly expensive Xanadu for foreigners who don’t actually live here and still have money? Same with the quaint shoppes in the nearby upscale Bay of Islands town. They are for tourists and well-paid professionals. Even-closer town Kaeo is the way most Kiwis actually live. The Chinese watched the movies and listened to the paid-for pimp and came in droves, thinking that milk and honey still flowed somewhere in the world.

      It doesn’t.


      • That was an interesting insight into New Zealand’s view of the world: to describe Xia Yu as a “Chinese Ewan McGregor.”

        Since he left in 2006 we have not seen any evidence he promoted New Zealand. Reading the news article again, it now sounds more like a ego stroking ‘feel good’ piece to reinforce the constant message put out by the press that New Zealanders live in the best place on earth.

        Next time you read NZ news journalism look at articles about external countries. They are almost without exception negative, rarely are foreign good news stories published unless they flatter or praise New Zealand in some way or involve the British monarchy. Read https://e2nz.org/2000/01/01/constant-stream-of-negative-foreign-news-in-new-zealand/

        The message implicitly stated is: ‘New Zealand good, everywhere else bad. Stay here.’


    • F2N, it had been 10 years since this article was written and New Zealand is still as strongly bi-cultural as it ever was. It has failed to embrace or see the value in multiculturalism and there are still very few services for refugees or immigrants.

      It doesn’t make many allowances for tourists either – with little signage or information published in languages other than English.


  15. From Sherman Ave, the truth finally outs:

    This sheep is literally the most coveted female in the entire country
    It is common knowledge that New Zealand is an awful, awful place. But before I delve into the endless depths of why this feeble island-nation is lamer than a cross-breed of Christopher Reeve and Stephen Hawking (okay, admittedly this joke is tasteless), there’s one point I want to make clear: Yes, I recognize that Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand, and yes, I recognize that Lord of the Rings is, for lack of a better term, the tits (to clarify, that means I like it). However, Lord of the Rings was not the only movie filmed in New Zealand. Cinematic shitmounds like Whale Rider, Mission Impossible 2, and Without A Paddle (literally the worst movie ever created that didn’t feature Nicolas Cage) were also filmed in that Maori cesspool known as New Zealand. Thus, we can all agree that any credit given to New Zealand for its association with Peter Jackson’s directorial hotness (not to be confused with his physical hotness, which is purely non-existent) is effectively canceled out by its association with scientologist douchecake Tom Cruise and proverbial assbasket Seth Green.

    One does not simply walk into Mordor!
    Another fundamental flaw in New Zealand can be seen in their sports culture. Primarily, it is crucial to note that the national sport of New Zealand is rugby, a sport known far and wide for its absolute insignificance. The national team of New Zealand is fondly referred to as the All-Blacks — a racial slur that is purely incomprehensible to me or any other member of the fine educational institution of Northwestern University. And even the famed All-Blacks aren’t that big of a deal; anyone one who has seen Invictus could tell you that. I’m sorry, New Zealand, but losing to South Africa in anything (except racial dichotomy, obviously) represents a severe absence of excellence.

    Ooooh, featuring the Union Jack, how original.
    Speaking of severe absence of excellence, New Zealand’s soccer team is also renowned for its habitual suckage of ass. I am a regular player of FIFA, as Evanston residents continually kept awake by my bloodcurdling shrieks of anguish and/or triumph can attest. In FIFA 2011, New Zealand is literally the worst international soccer team, taking the back seat to such laughable countries as Slovakia, Finland, and even France. Furthermore, the primary color of New Zealand’s jersey in soccer (and rugby, for that matter) is black. Is the color black featured on New Zealand’s flag? No. As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to detest this country, they are on the list of obnoxious countries that insist on representing themselves with a color not depicted on their flag (I’m looking at you, Netherlands).

    I think I’ve made my point pretty clear. But just in case I haven’t, I’ll conclude with one last contention: Can we ever really respect a country whose demonym is a fruit? Case closed, Kiwi bitches.


    • Maori cesspool all blacks – a racial slur that is purely incomprehensible to me or any other member of the fine educational institution of Northwestern University = contradicting yourself much?

      Also, why is NZ to blame for Tom Cruise? where is he from again?

      The All Blacks name has nothing to do with color of skin. But I understand that your ancient brain may automatically associate the word black with skin color because of course everything named black means you hate black people. Oooh black pudding I’m eating a black person -not.

      Oh please don’t take a Hollywood film as facts “fine educational institution of Northwestern University” student. Do they really show you movies instead of teaching proper history there? Awww :(. Invictus did not show how the NZ team were poisoned prior to the match and were vomiting on the field, confirmed by the woman at the restaurant who later admitted to being paid to do so. Retard. South Africans are known unfair players in anything. And no I don’t care that this was missed in the film because it was about South Africa not about rugby.

      Featuring the union jack is not a novelty.

      You have made no points. Except that you are stupid.



      • Anonymous, you’re replying to a direct quote which Cranko lifted from the satirical website http://sherman-ave.com/2011/04/

        The authors of Sherman Ave.com are unlikely to read this blog and probably won’t answer your questions here. But you can pursue it further by clicking on the link we’ve so thoughtfully provided for you.

        Now what was that you were saying about stupidity?

        p.s. We suggest you research the link between Tom Cruise and Peter Jackson and, when it comes to rugby at least, learn to lose gracefully.


        • That is a satirical series called Hate A Random Country. Peter Stein probably threw a dart on a map and it landed on New Zealand. He has also done Latvia, which is in the same league as NZ, and Brazil, which is not. So he isn’t hating on NZ specifically. He makes fun of everything. As with other critical and humorous pieces about New Zealand finding their way on the web, the astonishment of Kiwis at finding these pieces exist at all is followed quickly by immature outrage. Pushing themselves as a pure and elite destination means that they have started trying to play with the big boys. That means they are taking the same hits as the weightier countries, and can no longer hide behind their size, sticking their tongues out.


  16. read this about the hypocritical disjunctures in NZ culture and “imported culture” being seen as corrosive. American media violence prohibitions are amazing considering the level of what P Ray describes aptly as ‘relational aggression’.

    10 “I’m afraid of Americans”?
    A Grainger… – Sport, culture and advertising: identities …, 2005 – books.google.com
    10 “I’m afraid of Americans”? New Zealand’s cultural resistance to violence in “globally” produced
    sports advertising Andrew Grainger and Steven Jackson I’m afraid of Americans I’m afraid of
    the world I’m afraid I can’t help it I’m afraid I can’t (David Bowie,“I’m Afraid of Americans,” …


    • It’s more authentic than your fake IP address “Greg”, (or shouldn’t that be Jas?) and infinitely more honest than ‘100% Pure New Zealand.’

      Best wishes from E2NZ, keeping it real since 2007.


  17. http://www.imperfectparent.com/topics/2011/09/30/new-zealand-child-beaten-by-tutor-for-improper-pronunciation/
    A New Zealand child was repeatedly beaten and abused by a man who was supposed to be tutoring him. His tutor allegedly used a slipper and drumstick to hit the child repeatedly. The tutor claimed he became frustrated with the child’s mispronunciation of a word. The man reportedly stopped beating the child for a short time while the child made a valiant effort to pronounce the word correctly, but in his inability pronounce it to the standards of the tutor, he kept hitting him with his hand on the back of the head.

    The tutoring lesson ended with another child who were both crying and afraid. The child had sustained injuries significant enough to warrant medical care. He was taken to the hospital the next day after multiple areas of his body had swelled.

    The tutor was sentenced yesterday to 6 months house arrest and required to take a domestic violence class.

    Both the perpetrator and the victims have had their names withheld to protect the child’s privacy.

    Source: Wanganui Chronicle


  18. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10764987
    what do you know!
    100% Pure image not NZ’s reality, says Smith
    By Isaac Davison and Amelia Romanos

    The National Party announced it would decelerate moves towards a low-carbon economy because of the cost – but admitted the country had fallen short of its “100 per cent Pure” branding.

    In a policy launch yesterday in Nelson, Environment Minister Nick Smith said he did not want to put a “straitjacket” on farmers by including them in the emissions trading scheme before practical tools to reduce emissions were available.

    The policy launch yesterday proposed independent monitoring of the country’s air, land and water, but Dr Smith denied this was an admission New Zealand was not fulfilling the image it was presenting.


    • Smith is a mouthpiece, he’d say anything.
      NZ can’t kill its [pun] cash cow, ag. But, has
      no problem sticking it to everyone else [check
      your electric bills]. Funny that right after ETS
      [Extra Tax, Stupid] passed, electric bills came out
      with notices that prices would go up. Hmmm


  19. This website is ridiculous. It is very biased, highlights every negative aspect of Aotearoa (everywhere in the world has its problems, yes including here). Does this website also highlight the negatives of the countries/cities/towns where the migrants have come from or are intending to move from? Get real people. We do have problems, you also have problems. You wouldn’t be thinking of moving if your country was perfect and problem free, so don’t expect it anywhere else. As highlighted above “it is what you make it”.

    Shall we start posting news articles of all of the horrific crimes in your town country?

    piss off.


  20. This site is trying too hard. Negativity bombardment and sob stories from the small minority of immigrants who either don’t fit in or got their short term visas revoked gets very boring very quickly.

    Suggestion: Present some solutions.

    But I bet you won’t since that would take you right out of your comfort zone.


    • I present a solution for you flashman: stop being scammers, and tell the truth about nz, that way potential immigrants will stay away and you won’t have to hear complaints from us. You kiwis have to demand your government to stop promoting nz as an immigration, or even study destination, it is you who are trying too hard to attract people here to rip them off.


  21. This very earnest site exists as one of those set up as a counterbalance to the many commercial sites, in order to warn immigrants of the downsides of New Zealand. People who would not fit in here before they move here, who need this information to make a decision to migrate. Its purpose is to warn people, not offer solutions. I personally wouldn’t consider designing or implementing any solutions to “fix” this country worth the effort. They like their country “as is”. I would only ask the immigration whores not to advertise it without the caveats that are so desperately needed.


  22. Yeah HA HA that would be like “fixing” a broken McDonalds toy or something. Why would you even bother? Goods of that level do not deserve the time you would spend to do it. You just move on from them. Unless you have nothing else to play with, like some of the poor sods here. 8-(


  23. I have no problem with people criticizing my country, New Zealand, in fact, I think a bit of a lashing can be almost beneficial when there’s something to come out of it. However, the problem that this site suffers is that the only suggestion it gves is that somehow New Zealanders are expected to perform to some sort of standard that is required by an immigrant to justify their own free decision to come here.

    Do they do that in the Uk? Well, I suppose they do, don’t they? But maybe that’s why I’ve never met a non white immigrant from the UK. Frankly, If you’re honest with yourself about why you left England, then you might want to think hard about wanting your cake and eating it too.


    • Thanks for your comments Paul, perhaps you’d like to examine two things
      1. How New Zealand is marketed abroad to potential immigrants and whether that marketing is honest and balanced. Examples – the availability of employment, living standards, affordability etc.
      2. The reasons for why New Zealand is currently suffering from one of its largest permanent and long term departure rates for decades. Why is it that so many Kiwis prefer living in countries such as Australia, Britain, Canada, the US etc.? Read our What Kiwis say about NZ pages for tips about why they’re leaving.

      If a country can’t even keep its own people why should immigrants be expected to succeed where the locals have already failed?


    • The problem is that New Zealand marketed itself in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a destination that had certain qualities. It still markets itself like that. Waikato Uni for instance tries to attract international students by saying “The nation is modern, sophisticated and technologically advanced”. But anyone who has lived here for a time realises that the place is stuck in the late 70s. It is more similar to Mexico or Bulgaria in the Pacific, minus the ability to drive home, because the cost is more akin to Monaco! Why would you spend like a high roller to live in a goat shack? Award-winning and very duplicitous marketing ensures that people are persuaded that it is not a goat shack.

      No one expects New Zealand to perform to UK standards. What we do expect is some honesty and not “luring people here” with the promise that they will enjoy the same standard of living. Because if they are from a First World country, they become poor quickly and miss the amenities of home.


  24. Thanks, but

    1. Marketing, like advertising is just like anything that tries to influence your decision, but you’re still responsible for decision you make. Do you rush out to by the latest dishwashing liquid because it claims to ‘get the toughest grease off? – no, you don’t, because that’s described as ‘mere puffery’ or as you youself say ‘element of truth to it but the reality is different’. I’m sorry your expectations weren’t met but If you honestly believe ANY country is paradise on earth because of a advertising campaign showing people releasing trout then you’ve got to share a bit of responsibility, perhaps you might not have set your expectations straight, or, perhaps, not planned or budgeted realistically for your move. Did you come out first, travelled, checked out house prices, etc? Successful immigrants I know did that and didn’t rely on google.

    Also, Is it really our responsiblity to tell the government to stop advertising to potential immigrants? Jesus, they are too busy bailing out finance companies and property investors -I’d rather they help pay to fix people’s teeth, so you’ll have to excuse us, but our priority wish list just doesn’t extend that far.

    Why people leave? well, probably the same reasons you left your country and the fact that New Zealand is also a small country that speaks English and has a well regarded passport. Of course Kiwis will make the most of their opportunities, but many come home, many don’t, but that’s ultimately a personal choice people make. NZ is much like Ireland in that regard and its not necessarily such a bad thing. New York or Auckland when you’re 21? Well, no choice is it? But it won’t be the same mindset when you’re 62.

    While I certainly appreciate your right to an opinion and I’m not here to try to change your mind but (when you consider the tone that your site promotes) then it does more to reinforce negative stereotypes of BOTH immigrants and Kiwis than anything else.

    For example, when i reflect on the comment I made above, I will admit that I was upset at the anti kiwi tone as I don’t think its frankly justified and I’m quite tired of having NZ’s shortcomings constantly pointed out by locals, expats and immigrants alike, but then again, I absolutely accept that not all immigrants are ungrateful whingers and certainly don’t deserve the anti immigrant feeling in the country at the moment. But even I walked into the trap of perpetuating it without even meaning to on this site by responding – mea culpa and on it goes.

    I know the wave of pom bashing is completely uncalled for and understand that my English friends do feel isolated and bewildered by it, I acceptit and am embarrassed by that – but I can’t account for the behaivour of our losers as much as you can’t account for the London riots and the mindless bashings. I can’t see any thread of debate here that looks like its going to make anything better. Do you?

    What’s the solution? No idea – but it doesn’t lie in slagging each other off. New Zealanders are just like you, paying bills and getting on with it. We aren’t dancing bears, we are as precious with our pride as every other country and we absolutely have our share of losers and problems. We know that, and we are probably oversensitive about it as things which wouldn’t get a mention overseas are in our face daily here. But try telling the Australians something they don’t already know. The result is the same, we’re all way too proud to take criticism with any dignity at all. But are we really the only country that suffers from that?

    BTW.even though I’m not your intended audience, I admire the effort you’ve put into the site as its obviously a subject you’re passionate about, I just wish it was a bit less of a slap in the face (even if that’s the intention) I really don’t think we, as a people, completely deserve it despite our shortcomings, but constructive criticism always has its place.

    Despite this site trying to convince me to the contrary, I’m not a racist, I don’t hate you, I like Americans, I can read, I’ve travelled extensively, and yeah, I still believe NZ is the best place for me and I even think you’re most welcome here Perhaps you just haven’t met me yet.

    That’s all.


    • “Also, Is it really our responsiblity to tell the government to stop advertising to potential immigrants? Jesus, they are too busy bailing out finance companies and property investors”

      Well, no wonder they are so desperate for money!

      the ones spreading misinfo are not only pimp sites and immigration consultants, but your own government, the one that is “perceived as the least corrupt in the world” (LOL!!!!), is the one fiercely campaigning for people to come and settle in nz! they are really busy doing this, so your argument is flawed.

      in fact, it’s your government that has created the illusion of nz being a good place to leave by its well oiled pr machine, which included a clownish appearance of JK in SNL…not to mention webpages, spam and immigration fairs in countries such as the UK. Plus, immigration programmes such as the silver fern visa and the skilled migration program, telling people that there are shortage of skills, implying that job opportunities abound (which they aren’t).

      to come to nz, skilled people have to pay a lot of money and take a lot of tests (English, medical, etc.), giving the false impression that nz is an elite destination (what a joke!).

      after they land, the rest is history…
      were this a company, it would be liable for damages, NZ is actually just like any of those rip off business in their “fair go” tv show


      • Well said Moonlight.

        An excellent example of this is was the recent drive in the UK to attract skilled workers over to help with the Christchurch rebuild, “30,000 workers needed” screamed the headlines. Migrants workers were to be attracted over to New Zealand (at great personal cost to themselves) to build a better Christchurch.

        The reality? bad governance is getting in the way of the rebuild and job vacancies are falling as a result.

        An annual international survey on house prices is pointing to difficulties in the post-earthquake rebuilding of Christchurch as an example of failed urban governance and planning.

        The 2012 survey said recovery in Christchurch had been delayed because authorities had failed to release affordable fringe land.

        A statement accompanying the survey said the “sorry situation” of Christchurch clearly illustrated the huge and unnecessary risks and costs urban markets had to endure, when urban governance and planning failed and housing became severely unaffordable.

        Christchurch had already been “on its knees” in development and construction terms at the time of the first earthquake in September 2010, due to a seriously dysfunctional local authority that, in deliberately withholding fringe land supply, allowed a housing bubble to start in 2002.

        The survey compared the 6.3 median multiple in Christchurch to the 3.3 in New Orleans, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

        New Orleans had been better positioned for recovery by its less draconian land use regulations, the survey said.


        New Zealand job advertisements fell in December, with the Christchurch labour market slowed with more delay’s to the city’s reconstruction, according to the ANZ New Zealand job advertisements series.

        For far too long migrants have been viewed as little more than cash cows, their foreign earned wealth seen as an way easy to boosting the NZ economy and property market (we have stats elsewhere on the site showing how much they’re worth) for very little risk. The fact is there is little work for them to do and for the vacancies that do exist New Zealanders will be always be given priority.


      • If that was the only bit you could cut out of what I said (and then twist the context) to take issue with then perhaps you’re so blinded by rage or disappointment that you’re no longer capable of being rationalised with. Like I said, I’m not here to change your mind, I frankly don’t care what you think of NZ, you’ve made up your mind, told everyone about it and that’s completely fine. It might have a bit of value if it makes some changes so that people are urged to carefully consider their options rather than depending on a PR campaign.

        What I take issue with the ‘anti kiwi’ vibe rumbling through this website and the promotion of negative stereotypes of both sides. Its just not right, its not fair, and its not balanced or objective debate.

        Look, if its all just a scam, like you you infer and some even go out to say, then surely NO immigrant would be happy in NZ, not one, each and every one of them would be upset, but that’s clearly not the case is it? Or are happy, well settled immigrants that followed due process all just completely stupid?


        • it seems the irrational one is you by judging your other replies, but that was expected.
          you say this:

          “Look, if its all just a scam, like you you infer and some even go out to say, then surely NO immigrant would be happy in NZ, not one, each and every one of them would be upset, but that’s clearly not the case is it? Or are happy, well settled immigrants that followed due process all just completely stupid?”

          that is not what we are saying, there are some people with a certain profile and mindset that are a good fit for nz, but that is not the skilled immigrants this country is trying to attract with pathetic scams like that “working in new zealand” website. I’m sure people like Kim Dotcom and the Chow brothers love it in nz…


          • Well, maybe Kim doesn’t any more after being being fleeced…not even fat cats escape falling pray to rip-off neusland


  25. Thank you for your well structured and reflective reply Paul.

    We share a lot in common with the people at Expatexposed.com and our goals are similar. This is something that one of the founders of that site wrote.

    “Finding at commonalities among the literally hundreds of personal stories being shared is definitely one Expat Exposed’s goals.

    We the founding partners and editors started out with a fairly general premise in that area (“we have a problem with the government’s skilled migrant campaign”) precisely because what we have are personal hypotheses, rather than hard conclusions.

    For me personally, for example, the greatest sense of deception came from the fact that New Zealand is aggressively recruiting skilled people and putting them through a pretty rigorous (and expensive) process to test how educated and skilled they are, only to let them into a country that appears to have little inclination (or possibly need) to offer migrants most kinds of skilled labor, and whose population is distinctly unenthusiastic about the influx of migrants. Another very specific action by the NZIS that really cost us personally is that as IT people, we were assigned extra points for promising to 1) stay out of Auckland 2) go to the “Canterbury Software Cluster”. Someone else might want to discuss the IT sector (or the lack thereof) here, but rest assured, they’re not exactly in need of people to hire around here.

    It’s also tough not to reflect, NZIS knew I was Asian and still got us to promise ourselves to this benighted place, as I’m sent crashing into café tables, by a trio of toughs—girls, to boot.”

    We’ll leave our multinational readership to respond to your comments, as they wish.


    • I emigated to NZ 7 years ago and was put through a brutal process of my university 4 year degree versus the same degree here which is a 3 year degree. What a nightmare. I cannot work anywhere here in NZ as a nurse due to the fact that nurses here do what nurse’s aides do in the USA. My 4 year degree – the 4th year being advanced nursing practice is equivalent to the Nurse Practitioner degree here in NZ. I was shocked when I came to work in a hospital where nurses had to co-sign for each other on everything from orders to medications – something that only LPNs/enrolled nurses do overseas. So it appears that nursing is way way behind the times, and I call it very similar to being in the 1920’s where nurses cleaned bedpans. My degree is a science degree, not the same as a caregiving role here in NZ – so overseas in the USA; we were paid to work ALONE. Here, in NZ – I would have to say that nurses get no respect and are treated as gophers. So to think I had to go through all this for NZ nursing registration is actually quite funny – considering nurses here don’t do half of what I did overseas. I actually don’t know any American nurses that are working here in NZ AS NURSES – as it is really quite demeaning considering what we have been trained to do. The mere fact of what they put you through for registration – as if the NZ RN is superior to the USA RN (and the opposite is true because NZ nurses cannot practice overseas without 1st taking NCLEX – and the mindset of NCLEX is different to what the NZ nurse has been trained to do) — nurses here in NZ are merely doctors ASSISTANTS — and nurses overseas work alone. So they are not even remotely similar.


      • You will find that most things [except new techy stuff; cell networks, internet that rely on entirely offshore tech…] that have been established and have progressed elsewhere are decades behind in nz.
        Infrastructure, health services, building, professional management skills, you name it.
        And this seems to be “she’ll be right” with most kiwis. Don’t expect them to say to you, “you’re from a more advanced country that seems to have solved many of these same problems, how would you go about it?” That will almost never happen. The best you can do is to get off on your own, and do things your way, the way you’ve been trained. Some notice and recognize improved efficiencies, better results…Most don’t or are offended that you are not doing it the “kiwi way”.
        It seems that “the system” has been developed with a “lowest common denominator” factored in. And you, with a “get ‘er done”, highly skilled, optimistic [American] attitude are not the least bit common. So, unless you find an extremely rare, unafraid of things new and advanced benefactor to take you under their wing, your career will most likely not be that rewarding and may be somewhat frustrating.
        I really do not like to be so dour, but this is what I have noticed and the best advice that I can give for surviving in an archaic workplace. There seems to be a couple of results, one, you accept the “kiwi” systems [flaws and all] and just slot in, or, you see the inefficiencies, flaws, try and make improvements, and chaff at this, which makes kiwis very uncomfortable.


      • I heard an American GP talking on the radio a while back saying how limited their role is here compared to the US. A friend of mine from the States says he is sick of Kiwis having a go at him for the Foreign Policy of the US Government, like he is personally responsible for it.


  26. Paul seems like a sensible and articulate person, but most Kiwis aren’t like him. Quite the opposite. They are so caught up in trying to “make do” that they have no time to develop their thinking. Books are also luxuries here. Anywhere where books are a luxury is not a place for me. Of course not all Kiwis are hard to get along with. But many of us migrants found that way too many of them had tunnel vision and were shamelessly exploitative. I spoke to three people just last week who agreed with me. And none of them had ever read this site or the “expose” one. Of course, they send their children to private schools and live on lifestyle properties and are insulated from having to deal with much of the worst of it. They can also move on when they are entirely fed up. And they will.

    He can very well say “Buyer Beware” to those of us who were disappointed, but the fact is, it should be known that New Zealand does not always report its worst statistics. I am appalled every day at the news that makes the local papers, but never reaches the Internet. Until 2007, migrants had digital access ONLY to deliberately restricted information about New Zealand – information that would have helped them make a decision whether or not to live here. This was and is deliberate on the part of the Kiwi press. In fact, the vested immigration interests were so concerned by what the exposed site had to say that it set up a competing site with a similar name to divert searchers. The government took that much trouble! Truth is scary?

    NZ has no poverty threshold, for instance. So you don’t have that poverty statistic to work with.

    The P is unbelievable. Worse than the sorts of stories that make the news –

    P is everyday reality. You brush up against them in the street. I have seen them in the chemist’s and food stores, looking like your neighbour’s son or yummy mummy, not rich or poor, with telltale nervousness, sweating, pale and strange red sores that look like the ones you develop from taking steroids. They do not look like someone you would meet in a dark alley. That is how widespread drug use has become here. World-record-breaking drug users.

    Northland has been enjoying a meningitis problem that led them to start a vaccination campaign in the schools.

    When we moved here, we used a cost of living calculator –

    It was over 10K USD off the mark annually, at least, and we were living frugally. Do not use cost of living calculators offered by those with a vested interest in migration! But there were no alternatives. Also, the Kiwi who did the balance sheets for us claimed to be a CPA, and wasn’t. He was one more Kiwi fraud who was claiming to be something he wasn’t.

    Kiwis love to cite how many nutball Christians live in America as evidence of how “rational” they themselves are. However,
    51 per cent of New Zealanders believe that homeopathy has been scientifically proven. And 80% of them don’t floss their teeth.

    We don’t expect entirely smooth sailing anywhere. And you’ll always meet a few bad apples. The sheer percentage of rough sailing and rotten apples here was enough to make us say “that’s enough” after a couple years. We, among others, are the sorts of posters who contribute to sites like this, to set the record straight and allow potential migrants to self-select rather than arrive in rosy-spectacled droves and leave, poorer and wiser, for home or for Australia.


    • thanks for the backhanded compliment (I think)

      Its my feeling that almost none of the posts here actually really try to engage in any substantial debate, all you (well, not just you, but many posters here) tend to do is make statements and then present them as reasonable, objective and factual when a lot of them are a long way from it.

      I mean, “Books are luxaries here” That just can’t go unchallenged due to its absurdity. One example – the Auckland City Library runs a service that is so good that you should actually try it out (seriously, you’ll be shocked how good it is – that’s an honest recommendation) Go onto the website, register, request a book ANY book and they’ll go and find it for you and email you to tell you its arrived. It’s a free service and hardly presents a barrier to achieve your ‘luxuries’, alright, you might have to wait for a particulary popular book, but there’s plenty to choose from. Then again, as you think Kiwis apparently don’t like books – you’re most likely to get what you want when you want, problem solved. But I guess NZ still isn’t for you despite that the service is replicated in public libraries around the country.

      But let’s put that aside for now and consider this – how can a book be a luxuary in ANY country that has internet with the advent of the kindle or worse case scenario, buying one for 2 cents and $20 shipping from Amazon.com? Done. Books a plenty. You do have a partial point (perhaps without realising it) in that a lot of people these days don’t read for enjoyment anymore because of the internet etc, Jim Flynn (a respected professor on IQ) will agree with you on that, but there is indeed a fledgling and immature literary culture perhaps, but its certainly here, I can vouch for it. I’m not sure you can say that in Australia, but you probably would. Australia’s the land of milk and honey, isn’t it?

      Moving on however, I honestly think that a bit of ‘give’ results in a bit of ‘take’ and considering my argument probably isn’t going to be taken seriously by anyone that’s decided on the truth, let’s try to deal with yours.

      Statistics – get some credible data – http://www.stats.govt.nz that’s the government stats site and you can get plenty of info you need, no access , registration required, no secrets – . you can even track tomato prices. Go to police.govt.nz get some crime stats.. I mean, come on – don’t be lazy. I shouldn’t have to do this, should I? I’m not the one who made a life changing decision to move to another country. Surely you don’t need me to tell you this stuff?

      You used a calculator to work out the cost of living on a website?! Did you also organise your mortgage based on the online calculators without seeing the house or did you actually do the normal thing and check out the house first, then talked to some banks like everyone else and then finally discussed the pros and cons with your dearest before making the plunge? Again, life changing decisions that you, perhaps, just didn’t take seriously enough. Whose fault is that? Is it mine because of the country I was born in and the abject failings of my culture and government? Or is there just a simplier reason?

      I won’t deal with the flossing teeth and homopathy remark, I’m absolutely sure I can rustle up on google a few unflattering statistics about stupidity in any country, that’s because stupidity exists in every country. I hope you’ll just grant me that one.

      In all, the tone of some of the comments comes across as quite entitled, frankly. I mean, complaints that locals are preferred, that NZ doesn’t recognise the value of immigrants. Honestly, if you’re so valuable, literate, cultured and an otherwise outstanding person, surely its not too difficult to to convince an employer of the fact?

      Hark! I hear you say, there’s no jobs! Racist kiwis are in the way! Well, I have a suggestion (if not consolation) that perhaps next time – invest a bit first, go there, check it out, have a beer with the locals – then make your decision.

      I personally hope you stay and things ultimately work out for you, but if not, all the best.


      • Thank heavens for Amazon, The Book Depository and public libraries Paul. Without them generations of Kiwi kids may be growing up without the pleasure of having held, or owned, a book. Of course their parents are misers for not buying their children e-readers and Kindles to curl up with at bedtime (how long have these been available in NZ?) better to prop them up in front of a computer screen to read pages from the internet?

        Maybe a book based education would’ve improved your spelling proficiency?

        Not sure who your comment about statistics was aimed at but we always endeavor to source data from reliable sources on E2NZ,deal with facts and have often used the resources you listed. We like being able to give people the plain facts and figures and allowing them to draw their own conclusions.

        If you’re into knowing the market price for tomatoes the internet is your hot tamale.

        We’ll leave our readers to respond to your other points if they wish, they seem to have answered them fully so far but you’re obviously not taking-in the information they’re giving you. Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you.

        In conclusion we’ll ask the same old question – if a country can’t even retain (or attract home) its own, what chance of success do immigrants have? New Zealand needs to get its own house in order before it can play good host to others.

        PS. please try to construct a reply worth publishing this time.


        • Paul, I’m a New Zealander who has spent a long time overseas in various places and I honestly can’t get too upset by a lot of the comments and opinions about NZ on this site because they are the frank opinions and experiences of people who have come here from other countries and for that reason they are valid and to be respected. I also agree with most of the remarks. NZ seems to have been in relative decline for a long time (check OECD rankings for the last century). Due to a massive inferiority complex and a lot of media spin and PR Kiwis can’t seem to handle less than flattering comments about their country and especially from outsiders who, incidentally, tend to see things a bit more objectively than your average conservative, unworldly, conformist Kiwi. I’d also encourage you try to separate your ego from from your nationality. You didn’t make NZ and your birth and upbringing here was an accident, just like mine. Pride in one’s country isn’t all that attractive and is a major reason we still have wars and racism and is probably a good reason for abolishing the Olympic Games, which is really just an expensive orgy of Nationalist pride for the club of rich countries. Despite its savaging by the early settlers NZ is still a pretty country, but a young and still very immature one with a whole lot of problems that are not be solved by angry Kiwis attempting to rebut criticisms of “Godzone” with “If you don’t like it here why don’t you sod off back to where you came from then?”. We have a lot to learn and websites that give voice to how a lot of people in NZ really feel about the place are to be welcomed. If more NZers read these comments we might get some progress.


      • Books are expensive to buy. They can be sourced on-line as you say. Probably the only affordable way. That import thing again. If I can get books cheaper on-line, why can’t the book shops?
        Skilled labor is not valued/locals prefered. From personal experience, this is true. I came over on a work visa. The employer was the lowest paying builder in town. We hustled to get our residents visa, then I quit, to look for better pay. My former employer actively went out and tried to discredit my qualifications, to prevent me from getting another job. That’s just mean [not mean as in good, mean as in bad]. Although I was more qualified, productive [not hard to out work a kiwi], with a better work ethic [showed up, every day] I’ve not been able to find work after sending out many resumes.
        You may want to think Kiwis are fair, but some will go out of their way to mess with you, especially if your from overseas.
        And don’t even get me going on building standards/practices/production [handsaws? really?]. One county, in one state builds more houses than in NZ in a year. I’d think that the building code/practices would be honed by that process. Yet all I got was resistance to more productive methods, NZ was after skilled workers, yet when we bring our skill, NZ rejects progress to stay with their antiquated ways, then makes it hard to find a job. That is illogical. You’d think such a low production level sector would embrace increased production methods, nope.
        That’s the frustration that many of us feel. We came with good intentions, and now are being given a hard time.
        That’s our beef [or should that be lamb?].

        Had to get a sheep joke in there somewhere.


  27. Example of the crap claims –

    “Cost of living is very reasonable in New Zealand. The country’s economy has significantly grown in the past few years. The country is highly developed with high scores on indices on human development, quality of life, life expectancy, literacy and economic prosperity among other values. Growth in annual income among households is very high at over 60,000 Euro PPP. Housing in New Zealand is very affordable, of good quality and convenient since the country still lacks in overall population. The government is actually promoting immigration to add more skilled workers that will promote the steady economic development.

    Consumer goods in New Zealand are also fresh and very cheap. Most items like electronics, food, cars and petroleum are priced about the same or lower compared to the United Kingdom. Most products include a goods and services tax or GST of 11.75%. This is only a small factor compared to the overall cost of living in Kiwi Country”…

    This is about 90% nonsense.


  28. The commercial emigration sites often create a false impression of New Zealand and perpetuate the myths that have grown up around the country.

    With reference to Expatforum’s claim that

    “Housing in New Zealand is very affordable, of good quality and convenient since the country still lacks in overall population”

    The reality is the exact opposite: New Zealand’s housing is acknowledged as being severely unaffordable.

    “The eighth annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey looks at housing affordability in 325 urban markets in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

    A market is considered unaffordable where the median house price exceeds three times the gross annual median household income.

    New Zealand as a whole had a figure, known as the median multiple, of 5.4. Auckland had 6.4, Christchurch had 6.3, Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty had 5.9, Dunedin 5.2, Wellington 5.1, Palmerston North 4.1, Napier-Hastings 4.8, and Hamilton 4.8.

    The survey described all of New Zealand’s main centres as “severely unaffordable” and supports more relaxed land use planning rules than those prevailing in many of the cities it covers.

    Co-author, and Christchurch resident Hugh Pavletich, said that for metropolitan areas to rate as affordable and ensure housing bubbles were not triggered, housing prices should not exceed three times gross annual household incomes.”

    January 2012

    There are many sources on the net that demonstrate that New Zealand homes are not of a good quality, our Living Accommodation: Housing Issues in New Zealand is a good place to start


  29. The purpose of posting here is not to debate but to inform, as the information on New Zealand is in the main lopsided. This site is a corrective. I think this has been repeated enough times already on this site. I do not think you have been reading it, if you can and do read.

    Speaking of which, you challenge (“Books are luxaries here”) my assertion that books are not affordable with the assertion that books are available. This is not the same thing. You are saying that one can obtain them at the library if you order them and wait for them. This merely reinforces my statement that people cannot afford to actually own them. I am saying that people cannot afford to buy them. I am aware that they can order them through the library. We do ourselves, all the time. Sometimes people do not want to line up in a queue that might be months long in order to read a book, as the public debate on the ideas in the book is happening now and one might want to contribute? We do indeed use the library. We wait for months and months on frikkin book lists to get one lousy frikkin book in a series. Sometimes by the time our name has come up for the book, we have forgotten half the details in the volume before it and have to check the Internet to refresh our memory. It might take years to finish a children’s series. We are still in the middle of one that the bookstore in Auckland stopped carrying because it’s passe’. Sometimes it is a matter of a large book worth long digestion, and given how hard we have to work to get by here in New Zealand, we do not have many hours to leisure-read in. So we have to return the book not entirely read. These are problems with “only ordering books instead of purchasing them”.

    As for Kindle and other e-readers, you cannot simply download just any book and read it here. Some that are available back in the States are not available here in NZ.
    In general only very popular older titles are available here. Like generic drugs from the 70s. That’s what is on offer in the health care system. You are basically living in a de facto socialist country

    I don’t know whether Australia is the land of milk and honey, but based on my visits there, it is much easier to enjoy a higher standard of living.

    I do read the NZ statistics sites. Do you think the NZ government is incapable of misrepresentation? I know that this webmaster does as well. What puzzles ME is that the evidence “on the ground” as conveyed by experience, observation and human intelligence (comparing observations with other people) does not match the statistics. For example, an insurance agent told me sub rosa that many suicides are written off as accidents so that the families can claim. Others have told me that the police are so overwhelmed with the drug crime that much of it goes uncaught, unprosecuted. That means some of it goes into the statistics and some of it just happens – if you’re lucky, it won’t catch YOU up in the maelstrom. Many of us won’t be lucky, as it is so endemic you can’t help but brush up against it.

    We used various financial methods to decide whether or not we could afford to live here. All the methods available to us. That include Woolworths online. Asking people who had lived there. Trusting people who wanted us to move for their own reasons. Checking online sources. Noting house prices on a visit, looking at properties for sale on various websites. Various methods. There really needs to be a reality-check pricing site for immigrants online, centralising all the information. Moving here and living here though have some unpredictable effects. This site exists to dispel the assumptions people have, that New Zealand – because it pretends to First World status – surely has certain amenities that places like Canada have. IT DOES NOT.

    As for the cultured, literate people who are not hired, often they are told they are overqualified or “won’t fit in”. Sometimes it is feared that they will move on because the job is not challenging enough, or the person has skills too specialised for the jack-of-all-trades positions that tend to exist in New Zealand. I have heard enough of these stories from migrants already.

    We did visit New Zealand before coming. We had beers with the locals. We drove around. Some realities were not experienceable until we actually settled in. Many other migrants have agreed with this. We would have been fools to pre-invest in New Zealand, as you suggest. We lost enough just by coming here and investing, let alone throwing money away before even landing.

    I wish you the best in your enjoyment of New Zealand. Allow that some people might not enjoy it and that it is simply a matter of taste and shark-marketing.


  30. I immigrated to New Zealand 16 years ago from the USA, after 43 years in the USA. I am a uni lecturer. I discovered this curious blog only today. First of all, I agree that this is not a good destination for those wishing to move from the Third to the First World. It is OK if you come here with a prearranged white collar job in pocket, as I did.

    I can substantiate many of the complaints that drive this blog. Here in the South Island, wages are not flash and residences are expensive. Many residences of all ages have serious defects. Health care is good only if one can afford Southern Cross. I am not at all impressed with the quality of primary and secondary schools. USA tertiary degrees embody 1800 lecture hours and extensive distribution requirements. New Zealand tertiary degrees embody fewer than 600 lecture hours and no distribution requirements. Most of New Zealand roading is at a 1950s standard. Not enough has been done to mitigate earthquake risk. The notion that New Zealand is one of the least corrupt societies on earth is farcical, as any careful newspaper reader can attest. Crime rates in urban New Zealand are not low. Domestic violence is a serious problem. Poverty is common, although much of the sting of poverty is attenuated by the benefits system. But as many as 25% of New Zealand households depend partly or entirely on the public purse.

    Feel free to Email me if you wish.


    • New Zealand is NOT friendly to people who immigrate here with nontrivial prior work histories in First World nations, and/or who are nontrivial investors.

      If you are entitled to a state pension from another nation, New Zealand will net the foreign pension from the superannuation it owes you when you turn 65. The New Zealand government decides on the relevant exchange rate. A slight offset is that when New Zealand does this, the foreign pension becomes exempt from income tax. New Zealand has signed a bilateral agreement governing public pensions with only about 10 nations. The USA is conspicuous by absence. Anyone who has resided 10 adult years in New Zealand, and is a resident of New Zealand in old age, is entitled to super. No work history required. In the northern hemisphere, one’s old age pension is a function of one’s work history. The two systems, by their very nature, cannot dovetail well.

      The New Zealand treatment of investment portfolios invested in foreign securities is strange and harsh, and kicks in 49 months after one lands in this country. If a security has a negative rate of return over the tax year, nothing is owed. If the rate of return on a security exceeds 5% p.a., the investor has to include in his taxable income 5% of the value of his investment as of the end of the tax year. 33% tax on 5% = 1.67%. The average dividend rate on USA shares is 1.7%. In years when market rises nontrivially, the IRD in effect claims the entire dividend stream on a diversified portfolio of USA shares.

      The top rate of income tax in New Zealand is 33%. In the USA, the top rate is 35% on investment income and 38% on salaries. In the UK and Australia, the top tax rate is 50% and 47%, respectively. However these top tax rates apply to income in excess of some substantial 6 figure amount; in the case of the USA, taxable incomes exceeding US$335K. The New Zealand top rate of 33% kicks in at all of NZ$70K. Having children mitigates this to some extent, but not for taxable incomes exceeding, say, NZ$130K.

      5-6 years ago, Australia created the following regime for wealthy immigrants. They would owe Australian income tax on domestic wages and investments, but not on foreign investments. They would not benefit from health care subsidised by the public purse (private health insurance is available). They would be ineligible for any benefits. These features of Australian tax policy make Australia very inviting as a place to retire for the economically successful person. one should come to New Zealand to retire.

      I know and know of a number of high net worth individuals who spend 5-6 months of the year in New Zealand, but NEVER more than 182 days. Because 183 days of residence out of the tax year means that they become tax residents and would have to pay tax on their investment income at the New Zealand rate.


    • Also note their capacity for excuses, I heard this “brilliant” reason once:
      “I’m training to be a child psychologist, but it’s very hard for me to control my anger since I got hit in the head by a volleyball in 2004 and my nerves got compressed. I think you are a troll.”


      • P Ray – I wonder if you have read this, more validation for what we have noticed about the seeming inability to accept anything empirical. It’s all your opinion and nothing’s true!


        Comments by “AG” along the lines that Kiwi thought shows a shallow form of epistemic relativism, though his blaming it on the free market is all wrong, as it seems ingrained. “In New Zealand, if you aren’t following the line of the business round table, you are a “wrecker” or a “moaner”. Rational discourse has little place in New Zealand society…”

        “In factual relativism the facts used to establish the truth or falsehood of any statement are understood to be relative to the perspective of those proving or falsifying the proposition”

        Now, does that seem terribly familiar? Explains a lot!


        • Hi Reader, we’ve certainly seen some factual relativism going on in this thread with some of the more irrational discourse (from people like Paul) being unsuitable for publication. Guess it must’ve been the volleyball to the head etc…


  31. Rob :
    This is why us Aussies call them “Whinging Poms” Sadly they end up over here and constantly moan and groan about us also.

    Do you know what Pom stand for? well I’ll tell you, it stand for ‘prisoner of her majesty the Queen’ so on that basis do you spot the irony in your post?


  32. New Zealand is a xenophobic and full of sheep and it’s at the bottom of the World
    Australia is full of wanna be Californians, is racist and a Country who’s culture was built using English Framers and criminals.
    Enough said.


  33. For people like Dave, maybe there actually isn’t more to life than the opportunity to watch whales frequently. I know other men like this. Their human simplicity is fine for them, but we could not reach the stars if we were all this sort of person. Maybe he is a single bloke.

    It all comes down to what you like. Whales are cool. But affordable housing, livable wages, modern Internet, rigorous education, centres of culture, intellectual stimulation and many other viable features are desired by families when they choose a place to live. Many Brits for example are lured here by the idea of a less expensive and more laid-back lifestyle in a Commonwealth country, a tropical retro-UK. They do not realise that New Zealand is an entirely different culture with only surface similarities. They think they are escaping crime and violence, only to find it at their doorstep, in the schools. And there they are, with dwindling savings, clothes turning to rags, teeth falling out, miles from home, and everything is actually worse than the marketing campaigns and immigration agents made it out to be. New Zealand has been conning people into living here since the 1800s. Their marketing has become sharper, and a “renaissance” of NZ migration was the result of this. I don’t blame people for whinging if they are caught out, though there is more information out there now than there was back then.

    Now we have sites like this one. And expatexposed. If they continue to whinge and do not either settle or leave, well, that is a different thing.


  34. Some clown posted on that reddit thread, “If you want to change their viewpoint, invite them around for a barbie or a day out sailing or hunting or fishing or to a stripper bar or whatever it is you do that you dig. They might dig it too. And start to love this country!”

    You can do that anywhere in the world – for cheaper, and often too for better.

    And those are the very sorts of schmucks who love it already. Fishermen who BBQ and objectify women. Barry Crumps. And that is the point posters are making here. Not everyone fits in here. New Zealand is mis-marketed, and has the same problems all the other countries have. So you do not want to move across the world to STILL DEAL WITH THEM.


  35. I can see that no one is home :

    Some clown posted on that reddit thread, “If you want to change their viewpoint, invite them around for a barbie or a day out sailing or hunting or fishing or to a stripper bar or whatever it is you do that you dig. They might dig it too. And start to love this country!”

    That must be the (in)famous Kiwi lifestyle? Not much to write home about, a weekend in Prague sounds more fun.


  36. For you and I, yes. I once set myself the task of trying to liken the Kiwi psyche to some style (you couldn’t go so far as to say “school”) of literature.

    What you can write home (…)? Coarse but bold nature sketches. This is the real New Zealand – nature, pre-industrial air quality (3 seasons a year, as the town woodstove smoke is excepted), distinctive plants, life at the edge with no “fat” to make it “softer”. THAT aspect of the marketing is spot-on. Give it its due, right?

    But there’s the rub – if you want more than that out of life. If you do not want to squat on a knoll, admire the clouds blown by the wind, feel the goosebumps through your threadbare jacket – and have that fill up your entire time on Earth. If your attitude is more than just “the world beyond New Zealand is flash clothes and cars”. Those obnoxious Kiwis who extol the natural living-in-the-moment as some kind of higher human value should drop the hypocrisy and eschew their computers, shingle rooves, heart bypasses, heaters, phones, 4wd vehicles, rifles, tinned food and cooking utensils – everything that makes their life more than what a caveman’s would be. Because the people who invented those things were not the ones lying around under swaying pungas thinking life’s sweet-as. Nor were they drudges with minds full of useless “theory” who stupidly chose a life other than vegetating on the beach every weekend, shouting “woo-hoo” from motorboats.

    I thought initially that the Kiwi psyche was “Jack London”, but it lacks’s London’s dynamism, sharp observation, his ability to “see” the “other”. It lacks dimension at all. The New Zealand psyche is roughly simple, self-absorbed. Their deep connection to the land seems to replace a sense of interpersonal connectedness, and for some immigrants, this creates a unique kind of loneliness which is not at all easy to explain, but I could say I do understand why some stop bothering trying to make friends or only socialize with their fellow migrants. It is too hard! The “reach” is so tiring, on top of trying to survive. The Kiwis do not seem to perceive events in a penetrating way or have a broader understanding of how many circumstances link together to create what they superficially perceive. One migrant said they are “naive, for good and for bad”. Their society is like a single cell organism.

    Hemingway? No. The Kiwi psyche lacks that metaphysical awareness of man and his relationship with nature.

    Kiwis are rough, immediate. The product of boatfuls of lower middle class British people who moved out to the middle of nowhere a very long time ago and interbred with the Polynesians who had made it that far from their own origins. Naturalism was the first thing that came to mind. But that school (and after all, it was a “school”) was influenced by social and scientific theories, and Kiwis have no interest in theory at all, nor do they have any kind of background that would have informed them along those lines.

    I would cast it as “naive naturalism”, and invite thoughtful responses. I am open to correction, of course. http://books.google.co.nz/books/about/Simple_mindedness.html?id=XjEihTaiPBkC&redir_esc=y


  37. Hi Letta,
    how’s your degree-less life going? Keep that attitude that is all too-common to some Kiwis, coming.
    It lets more Asians know that they need to have a bigger stake in the country if they expect to be treated fairly …
    and lets the Kiwi Asians know that they’d better bugger off after their (relatively low-cost since they’re considered domestic students) hard sciences education is complete. Also that racists are unlikely to discriminate based on ethnicity.
    Because your attitude is precisely what’s keeping the country backward (and unproductive/unimaginative LOSERS like you employed).
    P.S. You get what of more you reward, and less of what you punish. Reward the small-minded people and you’ll get more of them … also competing for YOUR job.
    I’d think about that if I were you. If you can’t see that perspective, carry on.
    The next 5 years should be VERY interesting for New Zealand.
    My sympathies to the few good Kiwis out there … they’ll be working cheek to jowl with those who are trying to hold honest progress back, and will have to deal with many shysters falsifying their qualifications (Hohepa Moheru Barlow / Joseph Hikairo Barlow, Mary-Anne Thompson (spelling?) and Stephen Wilce come to mind).


  38. I was a visitor to New Zealand as a foreign tourist from the US and I am absolutely appalled by the way I was treated as a visitor. I got nothing but rude comments about my country “oh you Americans are losers” “bloody Americans”. 100% pure new Zealand – that is a lie if I ever called one.

    I spent over $3000 American and I
    got nothing but grief. I am alarmed about how so far New Zealand is behind the rest of the world. It’s not funny. The amount of poverty I saw was shocking. Do not get me started on the infrastructure for example trains oh my GOD.

    It was a horrible trip and I will never go back again thanks a lot for disappointing me.

    The people in New Zealand are so not nice to foreigners they hate foreigners especially the girls there. Customer service is so Third World absolutely despicable.

    Am so angry!! what a waste of $US3000 like what the fuck!?!

    New zealand is so expensive ohmy god no wonder is so far behind the rest the world.

    Stop lying to the American people and Canadians because you are the one of the worst countries the world ever!!

    Am so glad I am a North American! ❤


  39. I wonder if you could post my comment here to a more suitable page:

    An Aussie on holidays in NZ – shocked by the reality.

    First commendations to this site for telling the truth about NZ.

    Since coming to NZ on holiday about a week and a half ago, I must say I am shocked by things I’ve found.

    Since driving around for about 10 days, I’ve been abused about 5 times, by angry NZ drivers, this is while driving around hills and cliffs, in the rain. Given that in Australia I am lucky to be honked at every five years either (a) my driving has suddenly deteriorated in NZ or (b) New Zealanders are terrible drivers. I’ve going with the second option.

    The sheer aggressiveness of the drivers here has to be seen to be believed. They seem to think that its your duty to throw yourself off a cliff so they can get there 2 minutes early.

    I have also been amazed at how unhelpful people are to tourists, and how utterly unwilling/unknowing they are about opening times and giving simple help.

    Within our first hour of driving into Auckland, we were honked at twice, and sworn at by a man with no teeth (a common occurrence here) for parking in the ‘wrong’ spot.

    The prices are very high, and there are a lot of rip offs. Nobody seems to do dental, as noted above.

    Of course, there are other problems not the fault of the people – it never, ever stops raining, and every drive is a clifftop winding experience.

    More power to this site and the people telling the horrible truth about NZ.


  40. I can’t believe how utterly aggressive and unhelpful to tourists NZ people are. Thank god we dont live here permanently, and we’ve got our return flight booked. Tourists, you have been warned. Dont get pulled in by the saturation advertising in Australia.


  41. Hi Admin,

    I stumbled across your site a couple weeks ago. You’ve some interesting articles. I wasn’t sure where to post this comment. However, I hope you continue to post your articles. They’re good. I was born in NZ but never saw myself as a ‘Kiwi’. I felt ‘Kiwi’ was reserved for some, and not for others. How the media portrays what a ‘Kiwi’ is, is interesting. We’re only ‘Kiwi’ when we make the All Blacks, Silver Ferns, etc. Then on the news we’re scum, and tbh I can see why people can think that of Pasifika people.

    Well done on your ‘Migrant series’ thus far. It reminds me of my grandparents migration story. My grandmother was a nurse, grandfather a tradesman. Their qualifications weren’t recognized here, hence worked ‘low-skilled’ jobs to support the family. The prejudice, racism and hardship they experienced, a similar thread in shared migrant stories. They left paradise for a promised paradise.

    I look forward to future postings on ‘Tangata Facista’.

    Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

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