Another in our series of Migrants’ Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience in New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.
Today’s tale is taken from the advice and support forum Expatexposed, the only not-for-profit forum where immigrants of all nationalities talk frankly about what it’s really like to work and live in New Zealand, and where none of the posts are moderated or censored.
This story was written in August 2010 in response to a recent newspaper article about over pricing and price gouging in New Zealand. This is one migrant’s experience of New Zealand compared to other countries:
When I was travelling in India, I came down with a tummy bug, paid $40 here for medication to take just in case I got food poisoning, it didn’t help! Went to see a local doctor there in the suburbs of Mumbai and paid $NZ 1.50 for the consultation and 80 cents for the meds (4 different ones) and was all better in a couple of days.
Over here I pay $40 (after subsidy) to see my GP I Auckland CBD who normally does basically nothing, except to tell me to rest, not to worry and see her again in 2 weeks if I still have the same problem!!! Of course, I already did all of that BEFORE going to see her in the first place!!!
When I get off the plane in Singapore, first thing I do is go to a hawker centre and get some (proper) satay and ice lemon tea for under NZ $5, sit on the beach and watch the airplanes coming and going with tears in my eyes.
I felt so relieved when I discovered that the media seemed to be picking up on how we are paying too much over here, and hope that finally people will pay attention and something will change… but, it’s hard for me to really believe that.
I saw Campbell Live discussing the issue and was so disappointed that they were brainwashing everyone into painting a happy picture of Auckland prices, compared to London and Sydney. If this was reality, why are so many people complaining?? (Also it seems a bit of a joke to put Auckland up there alongside London and Sydney as a ‘major city’, I mean, come on…)
All the people I know in NZ (including people who have been here all their life) no one is prospering, everyone is either struggling or treading water. Living from one paycheck to the next.
I recently did a comparison online of getting my groceries from a small organic supermarket rather than from the local Countdown and was rather surprised to find that buying organic is actually cheaper!! They even do free delivery!
In order to stay on a tight budget I live in the city and don’t drive, but even then, public transport keeps getting more and more expensive!! I even shower at the gym to try and save money on my power/heating bills, turn off everything at the switch, etc. I don’t even have a home phone line.
But there is only so far that anyone can scrimp and scrounge without their mental well-being/sanity being highly at risk. No wonder drugs are such a problem here… Not to mention petty theft. Don’t even get me started on that!!!
It seems like we as consumers here have to do SOOO much research and sleuthing in order to get good value for money, where possible… in many cases this is not even possible, for basic necessities like power and water, where there is only one provider where I live.
I basically don’t buy new clothes at all over here, if I do, I get them second hand off trademe or at the recycle boutique. Or for the basic essentials like socks + undies, just have to mission it to Dress Smart on a weekend, brave the crowds and forage. But mostly I just wait for 2-3 years till I can go overseas and do most of it there. When I need to get a hair cut or trim, I just go to the cheapest hair salon, owned by a lovely Korean lady. Even when I go overseas it is impossible for me to do it without incurring debt, as I just don’t have any money left over to put into savings!! How will I ever escape at this rate??!
I just found out that there is a thing called No Asset Procedure which is like insolvency but for debt under $40k and 2 people I know got approved to have all their debt written off, just like that!!! Not that I am one to incur heaps of debt, in fact I have hardly any now, but it just seems unfair that people can rack it up and have it wiped so easily… It’s like encouraging irresponsible financial habits!
Anyway, sorry for going on a bit of a rant… Just needed to express my frustration and let off some steam.
Also, if it paints a clearer picture for anyone thinking of moving here, save yourself the trouble while you still can!!!