Here's a selection from the many, many pages of responses:
kk (Canada)Andrew kiwi in the (United States of America)
Wednesday September 23, 2009 "We are currently living in Canada and have also lived in the US. Coming back to NZ is a bittersweet decision for us, the main drawcard is family, the beautiful countryside, and our children growing up literate.
But for a small country, NZ has developed a shocking culture of violence, I have felt safer in these countries at night than in NZ, granted we have lived in great towns but there wouldn't be many places in NZ I would walk at night.
We've been reading the news regularly to ease back being home and Im ashamed to read headlines like the 'h' in Wanganui rubbish next to one about yet another abused/killed child.
When people ask me about the utopia they believe is NZ , I say sure its a stunningly beautiful country with clean air, but never hitchhike, be careful where you camp for the night, walk down to the dairy at night, stare at anybody, walk home from the pub, sleep on a beach or leave anything not bolted down outside and you'll be fine."
Wednesday September 23, 2009 "There are a few things that make me worry about coming back, one is the actions of the dictatorial enviromentalist movements. Another is the government seeming desire to control people. Banning certain styles of parenting? That is concerning. What else will you be unable to do because some bleeding heart socialist do-gooder decides it is in your best interests to deny you the right to decide that? There are schools of thought that population control is required to save the planet. Will we have to apply to have children at all? These new enviro-nazis seem determined to destroy the economy to solve a problem that hasn't even been proven to exist!"
YouKNOWItsTheTruth (Mairangi Bay)
Wednesday September 23, 2009 "I keep reading about this mythical NZ lifestyle. A few people here have listed mountains as a reason to come back. A big hill is a reason to live in a country?
Seriously, how many people in NZ actually go mountain climbing? Just as only 134,000 watched the Boks beat the All Blacks in SA last month, there seems to be this fantasy that all Kiwis love rugby, ski, surg, mountainbike, fish, have a bach and watch rugby.
If you do, good on you, you'll love NZ. Most of us don't though. And the weather is rubbish. Makes me laugh when Kiwis slag the UK weather. AKL has more annual rainfall and worse air quality than London. And although the UK can be colder (than AKL, not necessarily the South Island) houses are built to cope with it, unlike here, hence all the asthma. And don't get me started on leaky homes."
Wednesday September 23, 2009 "Reasons not to return:
1. tall poppy syndrome
2. small minds village attitude
3. low wages which = bad lifestyle
4. too many pacific migrants going on dole and crime
5. murders and crime increasing, sentences for crims are a joke and justice system is a joke
6. nz is backwards go back to 50s
8. lazy people on benefit and dole
9 lack of career opportunities
10 lack of excitement/ culture
11. too much rugby
12 boy racers / hoons/rednecks on every street corner
i can go on and on,
this lifestyle thing is crap its a term people use into brainwashing themselves, many countries have glorious beaches , sun and the good outdoor life"
Jason (United Kingdom)
Wednesday September 23, 2009 "My wife and I looked at returning to NZ last year but the jobs just aren't there for us.
My wife graduated with a doctorate from Oxford University in record time and has an outstanding publication history. She applied for a job at Auckland University, jumped through all the necessary hoops and time-zone differences for conference calling and then they gave the position to a much less qualified person currently working in the lab in Auckland with no publication history.
Many other colleagues from sciences and medicine have said the same to us - the field is so under-invested in that there is no potential for NZ to contribute in anything but agricultural sciences and departments in NZ are too busy protecting the interests of current staff that they can't take on expats returning. When i first came to the UK, NZ had the edge in internet and IT, banking services, etc - now, when i come back for a holiday, i notice it hasn't progressed in the past ten years, it's just another quaint little island in the south pacific that you go on holiday to, slowly slipping down the international development scales."