Friday, October 30, 2009

The Truth Behind the "Happiness Survey"

There's an interesting article in today's Dom Post, written by Kelly Burns and Kiran Chug. We'd like to share some of it with you. Many of the issues presented in it are identical to the problems that some migrants have had with New Zealand, especially with regards to money, housing and discrimination. For background to this see Migrant Tales.

"On the surface, we are a happy bunch, with a snapshot of Kiwis showing 86 per cent of people are satisfied with their lives. Wellingtonians were the most prepared for an emergency and felt the safest walking their city streets alone at night.

But dig a little deeper and there is discontent. Half of those questioned in a recent survey say they have major problems with their housing and one in seven are struggling to come up with enough money for everyday needs.

The New Zealand General Social Survey interviewed 8721 people from April last year to March...."

According to their article the survey ended on the eve of the recession, Kiwis were finding it tough making ends meet before the downturn in the economy.

"Family Budgeting Services chief executive Raewyn Fox said that was no surprise, with people struggling daily. "It's not for luxuries, it's a roof over their head, food and power. They are living on a real fine line."

"Half of people reported having major problems with housing; most of them were concerned over heating, the size of their homes and neighbourhood noise. Housing Minister Phil Heatley said many would also be referring to their inability to afford the house they wanted...Mr Heatley said the Government was investing heavily in upgrading the "slum" standard of its 68,000 Housing New Zealand properties, and changes to the Residential Tenancies Act would help improve the results in the next survey."
"The $3 million survey found one in ten people had been discriminated against in the past year. Most of the cases related to nationality, race, ethnic group or "skin colour" and included 23% of Asian people and 16% of Maori.
Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the survey was a positive step towards measuring whether discrimination was going up or down."

Safety is also an issue for many people with almost a third saying that they would feel unsafe walking in their own neighbourhood at night.

Read the full article here: 'Happy' Kiwis worry beneath the surface

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