Observations about some of the downside of New ZealandToday's posts - click here
"The best advice one can give skilled NZ immigrants today is to wise up about NZ.
Imagine working in a third world country or the former "DDR" and you get the picture. And befitting to a country only pretending to be a democratic capitalist economy, NZ is known amongst those who dare to read the fine print, to influence media and falsify statistics to appear like a "Britain in the Tropics".
This can only be explained with the quite feeble and bribe/nepotism-riddled economy and the bad living conditions (bad housing, low wages, high crime) that apparently leave the government no choice to lie. If you haven't heard about these facts in the daily press it is due to the intelligent NZ news management.
NZ earns as much (about 8 billion $) from Immigrants as from tourism. If you look closely, you can detect a policy to incorporate the immigrant savings within the first 2 years into the NZ economy without paying out any government benefits (not even if you are working and paying taxes).
The majority of immigrants who has not "worked themselves poor" after these first two years, leaves, usually empty-handed and without savings. A government statistic states that 98% of immigrants are still there after 2 years. It was publicized on international travel and placed in "quality of life" articles.
The truth is that only immigrants already in the country for more than 2 years have participated in it, so the majority of immigrants who had already left the country never showed up in the figures. Other "big claims" are just as unreal when you live here, like "green country", or "educational system that scored high in PISA". This is a place of make-believe. A prop-country.
In relation to work permits there are no rules that you couldn't find overthrown tomorrow. The economy is weak and unstable due to soft laws, bribing, nepotism and a brutal government employee attitude of "squeezing out money for oneself no matter what" commonly only found in this quantity in third world countries with an economically traumatized middle class like Guatemala.
Any government official who can afford it has a house in other countries. That alone says a lot. And it is simply not true that the average person works less. If they want to get ahead and not drift through life with minimal money, they work the same hours, but in cold and damp offices, earnings half of what you get for the same work in Europe (if you get 40.000 EUR, expect to get 40.000 NZ$ here, which are 20.000 EUR).
Yes, living costs are "the same" compared to the rest of the industrialized world, but you earn half, so what does that mean for your spending power in a country that imports everything from toothbrushes to TVs for regular EUR and US$ prices? Many working adults in Auckland can't even afford their own apartment and you can find many groups of 3-4 40 year olds accountants, sales people, bank employees or other middle class workers, sharing houses just because the rents are so ridiculously high and they are still paying off years for a simple TV.
Buying houses can be a shocking experience. The houses are not insulated and without proper heating giving New Zealanders the highest asthma statistics. It's the kind of housing you buy as "garden sheds" in Europe. This alone must be one of the weirdest aspects of this bloated, false palm tree-economy and one of the main reasons my husband and I are leaving the country soon. No realistic relation between house prices and what you get for the money. A normal garden shed type house (a timber frame with wood panels nailed on) costs about as much as a "real" house in Europe made of stone, with heating and insulation, which you pay off with halved wages. Which means, NZlers actually never own their houses, but pay "rent" to the banks all their lives. Pretending to be more than one is, is a big sport here.
Recently a lot of European immigrants have been chased out of the country after they were fired and lost their work visas. It was a little national scandal going through the leading papers, Currently New Zealand is loosing many of the foreign skilled laborers they so feverishly tried bring into the country in the past years. Also 40.000 Kiwis leave for Australia every year (which is a lot with a population of 4 million), because of the bad wages while government agencies stall applications of immigrants. What you have heard about "better have a job before coming to NZ" is a result of of that blind, confused nationalistic activism.
The job situation is especially bad for everyone "skilled" like Ad and Media professionals, teachers, consultants or other office or class room professionals. There are many stories of Europeans and US citizens being mobbed and excluded from positions which are continuously advertised as free. This is not Europe or the US, so being forced to work under inhumane conditions or being subjected to mobbing and racist jokes or being excluded based on gender, race or nationality is not something you can bring to court here. It is more likely that the police will come to your house to harass you, because one of his cousins works in the same office with you and heard that you had been complaining about NZ (when all you might have said is that you are freezing at your desk because the room is unheated and that this is something that could not happen in Europe)
Under such conditions, should you still try to get a work visa from Europe or the US before coming here? Why not, but it might not be worth the paper that it is written on, because you can easily spent 6 months to a year here (finance with your own money) without being hired (despite several jobs available you would be a perfect match for) and then you have to return anyway. And you couldn't even enjoy the beach, because you are burning away your savings and subjecing yourself to unjust treatment and a world of abuse where you as a person count little.
If you really need to be in this country, come here for three months on a tourist visa in a test run, and see if you could get a job in your line of work and if the money would be enough and if you can stand the "socialist economy" attitudes, store inventory, housing, and the constant degrading comments about foreigners meant to be funny, but that just get on every immigrants nerves never after the 10th time while you degrade to just another NZ cash cow. The over-eagerly nice NZ people that do everything for paying tourists are the same people that will harass and ignore anyone who attempts to settle down here and take away "their" jobs.
In any case NZ itself is always the winner, financially, but at what cost. I shudder when I think about what moral values NZ destroys, just for a short-sighted, greedy gain of undoubtedly heavy immigrant savings. And if you see yourself in old age and think about your contribution to the world, is it really the right thing to do to spend your life supporting a degrading, nature and value destroying little country with low morale? I'm not a social worker or doctor, but the thought of me supporting this country by living here, while I see what it does to people and nature, and values is something that has gotten to me over the past two years. I don't think anyone serious about not only their carbon but also their "moral" footprint wants to have that on their conscience.
And also, even if you get used to being the immigrant idiot everyone takes advantage of (especially when you are an intellectual and skilled and like doing a good job), and eventually learn to steal and bribe and cheat your way up the NZ social ladder "Number 8 wire" style (because there is no other way to do it), can you get over the fact that you've been compromised by a society where dishonesty is a high moral value?. How much can you enjoy a nice beach so that you forget that constant bad feeling in your stomach of supporting the wrong cause in a place far away from friends, family and decency?
Europe and the US are not great achievements of mankind in many ways, but at least, they're not prop countries, a film set where everything looks like the real thing, but isn't. The only real thing here is the nature, and it comes down to living in a "Dharma Initiative" tropical camp that rewards the ones that bribe, steal, cheat, kill and torment, and slowly destroys the honest people."
Friday, April 16, 2010
Continuing in our Migrants' Tales - first hand accounts of the migrant experience in NZ, taken from sites around the net: