Friday, April 16, 2010

The Downsides Of New Zealand

 Continuing in our Migrants' Tales - first hand accounts of the migrant experience in NZ, taken from sites around the net:
Observations about some of the downside of New Zealand
"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."
Today's posts - click here

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Kiwis Worst In The World For Bullying"

Over a quarter of New Zealanders have been bullied at work according to the results of a new study Understanding Stress and Bullying in New Zealand Workplaces.

The report says that New Zealand has one of the world's worst records for workplace bullying and stress, something that may come as an unpleasant surprise to people moving to New Zealand for its supposedly  'laid back attitudes' and 'great work-life balance.'

The reality, of course, is very different.

Most of us are by now are aware that New Zealand has an appalling record for bullying, especially in schools and has "a culture of brutality that has to stop".

Auckland paediatrician and former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall said back in 2008 that high rates of bullying reflected a “punitive culture“ and that New Zealand schools lead the world in bullying. This new report shows its workplaces aren't far behind.

You can read from our Migrant's Tales and see for yourself some first hand accounts of bullying endured by both children and adults and we know that hundreds of teachers are assaulted in schools every year.

If bullying and brutality are so common in schools is it any wonder that it has infected every other layer of society, including the workplace?

This new study was carried out under the auspices Professor Tim Bentley, associate head of the University’s School of Management in the College of Business at Albany, Auckland, who says the findings showed stress and bullying are at high levels when compared internationally.

"1728 respondants completed the survey, approximately three quarters of whom were women with the largest representation from the health sector, the highest levels of stress and bullying were observed in the education and health sectors with with higher levels of laissez-faire leadership, lower constructive leadership, higher levels of stress, lower well-being, lower performance, higher turnover intentions, higher absenteeism, and lower levels of organisational support and commitment. Organisational strategies were perceived as more effective by non-targets of bullying than by those who felt that they had been bullied." (source)

In a press release on the Massey University website:
"“The magnitude is higher than expected,” Professor Bentley says. “Bullying is happening and it is not being addressed. It has long been accepted that this is the way of working – if you cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen. But once the pressure, is off they will all go for a drink together and socialise after work.”
And it is not just cooks, waiters and bar staff copping it at work. Employees in three other sectors – health, education and travel – have similar rates of bullying to hospitality workers.
The researchers had already identified those sectors of the workforce as at higher risk of bullying and, funded by the Department of Labour and the Health Research Council, they surveyed 1728 workers, including doctors, nurses, teachers and academics as well as hotel and restaurant staff.
Eighteen per cent reported they had been victims of bullying at work, while 75 per cent had suffered from stress. Professor Bentley says nine times out of 10 the manager is the bully and bad leadership is the cause. “There needs to be a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying and this requires a cultural change," he says. "If we see someone driving unsafely, we would challenge that, but people do not stand up and address bullying behaviour. We need to be confident enough to challenge people if we see this happening and strategies need to be identified to prevent it in the workplace.”
In health and education, ineffective leadership was identified as one of the main factors leading to increased stress and bullying. The study found that employers in all four sectors had limited understanding of the workplace bullying problem and how to address it. Reporting structures were not effective with bullying included as part of wider harassment or violence initiatives.
Dr Bevan Catley and Dr Dianne Gardner from Massey University were part of the multidisciplinary team that conducted the research alongside Professor Michael O'Driscoll (University of Waikato), Dr Helena Cooper-Thomas (University of Auckland), and Dr Linda Trenberth (Birbeck, London)."
The full report may be found HERE

There is also a Facebook group for the Healthy Work Group, HERE's the link if you want to join or read some more.

The public response to the report makes for interesting reading too, have a look at what people are saying in the comments section of this Stuff article: "Kiwis worst in the world for bullying"
"Of course bullying in NZ is rife, most NZ businesses are smaller than 10 people and the bosses are usually the owners who expect you to work the long hard hours - from a previous article, NZ is up there with Japan as far as people who work long hours goes. As employees we are paid pitifully and I know from my overseas experience that New Zealand business is a joke as far as treating employees fairly goes. Come to the conclusion, NO ONE CARES! Best to move on (if you can)"

"To Hill dweller who said: "I prefer now to return home (to more money and better prospects I might add) and start over once more in a country where legislation protects its workers."
New Zealand has legislation to protect its workers from bullying, but hardly anyone uses it. Stress is a recognized workplace hazard which is caused by bullying (amongst other things), and failure by management to address it has serous consequences, when it's actually reported.
Part of the problem could be our "we should be able to stick up for ourselves" attitude, or fear of losing our jobs (which is bogus, because unfair dismissals are also illegal). More likely, it's because the stress of standing up, forcing management to act, and even taking them to court if necessary, is more than the bullying itself.
I think that a few high profile cases of managers being prosecuted for failing to address bullying would be the kick in the pants that some need to take it seriously."
Another Stat
"In two previous jobs I have had problems, one in an insurance company in which I mentioned it to my manager and nothing happened until the guy left and then she admitted she had had problems with him. The other being in a NZ owned company in Silverstream, Upper Hutt. Here it was a manager and when brought to the attention of another manager the situation was ignored. When this was done, I quit for my own health and was told I was following the foot steps of a few others before me with the same problem."

"It is a very unsophisticated culture to work in here (and to live in too, actually)
I have worked in the US and the UK but am a Kiwi.
If management in companies there behaved like they do here, the companies would be in court and being fined, as well as paying huge compensation to the staff bullied.
There's no point in relying on the grievance procedure: our workforce is so small that no professional would ever get another job if they did so.
References are another issue: in the EU they are almost always generic and issued by the HR department (Mrs X worked here for 5 years and her performance was satisfactory is about all you'll get) because employees can sue their former employers for giving them bad references where there is no real justification. Thus you will almost never be able to speak to a candidates actual manager.
Here I know of one person who left a well paid $100k+ job after a simple personality clash with her boss (her work was perfectly fine, they just did not get on at all) and she had to change careers because he kept giving her terrible references. She felt that she could do nothing to challenge him so she had to re-train and give up a 20 year career."

Also Work in IT
"Bullying can mean different things to different people, but let's not confuse gruff management style with real bullying. I had a manager once whose management style included standing over a (seated) staff member in a meeting room and punching the wall over the staff member's head while he yelled at him. That's not a case of "harden up", it's about professionalism and common respect for your fellow man.
That guy notwithstanding, the worst bullies I've encountered have been women. I notice that the men at work call them "control freaks" rather than bullies (tone of voice implies that's to be expected from a woman). I've seen two women (both Brits, incidentally) bully their way into management positions by undermining and sabotaging the work of their colleagues and/or claiming credit for work that wasn't theirs. In both cases, this ended with them inventing a job title and demanding a pay rise to go with it. What astounds me is that they got away with it! One of them has a fabulous resume on LinkedIn, detailing her increasingly fancy job titles (each describing the exact same role). Male managers seem to be intimidated by these women and give them what they want to keep them quiet (I assume ... or maybe they admire their ruthlessness?)."
Today's posts - click here

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tauranga Grandmother Seriously Injured In Bottle Attack

MaryMary Loader, the 65 year old granny who was seriously injured in a beer bottle attack whilst out fruit picking on Sunday morning, is still gravely ill after a three hour operation on Sunday to repair her damaged face.

Police have released sickening photographs of her injuries which included massive bruising, a shattered cheekbone and a broken nose. They’re very shocking and out of respect to Mrs Loader and her family we won’t be showing them here.

Our thoughts and best wishes go out to her.

This unprovoked and senseless attack on a defenseless woman is a sad indictment of a society that is deteriorating more and more every day. A society where alcohol abuse is out of control and people have no sense of consequence or responsibility for their actions,  where a grandmother can be almost killed by a half full beer bottle at 8.30 in the morning.

We hope the police catch those responsible but doubt that the justice system will deal with them appropriately, any sentence they’re given is unlikely to be punitive or act as a deterrent to others.
Anyone wishing to convey their respects to Mrs Loader and her family can send a get well card to her at Tauranga hospital or leave a message on the Trademe community board

We’ve said before that one may judge the character of a society by how it treats the weak, the vulnerable, the most easily forgotten. Abuse of the young and the old is widespread in NZ, recent attacks on elderly people include:
  • A 72 year old man left shaken and bruised after being robbed at gunpoint at his home in Beerescourt Rd Road, Hamilton
  • Lois Dear, 66, murdered and sexually assulted in her classroom at Tokoroa primary school
  • Retired teacher John Rowe, murdered by two teenage girls in his Opotiki home
  • An elderly couple who were hopsitalized after a home invasion in New Plymouth
  • An elderly man kicked to the ground and assaulted by a truck driver in Manukau
  • An 85 year old man badly beaten during a home invasion at his Bethesda Village retirement home in Wiri.
  • 86 year old Patricia Burrows was left with a fractured pelvis, cuts and bruises after she was mugged in a Christchurch shopping mall
  • Yin Ping Yang, 80, died following a savage attack during a home invasion in Manurewa East that lasted for several hours.
See also:

NZ a more dangerous, more violent place “Violence and drug-related offences are largely responsible for increased crime rates, according to 2009 crime statistics released by police today”

Booze fuels a massive leap in crime and family violence : “A massive rise in family violence and more drunken teenage girls fighting in the street are features of shocking crime statistics for Hamilton and Waikato released today.”

Family stunned alleged drunk driver in crash bailed twice :  justice system has given family a “kick in the guts”

Today's posts - click here

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Zealand's Toxic Homes Scandal

A Herald article today highlighted the reality of the ‘cheap’ housing often bought by unwary homeowners and newcomers in New Zealand. It tells the story of a Malaysian couple who purchased a property in Buckland’s Beach, an affluent area in South Auckland that’s popular with immigrants from a number of countries.

Mr Chee bought his monolithic clad property nine years ago so that he and his family could make a new start in New Zealand. The house has been afflicted with leaky building syndrome. This is a caused by a weather tightness defect that allows water to leak into the structure of a building and rot the wooden frame, causing extensive structural damage and the growth of fungus that produces dangerous spores – Stachybotrys which is known to produce trichothecene mycotoxins including satratoxins.:
“…Mr Chee said the garage, living room and master bedroom areas now contained stachybotrys, a dangerous mould found in damp areas and linked to respiratory illnesses and infant deaths.
The 56-year-old watch salesman told the Herald that his family had been through extreme stress, anxiety and countless sleepless nights. He was on medication for high blood pressure.
“It is no wonder some victims have committed or attempted suicide.”
Mr Chee felt victimised and terribly let down by the Government-run Weathertight Homes Tribunal, which awarded only $141,800 for limited “target repairs”, when he had claimed $443,115 for a full reclad…”
One of the most common problems that migrants from developed countries encounter in New Zealand is the poor quality of the houses. Almost all of them are wooden framed and range from quaint old Kauri villas to brand new million dollar mansions and there are often problems associated with dampness, poor weather tightness (‘leaky building’) lack of adequate heating and poor insulation.

Unfortunately many migrants are unaware of the massive extent of the leaky building disaster in New Zealand, even though it has been very much in the news for the last few years. 

A recent estimate is that it will $11.5 billion dollars to repair all leaky homes in NZ, that’s approximately 10% of the country’s GDP. But the government actually stands to gain from those repairs because GST is charged on the work.

Stitched Up Migrants
In April of last year we picked up on another Herald report by Anne Gibson about another migrant family who unwittingly bought a leaky home nine years ago. ( see Leaky Homes Issues and ‘Stiched up’ Migrants) The White family were British immigrants who bought a house in Whangaparoa through a licensed real estate agent, Mrs White was keen to warn other migrants against being duped:
“Wilna White and her family are migrants who became leaky-building victims. After a nine-year struggle which is yet to end, she wants to warn other migrants of the dangers of buying a New Zealand house.
Paul and Wilna White lived in the English village of Barton-le-Clay outside Luton and worked in London, arriving here in December 2001.
The family loved Auckland’s beaches and bought a house at Whangaparaoa. They dealt with a licensed real estate agent.
Soon after buying, they discovered severe weather-tightness issues and the rot was so bad that a child fell part-way through an exterior deck.
The couple have fought for eight years to get compensation, claiming $475,000 in a Weathertight Homes Tribunal case. But earlier this year, they got just $173,000 and have appealed the decision.The tribunal awarded the Whites $121,000 from Lorelle Kerkin as the sole trustee of an estate that sold them the house at 6 Castaway Place, and $52,000 from Rodney District Council, which signed it off.
Mrs White said the past eight years had been a nightmare. She has been robbed of annual holidays because dealing with the leaky-house issue has taken up all her spare time.
Mrs White warned that migrants were in danger of being tricked.”
Has much changed  for migrants since the Whites arrived all those years ago? it would seem not, immigrants are still being seen as naive or easy targets and “stitched up” accordingly (also by Anne Gibson):
Immigrants are being saddled with leaky homes, unwittingly buying into our national disaster, says a Remuera real estate agent.Steve Koerber of Barfoot & Thompson has pointed the finger at vendors and other real estate agents, saying there is a lack of information about houses.
John Gray of the Homeowners and Buyers Association agreed that some agents were reluctant to let potential buyers know of weather-tightness issues, but an agency boss has rejected criticism.
Bryan Thomson, Harcourts chief executive, said agents were upfront if they were made aware of leaks. But not all vendors told agents about leak issues, he said.
Mr Koerber said migrants were particularly at risk because so many were unaware of the dangers of buying a New Zealand house. “I have a big problem with the fact that hundreds of new immigrants and some locals are literally stitched up into potentially leaky or actually leaky homes. Their eyes are wide shut and some owners and agents are genuinely relieved to find them,” Mr Koerber said.”
We’re mindful of the current immigration campaign being targeted at countries like Singapore that is using the draw of “cheap houses” to attract skilled, cashed-up workers over to 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.
An Immigration New Zealand pilot project aimed at attracting Singaporean migrants has resulted in over 1000 registrations each week since it was launched last month, with 3565 potential immigrants having registered their interest in just three weeks.
Would-be migrants are told of comparatively cheaper housing, car ownership and a relaxed lifestyle – and those who registered their interest on received an email from Immigration telling them how to apply for relevant visas.”
Caveat Emptor! when something looks too good to be true…  Just remember that $11.5 billion has to come from somewhere.

See also: Health ruined in Quarter of a Million NZ Homes: “A quarter of a million homes are so cold, damp and poorly built they are causing serious health problems.”

Today's posts - click here


Related Posts with Thumbnails