Saturday, April 24, 2010

NZ Immigration Falters, Kiwis Take Flight To Australia Once More

New Zealand’s annual immigration growth slowed for a second consecutive month in March, suggesting that the economic recovery is weaker than first thought.

The number of permanent migrant arrivals exceeded departures by 20,973 in the 12 months ended March 31, Statistics New Zealand said today in Wellington. That’s down from 21,618 in the year to February. Migration into New Zealand was in negative figures for March, which is bad news for an economy that is so dependent on a buoyant housing market and income from migrants.

Meanwhile, the number of New Zealanders leaving to live in Australia is at the highest level for 12 months, with 3,000 people leaving in March.  According to Statistics New Zealand 30,000 people have left for Australia over the last year.

One of the main reasons for the pick-up in departures is thought to be Australia’s better jobs market where salaries are 30% higher. Medical professionals and engineers are leading the exodus. Australian unemployment is falling from last year’s top of 5.3 % whilst NZ has an unemployment rate of  7.3% that has yet to peak.

For more see the video “The Exodus Continues” in the sidebar ->

The report has generated a strong reaction from New Zealanders. See what they’re saying on NZ Yahoo – “Kiwis flocking to Australia hit a high” . The irony is that their comments sound identical to from people thinking of leaving Britain, looking for a better life in New Zealand.
“Its all Helen Clarks fault!! thats who everone has blamed before for NZs problems. I foolishly returned to NZ a year ago to the plea of “kiwis come home” what a mistake, now trying to sell house and get going again.No place for people here that are educated and have a career goal.”

“..if it was not for me being very close to family i would be over there in a heart beat. Am sick and tired of policies geared for the no hopers, bottom feeding, handout conditioned people who get evrything thing for nothing, when i bust my ass working 50hrs a week along with my wife working the same to make ends meet, dosent seem right to be honest!

We currently live in China and find it hard to imagine how we could afford to live N.Z again. It’s a real shame as it’s such a beautiful country. Maybe that’s the plan to keep the population down. It’s no use blaming John Key I wouldn’t like to do his job, and this has started happening before he took over. All the best to those that are looking at shifting away from N.Z it’s an amazing world out there and lots more on offer, go for it!”

Yip well that what happens when the pay rates over there are better and the NZ government keeps giving land to the maoris, when it wasint theres in the first place why cant morioris claim land?? oh thats rite they got eatin! haha”

John Key has ensured NZ become two countries; his seperatist policies proof. We should be referring to NZ in the plural New ZealandS, and good luck to those lucky ones that are leaving this joke of a political swamp.”

“Yeh well I think Oz has alot going for it – better pensions, better pay, better weather and more open spaces. I am joining the brain drain……had enough of low pay, tall poppy syndrome and the general nanny state mentality of the community here.”

“New Zealand[s] stand for; abanker PM, collapsed phone networks, power outages, transport breakdowns, military equipment breakdowns, higher GST guaranteed, Emission taxes guaranteed, huge rates on properties forecast, privatisation of public owned assets. Who is going to be last to leave, who is going to turn the light out. Oooops, another power outage.”

“we I am an ozzie that came this way 10 years ago as it was the land of opportunity …but thinking of going back now…”

“well with the current government here set to increase the gst to 15% and increase tax on wine what do we expect”

Yep only the fools will be left here,and why not go good weather better pay lower tax G.S.T,much more to do and see the list goes on and on”

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Migrants’ Tales – Three Weeks In. An American’s First Impressions Of New Zealand

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 by an American whose Kiwi partner that tried to warn that “Kiwis are not cooler versions of Canadians.”
“Thank you for having this most excellent forum. I am thrilled to find it, as I am at my wits end with this place. I have been here two months, and the adjustment is not going well. Hearing other people’s experiences is validating, humorous, and encouraging (in the sense that it isn’t me that is crazy!)

I am not a good writer, so let’s get that out of the way up front. However, I intend on interacting with you wonderful people, and writing is how it must be done in this forum. I am also not technologically gifted. I apologize.

I came to NZ to be with my partner, who is a kiwi, but one one of those kiwis who has been away from NZ enough to be well aware and embarrassed by his fellow countrymen and their “norms”.

He tried to warn me that American ideas of kiwis are off-base, that really they are not a cooler version of Canadians, and that there is no good amount of liberal guilt to counter balance their unabashed consumerism like you might find in progressive communities in the States. I poo-pooed all his warnings, thinking he has been away too long to know, and that he must just not know the right people. He tried to tell me that people here are not interested in politics, the way the world works, how countries interact and effect one another, that all folks here cared about was real estate, looking like rock stars, and whatever is on the 2 television stations they have. He tried to warn me, he did. Well, silly silly me, I didn’t listen, I couldn’t believe it was possible. All the kiwis I have met abroad, well, turns out I must have been projecting a whole lot of coolness onto them that they never rightfully earned.

Without further ado, I would like to mention that I have been an immigrant before, so culture shock is not new to me. But I am surprised at the lack of awareness kiwis have for others and their environment. The lack of common interests has left me longing to interact with others who feel similarly. This is my attempt.

I will just follow up with a list of strange and interesting things I have observed. Some are superficial, some are disturbingly fixed traits that seems to go unquestioned. Bear with me:
1. Bikes. There are few bike lanes and less designated bike parking areas. Motorists are hostile and bikers apparently do not know the rules of biking, hand signals, how to warn they are passing another biker or pedestrian. There are no bike co-ops to tool share. Used bikes are about $200-$300. This is all insanity to me.

2. Heated towel racks in bathrooms. Really? No insulation in housing, but every bathroom has a heated towel rack? Hmm…that seems efficient. Whatever.

3. Race. Huh. And I thought Americans had some issues with race. Wow.

4. Price of rent. I don’t know how much more complacent people can be here. But it seems as though rent is ridiculously high. Weekly? Sigh.

5. Speaking of complacency…my partner was notified he would not be paid on time, but rather a month late because admin wasn’t on time processing paperwork. A month went by, he was notified it would be another two weeks. His co-workers as well. We were told there is no such thing as a labor department (yes, there is).

6. I can only speak of Auckland, but seriously, people here are the most dull but dolled up bunch I have every encountered. I keep looking for the DIY types that I have heard of, you know the “can-do” blah blah blah. Seems to me people are more than happy to pay to look the part than actually DO anything that might mess up their hair.

7. Willful ignorance, grasping at straws. What seems to get to me most often is the pride kiwis have in their country and its accomplishments. Someone told me they flew before the Wright brothers…-wright-brothers. I have read they think they invented the Flat White (uh, in the US is is called a “latte”, oh, but they just got into coffee, so I guess they just didn’t know it’s already been done) see They publish studies in their newspaper that to an outsider are just complete NZ women are the most sexually experienced? http://www.monstersandcriti…ually-experienced

8. Car culture…I am used to that, but on an island? There must be good public transit…a railroad etc…? Hmmm…not really. Bus fare is outrageous. Train system? Largely dismantled.

9. Pretending to be “green” while consuming relentlessly. I do not see a lot of reducing, or reusing…I do see lots of paid for bins in my neighborhood full of wonderful pieces of usable wood, furniture, and other materials. So sad.

10. People are just outright unfriendly. I have asked my flatmates why this is, and they do not know. Asked if they feel good when they are nice to strangers they say yes. Asked why they do not do it more often, they say that people will think they are crazy. Well, at least that it something we can agree upon.”

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Kaitaia’s Kids’ Drunken Night Of Rampage. Mob Rule

 Welcome to Kaitaia

Residents of the small Northland town of Kaitaia suffered $10,000 in damages after a ‘group’ of  10 tanked up kids rampaged through the town for three and a hlaf hours on Monday night last week.

Three and a half hours, where were the police all that time?

The Northern Advocate said:
“It is alleged the group involved in last week’s incident comprised 10 youths led by  a 16-year-old girl and included others aged 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Police have identified eight of the 10 suspected. Five are to appear in the Kaitaia Youth Court next month charged with burglary, receiving and shoplifting. Three others have been referred to the police Youth Aid section for their involvement.  Police are working to identify the other two.
Business owner Jack Rogers, of Rogers  & Rogers plumbing, said the alcohol-fuelled incident had left him with a $2600 repair bill for the window and another $1000 damage to items in the shop…
…Kaitaia police Detective Sergeant Trevor Beatson said the drama began about 7pm last Monday when the group targeted licensed premises. They allegedly drank the stolen alcohol and returned to the main street about 10.30pm and continued their trail of destruction until 2am the following day.
At one hotel they stole the entire “top shelf” and cleared out about 40 bottles of spirits, police said. They also made off with nearly 90 bottles of beer and 80 bottles of mixers.
Where were the parents of these young people, and what were they thinking letting their  girls into town after 10pm on a Monday night?” Mr Beatson said.”
Good question, but where were the police?
“There is a lot of concern in our community about this type of offending. The businesses who were targeted have expressed their outrage to police, at the clear lack of parental control and ability of parents to look after their children.”
Mr Beatson said the community was angry about the damage and their stolen property, but were mostly angry at parents who failed to control their children…”
The real problem is that the adults are incapable of controlling themselves.

Kaitaia has already got a terrible reputation as a place not be once the sun starts to set.
It was a group of adults that hurled racist abuse and bottles at a family of Swiss tourists taking a short stroll into town on evening.  The editor of the Northland Age said it was time the streets were cleaned up:
“This is not the first time that something approaching mob rule has been experienced in Kaitaia. Some years ago an English visitor, a tank commander no less, abandoned a walk through the town’s streets on a summer’s evening after encountering numbers of young people whose demeanour was so threatening as to raise questions, in his mind at least, regarding his safety.
It is time the streets were cleaned up. “
Some of the locals live in fear and have been forced to leave the town. A  reader contacted the Northern Age to say she had been the subject of racial abuse from teenagers in Matthews Road whilst driving her two young grandchildren along the road. A gang of youths had battered her car and hurled insults. She reported the incident to the police but had heard nothing back:
“The woman added that she had thought Kaitaia was a “pretty threatening place” when she arrived in the town 13 years ago, but had now reached the point where she was encouraging her daughter and son-in-law to take their family and leave.“I’m not doing that just because of this incident, but because I don’t think this is going to be a good place to live,” she said.
The change that she believed had taken place over the last 13 years, she added, was that the racist attitudes that had probably always existed were now being openly displayed.”
In November a 70 year old grandmother was beaten to death in her Kaitaia home by an intruder. Before her death Barbara Julian had told her niece that she was thinking about leaving town because people in the street had been frightening her.
The sad truth is that Kaitaia suffers from the same problems that afflict many New Zealand’s socially and economically deprived communities, there are ‘Kaitaias’ all over New Zealand.
Take for example Gisborne, another small town on the mid-east coast of the North Island.  You may wish to read our post from 14 April 2010 “Armed Robbery and Drugs, 80% or more smoke weed in Gisborne” and read some of the comments readers made to the Gisborne Herald about their town’s drug problem:
Marijuana and the lost generation
“I am writing with regard to the recent drug bust in Gisborne. I know that probably 80 percent (or more)of the town smoke weed, or think there is nothing wrong with it.
However, you just have to look around to see the effects of the generational abuse of marijuana and other drugs around our area.

Dilapidated homes, no one caring enough to do anything, the kids roaming around with no parents who give a damn, generations of welfare recipients, crime at all levels, car accidents, general apathy relating to just about everything.
The mental health issues, people who fly into rages and can’t handle everyday reality because of constantly being stoned. Kids at school stoned, or not at school at all.

The experience of taking my child to a public toilet where before us a school kid (in uniform) had been inside getting stoned.
Going to town with my young children and walking past carloads of people parked up smoking weed.
The young mother all of 17-years-old in a store so stoned she could barely speak with her passed out baby in her arms . . . no doubt they had just been ‘toking’ in the car, too!
I don’t personally know the people involved in the recent drugs bust no, but I expect they had children who would have been exposed to it. Their drugs would be sold to people who are already dependent, or maybe young people just starting out. Home detention is a joke. Drug dealing is not OK, no matter how many times people try to justify it!

It’s about time people stood up and realised it, although I do know that in Gizzy it is a big call. I know that we have other “evils” such as alcohol and tobacco, too, but I personally think that marijuana is one of our biggest problems by far, especially on the coast.
another reader added:
“Drug problem being handed down
Well spoken “Angry” regarding marijuana and the lost generation, The Gisborne Herald, March 24.
Most people have absolutely no idea just how much drugs in all forms are affecting a large percentage of our people right here in Gisborne.
If you know what to look for (most don’t) you will certainly see affected people all over the place, in the city, in supermarkets and at gas stations etc. As stated by “Angry” carloads sitting around smoking cannabis and “P” in public.
The saddest thing about this is that this behaviour is being handed down to children big-time.
If a couple have this problem then their four to six children will also and so to their children which collectively add up to about 24 persons and this has been going on for generations.
The money that is able to be made from drugs supports a large number of people in many ways right here in Gisborne.
The people I am talking about number in the hundreds and are so deep in the lifestyle that it is too late for them.
Far too much cheek-turning is going on and if this social tolerance continues, well who knows where it will end up?
But have a look at the lifestyles of the people who live in the ‘Bronx’ because that’s where it’s heading for sure.
Drugs, then large unemployment because of drug habits, followed by violence, along with all forms of abuse and family crises.
That’s where it’s headed.”
But that is just two towns out of the whole of the country! you say, you can’t judge a whole country by that.

But there are too many other places with the same problem for the pattern to ignored.

Places like Huntly, dogged by rampant crime. The small towns of Hawke’s Bay – Napier, Flaxmere and Hastings where in the latter a gang of kids smashed their way through the CBD at 4am. Small villages like Mapua where a brawl over the Easter weekend involving 30 people in the early hours of the morning prompted residents to call for a greater police presence.

There are no signs of it abating either, the once cohesive small communities that used to be the backbone of  New Zealand are rapidly falling apart, crime and disorder are out of control, drug and alcohol abuse are rife and the country lacks the resources to stop it.

Read also links sent by a reader:
Murupara - NZ's wild frontier towns populated with gangsters and bored hoodlums loitering on the streets.

Parents act over school plagued by violence -  Parents have been forced to take their children's education into their own hands at Rangitahi College, Murupara. The school is plagued by drug use, violence and the abuse of teachers and students.

Teachers face rise in class violence (2003) - Education Ministry figures  showed 395 stand-downs last year (2002) for attacks on teachers..."teenagers are more prepared to stand up for their rights these days."

Hundreds of teachers assaulted in NZ schools (2010) - 777 teachers were assaulted at work during 2008/9. 442 of them required ACC funded treatment for their injuries. This included a teacher who was stabbed in the back by a pupil during a lesson but doesn't include Lois Dear who was battered to death in her classroom.

"Some teachers were too scared to do lunchtime duty alone and had resorted to supervising in pairs."

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

UN Criticises NZ On Rights Of Iindigenous Peoples, Treatment Of Youth Offenders And Asylum-seekers

At long last New Zealand has had its arm twisted into signing the United Nation’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without any caveats according to the Maori Party.

143 countries have already signed the declaration, New Zealand is one of the last remaining UN member states (NZ, Canada and USA) to reverse their opposition to the declaration.

The declaration is a non-binding text and sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues.

Prime Minister, John Key, has already said the signing will have no practical effect, according to the New Zealand Herald:

“A United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people that New Zealand signed up to overnight will have no practical effect, Prime Minister John Key said this morning.”

The leader of the opposition, Phil Goff, was quoted as saying he saw no reason for the government signing up to something they had no intention of fulfilling:

“Why would you sign up to something you never intended to act on and you don’t actually believe in… They are signing up to something they don’t believe in and never intend to implement. The Maori Party has been duped again.”

Mr Key said for a long time the Government had made it clear it wanted to affirm the declaration and there had been “no secret” about that

Dr Sharples, also a Maori Party co-leader, said after negotiation his party and the Government had come to a position they could both accept. He previously expressed concerns about the number of caveats the Government wanted to attach but today seemed happy with the final outcome and was pleased with the standing ovation his speech received at the UN…

…Mr Key said the idea of including Treaty into a written constitution was something the government was “a long way away” from considering.”

A month ago the UN Human Rights Committee finished their consideration and published their 5th NZ Rights Report.

The committee expressed its concerns about possible breaches of the rights of Maori people, expressed its alarm that the country’s age for criminal responsibility was 10 and that a militarization of juvenile offenders wasn’t a great way for a country to treat its youth!

From a UN press release:

“Several experts took exception to the New Zealand delegation’s claim that consideration of the Waitangi Treaty of 1840 was built into the country’s law-making process, underlining that the Treaty’s translations – and, thus, its very meaning — remained unsettled, even contentious. To that end, Hellen Keller, expert from Switzerland, stressed that a “consultation process” regarding land and water rights legislation was not the same as seriously integrating the views and concerns of the Maori in the decision-making process.

A few experts expressed concern that the age of criminal responsibility — which was set at 10 for murder and manslaughter — was quite low. Saying “this was a knife that cuts both ways”, Rajsoomer Lallah, expert from Mauritius, suggested that if — as the delegation indicated — there were so few young offenders, the age could be raised. While he understood its consideration of the seriousness of the offence compelled New Zealand to set the age at 10, he believed the maturity of the person should be the primary factor in making such a determination.

On a related note, he expressed concern over reports from non-governmental organizations in New Zealand that there was a “militarization” of juvenile offenders, suggesting this was not a “salutary” way for a country to treat its youth.”

The report then went on to criticise New Zealand’s treatment of asylum seekers, the victims of human trafficking and prostitution.

We have the impression that New Zealand was backed into a corner by the committee’s report, released on 18 March 2010. Within a month NZ had signed on the dotted line (in secret) and announced its acquiescence

It remains to be seen if Key will be challenged by both the Maori Party and the UN on his assertion that his government has no intention of implementing the agreement, which was made without any of the caveats the government had tried to introduce. If that’s the case the UN must continue to pressure New Zealand into living up to it’s claims that it is a country with a strong commitment to human rights, by insisting on hard evidence not weasel words.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

North Shore School Security Guard Mugged, Shot In Face

A security guard at Onepoto Primary School in the affluent suburb of  North Shore, Auckland was shot in a the face after he was attacked by a teenager demanding money on Friday evening.

Despite the guards protestations that he had  no cash on him the young thug shot him four times in the face and arms with an airgun. Read the report here

Official police figures show that during 2009 violent crime rose by 9.2% for the whole of new Zealand with 65,465 offences being recorded. The number of recorded homicide offences leaped from 23 to 134, with 65 recorded murders in 2009 compared to 13 in 2008.

But what does this escalation of violent crime mean on a local level for the residents in suburbs that were once thought of as relatively safe and  ‘great places to raise kids’ ?

You may remember the story of a Beach Haven mother who was disgusted at random acts of violent that were ruling the streets of her community. Beach Haven is just to the west of Northcote where Onepoto primary school is situated.

The mother said she considered it a lovely, sunny place that didn’t feel violent but had been hearing of regular incidents of thuggery and had found out (through Facebook) that two young boys were beaten up at 6am on morning as they waited for a bus on Rangatira Rd.

One had his nose broken, eye-socket cracked and three teeth knocked out. His shoes and cellphone were stolen. See Street attack fuels fears:
“Beach Haven community constable Grant Kenny says police haven’t been able to identify the offenders. The case is on hold unless they receive new information, he says.
Liz says Beach Haven and Birkdale have a sad reputation already.
“Why exactly do we have this random violence ruling the streets of Beach Haven?” she says.
“There has got to be a better way to sort it out than simply moving to Takapuna.”
Even Takapuna has its problems though, in September of last year a man walked into Rodney Wayne hairdressers in the Westfield Shopping Centre with a shotgun and robbed the staff, punching one of them in the throat.

To our knowledge no one has been arrested in connection with that incident either and we suspect that gang activity is now well entrenched in the neighbourhood.

Random savage attacks in North Shore linked to Killer Beez Gang expansion bid (January 2008)
"New Zealand's fastest-growing gang has spread to the North Shore, and is linked to this week's hyper-violent attacks.

The Weekend Herald has learned that one of those charged with the attacks, an 18-year-old from Glenfield, has a close family connection to the North Shore "recruiter" for the street gang, known as the Killer Beez, that started in the South Auckland suburb of Otara and now has followers throughout the city

North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams last night described the gang’s presence as “disturbing“.

He said he would meet police next week to make sure street gangs did not get a foothold on the North Shore, and wanted to tell the Killer Beez or any of their counterparts considering crossing the bridge it was no “soft touch“.
Police investigating Wednesday’s attacks have raised the possibility that they were done as a “prospecting” exercise for the Killer Beez…”

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