Friday, July 23, 2010

British Expats No Longer Favour New Zealand As Top Destination

A Natwest International survey has revealed that New Zealand is no longer the top destination of choice for British expatriates, it has been displaced by Australia:
“A survey commissioned by British bank NatWest has found Australia has displaced New Zealand as the top destination choice for Brits abandoning the mother country.
Brisbane has also overtaken Perth as Australia’s most popular destination for migrants.
So popular is it that, according to the third annual NatWest International Personal Banking Quality of Life report, one in every 10 Brisbanites is now a British expat.
The NatWest figures fly in the face of those in the 2006 national census, which found just 4.5 per cent of Brisbane residents were British.
But Brisbane Marketing chief executive John Aitken said there was no doubt southeast Queensland had become Australia’s fastest-growing region, with 1100 people now arriving each week from interstate and overseas. more here”
Immigration in New Zealand has virtually slowed to a trickle and could soon turn negative, economists say. Net migration has hit its lowest monthly level since late 2008, having significant implications both for the economy and the housing market.

Just 70 more people arrived in New Zealand than left in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to Statistics NZ, down sharply on the monthly gains of more than 1000 at the start of the year.

Net migration has hit its lowest monthly level since late 2008.
“ANZ Bank economists said the support provided to the economy from net immigration was “clearly diminishing” with arrivals trending down while departures were rising.
On current trends the prospect of New Zealand losing more people from migration, rather than gaining them as is usually the case, “is very real”, ANZ said. “This does not augur well for the housing market and domestic spending.”
There has been a slowdown in the number of migrants arriving in New Zealand, with a sharp drop in work visas in the past year. At the same time more people have been leaving, especially for Australia, since the end of last year.
Migration has been a key support for economic growth, housing and retail sales. There is a link between strong migration and rising house prices and rents, while house prices tend to fall in times of migration loss, economists say.
For example, during the economic downturn of the late 1990s, more people left New Zealand than arrived for a couple of years, and house price inflation slumped from more than 10 per cent a year to zero…more here
Also read these recent blogs:
Migration to New Zealand continues downward spiral – 21 June 2010
“More bad news for the NZ economy today with the release of the latest set of immigration figures. Net migration has sunk to an 18 month low as more as more and more Kiwis leave for Australia…”
New Zealand Immigration Growth Continues To Slow. Trans-Tasman Departures At 12 Month High – 23 April 2010
“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…”

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Armed Offenders In Nawton, Hamilton

Within hours of writing about the Armed Offenders call-out in Kamo, Whangarei, this morning there was news of another armed stand-off in the town of Hamilton.

The siege has now ended but the offender escaped. Here’s what Yahoo News had to say about the incident, which may have had gang connections:
“An armed offenders squad callout in Hamilton is over after a suspected sex offender was holed up in a house in the suburb of Nawton. Police said the scene was being cleared but refused to say if the man had been apprehended or if he had fled.
The man was understood to have assaulted a woman two days ago and held her against her will. She is being treated in Waikato Hospital. Streets were cordoned off as armed police surrounded the house in Sunnyside Rd.
Police earlier believed the man, who had gang connections, may have had a firearm.”
Another report stated
Colin Kiriona, a 25-year-old Mongrel Mob member, was thought to be holed up in a Sunnyside Road property earlier this afternoon.
Members of the Armed Offenders Squad surrounded the property, using seven distraction devices, or stun grenades, before realising no one was inside the house.
A firearm was recovered at the address…
3 News understands the woman is currently in hospital for injuries sustained during the incident. She is not in critical condition, although police have said this was nearly a homicide investigation.
Police have asked members of the public to be on the lookout for Kiriona, who has a prominent tattoo of a bulldog.”
Meanwhile, staff at the Whangarei school close to this morning’s call-out have been praised for their action – read about it here

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More Work For Armed Offenders Squad In Kamo

New Zealand’s curiously named Armed Offenders Squad (shouldn’t it be defenders?) has again seen action in a call-out in the Whangarei suburb of Kamo this morning (Update - later in the day there was another AOS incident in Nawton, Hamilton)

Residents in the town, located in the country which is supposedly ‘the most peaceful nation on earth,’ endured major disruption during a four hour standoff during which stun grenades and tear gas were used to arrest a 35 year old man on  Wilkinson Ave, opposite Kamo High School.

Fortunately staff and students at the school were kept away until the situation was resolved but neighbouring residents weren’t so lucky when police and AOS officers arrived with a search warrant at 5.45 this morning, searching for a man wanted on serious methamphetamine related drug charges. Read about it here.

Police, no doubt mindful of the recent suburban shooting of two officers and a police dog in Phillipstown, Christchurch (video included) last week, were taking no chances with this operation and their tactics obviously paid off.

Police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett told reporters at the Whangarei leader “it’s all about safety“.

Does that mean this method of executing a search warrant likely to become the norm now?  Because  suburban shoot-outs and stand-off are becoming more and more frequent in New Zealand, the pressure is on for NZ police officers to carry guns. The country cannot afford many more fatalities.

On Monday we wrote about an man getting shot in the stomach during the execution of a search warrant in New Lynn, Auckland; and an armed police operation in Dunedin in which it sounded as if police used stun grenades (smoke, tear gas or other devices)  to subdue a person in an apartment near Dunedin Polytechnic.

New Zealand may not be fighting any wars on  its own soil but real battles are sure as heck going-on in the streets every day:


Tourists caught up in Northland shoot-out - 11 July 2010

“A party of tourists on quad bikes near Ahipara were caught up in the aftermath of an armed “squabble” between two brothers.
The group was stopped by fully kitted out Armed Offender Squad officers looking for the offenders, no doubt scaring the wits out of the visitors looking forward to a quiet day at the beach…”

Another Armed Offenders Squad call out in Auckland - 22 June 2010
” It’s been a busy period for the Armed Offenders Squad.
Three  days ago there was an armed robbery of a pub in Point Chev that led to an AOS stand off in the residential area of Flatbush, 20kms away.
Then this morning they cordoned off roads and surrounded a house in Pakuranga Road, South Auckland. Witnesses said the police were negotiating with a person holed-up in a property. The incident is thought to have ended without injury or loss of life. See “Another dickhead on the lose in Panmure
The day finished with call out to the North Shore suburb of Hllcrest, another quiet residential area…”
Family row led to shots being fired from house – 23 June 2010
A Pukehina Beach man at the centre of an armed police seige after he fired several gun shots has been sentenced to 100 hours’ community work and six months’ supervision. Shaun Albert Cockburn, 39, who earlier pleaded guilty to charges of discharging a firearm near a house was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday.”
Armed police called out in Southland – 10 June 2010
An Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) call-out, an unprovoked assault which left a man unconscious, and an aggravated dairy robbery at knife point kept Invercargill police busy overnight.  At 8.50pm police received a 111 call from Bluff, reporting that a man with a weapon was threatening to kill the two other people at a property — another man and a woman.”
Police seek man after armed offenders called out -15 May 2010
Police say the AOS was sent out on Saturday morning to a rural property where it was thought there had been an altercation between a man and his nephew. They say the women who called them had fled the house saying she had fears for a young man after her partner had assaulted him and threatened him with a firearm.”
Norsewood gunman puts lower North Island into lockdown –  5 October 2009
Residents of the lower north island towns of Dannevirke, Ormondville and Takapau have been advised to stay inside, lock their doors and stay away from windows after a body was found in a car abandoned by a gunman on the run. Police closed State Highway 2 between Norsewood and Waipukurau while they hunted for the man who had also fired at police and shot at a farm worker, injuring him in the arm. The offender was described as a European, aged 46 and highly dangerous. He was later named as David John Bourke from Wanganui.”
Armed sieges and gun politics in NZ – 7 May 2009
An armed stand-off in Chaucer Road South, Napier that started yesterday morning continues into today. A routine cannabis bust went horribly wrong when the suspect, Jan Molenaar, shot dead policeman Len Snee, 53 and critically injured 3 other people yesterday in the small tourist town of Napier, famed for its art deco architecture. Len Snee was the fifth police officer to have been shot dead since the Aramoana massacre of 1990 and one of 29 officers to have died as a result of a criminal act in New Zealand.”

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Scott Guy Murder - Puppies Missing, Vandalism At Farm

 Almost two weeks on and Police are still no further forward in the search for the killers of Feilding Farmer Scott Guy.

Mr Guy, aged 31, was found shot in the throat on the driveway of his Feilding farm on the morning of 8 July 2010. His brutal and violent death devastated his young family, leaving his young pregnant wife Kylee without a life partner she was devoted to and their 2 year old son Hunter without an adored father.

Since the shooting information has gradually emerged that the Guy’s Aorangi Rd home was extensively vanadalised in January 2009 during its  construction. An old farmhouse previously on the property had been burned to the ground in a “suspicious fire” in October 2008 and in the two months previous to that items had been stolen from it.

According to a report released today three chocolate Labrador puppies*, out of a litter of eight, went missing from a building on the farm sometime between  5pm on 7 July and Mr Guy’s death the following morning.

The building where the puppies were kept is said to have been around 80 metres from where Mr Guy was shot. As far as we know nothing else was taken from the property at the time Mr Guy died and there appears to be no motive for the murder.

Fliers advertising the puppies’ sale had been left in local businesses at the end of June. However, it has taken almost two weeks for police to release that information and ask the public for help in finding them.
A neighbour has told the  Manawatu Standard that she’d locked her doors after hearing a loud car racing down the street about 10.30pm on 7 July:
“It was doing laps around Aorangi Rd and Durie St (ed. Durie Road?) and this is unusual as we don’t see many people out here at that time of the night,” she said.
The paper went on to add that an email was circulated to residents in the area warning about a recent attempted burglary of a shed.
TVNZ reported last night that there were rumours in the town that Mr Guy had confronted gang members after finding and destroying cannabis plants on his farm.

Despite Feilding being a tight-knit community no one has come forward with any tip-offs or information for the police and Mr Guy’s wife and child have gone into hiding. (read police disappointed with silence)

Aorangi Road, although rural in nature, is very close to the conurbation of Feilding and the family lived toward the north eastern end of the road:

View Larger Map
*Purebred Chocolate Labrador puppies are valuable dogs. One litter in nearby Palmerston North is currently being advertised on TradeMe at $600 a puppy.

Read also:  Safety becoming a necessity for farmers – “The murder of Manawatu farmer Scott Guy is being described as an unfortunate sign of the times….”

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ministry Of Defence Houses "Freezing"

This news item may be of interest to people thinking of emigrating to New Zealand and working for the NZ defence force. Defence housing appears to have exactly the same problems with lack of insulation, damp and heating that other homes have in New Zealand. The women decided to go public with their concerns because of a number of symptoms their families were suffering, including barking coughs, asthma, ear and chest infections and allergies suffered by young children:

From Stuff
Freezing Cold Houses anger RNZAF Mums
“Some of the women living at RNZAF Base Woodbourne are waging war with the Ministry of Defence over freezing temperatures in the houses where they are raising families.
Two partners of air-force servicemen said they were desperate for action after going through all the right channels and having their complaints ignored. One was so fed up she said she was leaving Marlborough to bring her family up in Christchurch, leaving her husband behind. Splitting the family was a last resort, but her children’s health came first, she said.

Air Force spokesman Squadron Leader Kavae Tamariki said military housing throughout New Zealand was in poor condition. “I understand where the Woodbourne women are coming from,” he said. Any complaints would be listened to if they went through the correct chain of command, he said...

...The complaints included homes with no insulation and no carpet, where fireplaces had been boarded up, damp crept up the walls, mould grew and window frames were rotten, with paint holding the glass in place. Heat escaped through gaps between the floorboards and around the windows. Water from a leaking roof ran down the walls of one house. Each home had a heat pump, but even with it on all day, one woman said they had to wear down jackets and scarves.

One woman had a power bill for June of more than $580" the full report here

For more about winter living conditions in New Zealand please read:
NZ’s High Winter Death Rate and Burning Wood to Keep Warm
“Most People Consider Hypothermia a Symptom of Being Cold, Rather an Expression of National Identity
Leaky Homes
The Problems Migrants Encounter with Housing
Immigrants Caught in Cold Poverty Trap
$380 a Week Gets You What?
How to go to Bed New Zealand Style

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"NZ: 100% Pure RIp Off"

Oh dear, bet the guys who coined the “100% Pure NZ” are cringing right now.

It will be interesting to see how well the brand’s image survives this latest onslaught on the slogan that lends itself so easily to abuse. It is currently being used to highlight how expensive New Zealand has become.

It all started with an article in the NZ Herald under the header “NZ: 100% Pure Rip-off. Rip off New Zealand?” written by Peter Bills, an international writer for Independent News & Media.
Guys, just 14 months out from the 2011 Rugby World Cup, you are sleep-walking into acquiring such an unwanted reputation worldwide.
The price of ordinary, everyday articles and living costs horrify me in this country. I’ve been here, admired the place, loved the people since 1975. I wasn’t even put off by my first ever weekend in New Zealand – 17cm of rain in 24 hours and sitting shin-deep in water at Eden Park as the All Blacks aqua-planed past Scotland in that infamous 1975 test.
But what I see today is of far, far greater concern. This place is becoming one of the most expensive I visit, one giant rip-off. And most of you seem unaware of it.”
We think not, thousands of migrants struggle to make ends meet in New Zealand, many of them attracted by baiting 'NZ is cheap’ campaigns, such as that run in Singapore recently.
“What I find here amazes me. So much so that I don’t know how most ordinary folk manage to balance their budgets. True, petrol is much cheaper than in Britain. But in just about every other field, hotels, car hire, restaurant food, wine, clothes or whatever, you’re the victims of massive overcharging.
Of course, it’s always difficult to compare like with like when speaking of different countries but this is an overall impression from someone from Europe.
I sat down for a simple lunch at a restaurant on Auckland’s waterfront last week. The sun was shining, the setting fabulous. A glass of splendid New Zealand sauvignon blanc was a delight – until we saw the price. $28 for two ordinary sized glasses? You don’t pay that in Paris or London, unless you go somewhere like the George V in Paris or London’s Ivy restaurant.”
But ordinary folk don’t balance their budgets. Many are up to their ears in debt, working two jobs and sending their kids to school hungry – 230,000 children are living in unacceptable poverty in New Zealand. As for those who like to maintain lavish lifestyles? well, there’s always good old fashioned fraud and theft to fall back on. Little wonder that crime is on the rise.
“Now let’s be fair. The NZ dollar has appreciated significantly against the pound over the course of the past 12-18 months. When I last visited NZ it was $2.40 to £1. Today, it is around $2.04. But does that explain a growing number of instances where an overseas visitor felt totally ripped off?
And there is growing evidence that it is chiefly the cities of this country who are leading this “grab what you can, make a killing” attitude towards visitors. If that is indeed the case, then it is the country areas, the less populated centres, who will suffer most.
Take car hire. Am I the only visitor to New Zealand who has ever decided that it would be better to drive from Auckland to Wellington and stop for a couple of nights somewhere to see the North Island? It hardly struck me as a revolutionary idea, yet this set me up as a target for just about every major hire car firm in Auckland.
Hertz demanded an outrageous $300 drop-off fee if I wanted to leave the car in Wellington. Yet isn’t that what 90 per cent of visitors would do if they were touring, especially going on to the South Island? Companies such as Avis, Europcar and others were demanding only slightly smaller amounts. Some didn’t even have a drop facility in Wellington…
…Parking in one city centre carpark in Wellington this week was $9 an hour, $39 for four hours. In Monte Carlo, the first hour’s parking at public carparks is, er, free.
Then there are the hotels. This weekend in Wellington at the InterContinental, a king room costs $410. Now it is rugby test weekend and it has club facilities but even so. £205 a room? You might pay that in New York or London but not in most European capitals. And just imagine what on earth such a room will cost on the weekend of October 8/9 next year when Wellington hosts two of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
The capital city costs a fortune and it’s not just an Englishman who thinks so. In the winter of 2008, in the company of several visiting South African writers, we sat down in a harbourside restaurant. When the menus arrived, we were so horrified by the prices we all got up and walked out. It was daylight robbery.
Last week, at Kermadec in Auckland, one main lunch dish was $33. In the evening, entrees were $25, mains around $42 with desserts $18. The wines were equally expensive. In a Takapuna restaurant, also last week, a bottle of Stoneleigh pinot noir cost $48. I could take you to a dozen restaurants in Nice where you’d drink a perfectly good French wine for nothing near that amount….”
Welcome to New Zealand.

So long as someone is prepared to pay those sort of prices people are going to charge them. It’s a free market economy. Perhaps more people should be “horrified by the prices” and ‘get up and walk out’ and spend less time being mollified by the scenery? Whilst they’re absorbed in gazing at those vistas, searching for the lifestyle and dangling from the end of bungy cords they’ll not feel their pockets emptying until it’s too late (In NZ, everything – even the scenery – comes with a price tag)
“Does any of this matter? After all, it’s only tourists who might get fleeced and they won’t be back every year (ed. only tourists?! quite a few immigrants would take issue with that remark) And the Rugby World Cup which is being held here next year might be the last time it is hosted exclusively by New Zealand. So hey guys, grab what you can in hiked up profits, make a fortune and smile all the way to the bank. Right? No, wrong, dead wrong. (ed. why not? it’s been going on for 150 years and has worked just fine)

New Zealanders will be dumb if they even think of such a philosophy. The World Cup ought to be an event that showcases the whole country to visitors from every corner of the globe. They should go home extolling the virtues of this land. Think long term, six or even 16 years of profits on the back of that scenario, not a money grab operation spanning six weeks which will persuade many visitors never to return.
Already, the word is getting out in an international sense that New Zealand is getting expensive. The fact is, you just can’t afford to allow that image to take root. You’re too far away from the rest of the world to afford such a scenario. In Paris, Rome, London or New York they can get away with that purely due to population numbers in those parts of the world. It is very different here. International travellers are not fools; fewer will come if New Zealand is known as too expensive…” read the whole article here
New Zealand draws most of its international travellers from Australia, most of them just a few hours flight time away from New Zealand. Other fans from wider afield are said to be basing themselves in cities like Sydney and plan to fly in and out for matches, or watch the games in 3D cinemas, outdoor venues, bars etc.  There’s only so much that can be done in New Zealand during winter and who’d want to hang around for longer than they’d have to?

Some of the visiting teams may decide to do the same. In September last year the Springboks decided to give ‘boring Hamilton’ a miss and jet in from the Gold Coast, Australia, for a match. How many teams will do the same next year is anyone’s guess but who will blame them for wanting a bit of sun, sea and sand?

The Herald today published another contribution on this subject, this time from former All Black Justin Marshall who agreed that New Zealand is expensive and not just for visitors, he admitted that he’d ignored the warnings from friends that New Zealand was more expensive than Britain:
When former All Black halfback Justin Marshall left for England five years ago, a litre of petrol cost about $1.30. He remembers a flat white coffee costing about $3 and a beer at his local about $6. But since his return to New Zealand about a month ago, Marshall has noticed his British pounds are not going as far as he had hoped. “I think five years ago you could get a coffee for around $3 or $3.50 but I wouldn’t think there would be many places you’d get one for under $4,” he said. “Petrol is now close to $1.80 a litre and if you’re drinking quality lagers in a pub, a lot of the bars are charging up towards the $10 mark. “It’s expensive and something you can’t help but notice.”
Marshall, 36, agreed with rugby correspondent Peter Bills that New Zealand was an expensive country – and not just for visitors. Bills – sounding a caution ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup – said the prices of everyday articles had “horrified” him and Kiwis were “victims of massive overcharging”. He said New Zealand was becoming “one giant rip-off”.
Marshall, an 81-test All Black who is now a Sky TV rugby comments man, said his rugby friends had also warned him that the cost of living had become higher in New Zealand than in Britain. “All of my mates who had come home kept saying to me that I needed to be aware that the expense of living in New Zealand is something you really have to take into account … It really has become an expensive country to live in.”
He said his weekly grocery spend in Britain was between £150 and £200 ($323-$431) to feed his family of five. Here, the bill is $400 to $500 a week.
“I’ve really noticed it with things like cheese, milk and bread and butter … When I was in the UK I bought a leg of imported New Zealand lamb for 17 quid [$36.60]. I bought the same thing here and it was close to $40. “Even when you take the exchange rate into account, it still costs more to buy our own meat here.”
New Zealand Beef & Lamb chief executive Rod Slater said Marshall was “pretty much on the mark” and said prices for export lamb in Britain, our biggest market, were generally “on a par” with prices here. Mr Slater said this parity was partly because of New Zealanders paying GST on food whereas consumers in Britain did not. “So that’s 12.5 per cent right there.
“The other thing is a huge part of the lamb sold in the UK is frozen, whereas we get it fresh here. Our currencies have come closer together as well. I mean, not long ago it was $3 to one pound; now it’s two to one, so that has made a difference, too.” Marshall said retailers, hoteliers and people in the hospitality industry were in a Catch-22 situation with next year’s Rugby World Cup looming.
But he agreed with Cup chief executive Martin Snedden, who expressed concerns that rorting visitors could damage the country’s reputation. “You want people to come to NZ and see it for what it is,” Marshall said, “but in the same breath we want to make money … It’s an opportunity to maximise businesses and maximise what New Zealand has to offer and people are going to be here anyway.
“It’s very difficult to pull away from that opportunity when it is so evidently going to be in your face but you want those people who come here to go back to the UK and not talk about how difficult they found it to find cheap hotels or how expensive it was to go out for dinner.”… read more here
Little wonder that well over 500,000 New Zealanders live in Australia and a similar number in Britain, they know when they’re onto a good thing.

Enough of our thoughts on this. Let’s take a wider view and look at the responses this article drew from people who live, or have lived, in New Zealand and see what prospective visitors and migrants can learn from their comments.

This is a sample from the  TravelMSN site where there was a massive response on a very emotive topic:

NZ a giant rip-off?

kiwi rip off
Posted by: Nick, auckland, on 19/07/2010 9:50:59 PM
I am a recently returned Kiwi and about to become a recently departed one. New Zealand has become, very sadly, ridiculously expensive and there seems little reason for it other than blatant profiteering. the result is an escalation in crime and an influx of the rich. I feel terribly sad to have lost my homeland and very let down by the politicians who are responsible yet unaccountable. If anyone is likely to save this country I for one think it will be the Maori and good luck to them, they are fighting for the values the pakeha seem to have abandoned and I feel ashamed.

Land of Milk & Honey?
Posted by: ndawoodz,Wellington, on19/07/2010 10:38:16 AM
I wish I could disagree…but alas! Single mother of two, prices for food are ridiculous! With pride I have often said, “this is the land of milk & honey”. Seemingly the best of our milk & honey etc gets exported overseas & foreigners get NZ quality produced goods, for cheaper than us!! What!!?? This is seriously not good, us that live here contribute to our economy & I am now left wondering…for what?. The rest of my family had moved to Oz many years ago, so when I visit them I often spend hours in their supermarkets looking at the huge array of variety & prices. The Australians & co are definitely spoilt for choices & prices. Of course us Kiwis are not happy about…but we don’t get any options…Just do what your told! Hmmmmn maybe another family off to Oz soon!…great economy, realistic wages & apparently cheaper NZ produce!

Have to agree
Posted by: goldie, Auckland, on 19/07/2010 9:02:16 AM
Having just moved back to Auckland after 10 yrs living in Europe, the USA and Hong Kong I have to say that I agree mostly that NZ is over priced. Also the quality of things like clothing is crap here compaired to the UK and the USA. I have been looking to set up a house and the choices in furniture and beding etc are pretty poor here. I have just ordered a whole lot of 100% cotton beding from the UK at a much cheaper price (including shipping) than I can get here in NZ. I will be buying most of my clothes from the UK and the USA as the colour choices here (black or red neither of which I wear) are so limited that I can go into every clothing shop in the likes of St Lukes and not find anything in a colour that I would wear. Also most of the clothes we get here are synthetic fabric and I only wear natural fibers. Food here is also very expensive. My supermarket shop is about twice as expensive here as it was in the UK. As much as I love NZ I do find it to be overpriced!

i agree
Posted by: Gemz, Wellington nz , on 19/07/2010 7:02:59 AM
I am a english lass, lived in nz for almost 6 years now and i agree with the reporter. Houses are cheaper here, cars and petrol but thats about it. Clothes are very expensive and i do not agree that they are better quality. Food is totally over priced, its cheaper to buy new zealand lamb in britain then here……what the hell is up with that. Wine is over priced here everything is, they seem to sell nz products to other countrys for much cheaper and then make us pay prices through the roof. Its stupid. New zealand is a beautiful country and i love living here, can hardly afford to live here as the ongoing problem with price rising and wages not rising. Somthing must be done.

NZ a giant rip off?
Posted by: Linds, Te Pahu, on 19/07/2010 5:32:59 AM
Having just returned from a trip overseas to both Italy and the UK and I can vouch for certainty that in NZ we are ripped off for food and clothes in our shops. But then European countries don’t seem to add the equivalent of GST to food or clothing as these are, rightly, considered essentials for everyday living. So why do we put up with this tax on essentials in NZ? As for accommodation, car hire, eating out and wine, NZ is cheaper but then our average incomes are, I reckon, over 40% down on most European countries. One thing most noticeable about the European countries we visited is the abundant affluence as manifested by the huge numbers of new cars on the roads plus the shops, restaurants and pubs were mostly full of customers spending freely. They seem to have fully recovered from the recession.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

More Suburban Shoot Outs In New Zealand - Updated

Just days after two policemen were shot and a police dog killed in Christchurch, there’s been a similar shoot out on a suburban street in New Zealand, this time in New Lynn, West Auckland, plus an armed police operation in Dunedin.
In the New Lynn incident a man was taken from the scene with a gunshot wound to the stomach. The shooting occurred during the execution of a search warrant in connection with an arson incident:
“Late last night, police said they had gone to the Nikau St address about 6pm to arrest the man over an alleged arson. Asked if police were armed on arrival, police spokesman Kev Loughlin said police did have guns. “But I am not going to make a statement about when the officers were armed,” Mr Loughlin said.
A fight broke out and the man fired at officers. They fired back, hitting him in the stomach. The man, aged in his 30s, is understood to have lived in a caravan alongside six blocks of two units down a right-of-way…”
The Police Union say that an attempt use a taser to subdue the offender had failed and they emphasised again the importance of firearms being available to front line officers.

As the day progressed news was released about an armed police operation in Dunedin this afternoon. Witnesses said a number of armed officers and police cars converged in the city and had cordoned off Dundas St, near Logan Park, at Clyde St, Forth St and Harbour Terrace; near Otago Polytechnic. Reports of shots being fired would not be confirmed by police but a number of witnesses said they thought they heard shots.
Neighbour Brylie Meng said police first arrived around 1pm, and ordered the man, who she believed was in his early twenties, to surrender, while armed police trained their guns on the house. “All we could hear was ‘If you come out now, we won’t hurt you, come out with your hands in the air’.”
Eventually, about 15 armed police went around the side of the house before about five shots were fired. A man was lead outside a short time later, she said. Ms Meng said she was not sure whether they were gunshots but “it was really, really loud”
Smoke was seen coming from the house on Dundas St at around the same time…”source
The incident was talked about on the Trademe forum as the event unfolded, with one person giving a possible explanation for the panic:
I thought it was in Dundas Street, some guy was obsessed with a girl and had been snooping around her for ages then decided to turn up with knife today and hide in the bushes near her flat? That’s the word at uni
 A little over a week ago a party of tourists on quad bikes near Ahipara, Northland were caught up in the aftermath of an armed “squabble” between two brothers.

The group was stopped by fully kitted out Armed Offender Squad officers looking for the offenders, no doubt scaring the wits out of the visitors looking forward to a quiet day at the beach.

Elsewhere, police are still looking for a breakthrough in their hunt for the killers of Feilding farmer and family man Scott Guy who was shot to death on his driveway a week last Thursday.

Gun crime is shockingly frequent in New Zealand where there are thought to be at least 1.1 million legally owned firearms in circulation. Hand guns, rifles and shotguns are frequently used in armed robberies.
See also: Posts tagged Gun Crime

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NZ's Fat Cats Feast As Homeless Queue For Bread & Jam

A nice little feature article appeared in today’s Herald, demonstrating that a vast social divide exists in New Zealand’s supposedly ‘classless society.’

The ever widening gulf between the country’s dirt poor and the wealthy classes has been recognised on an internationals stage, something that is unlikely to be mentioned next time one of those ‘most livable’ surveys gets published (most livable for whom?)

If you ever see PR hype hailing New Zealand hailed as a ‘great place to raise kids’ or the sixth best country in the world to be mother it’s worth remembering that  230,000 children live in unacceptable poverty in New Zealand and that Kiwi youth suffer some of the worst health outcomes in the developed world.

Whilst the fat cats feasted on marinaded fish salad yesterday, metres away queues formed for bread and jam and generations are born into and die in poverty:
Great poverty still affects pockets of New Zealand, ministers were told yesterday – shortly before their sumptuous three-course lunch.
Millionaire Auckland mayor John Banks told the conference at the SkyCity Convention Centre that “there are pockets of social deprivation” that needed to be addressed.
“We have to bridge the gap between the very poor and dispossessed and those of us who are making great progress,” he told delegates...

...Just 250m away at the Auckland City Mission, dozens of homeless people queued up for handouts of bread and jam.

A spokeswoman said the United Nations rated New Zealand with the sixth greatest gap between rich and poor among developed nations last year.
For Stephen Flowers, who has lived on the streets for about 10 years, Banks’ words were empty rhetoric. He said: “It does make you laugh when you hear people like Banks and John Key talk as if they know what life is like for us. They have no idea, I haven’t seen any improvements since National came to power. After my fines have been paid I’ve got $60 a week. … Lunch for me usually consists of picking food out of rubbish tins.”...
There are people living with rats who are at risk of starting an outbreak of rabies or TB. They are born in poverty, they live in poverty and they die in poverty.” read the full report here
Thanks to Netizen and ‘Waiting for them’ who sent us a very links to a report on the United Nation’s report into income inequality across the world and another which shows half of disabled Aucklanders are living on the poverty line.
“There are 77,000 disabled people living in Auckland, the majority of whom earn far less than their non-disabled counterparts, even when they have a tertiary qualification. poverty is a daily reality for many disabled Aucklanders and their families, and from available figures estimates that about half of disabled Auckland adults have personal incomes of less than $20,000, predominantly sourced from benefits, casual, part-time, and/or low-paying work
The United Nations report on income inequality:
“…ranked countries and regions based on a number of factors, including their Gini coefficient, named for Italian statistician Corrado Gini.
We have listed the world’s most advanced economies based on their Gini score, with zero marking absolute equality and 100 absolute inequality. Scandinavian countries, Japan, and the Czech Republic have the least amount of inequality. The U.S. is among the most unequal, but it’s not No. 1. To see which economy is, read on…”
The to 10 countries for income inequality were ranked as follows
1. Hong Kong, Gini score 43.4
2. Singapore, Gini score 42.5
3. United States, Gini score 40.8
4. Israel Gini, score 39.2
5. Portugal Gini, score 38.5
*6. New Zealand,  Gini score 36.2
7. Italy and Great Britain, Gini score 36
9. Australia, Gini score 35.2
10. Ireland and Greece, Gini score 34.3
*”According to the OECD, New Zealand had the biggest rise in inequality among member nations in the two decades starting in the mid-1980s. The country’s economy emerged from recession in the second quarter, but with growth of just 0.1%, the central bank is likely to keep interest rates low until well into 2010.”
But this blog is written from the point of view of the migrant or visitor to New Zealand, how is this relevant to them? Because, believe it or not, migrants are unexpectedly finding themselves caught in New Zealand’s poverty trap due to the low wage economy or through losing their jobs in the recession and having no safety net.

Readers will remember the blog we wrote a week ago about the young couple (an American and an Australian) caught up in a cold poverty trap and unable to borrow money to insulate their timber home.

We’ve also written about immigrants forced to live in third world conditions, – skilled migrants that lost their jobs and, faced with high rents, were forced into  living in cars, vans and overcrowded houses. The unlucky ones lived on the streets.
If you’re about to move to New Zealand we recommend that you read them and posts tagged Poverty.

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'Least Corrupt Nation' Loses $72 Million In Fraud In Six Months

New Zealand, the country perceived to have the ‘lowest rates of corruption’ has suffered more than $72 million dollars worth of fraud in the first six months of 2010, but that is only the “tip of the iceberg” says KPMG forensics expert Stephen Bell.

According to an article on Stuff:
Cash-strapped Kiwis bitten by recession have resorted to fraud and the full extent of it will not be known for years.
New Zealanders have swindled about $240.6m in large frauds since January 2008 and the average size of large frauds is now more than $2m, KPMG’s latest large-scale fraud survey shows.
KPMG forensics partner Stephen Bell said the extremely high level of fraud was not surprising given the backdrop of the recession.
“We haven’t seen the end of it. In the past 12 months there’s been about $150m in large recorded fraud. Our expectation for 2010 is that it will be a record year..

...“One of the issues is that companies either don’t find out about it or if they do, they often keep it a bit quiet because of the corporate reputational harm that’s done by admitting you’ve got a problem.

Any business handling cash or dealing with complex financial transactions would be at risk of fraud “at some time”, but it was important to remember the vast majority of employees were honest, he said…full report here
For background reading about the lack of controls over the high levels of fraud perpetrated in New Zealand read our Wordpress blogs:

Kiwis use fraud to maintain lavish lifestyles

ACC calls in Serious Fraud Office

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New Zealand Health Service Plummets in Ratings

New Zealand has moved from first to fifth place in international health rankings of seven countries, carried out by the Commonwealth Fund (click table above to enlarge)

The slide is  due mostly to issues of access, high costs preventing people from visiting doctors or filling prescriptions, safety and management of chronic illness and New Zealanders being the patients most likely to get an infection whilst in hospital. They were also in the bottom three for medication errors and being the victim of a medical mistake.

Interestingly, it was ranked last for the percentage of money spent on health administration and insurance. According to Stuff:
Labour health spokeswoman Ruth Dyson said the fall was “devastating”.
New Zealanders had worked hard to get an excellent healthcare system and were now “just watching [it] slip away”.
Government contracts held by district health boards for community-based management of chronic conditions had been cut around the country, she said.
The high infection rates were a surprise, but could be the flow-on effect of Government “penny pinching”.
It was disappointing New Zealanders were still struggling to access primary healthcare as it was crucial to early treatment and keeping people out of hospital, she said…”
Per head Australians spent US$3,357 on helathcare, Canadians US$3,895, Germans US$3,588, the Netherlands US$3,837 and Britons spent US$2,992 on health in 2007. New Zealand spent the least at US$2,454.

We can’t say that we are surprised by New Zealand’s poor showing and this is why:

New Zealand has a workforce crisis in its hospitals with specialist senior doctors being lost, there is also a shortage of cancer specialists, paediatric surgeons  and radiologists and when doctors and specialists speak out about their concerns over patient safety they are censured, most of them simply resign rather than take the flack for being a whistle blower.

The average medical student in New Zealand finishes training with a debt of $75,000, forcing many of them overseas soon after graduating. Australia is their most likely destination. But money isn’t the only factor making them leave. One study found that  just 25% of students believed they would be valued as employees by hospital management or the Government, something that affects their long term commitment to their country and has implications for specialist training.

261 people in Canterbury are waiting more than six months for cancer-detecting colonoscopies, raising alarm among doctors. In July 2009 the figure stood at 75 people. A private procedure costs £1,000.

The Health Ministry is allegedly among the worst performing government departments. According to a report card ranking state agencies and bosses excessive red tape, bureaucratic systems and ineffective consultation hampering  a number of government departments. It placed the Health Ministry bottom for value for money overall, and said it was “struggling“ and

“really confused, with too many sections not knowing what others are doing, and doing stuff without consultation in the affected communities.”

Disgust at the plight of one hospital -Hawera – has inspired a well-placed business analyst to blow the whistle on what he sees as millions of dollars worth of financial inefficiencies and loss at the deficit-plagued Taranaki District Health Board.

Paul Anwyll left his job as a business analyst at the TDHB’s Management of Information Unit…citing “weak leadership and poor management” as reasons in his letter of resignation. An experienced auditor, the Englishman said he had identified financial problems and loss but the TDHB had refused to consider his proposal of a test study that could potentially save them millions.”

Pharmac doesn’t allow New Zealanders to access new medicines for five to 10 years after they are widely used elsewhere in the world. It  waits until they are generic until they are widely used. The system keeps prices down for the Government but is criticised for restricting drug choices and delaying the arrival of some new medicines.

There was a 50% rise in complaints against pharmacists in the year to June 2009 , including 5 pharmacists who were convicted of crimes. Similar sounding and look-alike medications are ‘to blame’ for the rise. City Health Pharmacy in Palmerston North was fined $10,000 in 2008 after six drug dispensing mistakes in two years, including giving a two-year-old an anti-psychotic drug instead of cough medicine; it’s still in business. There is no compulsory bar-coding of drugs.

For a first hand account of what it’s like to work in New Zealand’s health service you may wish to read our Migrant Tale  “The Health Care System is Second Rate.” Written by a nurse with over 30 years experience, she talks about resistance to change and the wastage of thousands of dollars because there is no incentive to change things.

At the time nurses in Nelson were speaking out about horrific workloads that were causing many to resign. Nurses went public because of a lack of action when they raised their concerns with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and hospital managers.

For more read our Health and Death page on Wordpress.

One reader of the blog left the following comment for us a week ago, if health care in New Zealand matters to you you may wish to read Gareth Morgan’s book -see a report on it here
I would like to mention that gareth morgan has a book about the nz health care system that anyone migrating for the health care ought to read, seriously.
Health Cheque: The Truth about NZ’s Health System it is called
It’s a frank book that discusses the problems with the way they rationalise care in which he states a theory that the high quality of the doctors and nurses are the only thing holding the system together.
Yet New Zealand has the highest percent of migrant doctors in the OECD, a staggering 52%
says in the review this book that:
“The New Zealand health workforce is under pressure from a number of sources. In addition to those problems that are shared by other countries – such as an increase in the proportion of part-time workers due to the feminisation of the workforce, increased demand for health services, and the aging of the health workforce – New Zealand faces major challenges from the internationalisation of health workers. It has the highest percentage of migrant doctors among OECD countries (52 percent compared with an OECD average of 36 percent) and one of the highest for nurses (OECD, 2008). **It also has one of the highest rates of outward migration of health workers. Four years after graduating, around 25 percent of NZ trained doctors are no longer registered in New Zealand and the loss increases to around one third after 9 years.**”
The doctors and nurses seem to mostly be british people who are outdoorsy migrants, or locum americans taking a working vacation, or political or crime refugess who could not get into other countries such as oz or canada. The kiwis just bugger off out of their own country and people from countries where the native language is not English are often only offered less responsible positions, in caregiving and cleaning.
The National led government has recently announced that it will be putting further pressure on the health service by giving employers the authority to make workers obtain GP sickness certificates for a single day’s sick leave from work.
“General Practice New Zealand chairwoman Bev O’Keefe said the change could put pressure on medical centres.
“The issue for general practice is how we accommodate all those people who need to claim medical certificates because they will need to be seen and assessed which means they are going to impact on what is already the heavy workload of general practice. “One thing we are not happy to do is to furnish medical certificates without seeing people because that’s just hearsay.” Another issue was people may go to work ill.”
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