My friend’s view

This is a CC: copy of an email from my friend living in Auckland sent to me a long time ago. (Posted here with permission)

Creative Commons privilages for this particular post is waived. NO “COPY PASTE,” REDISTRIBUTION, LIFTING OR COPYING ALLOWED FOR THIS PARTICULAR POST. ONLY LINKING THIS SITE OR POST IS ALLOWED. (as requested by my friend, sorry.)

Date: 3 April 2004 21:15:17 +1200 (NZST)
Subject: Living down here
To: (5 people)
CC: (to me)



This is my reply to your countless emails regarding New Zealand. As you know I have been living in New Zealand for more than seven years now with my parents (still :-P ).

A few weeks ago I received many emails from some of you and some relatives back home [The Philippines] about here. I believe this is related to a documentary aired on Channel 2’s “The Correspondents” doco [documentary] program. I am not quite sure what was the content of the show was. They told me that after seeing the program New Zealand seemed like “paradise” or a new “America” for them. They have an impression that life is easy here and that it is a “family oriented” society.

I find it strange for some of you and others to see that as life here down under is not what it seems. There is more to green meadows, cows, sheep, snow covered mountains and Lord of the Rings.

Life is not easy here like any other place. Although there may not be many hungry and homeless people here but that is because people can receive social welfare handouts.

It can also be hard to land a job here. It is a well-known fact here that new immigrants who are well educated are underemployed. There are immigrant taxi drivers here who are medical doctors in their home country.

A lot of local employers demand relevant New Zealand work experience. As a fresh university graduate, I find it hard to look for a job too as the employers prefer those with experiences. That is why I take one-off jobs while actively applying for jobs to suit my statistics degree. You also have to strive harder to prove you are better or at least as good as or as competent as New Zealanders.

As for salaries and wages here, a job earning an equivalent of 80,000 pesos a month may seem big but its not enough for someone who has a family. That amount is just the gross salary without the income tax that would range from 25%. Aside from the tax there is a mandatory state accident insurance (ACC) premium charge that is subject to a 12.5% goods and services tax, which is paid from the employees salary. I think the technical term for that is “double taxation.”

I know you would think that high taxes is fine as long as the state gives you quality public services. While that thought is correct it does not seem true here. Normal waiting times for outpatient services in state hospitals can be from four hours or more. Elective surgery waiting lists can range from months to years. (Some doctors or general practicioners cannot even give an accurate diagnosis!) The reason for this sad state of health care is that some New Zealand doctors and/or health workers opt to work in Australia. This is no different to the brain drain happening right now in the Philippines.

As for “family oriented” I kind of dispute that. I think legalized prostitution and abortion is not considered as family friendly by a typical Pinoy [Filipino].

I don’t want to give all of you an impression that I don’t want you to be in or migrate to New Zealand. It is just that I don’t want people to expect too much and probably regret going here in the end. This is reality and how I see it.

Things to think about,
(name withheld)

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