READER REPORT:

Expats: Yet another Kiwi in Perth

NELSON JONES
Last updated 12:34 10/03/2014
mines
Reuters

MINE WORK: It's not as easy as it used to be to get jobs in Perth's mining industry.

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Are you a Kiwi expat living overseas? We'd love to hear your views on how your new home compares to New Zealand.

I left New Zealand in July 2011, landed in Perth and within a couple of days had secured a job in the resources industry here.

It wasn't just a case of rocking up to the gate at a mine and being handed a set of keys to a dump truck. It actually involved a fair bit of research beforehand, making sure my qualifications were good and squeezing every bit of information out of as many people over here as possible.

It's been a rollercoaster ride so far in this industry, but I'm fortunate to be in the production, rather than the construction phase, which has taken a real hit of late.

There are some real advantages and disadvantages to being here, that's for sure. The money's better, and my super is growing at a far faster rate than back home (9.5 per cent here compared to 2 per cent in New Zealand).

That's one of the main reasons we're here.

Perth's pretty expensive if you let it be so. Going out for dinner or a fancy coffee will set you back a lot more than you may hope to pay, but I believe our groceries are on par, if not cheaper than at home. We shop carefully and plan our menu for the week beforehand.

Petrol's starting to creep up near the A$1.60 (NZ$1.71) per litre mark, which is still manageable, and our power bill is much better - about $300 for two months, compared to that much for one month in New Zealand.

Housing? We were fortunate to buy over here, and average prices are probably cheaper than Auckland.

We certainly miss the good old timber-framed places, it's all brick here, and from what I've seen it seems to take an age to get a house built in Western Australia. Maybe there are not enough Kiwi brickies working over here.

So what bugs us over here? As most locals know, WA really does stand for "wait a while". Some shops still don't have Eftpos terminals, but the guy that fixed my garage door had one in his van.

As of today we still haven't had any rain since November 30, 2013.

We pay an absolute fortune for water - it could be about $1200 per year, and that's not something we expected.

Vegetation is scarce, and it's just brown everywhere. What hasn't yet burned will do so shortly.

It's miles from anywhere and expensive to fly home to New Zealand, so those quick social visits home will be few and far between. There are a whole lot of animals here whose sole purpose in life is to kill you.

The job market has taken a real hit here, and employers can be incredibly picky about who they choose. The days of walking out the airport terminal doors into a sweet as job are long gone. With the recent layoffs and closures happening here it's going to get even harder to get/retain that job.

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But we love it here, the kids do well at school and there's a huge melting pot of cultures in our suburb.

We don't know yet if we have a five-year plan, or a 10-year one, we'll just take it as it comes.

But for now, Perth's our home. 


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