READER REPORT:

NZ its own worst enemy

MICHAEL ALEXANDER
Last updated 07:00 22/01/2014

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Did you know there are skilled and experienced expatriates who can't get a job in New Zealand?

I'm talking about engineers, doctors and tradespeople wanting to come home and bring their experience with them, but no-one will employ them.

My brother was one such victim. He was over-qualified for a post with the New Zealand Government, but it told him it did not recognise his experience.

Because he didn't spend the past 10 years in either Britain, the United States or Australia, it would not accept he had a real job.

His job in Khartoum in Sudan was not exactly your typical line of work, but the United Nations certainly recognised his skills.

His job in Zimbabwe helping people in the outback get access to healthcare, specifically making sure children got their vaccinations by using mobile phone technology, was not recognised in New Zealand, but the UN was grateful.

New Zealand officials won't recognise my wife either - a Polish-trained doctor. She speaks four languages fluently and has spent the past few years working in Switzerland.

I'm in the medical field and won't be bringing my skills home just yet.

The list goes on for skilled Kiwis - my wife the exception, of course - who can't get work in New Zealand.

As a result, there will continue to be a doctor shortage, and junior locums will continue to pillage the public health system - $100 an hour, plus flights and housing.

New Zealand will continue to become more unaffordable for the average Kiwi. No competition, lack of tradespeople and people with less experience means poorer quality service. If you want to get a job done well, you'll pay a whole lot more.

Do I sound bitter? Probably, but I choose to live in a cheaper place than New Zealand. It's called Switzerland.

You wouldn't expect that, would you? Certainly some things are more expensive here, but overall, New Zealand is far more expensive. I don't know how the average person survives any more.

I remember going to buy a book at the store; nothing much under $30. I stopped at Luton Airport on my way through to Gdansk and paid £10 for three books.

I always thought New Zealanders loved stories of Kiwis doing well in the big world. They love the image of the underdog succeeding, especially when taking on the big boys. It's a lie.

There are so many good things about New Zealand, the best of which is the friendliness of the people. I had forgotten about that.

I don't know how they get by, or how my parents get by, for that matter. They're too proud, but I find ways to help them - ways in which it's too late to say "No thanks".

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Sorry to be so depressing, or perhaps bitter, but it's bittersweet thinking about home, thinking about family, thinking about how New Zealand doesn't really want me, my skills or the skills of my wife.

Damn it; should have played rugby. 


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