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New Zealand "attraction"
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mmcmorrow



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 81
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that you're to be commended for your diligence in bringing these stories to the attention of anyone considering a move to New Zealand. No doubt they'll be a useful resource - particularly for those potential visitors who are unable to use Google for themselves. And I think your postings do prove, beyond doubt, that bad things happen in New Zealand - as they do everywhere else. Anyone believing New Zealand is a real-world Narnia or Lothlorien will have been thoroughly disabused of their foolish notions by your painstaking research.

However, I'm sure you'll be the first to admit that random reports of violent crime, sad though they may be, do not in themselves provide any support for your contention that New Zealand suffers from high overall rates of violent crimes. To find real support for these claims, you'll have to delve into the murky world of comparative crime statistics. Now I'm sure everyone reading these forums will be aware of the caution that is necessary when interpreting these comparisons. Unlike perhaps GDP, life expectancy etc, crime statistics do not equate directly to objective facts. Definitions of crimes, willingness to report crimes, actual access to police stations to report them and the way in which they are recorded all vary considerably from country to country.

These confounding variables tend to affect different crimes to differing extents. It's reasonable to assume, for instance, that murder rates are more directly comparable, since there's common agreement about what murder means and the fact that there's a body etc means that reporting and recording is less variable from one country to another. Comparisons between other violent crimes, however, are more difficult. The meanings of what exactly constitutes assault, rape etc varies between countries and reporting rates are very much affected by one's belief in the efficiency of the police in dealing with the incident and the possible repercussions of reporting such crimes.

It is only with a knowledge of such variations that comparative statistics make any sense. Why otherwise, for example, would Papua New Guinea feature in 12th place for murder, but in 48th place for assault? It's possible, of course, that people there skip the intermediary levels and go straight to murder. But surely it's more likely that in many countries down the list for assault etc, a lack of reporting and recording is largely responsible for the low rates. Another consequence of these cultural factors is the strong tendency of culturally and socially similar countries to cluster together. Countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK tend to move up and down these tables in a group - obviously, that's partly because rates of assault etc really are similar, but it's also because these countries share a broadly similar criminal code, beliefs about the police, access to them etc.

Anyway, that aside, and approaching the topic with due caution, I think that the comparative figures do not show that NZ has a particularly high rate of violent crime in comparison with similar countries - which is the only kind of comparison which is at all reliable for the reasons given above. As I indicated in a previous posting, if you look at per capita rates for the various crimes involving violence ( assault, robberies, rapes or murders) , New Zealand tends to be ranked similarly to countries such as the UK and Australia. No one is pretending this is anything to be especially proud of. No one should be coming to NZ expecting a crime-free paradise. But neither should they be expecting violent crime levels significantly higher than they are used to in their home countries. And the many prospective immigrants from countries like South Africa, where personal security is a major factor in decisions to migrate, will find the figures bear out their impression that New Zealand has significantly lower rates of violence than those which their home countries are currently afflicted with. What is more, for the reasons given above, I think that the most convincing comparison of violent crime between different countries is the per capita murder rate - where NZ ranks 52nd out of the 62 countries listed - very slightly higher than Denmark, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland - a bunch of countries not renowned for violent crime.

From a personal - and anecdotal - perspective, I would add that crime appears to be somewhat localised within New Zealand - perhaps that is true of many other countries. Be that as it may, no one I know here has been the victim of any crime during the last few years - unlike my experiences in the UK, Italy, Brazil etc. I guess that also contributes to the way one begins to feel about it, despite the newspaper reports. But thanks for the heads-up. I'd better start locking my door when I go out of the house and maybe not leaving my bike outside unlocked. One of these days someone might walk off with it or maybe a determined thief might hack into my elaborate security arrangements by, for instance, climbing through the window or leaning against the back door.

Well, I've enjoyed contributing to these exchanges. However, as I said previously, since this is an ELT forum, I guess any visitors might mainly be interested in what it's like to teach English here, what the opportunities are like etc. They're unlikely to be living in the midst of agricultural spraying unless their GPS has really gone seriously awry. I've described what I know about ELT in New Zealand here. I'm also a committee member of the national ELT organisation, TESOLANZ over here - if anyone has further queries, they're welcome to get in touch.

One final thought - like other posters here, I too might well move on from New Zealand at some point. Us English teachers tend to be a fairly restless lot. But I do hope that in the future, if someone asks me what I liked about New Zealand, I'll have plenty of positives to tell them about. If not, I think people are likely to feel that says more about me than the place in which I spent a chunk of my life.

Martin McMorrow, Auckland, New Zealand


Last edited by mmcmorrow on Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
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antain



Joined: 31 Mar 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow-is pretty much the only word I can use to describe my reaction to what I've read here. The Crime, random attacks, the bitter lifestyle...still hasnt put me off. You get all the above in more or less any country today, Im just hoping that if I cant secure an EFL job in New Zealand I'll at least be able to secure some other type of job be it in the services or IT industry.
I will arrive in NZ in 4 weeks time with an open, positive yet cautious mindframe.
I plan on not being proved wrong!!
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bizzyndizzy



Joined: 26 Jan 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught and tutored briefly in the U.S., but have not taught here. I live here, but have only been doing contract education writing work. The currency fluctuations have been hard to deal with, though, and having a local source of income would be nice. So I joined this board to read a bit and check those possibilities out.

I do know a few individuals who teach or have taught here in New Zealand and who have discussed their experiences with me.

Some complained about the wages:
http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=520935

Others were disappointed that their qualifications were not recognised, or not remunerated at the level to which they were accustomed, or found that Kiwis were preferred for positions, or tenured positions. So for example, a couple of them had Masters degrees and could only obtain temporary work for years. They had not come to New Zealand expecting to have to study all over again.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2287489/Skilled-Kiwis-should-get-jobs-Key

Many of them were unhappy about the cost of housing. Demographia looked at 272 markets in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Great Britain and the United States, and New Zealand was ranked as very expensive. New Zealand came second to Australia as the least affordable place to buy a house. Many, too, did not like the quality of the housing for the price. But then if you are simply here for a teaching "stint" and don't intend to settle, no worries! And it depends on where you come from, too. If you come from the rural Midwest, in the U.S., New Zealand will seem very expensive. If you are from New York or London, you may find it more affordable.

I found that the cold indoors (no insulation, poorly-built homes), cost of energy, Internet speeds/data caps and cost were a problem for me, working at home. I love having no snow though! And the beaches don't have scores of condominiums lining them. How nice is that?

Others complained about backstabbing and buck-passing at schools. I can't remark on that, and I imagine that sort of thing happens anywhere. I don't know whether or not it would be worse in New Zealand.

I do think that if you come from a high-crime place such as South Africa, you will appreciate the "relative" safety of New Zealand most of all. I found the level of street brawling, hooning and tagging was much worse than where I came from, but then where I lived was below the norm for the U.S., for that sort of public antisocial activity. My small town wasn't L.A., for sure! There are some bucolic areas here in New Zealand. Some have complained of boredom. I never understood how people could be bored, but then I have always "made my own fun" and that is a good trait to have here.

One Canadian woman I know said that the New Zealand children were ill-disciplined and there were "premature" drug and alcohol problems that spilled over from their home lives. But most people on this board would be teaching adults, and migrants at that, so I doubt whether they would run into some of the problems of that sort that teachers shared with me. In fact, a migrant adult in New Zealand teaching fellow migrants and associating with fellow migrants - or internationally-oriented Kiwis - would probably have a pretty nice time, as long as the person did not need to buy a home, loved the outdoors, and had modest expectations of what is truly a lovely small nation.

If you enjoy photography, you'd better take your camera everywhere! The amazing cloud patterns, the vistas...

The denizens do not take criticism of Godzone that well, it is true, so bite your tongue about what you do not like. Be prepared to accept criticism of your own country at the same time. It is quite possible to be a normal, nice, non-warped person and simply "not like New Zealand". Or any other country. Unlike Mr. M above, I do not believe it is a reflection on oneself. Simply a matter of taste. My high school boyfriend loved Spain - I didn't like it at all. Perhaps if we had had different experiences, our opinions would have been reversed. We were both bookish, and were both language people, yet despite all our similarities, he liked Spain and I didn't. New Zealand is assuredly not for everyone. It is bicultural more than multicultural. It is definitely not the "pure green" paradise it is hyped to be (google 1080 or campylobacter). If, like the other poster above, you become entangled with the court system for any reason (and they *will* force you to stay in one place, in custody disputes, by disallowing your relocation), do not connect well with the culture (you prefer emotional warmth, conscientiousness and "certain graces" in the population), and are forced to associate with the more parochial elements of this society, your stay in NZ could be a genuine misery, as the other poster described. Again, that is no reflection on her - she is being emotionally honest about a bad experience, like many of the people on the site she mentioned. Her providing links to back up her assertions should not be used to further invalidate her memories.

Kiwis are financially strapped, I should warn the OP ahead of time, for social purposes. And as low as the wages are, it is not actually that cheap to live here, so make sure your pleasures and gifts are frugal ones, to avoid embarrassing anyone.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/personal-finance/3009357/Kiwis-struggle-to-pay-rising-debts

Statistics New Zealandís last Census shows that around 2/3 of New Zealandís salary and income earners earn less than $35,000 NZD a year - low wage economy. Some of the most well-publicised polls about quality of life are in actuality driven by special interests, so as with anything, "consider the source". Disgruntled people are every bit as entitled to their views/experiences of New Zealand as content people are. You won't know until you have lived there whether your experience will be a good one. You can have the best attitude in the world, but favourable things may not happen to you there. At a certain tipping point of bad experiences, it would not be irrational behaviour to judge.

But seriously, if you love bungee jumping, consider your rented flat to be "just a place to camp" and don't want a solid affordable home, don't care how little money you make, love breathtaking scenery, enjoy hiking or kayaking or the like, and move in international circles as a preference from the very beginning, you may be able to avoid the bad bits and have a memorable experience. I recommend it for certain sorts of people. I'd advise that you look into visas and work offers BEFORE going, though. And make sure that any offer is in writing with everything specified in order to avoid the bait and switch some employers will pull on you. Do read all the expat forums so you'll be prepared and be able to avoid from the very start the bad experiences some posters have had there. Make sure you have money to live off of before you go, and money saved so that you can still leave if it turns to custard for you.

Most of all, the best of luck to you in your adventures!
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hellionzap



Joined: 19 Oct 2009
Posts: 60
Location: Nizwa

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmmm, well put bizzyndizzy. Sound advice.
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bje



Joined: 19 Jun 2005
Posts: 527
Location: UAE

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for a balanced, thoughtful and well-written post- a pleasure to read and I wish there were more like it on the Discussion Forums.
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mmcmorrow



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 81
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to add a few thoughts on one point in the posting by bizzyndizzy that NZ is "bicultural more than multicultural". That's true from one perspective - on one side you have tangata whenua (the indigenous people - Maori) with their culture and on the other side the pakeha (settlers) who brought the predominantly European culture and institutions with them. This categorisation is reflected in the voting, for instance, where there are (a limited number of) reserved Maori seats voted for by people who identify as Maori and opt to go onto the Maori electoral role. And there's an ongoing process called the Waitangi Tribunal to settle claims about expropriation of Maori land and 'taonga (treasures / assets). It's a rather tortuous process, but at least it is going along. On a practical level, many large institutions, such as universities etc, acknowledge the indigenous culture in various ways - eg by having a marae (meeting house), a kaumatua (Maori elder) etc and by marking most occasions with waiata (songs) or karakia (prayer / incantation). Our new library was opened last month at a 5 am dawn service, for instance, in accordance with Maori tradition. Some institutions go further. One of the universities in Auckland has quite a bit of signage only in Te Reo (Maori language), so you'd better sort out your 'wahine' from your 'tane' before you barge into the rest rooms. I'm sure that elements of this scenario will be familiar to Canadians, Irish, South Africans etc. But teachers in private language schools are unlikely to find much difference in the ones here and in the UK etc.

Anyway, at the same time, New Zealand is a country that is becoming increasingly multicultural - with four, rather than two major ethnic groupings. By 2021, there will be nearly as many Asians in NZ (15%) as Maori (17%). There will also be nearly 10% Pacific Islanders. And the majority 'European and other' category is itself pretty diverse.

Auckland, in particular, where most migrants come, is already quite multicultural - with about one in five in the whole region ethnically 'Asian' (quite a mixed bag in itself). And this trend is accelerating. By 2021, about 30% of people in the Auckland 'supercity' (a proposed unitary authority) will be Asian. In addition, half of the population of the south of Auckland will be Maori or Pacific Islanders. It's not New York, perhaps, but quite a distance from being 'Manchester in the 1950's'!
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bizzyndizzy



Joined: 26 Jan 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bicultural nature was hammered home to me the other day. Here's a funny story. A huge crowd of people was standing outside the local food store shouting very loudly what sounded very much like "We-Want- TO-MAT-OES! CANS O'corrrrrrrrrrrn!" "We-Want-TO-MAT-OES! CANS O'corrrrrrrrrrrn!" Puzzled, I stayed away until the crowd dispersed, then went in to buy my on-sale dinner wine (another thing to enjoy in New Zealand, O Optimistic Poster!) and asked the checkout girl. "Oh, it was a goodbye haka for the old owner, who is leaving - a new owner has bought the store". So it had been a big group of (mixed, allsorts) employees outside the store doing it! Pretty cool, eh? I went home and told my middle daughter about my initial befuddlement, and she remarked, "I don't think the economy's THAT bad yet!"

This was in the news recently, though:
"Philippines to warn would-be job seekers"
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10622938

The transportation museum (MOTAT) also had a poster entitled "No jobs! Stay away! Welcome to Auckland 2025". It featured a fleet of (refugee?) sailboats travelling toward the City of Sails.

I wouldn't say there is a pro-immigrant mood in the country, in general, based on what I overhear in the streets. Though the migration agencies and the government are still dangling the sparkly goods because they obtain revenue that way. Can't say many citizens anywhere believe that their government listens to them, though! Laughing
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hellionzap



Joined: 19 Oct 2009
Posts: 60
Location: Nizwa

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mmcmorrow says:
"Anyway, at the same time, New Zealand is a country that is becoming increasingly multicultural - with four, rather than two major ethnic groupings. By 2021, there will be nearly as many Asians in NZ (15%) as Maori (17%). There will also be nearly 10% Pacific Islanders. And the majority 'European and other' category is itself pretty diverse.

Auckland, in particular, where most migrants come, is already quite multicultural - with about one in five in the whole region ethnically 'Asian' (quite a mixed bag in itself). And this trend is accelerating. By 2021, about 30% of people in the Auckland 'supercity' (a proposed unitary authority) will be Asian. In addition, half of the population of the south of Auckland will be Maori or Pacific Islanders."

Weren't these predictions (provided by Statistics New Zealand) last updated April 2005?
If so, that's 5 year old news. Mate.
Got anything fresher?
Also, can you please tell me what you mean by "pretty diverse" in regards the projected "majority 'European and other' category" ?
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mmcmorrow



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 81
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I'm afraid I haven't got any 'fresher' demographic data or predictions. Let me come clean - I don't have my own national research organisation. I'm pretty much entirely dependent on the whims of Statistics NZ. But, in my defence, the links I provided were to the latest available report, released in September 2008. I assume they were based on the last census, which was in 2006. The next census isn't due till 2011, so I doubt there'll be much of an update on those figures for a few years. But why do you ask? Do you have any reason to believe the figures are inaccurate?

And why is the 'European and other' category diverse? Because it includes people from all of Europe, Africa and the Americas. Can't get much more diverse than that. Now the fact is that most of these are of British / Irish origin. But a wide range of ethnicities are lumped into this category, even if they form a smallish overall percentage. The very general nature of this category can also disguise important local differences. For instance, the population of Queenstown is almost entirely 'European and other', but between 10 and 20 percent of these at any one time are actually Brazilian (mostly working in the hospitality / tourism sectors).

As I said in earlier postings, in Auckland - where most EFL teachers are work - it's possible to enjoy a healthy lifestyle in a multicultural environment. The campus where I work has students from more than 50 national backgrounds. Last week, I gave tutorials to students who originally came from China, India, Saudi Arabia, Congo and Nigeria. I played soccer in my regular friendly team, which in addition to Kiwis, Scots, Irish and English has players from France, Brazil, Turkey, Holland, China and Solomon Islands. During the year, Auckland has a reasonable range of international cultural events, given its size and location. Over the last 12 months I've been to Mexican, Italian, French and German film festivals, as well as the main international film festival. Not to mention the international comedy festival and various national and international theatre and music events. I'm looking forward to my annual trip down to Womad in the fabulous open air venue in New Plymouth. OK, this is not London etc- but it's far from being a cultural desert, as various postings here have suggested. There isn't a huge choice every week, but over the course of a year, there's plenty of cultural variety - which I, for one, tend to get out and enjoy more than when I lived in cities where it was there all the time.

Anyway, I've put more specific details about teaching English in Auckland over here. As I say there, it's perfectly feasible for young teachers to spend up to a year here on a working holiday visa - as part, for example, of a round the world trip. If you have Celta /Delta / Trinity you would have a good chance of picking up work. And for ESL teachers coming out here to migrate, it's also perfectly feasible, although the pay isn't good - something I also go into in my longer posting. You won't be alone.

Martin McMorrow, Albany, NZ
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antain



Joined: 31 Mar 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your positivity is very reassuring mmcmorrow-This time next week I hope to prove you right!! NZ here I come!
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keitepai



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 143
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be interesting to read about your first impressions of NZ, Antain. Which city - Auckland I guess? You are going at the best time, summer, pohutakawa trees, free beaches etc.

I hear GST (Goods and services tax) has just gone up in NZ plus tax breaks for the upper income bracket?! Must be a National government in again....
Adding that to my list of reasons why not!! Laughing
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mmcmorrow



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 81
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, we don't have any update about Antain's experiences over here in NZ. Perhaps she fell down a hobbit hole? Be that as it may, life chugs along pretty much as I described above. The weather has been exceptionally good pretty much all year - today, well into Autumn, was a gloriously sunny Sunday. We also had the last week of the international comedy festival and the international readers and writers festival. As I was saying above, Auckland is far from being a throbbing metropolis, but there's generally something interesting on most weeks if you want to get out and experience it. Next week I'll be seeing a great Irish band called 'Beoga' and a new play written by a friend on the heart-warming topic of the good ol' kiwi bloke. And so it goes. For the young and lively, the nightlife is still a bit tame, but I don't think they're really coming here for that. It's more about the general lifestyle, as this fairly dewy-eyed BBC account put it.

Economically, NZ has been doing remarkably well if you compare it to Europe etc. The currency is at record highs against the Euro and Sterling. Unemployment is a worry - as it is in various countries right now - but actually fell last month. Whether this high dollar might affect the EFL sector is hard to say .. possibly, though the schools seem to be doing well enough this year.

'Keitepai' jumped the gun a bit in describing a rise in GST - actually something that'll probably be part of next week's budget together with a lot of other adjustments - but really- so what? How many prospective English language teachers are going to want to factor that into their decision about whether to come to New Zealand?
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keitepai



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 143
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey mmc, thanks for the link! I do miss the haka and the rugby....in that order.

How do you find the gang problems in Auckland though? Honestly, is it confined to the less desirable suburbs or slowly seeping into everyday life?
I am told by family and friends that gangs are out of control, but you know everything is relative to what you are used to I guess. Teacher friends of ours actually moved away again after one year back in Auckland teaching to bring their kids up in a better environment overseas.

Don't get me wrong there are many lovely people in NZ but the 'Westie' (West Auckland) attitude seems to be more prevalent now.....are they having more kids or what??!! I am more into the 'Waiheke Islander' types, peaceful, organic, kind and intelligent
Laughing

I think most teachers would factor the cost of living (including taxes & GST) into their decision to move to NZ. There is kind of no turning back once you get there and I am way to wary to try it out just yet.

Sadly, our families at home are really struggling financially to bring up their kids, and while you do paint a rosy picture I feel lucky to be out of the poverty trap we were in there. We regularly send money home to family to help with doctors bills, children's school shoes....it didn't used to be like this in the 'good old days'.

Anyway, enjoy.... it is nice to get some news and a different perspective - thanks Smile
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mmcmorrow



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 81
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gangs, crime, the poverty trap etc are essentially no different in New Zealand than in other developed countries .. ie they exist but are mainly confined to specific communities in the country. What's more, people in these communities also benefit from a considerably more comprehensive welfare state and a far lower rate of gun crime than in most countries. Will the average TEFL teacher, for instance coming to NZ on a working holiday visa, be confronted with gangs etc. Hardly. It's yet another non-issue in the context of this discussion forum.

So is GST. The Government has raised it by 2 1/2% and lowered income tax. Apparently everyone will pay less tax, though the well-off will benefit most. Basically, it's a common or garden minor, politically-inspired fiscal adjustment that, after all, the Government has a strong electoral mandate to carry out. If they lose the election next year, it will in all probability be reversed. So what relevance does this have to someone's decision to teach English in New Zealand either on a short or long term basis?! You may as well base these decisions on today's weather forecast.

As it happens, the NZ dollar went up yet again after this budget. Unemployment has fallen and the Kiwi dollar is at record highs. Am I missing something? How can it be true that coming to New Zealand means not being able to leave again? That just doesn't make any sense whatsoever. The money people earn in New Zealand is worth more Euros and Pounds than ever before. So they're hardly stuck with declining, worthless currency in their pockets. What are you comparing it to - Greece? Turkey?!

The fact is that English language teachers are among the most mobile of professionals, particularly if you get fully qualified and experienced. As a teacher trainer and someone who can work in universities, I can quite easily go somewhere else in the world tomorrow. There's no way that my decision to migrate here has narrowed my options at all. I stay here right now because I enjoy the lifestyle here and appreciate the opportunities it gives me. That's not rosy-eyed - it's a hard-headed decision about where I want to spend my precious time. And I mix with a large number of other migrants who feel exactly the same, having in many cases lived in a range of countries before settling here.

I seem to be the only person in this discussion who actually puts their names to their opinions. And the only one who's actually living in and working in education in this country. Perhaps people's comments would have a greater credibility if they 'owned' them and based them on actual experiences and facts and figures, rather than hearsay and uncritical generalisations.

Martin McMorrow, Albany, New Zealand
Academic English podcast
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keitepai



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 143
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again,

I knew you would mention the tax rate being lowered!!

The prospect of being trapped back in NZ is real for us, paying rent again, having to put the children into public schools, both working full time, high utilities, not being able to save anything to get away again......yes everything I can think of is more expensive making the deal less attractive for us.

In Turkey we get paid in US dollars, have no rent costs, great private schooling and low taxes, so we feel lucky to have escaped our poverty trap. Obviously our situations are different and I can hear your frustration with my perspective. I always look at the tax rates, GST, and I do keep an eye on the exchange rate. Maybe others don't but hey its an indication to me of how far my money will go. I prefer it when the NZ dollar is low so the US dollars I send home buy more for my family! See, different perspectives Laughing

I have absolutely no desire to put my name on my posts - good for you though, but no point in getting upset if others do not want to be the same as you. A light hearted discussion is all I am here for and I am really not interested in arguing over finer points. I did work in the public education sector for 12 years, I have many friends who still are so I base my opinions on this information. I am not qualified to work in a university like you are, you must have very good qualifications so maybe your income is a tiny bit more than the average teacher? It is all relative.

Just relax, and consider other peoples posts with a grain of salt....please. As I have said previously I am happy for you that you enjoy NZ and that you do not experience any difficulty there. Good luck to you and ka kite ano Very Happy
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