Sunday, July 29, 2007

Reflections: Walking the social tightrope in another country

I am one of the net migration of 650 Kiwis a week to the 'lucky country', a move that was once famously described by David Lange as "improving the average IQ of both countries". This is the fifth country I have lived in, so I have a little experience living in other cultures, but this is the first place I have deliberately and explicitly chosen.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love New Zealand, it is where I grew up, and it will always be 'home', but when there are few opportunities in specialised IT roles, large student loan debts, high taxes on upper middle income earners, and the feeling that because you are not a sportsperson, you are unappreciated, well, I think you will find a lot of people like me will leave. And that is before we even start talking about the fundamentally broken healthcare system, the bad weather, and the fact that often the only place you can see a good show/concert/play is Auckland, a monstrosity of a city with no public transport.

Having said, that, though, Australia is not perfect either. Their elected leader has somehow got them involved in a war no-one agrees with, and he has refused to sign the Kyoto protocol because of the breaks given to third world countries. There are major issues with water here, and pretty soon many industries (like rice and dairy) are going to come to a crunch point. And frankly, the sports thing is even worse here than at home.

continued in next post

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