Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy argues NZ is looking less like a developed nation and more like a pretender as well educated young people flock overseas

Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy argues NZ is looking less like a developed nation and more like a pretender as well educated young people flock overseas

By Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy*

Immigration was a recurring theme in the run-up to the election. But with all the talk focussed on the flow of people into the country, we ignored a more concerning migration - the massive number of New Zealanders that choose to leave.

Admittedly the recent trend has been a tale of kiwis coming home to roost. But this is almost certainly a temporary deviation from a more persistent exodus from God’s own. This recent analysis from Statista using OECD data suggests that roughly one in six native-born kiwis are now living overseas.

That is a lot of home-grown talent being put to use in other countries, and a few quarters of record low emigration is not going to put a dent in that figure. Even if this kiwi diaspora wanted to come home tomorrow, do the maths and you’ll quickly realise that we do not have the housing or the jobs to accommodate them.

It seems we are world-beaters when it comes to exporting people. That same Statista report shows we are second only to Ireland among developed nations, beating the likes of Mexico, Poland and Turkey and their much-maligned émigrés. Remarkably, across the ditch less than 2% of Aussies have chosen to leave the lucky country.

We are even better when it comes to exporting the so-called ‘high-skilled’ - people with a tertiary degree. An earlier OECD report reckoned that about one in four native-born kiwis with a tertiary degree were overseas.  Our hi-tech sectors seem to be constantly complaining about how they cannot fill their job openings. Instead of talking about how we can attract more high-skilled migrants, maybe we should take a look in the mirror and think about why so many of our own are choosing to build their lives somewhere else.

Perhaps our high rates of emigration are a simple consequence of being a small, English-speaking nation. But the tiny nations of Iceland and Luxembourg are able to retain more of their people than us, and I doubt that their youth are not well-versed in English.

Yet instead of declaring a war on housing affordability, our leaders appear more intent on protecting and inflating their own housing portfolios. Instead of tackling our persistently high and shameful rate of child poverty, our leaders have been preoccupied with what our flag should look like. (The right choice, by the way, was laser-eyed kiwi – although a certain red fish may have been the most appropriate symbol.)

The unspoken message to our young people has been loud and clear: If you want to secure your future, build your lives somewhere else. And they have. While banging on about how the youth are disengaged and don’t vote, we have failed to notice that they have been voting en masse for decades. They have been voting with their feet.

I don’t blame them. With so many of us tenants in our own country, with a quarter of our kids growing up in poverty, and with so many of us ultimately choosing to leave, we are looking less and less like a bona fide developed nation, and more and more like a pretender.

*Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy is a Senior Lecturer in Economics and the Director of the Centre for Applied Research in Economics at the University of Auckland.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Because very sadly there is zero future in NZ for younger NZ born people. Sure the nature is fantastic its clean and its safe but the salaries are terrible, the cost of living is horrendously expensive (I mean $20 for eggs benedict???), I don't need to even mention housing, and with such a small limited economy and job market you will never get ahead.
NZ is a place for boomers and retirees and 3rd world immigrants who think its heaven on earth compared to where they are from. For everyone else its dire apart from the financially assisted. Good article by the way.

Funny how everyone assumes it is an economic reason!
Everyone I know that has left NZ in their 20's has left because NZ is too boring. Unlike most countries, there is no proper big city in NZ to move to, and not many countries near by to travel to.
So we go to London, travel around Europe, and maybe come back if we can put up with life in the slow lane again...


JimboJones word of advice
Don’t come back
You will stagnate in NZ
Sure it’s got a benign climate & everyone says how great it is to land back in gods own but it is a limiting environment:
Myself I love Sydney yet I have so many friends who have moved to Nth America from Sydney because they sought higher paying positions with better benefits in Nth America.
So if Sydney has higher educated moving what hope for NZ ?
I agree with your observations about NZ being boring for the young.
NZ really only comes into its best when you have children and are raising them
However the schools are now so overburdened teaching English to foreign speaking children even raising children is becoming a negative there according to parents I know down there.

So what's the hype about Auckland being vibrant and superdiverse? And the promised economic benefits:

PAUL Well, Auckland – there’s an agglomeration effect, so the bigger Auckland becomes, there more attractive it becomes. It becomes more attractive economically, but it also becomes more attractive as a place to live. And so we’re seeing the sort of perimeters of New Zealand, the regions, beginning to flat-line, so they’re not growing, and we’re now beginning to see the first of regions beginning to decline.



Boomers and government: "Young New Zealanders are unemployable druggie scum who should be grateful to shell out more than half their wages to live in our overpriced damp rentals. Oh, and pay big bucks for a nursing/medical/teaching qualification and discover you're not wanted, because Filipinos are cheaper."

Young NZers: "Screw this, outta here. I know when I'm not wanted."

Boomers and government: "Why won't they stay?? Who will pay for my luxurious retirement now????"

Boomers and government

You should withdraw that. Who are you to claim a whole generation says that you [ ]

^^precisely this^^

David Lange summed it up many years ago:

Australia is a quarry - New Zealand is a lifestyle block !

What is wrong with young ppl going overseas, see the big world and fulfill their dreams? It only benefits NZ.

On the other hand, the whole nation's setup is for rich retired enjoying a good quality life but not so much for the young ones to thrive.

Any fix? I cannot see any.

I foresee NZ's economy keep relying on exporting primary products, travel and education services, and immigrants ejecting foreign capitals for many many years ahead.

"I foresee NZ's economy keep relying on exporting primary products, travel and education services, and immigrants ejecting foreign capitals for many many years ahead."

So in other words you expect WP to go with National?

NZ's economic structure does not change because of changing GOVT.


Governments make policy, and policy can change behaviour. If the 'education' (i.e. backdoor residency) rort is dealt with, it will pop that industry like a balloon, and almost overnight eliminate an entire class of low skill, low wage immigration that, frankly, should be eliminated. Just propose it and watch the industry howl.This would send ripples through the economy which would on the one hand be rough, probably impacting GDP for a time, but it could spur the long overdue investment in homegrown capabilities. All of this would require some courage and far sightedness, so I agree the likelihood is low.

Of course if the education really is good it doesn't have to sold with a promise of residency. And some of the education really is good so we will keep getting foreign students - ones who actually study!.

Pleased to see someone else hates the rorts that are now giving NZ a bad name.


The wage-earners and renters are fleeced for every dollar so the retirees and landlords can maintain their lifestyle. What is not to like?


On the other hand, the whole nation's setup is for rich retired enjoying a good quality life but not so much for the young ones to thrive.

Agree. It's all out of kilter.

You have those who received much from the generations before now passing on little to the following generations, while still demanding those same hand over their wages to keep their elders in the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed. Espousing capitalism for others but socialism for themselves.

Hang on I will pass you my HANKIE so you can have a good old criy

You're showing your age their, I doubt many under 40s use hankies these days.

True. Who puts snot back in their pocket these days?


I see NZ allowing thousands more migrants who can’t speak English who set up their own speaking communities segregated by culture
This is what happened to my city of birth Auckland
NZ is famous for calling itself open yet it’s openness will destroy what its quality of life was all about.
Imagine trying to do that to China ? The CCP would never allow such a takeover even if it was fictional!
NZ kiwis are purely pawns They must accept the new arrivals and play nice
Frankly it’s a hijack

On the other hand, the whole nation's setup is for rich retired enjoying a good quality life but not so much for the young ones to thrive.

Blow your nose


It must be some 20% or more of our population living overseas?

Doesn't matter though.

We can just import cheap labour to fill the gap.

Yes and when they have made their pile off money overseas they can return and sponge off our welfare system that Boomers who stayed to build NZ have paid for. Some people are very short sighted or greedy

NZ Is paradise compared to most countries.
If it is so crap then Why do so many want to live here?
Yes many young do go on the big OE which is great experience but they normally return!
Australia is a popular destination for the young and wages are higher mosty, but most don't save why they are away and come back no better off financially but probably have a better tan.
The truth of the matter is that opportunities to get ahead in NZ have always been here and it is a matter of whether people are prepared to look for the opportunities.
Sorry, but if you can't do well in NZ then you won't generally do better financially anywhere!


The only rubbish is your comment "The Man" you are completely out of touch, A classic parochial Kiwi. Ignorance is bliss hey.

The ones that want to live here are the ones able to live here and not Australia, the US, the UK etc.
If its so amazing in NZ why are there 650k Kiwis in Australia and only 70k Aussies in NZ??? and thats from populations of 4M vs 22M?


Tui12 don't bother with the Boy. He is an agent who has invested in an area of New Zealand that is currently going backwards and is pretty angry as a result these days. I wish I could have a dollar for every negative comment he has made against LVR's of late. I have to admit parts of the North Island are great places to live but having travelled a fair bit over the last four years I have to say there are some lovely places overseas where you get paid better and its cheaper to live compared to New Zealand. And the weather is much better in those overseas countries even in their winter.


To theMan?? Hah. Spoken like someone who has made his money helping to create a scenario that precludes our young from doing the same. Furthermore, a scenario that encourages our young to remain overseas because of the astronomical cost of housing here allied with miniscule wages.


Yes, it is an absolute paradise compared to most of the third world hellholes a lot of recent immigrants are fleeing. This observation is called 'setting the bar low'

"If it is so crap then Why do so many want to live here?"

Because it's so damn easy to get in. Ever tried to get a US Green Card? All you have to do here is sign up for a basket weaving qualification at some bogus 'school', and then get a job at a florist and voila, you just got more points toward residency than someone with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from Harvard.


Indeed, if NZ is so good, why do we not have more immigrants from places like US, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Japan?


Don't get me wrong, I love NZ, but the current immigration and emigration balance is completely broken due to some terrible policies/priorities.

tin Man 2
No NZ is not as you say “crap”
NZ is a fine country but it has deteriorated
Examples are easy so I won’t bore you with them.

People move here because they get rejected from the more ideal states (USA, Australia, UK etc). We are the insinkerator of the world


... the best and brightest from India and China go to Silicon Valley , or to big banks in Europe or London ... they go where the huge & easy money is , where the career prospects are excellent , and where the lifestyle is all a go-go ....

Them what can't make the grade ... they accept the second or third best option , and knock on our door ...

... we get the slippery fish that the other Johnnies in the West reject ...

Yep real losers. This is the type of entreprenuers we want, scalable global productive businesses. The list goes on. These are the people we are losing.



So have you cracked 100 mill yet. Must be easy in NZ.


Here is the flip side of that - our totally ridiculous level of immigration as a percentage of the population.

New Zealand currently 1.56% !!!!!!!!!
UK 0.39%
USA 0.3%
France 0.04%
Germany 0.19%
Australia 0.75%

I very much doubt that the quality of the young folks that we are gaining is anywhere near as high as those we are loosing. We have got our priorities totally up the pole and we need to put a lot more effort into training and developing our own people; our own kids who are are far more compatible with our culture and values.

It is a dilemma in NZ, isn't it? -- Businesses needs ppl who can get the job done with the most competitive price and GOVT is constantly threatened by those businesses to have the policy setup for that purpose.

'Culture and values' are only in their business PR communications.

Have a look here (scroll down to the up-to-date figures in the CIA world factbook table and sort on Migrants per 1000 descending)

NZ comes in fourth in the world. Not sure we want a Kiwi bronze for this one.


Well done ChrisM
I used to inform Leighton Smith years ago that NZ was importing more migrants per % of population than the UK were
This was when there were riots in the UK over excessive numbers of new migrants flooding the UK !
Yet NZers had to indulge far higher numbers as a percentage of population!
Where was NZs riots ?
NZers did nothing and John Key slept happily each night


Layiton Smith is either a complete idiot or is in the pay of those with an interest in carbon doixide belching businesses. There is a very good word that describes his inane spouting about climate change. The word also describes a natural fertliser spread on fields by lifestock.

Not even riots, 46% of NZers like how National is doing.

It never ceases to amaze me how so much political discussion is held with a total absence of facts and figures. If Peters was to quote these numbers, there could no possible disagreement with the argument that our immigration is totally unreasonable. Instead we just have silly he said, she said exchanges of opinion.

Here Here, well said


'With so many of us tenants in our own country, with a quarter of our kids growing up in poverty ... we are looking less and less like a bona fide developed nation, and more and more like a pretender'

Perfect summary.


And the recent past government spent $26 million on a flag exercise! How much poverty could have been alleviated with that sum of money...

Zero, Zorba, because poverty is never resolved by throwing money at it

That is very debatable. Furthermore, it surely wont decrease poverty when sections of our communities make their living by parasitizing our workers.


Great article thanks Ryan. God, its depressing isn't it. What does the future hold for this country?
As previously mentioned, our businesses complain of not being able to fill skilled jobs, so promote immigration, while no effort is put into retaining our young (and even not so young) skilled people.
Personally, I cannot see a future in this country while house prices in areas I can find work remain so unaffordable. What may have kept me here in the past (clean rivers, high quality food, unpolluted land for growing vegetables etc) now also looks like a distant memory.
I guess basing your society on greed and short term thinking doesn't produce the results needed. We have just got it all so wrong.


What does the future hold for NZ ?
Branch office of the Chinese Communist Party
Albeit there won’t be a full takeover
The Chinese govt are too clever for that
It will be forcing NZs hand to do what the CCP desire
Unlike John Key who never had a strategic plan for NZ you can rest assured China does have a plan for NZ


I think when the "party of business nous" was hoodwinked successfully by Skycity the writing was being written on the wall. Far too much naivety in our politicians to compete with those with a much longer term view.

Grass is greener and all that.
Nothing is perfect anywhere. NZ has plenty of pros, even if it has plenty of cons.
I'd say over all the quality of life is better in Australia, though, quite comfortably - all things considered.
NZ's biggest strength in my view is its relative safety WRT to terrorism and war.

Sorry but if there ever is a nuclear war NZ will receive the radiation in the winds
No escape at all

I am talking about conventional war and especially terrorism.


Anybody noticed how many heads of departments at university and high ranking officials in govt departments speak with foreign accents.
Plenty of jobs here however foreigners are getting them and many of them turn out to be crap.
Waikato DHB for starters.

The problem with getting all the smart immigrants to leave their homes is it leaves their home countries devoid of smart people, making that country devoid of a future. We would be doing other countries a service by cutting immigration.

As a reasonably well educated person born in the 90s I believe it is our high effective marginal tax rate. Other countries top tax rates do not kick in until individuals start earning over a quarter million NZD (some as high as a half million NZD).

No, I dont agree. The point is if you can earn 50%+ more in other countries, get compulsory pensions etc then then tax rate doesnt really matter, your added income overwhelms that tax advantage Also actually if you look at say the USA and indeed many other countries the top 1~5% can pay an effective 15% or less tax.

If you actually do want a 30% cut in PAYE, simple you should have voted TOP which would have seen the un-taxed pay tax and allowed the 80% to get a huge tax cut, bit no...only 2.4% went for it.

Didn’t top campaign on taxing my assets without reducing my taxes or giving me any benefit at all whatsoever in the election we just had?

No, they were going to readjust the tax mix. As you are young, you might have benefited by having a lower income tax rate, assuming your asset equity wasn't high and you have no prospect of an inheritance.

A senior economics lecturer at a university earning a high salary paid for by tax payers and students writing a government hit piece like a petulant child.


You mean exercising Academic Freedom.

NZ would be much better off listening to folks like this.

Sure you are free to say anything you like, just doesn’t mean you can keep your job or not be called out for it. How many of his students at Auckland are from overseas looking to immigrate or how many of their parents own homes (god forbid). Again just leftie clap trap like Bill English is squarely to blame for the price of a house.



"Sure you are free to say anything you like, just doesn’t mean you can keep your job or not be called out for it."
My point being that academic freedom specifically protects against unfair retribution such as you allude. It's one of the cornerstone virtues of academia.

By all means call RG out on what he has said. I would pay to see a debate between the Key(west)board Warrior and an academic on such a subject.

Haha, yes I have called him out for trying to tie in government housing portfolios to their secret agendas! However you calling me out as a keyboard warrior is just shit.


Which do you think is more likely:
(a) Politicians take action to ensure housing affordability for future generations, in the process taking a hit in their own housing portfolios for the greater good of the country, or
(b) Politicians ignoring the issue for as long as possible, then paying lip-service to the housing "challenge" when the topic becomes unavoidable, and then sticking their head in the sand.

If you answered (a), I have got some magic beans to sell you.

Agree with his key themes but the tired old flag cheap shot and nonsense swipe at politicians motives on housing discredit him as a cranky lefty.


My niece wants to do her Ph.D in Chemistry. Her first preference is Australian National University her backup is University of Auckland. Once she has completed her Ph.D I doubt NZ will have a job for her. It doesn't matter she has Canadian, Irish and New Zealand citizenship. Why would she want to stay.

Like wise, someone in our family completed his PhD in Physics. The only job he could apply for in NZ is becoming a teacher, meanwhile he had 2 offers from Australia and at least half a dozen from the US in R&D area


Until these "self righteous, know-all, arrogant, ignorant, NEVER listen to others opinion, "everything is a cycle" I know best, property owning, tax dodging bludgers" baby boomers shuffle off their so called "positions of influence" - whether in business and/or politics NZ will NEVER change.

Get used to it folks - this group is so comfortable, they do not want anything to change. So for the above, don't moan and complain when your sons and daughters don't return from the OE and carry on working/in business overseas as they realise there are STILL much better opportunities overseas - hope you have a good internet connection', so you can get to see your grandkids!

In the late 1980s, the common refrain was "would the last Kiwi to leave NZ, please turn out the lights". Todays Baby Boomers were 30 years younger, but I guess they were to blame then?

Australia is full of mining jobs and the excellent education Kiwis receive allows them to easily get jobs overseas. I don't see the problem. I'm actively pushing my children to go overseas when they graduate. Life is too short to limit yourself to NZ. As long as they choose somewhere safer to live than I did in my Expat career, the grandchildren will get lots of visits.


I worked in places with occasional bombings, riots and cyclones, but physical harm never seemed likely. Never been to South Africa and nothing I hear makes me want to go there either. I think my pale skin would be a liability.

Ex Pat I went to South Africa in July and did a couple of safaris with my family. Never thought I would go there but I would go back. The people there are some of the nicest people I have met in all my travels. I wonder why because they were treated so badly by the whites. It is a beautiful country with fantastic infrastructure and the cost of living is much cheaper than here. The scenery is also outstanding and the weather is much better than ours. Hopefully they will bring up the standard of living for those currently missing out. We will be definitely going back.

I was on contract there until '93 ( just prior to The Vote) and thought it was time to leave when out at dinner one night, and one of the women execs showed me the gun in her purse. A wee thing that only had one bullet. "That won't stop them!" I commented. "The bullets not for them", she replied.....(PS: She left too, is now married to one of the Directors of JPM in London.)

Ex Expat, I think you'll find it was the early 1980s - the Muldoon era - when 'the last one out please turn off the lights' was talked/joked about.

I was barely in my 20s when Muldoon was in power and read next to no news so I don’t think I’d recollect much from that era. My recollection is more around the period after the ‘87 crash through to the early ‘90s recession.

I suppose I am abit biased as we have done very well from living in NZ!
I have also lived in Oz short term although didn't need to work there!
I have travelled a reasonable amount around the world and wouldn't live anywhere else in the world than Christchurch as the opportunities are aplenty!
If you aren't doing very well financially then no you won't like NZ and you will feel that other countries are better.
If you don't like NZ and you think you are better off elsewhere, then why don't you pack up and leave.
With bad attitudes then we are probably not going to be better off as a country with you living in NZ.
I know I will get hammered but sometimes the truth and reality hurts!!!!!


"If you don't like NZ and you think you are better off elsewhere, then why don't you pack up and leave."
Isn't that exactly what the article is about?
Isn't that exactly the issue - too many people are doing that!


He shows that it does not take brains or a good education to make money out of real estate. Thankfully it is highly probable that such a situation is very close to ending.


The truth is, the rules and regs in this country seriously favour people using housing as a never lose casino. I have everything crossed this will change very, very soon.

Why would it change PocketAces ? Not being sarcastic, I'm genuinely interested to hear the reasons why you think it will change ? Thanks

Because change to some degree or other is what most of the political parties offered as policies. Only National does not. We can change who can or can't buy our houses, we can ditch the residential part of investor category for prospective immigrants, we could even say, investors must build new. Lots could be done, I hope much will be done


The Boy your weather is crap and you will always have the chance of another big one. Your housing is cheap and getting cheaper by the week. Anyone can do what you do down there with your as is where is cheapies. And you use that name. What a laugh.

Grandad, the weather has been poor recently, but have spent a few months overseas this year where the weather has been much better.
The financial opportunities that NZ offers haven't been in those countries though so that is why I keep,coming back.
We own 2 As Is Where is properties Gordon that return 15 per cent so not a bad investment and also we are able to get full insurance cover on them with very little outlay.
Yes anyone can buy As Is property Gordon, which is my point exactly, that the opportunities are abundant in Christchurch if you are prepared to take them.

Yes I can understand why you spend a few months overseas away from the weather ,shakes and the housing price reductions down there. I presume you carry out your real estate business with the help of a lap top.


> If you don't like NZ and you think you are better off elsewhere, then why don't you pack up and leave.

Some of us give a damn about this country, and do not view it as a money-making opportunity, as you clearly do.

We are only around for a short time i reality.
I rip no one off and yes we do make a great living thru property.
We pay our taxes and employ people just like most other business's.
What the hell,
has that got to do with giving a damn?

Very interesting article, thanks for the link

"If you aren't doing very well financially...

Why is it all about money for some people? I went overseas because New Zealand's provincial "quaintness" and "boorishness" was so smothering and oppressive. I guess some people just like being a not very big fish in a very small pond.

.... then no you won't like NZ"

I'd argue New Zealand is one of the remaining places in the first world where one can live quite cheaply "off the land" and "on their wits"

As for your projections about bad attitudes and truth - hahahaha

dollar_bill You say: "Why is it all about money for some people?" You may want to change your moniker

where most kiwis go ? Australia ? U.S.A ?
these places have more expensive housing and locals are complaining about affordability too.

The big difference is that while Aus and the USA have big cities where housing is expensive they also have big (and nice) cities where housing is much more affordable than Auckland

Like Houston? New Orleans ? Miami ? Low regulation cost savings may not seem like such a bargain in some key circumstances (like in big storms).

So the poor get sold housing with no safety and when it goes wrong they sell up at
a huge loss. Hardly surprising parasitic investors dont want to change things when they can make a fortune.


Most of the mining towns in Australia are now cheap as chips

I can resonate with the article, I'm 25 and made a rather spontaneous decision last week to move to Sydney in Feb next year. Recently also had 2 mates who moved across in the last 6 months so decide there's nothing to lose to join them. Life is short, gotta make the most of what's out there otherwise i know i'll regret it in my 30s. For me, the move is a combination of lack of job opportunity/ promotion and that I want to experience the city life. Everyone in the office tends to be 40+ with overseas experience, I work in Finance/ Investment so decide to follow the wise's advises and go abroad to get that experience. Tbh, don't see myself returning to NZ anytime soon, next move after Sydney would likely be London once the GBP/NZD currency is a bit more favorable.

You are following a well worn path that works exceedingly well for many. Get your experience, have some fun, save some money and see where it takes you. NZ will be waiting for you if that appeals later on. Just a few words of caution. Don't burn bridges and if you do return, keep your tales about where you've been and what you've done to yourself. Those that stayed behind want their decision confirmed as correct so you'll just annoy them by intimating they missed out. Don't try to work for your old employer as they likely see you as the old you, not what you've become. Good luck.

You'll never regret the move overseas. NZ is a nice little country but my advice to any young person is to travel, work hard and play very hard.

NZ has a habit, helped along by the media, of knocking down tall poppies and dribbling on about poverty. Its quite depressing but once you leave here you'll very rarely read the NZ news and realise the world outside NZ is just awesome.

We have two regular overseas posters who seem obsessed about commenting on NZ, so some evidently regularly read NZ news. Don’t make that mistake. In my regular visits to NZ while still an Expat I quickly learned that my opinion on NZ was considered invalid unless I lived in the Country. I was lucky enough to miss most of the Clark years but even National voters shut me down if I stated how nice it was to be living elsewhere while she ruled. Ouch. Now I’m back living in NZ and never intend to leave again all is good. Now let’s get Labour/Greens/WP in power so we can have something to really moan about.


Some interesting relevant thoughts

Innovation – not immigration – should drive our economic growth



Oh, you and your pie in the sky economic thinking!

I'm sure National has it right in relying on house prices and massive volumes of immigration to prop up our nominal GDP. That's why they've given up talking about closing the productivity gap with Australia...one of those pie in the sky ideas they abandoned.


Coming from someone who is very early 30's; getting a head in this country sucks. My entire working career has basically been post GFC meaning companies down sizing, targets too high to realistically achieve (ie no bonus) little to no pay rises, house prices exploding this list goes on.... The fact that the % isn't higher surprises me.


Actually not just someone like you. Older people are also finding it tough suffering from downsizing etc. Yeah sure there are some of the BBs making $s but I wonder just what the % are. On top of that it wouldnt surprise me if much of that % is making it in property and then paying no or little tax.

How many of the Kiwis leaving are kids of migrants who came here for their school/uni education earlier and settled down here ?
The point is, youngsters want to go overseas for experience, etc after completing University. The exodus from countries with small population like NZ will be more noticeable.
Not discounting the lack of proper job opportunities here with decent salaries, that is the other side of the coin.
I have always wondered why NZ does not have more Medical Universities, Free Trade Zones, etc seeing our healthcare needs increasing and our potential to increase from exports including software exports, etc.

If you think that everything is rosier out of NZ then make the move.
I beleive you will be very disappointed and will come back to NZ.
Housing is more expensive in oz unless you are in a smaller city on the outskirts.
Wouldn't matter what people say there will always be plenty of people especially on here, saying how bad it is in NZ and how you can't get ahead etc!!!
NZ is the land of milk and honey compared to most countries in the world.
There is no such thing as poverty in NZ when you compare it to so many other countries.
If you think you are living in poverty it is probably from making poor decisions.


Lie down on the couch and tell Dr Kakapo why you're so confused, defensive and, somewhat paradoxically, antagonised by anybody disagreeing with you.


You are the sort of person people emigrate to avoid. You are the most arrogant and ignorant person I think I have ever come across. The beauty of this country is you are able to say (for the most part) what you like. People will disagree with you and you seem to take offence if they don't listen to words from the one on high (a pedestal you have placed yourself on). You have the intelligence of a lobotomised orang-utan (and that is insulting to lobotomised orang-utan's).


Bad Robot, don't care if you think I am ignorant.
NZ is a extremely desireable country as viewed by people overseas!
If you don't like it, there is clearly reasons why you don't.
If you can't change what you don't like then you either grin and bear it or move on.
I don't take offence at all with what other people say on here, as many of them are just bleaters that think,that the country owes them a living!
As for intelligence bad Robot, there are many that know me personally that would love to have my financial intelligence.
I am sure I could show you how you could go from a Bad Robot to being a Good Robot.

If you haven't realised I am mocking you and your OTT response to just about everything.......

Not sure how telling it the way it is, is over the top!
I love NZ, nothing is ever perfect but overall it is a great country without the problems that Other countries just take as everyday living.
America says it is the greatest country in the world, but I can tell you now it has more problems than most.
If you are not happy with the way things are for yourself, then you need to do things differently!
Bleating on about not being able to afford a house in Auckland will not improve your lot.
If I was starting out as a young one in Auckland I would find it very hard as well unless there were two good size incomes coming in.
What I would guarantee is though, is that if I needed to live in Auckland I would be able to purchase a home and continue to improve my financial,position.
You have to be prepared to work rather than sitting on your butt moaning about how hard it is to get on the property ladder.
If you put your mind to it, most people can achieve!!!!

THE MAN 2, I've always found your comments to be sensible and not in the least bit ignorant or arrogant. I do get the impression that you are simply "telling it the way it is" as observed by you in Christchurch. It's great having you here to give some insight into the Christchurch property market.

You sound like a failed motivational speaker, using cliché statements.While I don't disagree about life is what you make it and taking opportunities but to present common sense as as some sort of messianic teaching is just a little screwy ( makes me think you have a full six pack but lack the plastic bit the holds it all together).

Why keep baiting him?

True - for the most part I now ignore most of what is written and only comment when I think I can add some value. This is one of those times.

Buying as is where is homes in a city where prices are continually moving downwards makes you a financially intelligent person? Where rents are retreating ! When you have your so called portfolio in a town which is susceptible to major earthquakes makes you a financially intelligent person? I think not. You are a RE agent. They only do that as they do not have an education that gives them the prospect of a decent income. Says it all.

Gordon, seriously you detract from this place..never stop you petty point scoring...if you don't like the post ignore..you always have a choice.....why you have never been warned or banded is surprising..every time I come here its the same thing...seriously this has been going on for months..for the rest of us its useless clutter which more often than not results in visiting less....

I take it you are an agent.

Gordon, Gordon Gordon, I am not a Real Estate Agent now haven't been so for a few years.
Property investor! And good at it.
You should try it!

Gordon may own an exporting company the distributes world wide, he may be a fund manager that makes millions a year, he could be an ex professional footballer, he may have sold his company for X millions, you just dont know. You shouldnt presume someone else is not doing well because they dont like the way the property maket is going and are concerned for NZers and NZ.

Once an agent always an agent The Boy. It says so much about you. Anyone could have done what you have done. Many have and like you they are not special. Being an old bugger like me you were lucky timing wise. Houses were cheap to buy. But you made the mistake of buying average homes in a town in a very cold isolated part of New Zealand where people only live if they were born there or are desperate for cheap houses and cheap rent and that is what Christchurch provides. Bob Jones is The Man. An old man like you with a few average as is where is homes in your town is not The Man.

Hardly worth responding to Gordon.

Speak for,yourself about being an old fellah!!!

I am a long way away from any rest home, and still very young at heart, Grandad.

Are you taking up my challenge,?

But he only does it to one person who gets upset at other peoples opinions. We have opinions but because we are branded as jealous the opinions are shouted down. If you are going to pick on one person you need to pick on the other. Otherwise it just seems self serving.

Swapacrate, you are dead right and it is a bit pointless really.
He has called me a liar several times, and I have offered him a $50k challenge many times which he totally ignored.
Would love him to take it up with me, and I would donate half of the 50k to charity of my choice.
Let's see if he responds to this and takes me up on it.
Doubt he will as he is full of wind and thinks he is getting under my skin, when I just laugh at it.

Are the any analyses of departures leaving New Zealand. Nearly all the published articles refer to people who depart our shores after being here for more than 12 months as "kiwis" - we need better and further particulars

The quoted figures are based on people born in NZ.

Any analysis on the shortage of primary school teachers due to the migration of our public working class? The rot is bubbling to the surface, allow a city to become a get rich quick scheme and all of a sudden the unintended consequences emerge through social crises. If you're young & want a life of stability afforded to you by having a fundamental need satisfied such as shelter, then leaving is your best bet. All the positive thinking, hard work & smashed avo foregoing won't work. Do we now as rate payers subside teachers, nurses and cops??

Being a NZer that has lived in the US for over 10 years and who is actively working on returning to NZ I can give my two cents. I left for adventure, experience and money. My overseas salary was 2x my NZ offer. I have travelled all over the world, sat in board rooms on Wall Street and worked on projects/contracts which are as large as the GDP of many NZ cities. But it is the quality of life, family ties and the NZ lifestyle that pulls me back. I know I will take a huge pay cut but to me it's worth it to raise my family the NZ way. I have been fortunate and can come back and build a new house but not all are so lucky. The high cost of housing and low relative income is a major issue why more Kiwis don't return in my opinion. The ones of us who have been overseas bring a lot of great experience (cultural and economic) that can help make NZ even better but the hurdle is the housing/income issue. We need to get that fixed.

Yep first time I left was for the parties and travel.

Second time was to get a business going as NZ market is very tiny. But home is where the heart is and its where I will return one day, hopefully live by the beach or on a lifestyle property close to the beach so I can go kitesurfing. We will live in the country and enjoy the lifestyle of a small community, that has things like sailing and calve club days. Not that usual in big cities where I have been living.

Definitely for me debt to income ratios need to be managed.

It is getting to the point where you have to do go overseas to earn enough to afford to live in AKL.

This is what economic migrants from developing countries have to do too. Think of the remittances sent home by Filipinos and Central Americans working around the globe.

"But it is the quality of life, family ties and the NZ lifestyle that pulls me back"

Family ties notwithstanding, I hear 'lifestyle' talked about a lot but I wonder if it's as true today as it might once have been. Ridiculously expensive housing, traffic, water you can't swim in...

It depends on your stage of life and where you chose to live in NZ. I parrot on about the Eastern Bays (1071), because I consider the lifestyle exceptional and I can afford the housing there. My siblings dislike Auckland with a passion; it's either too busy, too noisy, too superficial and/or too expensive. Different strokes for different folks. The thing with living overseas for family oriented people is that nothing but nothing is better than being able to spend time with loved ones and when you start to lose them, then you wonder whether the extra money in the bank was a fair exchange for the shared times you will never get back.

I guess I think about it in the NZ 'work to live' culture vs. the US corporate 'live to work' culture. Maybe this has changed? Plus great outdoor pursuits etc.

My family left a few months ago. The reason is simple: HOUSING.

Just in case you are wondering whether our millennial accommodation demands were too avocado la-de-da, we've recently had our offer accepted on just the house we wanted, in a lovely city, within great docs and school catchments and within easy driving distance of London. Europe? 1-2 hour on a plane/train. For the price of a crappy leaky terrace in Hobsonville and a 1.5 hour commute, we have a full detached house within 15 mins drive of the CBD. Which is bustling, by the way, and full of jobs. And flat whites.

Auckland. Pfft.


Would be more interesting if you told us the actual town's name. Why not? I thought places like West Malling and Canterbury were nice last time I was in England.
Is what you suggest really an option for most Kiwis?

There are plenty of young dual-nationals in NZ, capable of jetting out to live elsewhere.
For everyone else, well, there's always Sydney.

As soon as the Aussie economy picks up again, NZ is toast.

I wish more NZers would read "Why Nations Fail - The origins of power, prosperity and Poverty" by Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson (especially our politicians!) You can see from that what's happening here and it's pretty depressing. Any chance our new so-called government will finally put the nation first instead of themselves?

Over recent weeks we've heard our politicians telling us how amazingly well they've handled our economy.
Here's the reality.
In 1900 New Zealand was the richest nation on the planet (per capita GDP). Now we’re between 30th and 50th, (depending upon who does the sums, and how)

1900 #1
1950 #5
1970 #10
1980 #19
2016 #50

We got rich in the 19th century using technology - refrigerated shipping.

We’ve made bugger all progress since. Farming and tourism = low paid jobs.

Comment of the year Alan. Well said.

Left because of HOUSING

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