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Crays and Aussie Carrots

Written By: - Date published: 12:58 pm, November 22nd, 2012 - 51 comments
Categories: australian politics, cost of living, Economy, im/migration, International, jobs - Tags:

One of the best things about being a Kiwi living in Australia is the food.  But, not the carrots.  Not the milk either, or the lamb.  And if we’re being brutally honest, not the cheese, not the apples, and not the spuds.  Really, the best thing is the restaurant food.  Actually, it’s not so much the restaurant food, as the choice of restaurant.  In fact, the best thing about being a Kiwi living in Australia is not so much the choice of places to eat, rather than the ability to choose.

And that ability to choose directly comes down to the cold hard fact that you probably received $2000AUD wages in your hot little hand this week rather than $800NZ.  That your power bill for one month was $80AUD rather than $250NZ.  That your $400AUD rent was 25% of your weekly wage rather than 50%.

A fellow kiwi expat and I were talking about this issue the other day.  This is part of the conversation:

Roger:  “My missus and I never used to go out when we lived in Enzed – ever.”
Me:  “No, we didn’t either.”
Roger:  “We go out a lot, now.”
Me:  “It’s so great ay?”
Roger:  “Yeah and now we even choose which restaurant.  No stink smorgasbords for us.”
Me:  “It feels like we’re sort of part of society ay?”
Roger:  “Pity the seafood is crap.”

In 2011, Roger and I both dragged our families across the ditch from our beloved New Zealand for employment – and a better wage for our labour.  We’d never travelled on an OE, so this was also an adventure.

Some will argue that we could have made sacrifices to remain in NZ.  For example, by not being made redundant; by showing our ‘stuff’ and beating the other 1500 applicants to be offered our dream job; by saving money and enjoying ‘free’ entertainment e.g.. scrabble at home rather than the cinema; by walking 83km to the beach rather than taking the car; by eliminating luxuries (meat).

Most NZ families have forgotten they have the right to participate in modern life by expecting a decent weekly wage. A holiday.  A movie.  A trip to the beach.  A meal out.  They forget until they move somewhere like Australia – like we did.

Then they find out the best thing about being a Kiwi living and working in Australia is not just the ability to choose which restaurant you take your family to once a week; the best thing is simply being a part of life.

Still, Roger’s holding out hope that a job opens up in NZ with comparable wages, and that the crays and carrots are still waiting when he returns home.  Me too.



51 comments on “Crays and Aussie Carrots”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Are you the same imaginary chap painting the roof that Shearer was on about ?

    • Kevin Welsh 1.1

      Ahhh, the politics of envy HS…

      • higherstandard 1.1.1

        I was more thinking the politics of bullshit. It’s a close thing between the blogs and parliament which is more full of it.

        • Kevin Welsh

          Then maybe you need to get out of the office more. A good friend of mine who moved over two years ago, and my bosses son who moved over there 1 year ago, all same the same as the post above.

          But I’m sure you have anecdotal evidence to the contrary…

          • Chris

            You can’t really call people out for anecdotal evidence when your post contains only that. It isn’t as if it is hard to find items which provide evidence better than a good friend of mine did this.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    I was in Melbourne on holiday two weeks ago and I could see why retail is in trouble – there is too much of it! Everywhere seems to feel the need to add a gigantic shopping mall as part of the development plan. Australian governments appear to know they must maintain high disposable incomes, with so much shopping available and so many working in retail retail spending/disposable income is critical to the domestic economy.

    But the sheer quantity of food outlets staggered me. You couldn’t turn around without falling over a cafe or restaurant or bistro or tapas bar – and they all always seemed to have at least some customers, unlike here in NZ where they can look like morgues outside busy times. I thought the food of very good quality.

    A friend of mine over there described it thus: If you are unskilled/low skilled and on a minimum/low wage you are still $50-$100 per week better off in real terms than in NZ.

    That means even the lowest paid can afford to eat out somewhere once a week.

    Skilled/professional workers can afford to eat out two or three times a week. Since Melbourne has 4 million people, that equals a thriving domestic economy.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Only problem being that the slow down is biting over there, even in the mining sector where several new projects are being cancelled. For all those Kiwis over in Oz – start putting away a bit more money week to week (which sadly contracts the wider economy but ah well) – I’ve already come across a couple of people who have been affected by unexpected redundancies.

      • karol 2.1.1

        Already Queensland agencies are paying for homeless kiwis to be flown back to NZ.

        • aerobubble

          Wait a while and you’ll have a rush if young fluent cultural Australia speakers, some with criminal records, holding only a kiwi passport and landing in Nz for the first time ever.
          Imagine that, we are going to be relying on them to carry a higher burden of taxation to
          fund pensions, yet our PM wont go into bat for them when they grow up in Australia.

  3. Clashman 3

    Don’t worry John and his mates promised to close the wage gap. It wont be long now…..

  4. Rob 4

    “by walking 83km to the beach rather than taking the car” – LOL, is this a Tui ad.

  5. Populuxe1 5

    I’ve never had a $250 power bill in my life, and I haven’t exactly noticed a lack of diversity in restaurants.
    Never mind, the gap will close soon, mainly because I suspect the Australian economy will be heading our way soon and not vice versa… 

    • infused 5.1

      Pretty much this. I have a mate of a mate of a mate who shits golden eggs. True story bro.

    • mike e 5.2

      Not likely popuganda I’ve just come back from OZ and if the federal govt isn’t stimulating their economy the states are stimulating their own so I don’t see Australia going down as much as NZ!
      But on the food front their Restaurants and cafe’s have gone down hill big time since last time I was their 5 years ago.
      Their food has turned to tasteless expensive crap !
      We have better food at less than half the price with nicer service so not all is good across the ditch!
      Our coffee is better but one area where they are better is tropical fruits.
      clothing is much dearer for quality .
      Housing is cheaper than Auckland or Queenstown!
      Jobs the more skill the better the chances of a job illegal immigrants are undercutting wages in the low skill areas.
      The scenery doesn’t exist travel times are long no respite from the noise!
      New Zealand is way better!

      • Populuxe1 5.2.1

        “Housing is cheaper than Auckland or Queenstown!”

        Um, no shit Sherlock. Housing is also cheaper in the rest of New Zealand, quite a few places in Europe and the US. Thankfully not all of us want to live in Auckland or Queenstown. 

  6. Rosie 6

    “Most NZ families have forgotten they have the right to participate in modern life by expecting a decent weekly wage. A holiday. A movie. A trip to the beach. A meal out”.

    Too right cobber. Except that I haven’t forgotten what those things feel like, I just know that they no longer exist for our household and don’t know when they will again. Last meal out to a restaurant: June 2011. Movies – don’t do, just download or hire dvd’s from the library where its only $4. Trip to the beach – luckily we’re not far from the sea. Holiday? We honestly can’t remember the last time we had a proper holiday. In the last 4 years we’ve had 2 weekend trips away from town, and only no more than 100 k’s away because of petrol costs.

    It’s great you can now live your life and enjoy those things. I can imagine that would be quite liberating. Is it sad you had to leave your country to do so?

    • Rob 6.1

      What do you do Rosie? Has your income dropped at all or remained static?

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Shadow inflation.

      • Rosie 6.1.2

        Thats a bit personal Rob. Not sure if trolling or genuinely interested………….So FYI, we are down to one income due to my being unemployed. I do voluntary work for an NGO, so I work but not for pay. I’ve not received an income since April 2011. Our one person income which is a good one has remained static since mid 08. In that time our accomodation costs have gone up by almost 30%. Then of course the suck arse increase in GST has impacted on our budgeting. So in short, we are downwardly mobile.

        • lprent

          I know what you mean. We were looking at the household budget when we moved back into my apartment. Essentially our income has only slightly increased since 2009, but our costs have gone up a *lot*.

          Especially in food, insurance and power which are all up like a rocket. The costs over the last few years in running cars have been been burdensome as well even though we don’t drive much. Rates have increased a bit. Body corporate fees have gone up a lot.

          There has been a minimal drop in interest on the mortgage, and a drop in the net/phone link by switching VOIP/naked broadband.

          Yep, we’re going backwards. The only nice thing about it is that by moving back into my old apartment after 4 years away is that our accommodation costs overall dropped a lot.

          • Rosie

            Hi Lprent. Costs going up. A’int that the truth! And yes cars too: grrrr! Car repairs and urgent dental surgery (wouldn’t have been urgent if there had the been the funds to cover preventative care in the first place) have put us into quite a bit of debt on top of the usual weekly money juggle.

            Can understand why folks go to Aussie IF they are guaranteed of a better opportunity but I like it here too much to leave and we’ve got a lot going for us despite the current political cloud of crap that hangs over us.

            • lprent

              The lumps of car repair money was something I noticed when I was pretty damn poor because I was coughing up money to deal with a leaky building. The usual repairs and maintenance like tyres suddenly became a *big* issue because I simply didn’t have a money buffer any more.

              After an idiot rear-ended me on the bridge one day and the car took 6 weeks to get repaired so I was using a hire vehicle to get to work in Albany, I rather decided that I’d start treating a car as being a luxury rather than a requirement for work. Any future work would be done where I could either use public transport or where I could work at home.

              Helped a lot with the budgets. These days with work I can walk to work if I desire, or take the link / walk. If needs be then car can stay in the garage. Of course the registration tax and insurance are a pain because they’re essentially fixed costs and do rather make the cost of having a occasional use vehicle rather high. I probably need to look at diesel road user charges as an alternative (they are a usage based tax?)

              • Lanthanide

                “I probably need to look at diesel road user charges as an alternative (they are a usage based tax?)”

                Yes, they’re usage based. They make up for the tax that would otherwise be paid on diesel though, nothing to do with registration etc.

                • lprent

                  Darn. For the last couple of years I did between 2k and 4k kms in the car. Much of that is in the few trips I take each year heading to my parents in Rotorua. I was just figuring it out.

                  That must mean that I actually expend just about as much on registration tax and WOF’s as I do on petrol. Currently I fill up every 6-8 weeks for about $100. Say 6 weeks.

                  52/6 = 8.67 * 100 = $867 pa.
                  cf WOF is ~$70 *2 and reg ~380pa =~$520pa

                  I’d have to look up the insurance.

                  Ummmm. Bloody hard to live in Auckland without a car though.

    • Shelley 6.2

      Thanks Rosie – the volunteer work you do in the heart of our communities is so important; thank you.

      Answers: Yes it is liberating and yes it is sad and disappointing that we had to leave NZ. What we discovered in Australia was the ability to participate in modern life. We discovered ‘disposable income’. We discovered what it feels like to have no financial worries – who would have known! We also discovered what true homesickness is and how no amount of money can replace family and home soil. And we found a little sadness in our hearts that no matter how hard we plot or plan every month to work our way back to NZ, we know right now there just aren’t the jobs or else the cost of living outweighs the wages offered. For lots of reasons, some can live in NZ atm. For lots of reasons, some can’t. But eventually we want to come home – I hope some day we can.

      • Rosie 6.2.1

        Hi Shelley. Thanks for your comments. Wow, thats a tough one. I only hope that one day you can return and enjoy the same standard of living that you are experiencing in Oz, here on your home turf.
        Kia Kaha.

  7. tc 7

    ‘That your power bill for one month was $80AUD rather than $250NZ. That your $400AUD rent was 25% of your weekly wage rather than 50%.’

    Power is already scamming us and will climb more with the generator flog off
    High rents reflect partly the demand placed by housing being a tax free investment option and also because our supply industry’s are full of monopoly practices (CHH, Fletchers etc) making them more expensive than they should be.

    CGT and a CommComm with teeth run by people who give a shit about a fair market is a start on housing, re-nationalising power fixes the other.

    Oz’s ACCC (their commcomm) has many scalps including oil companies and pratts Visy empire whereas over here rebshocker rubber stamped and stood by troughing….still is as a NACT appointee.

    SME’s are starting to topple, the mining bubble’s burst, the high Oz dollar combined with e-tailing is slamming a retail sector that’s been cruising for a bruising. Melb’s docklands district has already tanked and no-one’s buying houses as they either refuse to pay the price or can’t pay the price and take on the debt.

  8. cricklewood 8

    I listened to an interveiw this avo about kiwis in the goldcoast. Basically alot of kiwis are getting into strife as the construction drys up and are needing help to get home. Apperently alot of the kiwis are on casual contracts and are the first to go…. It aint all roses thats for sure. Interestingly she said that many prefered to stay and take their chances rather than take a free flight home….

    • karol 8.1

      The QLD state government has gone big on austerity – a lot of lay-offs in the public sector.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        THIS. Its not an accident that Kiwis were commonly on casual contracts and the first to go as well. How does it feel NZers to be treated like disposable second world labourers?

        This is the beginning in Oz.

        • Clashman

          Up to a point, I say good on the Aussies for that. The industry I’m involved, with, (in NZ) works the opposite way – the kiwis are the first to be sacked because the (often “illegal”) non kiwis will work for next to nothing.
          Second world labourers in their own country.

      • millsy 8.1.2

        This is what will happen countrywide when the Liberal Party comes to power in 2013.

        Mind you I struggle to find any differences between the Coalition and the ALP.

        Apart from a couple of modest taxes and a broadband network, the whole three party sings from the same neo-liberal songsheet.

        The reason why wages are high in Aus is because their unions never really got defanged to the same level that ours did in the ’90’s, not for lack of trying, looking at you over there Mr Howard.

        It also helps that Australian authorites never really outsourced/privatised their activities to the extent that we did.

        • mike e

          patrick stevedoring millsy serco they’ve busted the unions over their to just done it more slowly
          Qantas and jetstar its all happening the same way their.
          The big difference is that workers can just walk out the door and get another job more easily than here and ozzy employers know the value in keeping a good worker and your more likely to get promoted! .
          Ozzy employers aren’t like our Victorian style employers!
          Look at henry ford he new the value of keeping skilled workers by paying them more than the opposition! unfortunately he treated the unions badly!
          We need to improve wages to get our economy going again starting with the gouging banks they are taking record profits from NZ !

      • mike e 8.1.3

        Karol the liberal and country party have chased voters back to Gillard with this Austerity BS old budgie brained abbott is loosing popularity because Aussies aren’t as dumb as Kiwi’s and can see that right wing Govt’s aren’t good for the economy!

  9. happynz 9

    The thing that irked me about Aussie are some bizarre policies such as requiring an Australian ID to mail an overseas package. This happened to me twice at different post shops in Melbourne. Maybe I look sketchy, I don’t know. In my travels to many countries in the world, Australia is the only place that requested proof of identity to mail a package. I can see showing ID to pick up a package, but to send one…?

  10. Shona 10

    Lived there for 7 years. Never regretted it. Have often regretted returning to NZ but I know what you mean about homesickness and the food is better in NZ overall tho’ Melbourne /Victoria a close second. I am glad my kids are Kiwis and have had a Kiwi education. However our income is still derived from OZ and all our cash investments are there.( Far more stable return). As babyboomers we know we had it easy and made the most of opportunities there.The opportunities are greater and better no contest.2 of our offspring are now repeating this experience of ours one now commutes just like his dad. Yes we are second class citizens. The Aussie govt. needs to be taken to the world court or something similar over that.It is nigh on impossible to get permanent residency/citizenship even if you are married to an Aussie. Helen Clark fucked up big time on that her gross lack of life experience tripped her up there. Naive?no just plain stupid.Aussies are some of the sharpest people on the planet and we have a lot to learn from them Trust no one!Kia Ora.

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      “Helen Clark fucked up big time on that her gross lack of life experience tripped her up there. Naive?no just plain stupid.”

      I’m not sure why you’re blaming Helen Clark for law changes made by the sovereign Australian government. They don’t have to let NZers into their country at all, you know.

      • Shona 10.1.1

        Yeah? How about it’s reciprocal then. We don’t have to give Aussie’s full residency after a few months or let them access our welfare and health systemfor free. That’s how she fucked up. She could have objected, she didn’t . There was no justification for the stance Australia took. It is racist in it’s discrimi nation against NZer’s. We CANNOT get permanent residency with out a huge battle. They constantly shift the goalposts for NZer’s . It is RACIST. Clark never quibbled or negotiated. She bent over and took it. Utterly naive and totally gutless. No wonder Aussie’s think we’re a pushover we are. They rob us on a daily basis thru’ the banking system. Wakey Wakey Lanth.You clearly haven’t been paying attention.We are second class citizens ove there we do not have access to the education system or it’s loan system, we do not have a right to full insurance, or health and welfare. We have to pay.Yet we pay full taxes there. Geddit?

        • Lanthanide

          As far as I am aware, NZers getting residency in Oz must meet the same requirements as any other nationality.

          If you have some proof that says otherwise, please provide it.

          And, if you don’t like being treated as a second-class citizen in Oz, don’t go there? Or, get residency? As I said, Australia doesn’t have to let NZers in at all, if they feel like it. It’s a privilege that we get to go at all.

          As for reciprocity, quite clearly NZ has decided it needs Australians living here, more than Australia needs NZers. Such is life.

        • XooX

          NZ’ers are not second-class citizens because they are not citizens at all.

          NZ’ers do get access to tertiary education at the same cost as domestic students but no access to the loan system.

          If the price for accessing an economy where wages are 40%+ greater than NZ while paying lower taxes than in NZ while forgoing ability to go on the dole in Bondi then that’s an option I’ll take anyday.

          If NZ’ers want to bitch and moan then I’m pretty sure there are millions who would take your place in a heartbeat.


  11. JonL 11

    ” we do not have a right to full insurance, or health and welfare” – no welfare unless you are a permanent resident I believe, but health? – I was here 4 months and got an eye cataract done on the health system — cost me nowt! I would have had to wait another 15 months in NZ! Had a heart attack (AMI) – no worries about treatment – medicare paid all the costs.
    $90 power bills – we live in the sticks and only get $90 power bills because we have a PV system feeding power back into the grid at 40c/unit and aren’t at home during the day!
    Would love to go back to NZ, but know there wouldn’t be any work available and we couldn’t replace what we have here.

  12. Brighter Future... in Aus 12

    I emigrated to Melbourne from Wellington earlier this year. I am paid roughly the same amount in Australian dollars as I was in NZ $ but due to the $18 000 tax-free bracket get much more in hand than I did back home. Cost of living is far cheaper than I expected, with things like rent being much better value than in New Zealand. I am doing similar work to what I did in New Zealand but being paid far better for the times where I have to work late or on weekends – so much so that I actually volunteer to work on weekends now.

    Between that, the weather and the amazing public transport, I don’t understand why anyone still lives in the Banana Republic across the Tasman.

  13. MQ 13

    The cheese in Australia is a mile better than anything NZ has ever offered. try the supermarket here. 4 different kind of hardcheese. try the supermarket in Australia and the choice doubles. try it in Europe and its 20+
    in regards to cheese and dairy Fonterra and the likes has made us a country that really just get the worst of the worst. Our wine industry should have been followed by a cheese industry. that never happened instead we end up having wine with tasteless Brie and Camembert. thats as modern as the 70ies show and to be honest the 70ies is probably the last time anyone outside NZ did Camembert and brie with wine…

    One of the first thing a new Labour needs to do is break the monopoly Fonterra has on cheese. Allow real cheese to be imported, allow real flavours in our food and let the creative kiwi entrepreneurs tackle the AustralAsian dairy market. As it is now we even allow Fonterra to call their goatcheese feta despite feta being branded a designated term and only allowed to be used for cheese mad eof goat and originating in Greece. A disgrace and something to keep in ind next time the EU blocks another one of our fake brands and pirated products.

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    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago