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The only growth industry

Written By: - Date published: 7:13 am, May 15th, 2012 - 29 comments
Categories: Economy, national - Tags: ,

For all that we give the Nats a hard time here at The Standard, we’re also careful to give credit where it’s due. So I guess we should give credit to National, in this time of economic stagnation, for the one and only growth industry that they have accomplished. That growth industry is, of course, trans-Tasman airline tickets:

Fed-up Kiwis head to Oz en masse

Thousands of New Zealanders – including many disillusioned immigrants – are looking for new jobs and new lives in Australia.

During the weekend, about 6000 people packed the Oz Jobs Expo in Auckland, at which Australian companies were headhunting Kiwi skills and experience.

And, judging by the long queues for the $15 event, it seems many of the employers will have no problem finding takers among job seekers who say they are fed up with New Zealand and believe the lifestyle, pay and opportunities are far better across the Tasman. …

The number of New Zealanders moving across the Tasman hit a record 53,000 in the year to February, but the unemployment rate at home and Australia’s new tax breaks that would make millions better off are tipped to lift that number.

Young job seeker Joanne Frew said she wanted to move because of the National Government’s lack of focus on “creating better jobs and affordable housing”.

“I’ve given up hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel, and decided to make my own light,” said Miss Frew, a political science graduate who had been working as a receptionist since leaving university in 2009.

“My pay now is not much higher than a school drop out working at the supermarket, so if I can find a job, any job, then I’m out of here.”

Perhaps its National’s strategy for winning the next election? Drive all the smart voters out of the country? I’m kidding – I think.


29 comments on “The only growth industry”

  1. Carol 1

    Perhaps its National’s strategy for winning the next election? Drive all the smart voters out of the country? I’m kidding – I think.

    That crossed my mind yesterday, too.

    • shreddakj 1.1

      Mine too, because I’m seriously considering leaving this country.

      • Carol 1.1.1

        I’m not considering leaving NZ. I have changed countries a few times in my life. Things seem better to start with, then they change (especially governments and their policies change), and I realised, the on-going & changing problems are internationally linked. Besides, I’ve just had enough of changing countries, now. Better to stay and fight where I am.

        • Colonial Viper

          Its just awful to see the bad management and bad leadership endemic at each level of NZ society now however. Behind every fuck up, responsibility dodge and spending blow out which makes it to the news, a dozen more do not, and some clique of management types are behind each one.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    If my anecdotal evidence is any guide the outflow is accelerating to ridiculous levels. Three work colleagues (all IT professionals) have responded to the latest “review” by simply moving to Australia. I think the penchant of NZ management for perpetual organisational reviews is something that deserves greater scrutiny as a reason people leave for Australia. A constant fear of losing your job is extremely corrosive to workplace satisfaction. Contrary to what seems to be general HR and management opinion, constant restructures and headcount reviews does not produce a lean, hard working and obedient workforce. It produces an atomised, apathetic, defeatist and cynical one. To top things off, I just lost my indoor netball team defender (a panel beater) to Aussie. And our ace shooter is off to Melbourne via Germany in September.

    I suspect the ruling elites wouldn’t much mind if the country didn’t have many actual New Zealanders left in it, but instead consisted of a seething mass of migrant third world labour presided over by a largely absentee rent-taking business latifundia elite – kind of like a pre-Chavez Venezuela of the South Seas. That outcome certainly seems to be the end game of the governments current labour law policies.

    But here is a question: How lucky are we to have Australia as a employment safety valve for our incompetent neo-liberal rulers? How safe would the streets of this country be for the ruling political/media class if the 500,000 or so Kiwi economic refugees across the globe were instead all still here and unemployment was topping a third of a million?

    • Carol 2.1

      I think the penchant of NZ management for perpetual organisational reviews is something that deserves greater scrutiny as a reason people leave for Australia.

      This is not just an NZ thing. It’s the neoliberal way. This is what started happening in the UK with big further education colleges that I worked in during Thatcher’s time as PM. It was a way of cutting management, and devolving managerial & admin jobs downwards, so lower level workers, teachers etc, were doing more and taking and more responsibilities for no more pay.

      • Sanctuary 2.1.1

        Above and beyond their deleterious impact on productivity and workplace satisfaction, the thing about constant reviews is that for the three-nine months they often take everyone affected has to put their lives on hold. people who want to improve their lot, ask for a pay rise, plan to get married, have a kid, buy a house – have to delay these plans and make everything contingent on how the review washes out. Note I said “everyone affected” because of course the HR Gestapo and the managerial “change initiators” and fat-cat consultants get to BAU their lives while they take their own sweet time over determining everyone elses fate. it is as if the organisation has been turned upside down and the actual workers are no longer considered capable of producing anything useful beyond their ability to provide a breathing cadaver for a vampire managerial class to feast on.

        The idea that you can move to Aussie – even for the same money – in the reliable knowledge that it much less likely to suffer having the economy regularly sacrificed on the alter of economic purity at the hands of neo-liberal fanatics so you can relax, get on with doing your job and raise your family free from the torment of reign of bean counter terror (and in a better climate!) is seductive for many.

    • Olwyn 2.2

      “How lucky are we to have Australia as an employment safety valve…” could have been said in nineteenth century England, which we are coming to resemble.

  3. ochocinco 3

    I am very disappointed so many posters on a left-wing blog have such a right-wing ideology.

    Economic migration is at its heart a selfish act – putting one’s own wealth ahead of the good of the country. As JFK said, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

    True patriots are willing to endure lower wages because they are (a) loyal to NZ and (b) realise abandoning NZ doesn’t help build a better NZ.

    The state matters to us leftists – we are collectivists – we aren’t individualists who sell ourselves to some other country for 40 pieces of silver. There’s nothing different in quality, only quantity, between this and collaboration

    If you leave NZ, stop supporting the ABs, stop talking about how great NZ is – if you’re willing to leave it, not pay taxes, not build it, you don’t get to claim a few selected bits

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Economic migration is at its heart a selfish act – putting one’s own wealth ahead of the good of the country

      I agree with you to a point. But for many people being able to earn a decent living for their family, or being close to the grandchildren, is going to come up trumps.

      If this country could offer solid $50K-$60K pa jobs in a wide variety of industries, a hell of a lot of NZers would stay.

      But it can’t.

      • Dr Terry 3.1.1

        I too agree to a point, it is a fair point to make. Yet I do take some issue with all so typical Kennedy rhetoric. From the stage, this sounds most moving and convincing, but be quite sure that Kennedy’s country did plenty for him! To my mind, it is just as reasonable to ask what what one’s country will do for him/her, as to ask what we can do for the country, it cuts both ways.

        • Draco T Bastard


          The relationship is symbiotic. the individual can’t exist without society and society can’t exist without the individuals thus each must be beneficial to the other.

    • lprent 3.2

      I have been building it for decades with literally 10’s of millions of export dollars from the code I write. This was after nearly leaving because of bloody Muldoon when I was in my mid-20s. That was why I got interested in supporting less stupid politicians.

      But some fuckwits put in the idiot squad into government again.

      And I have never supported the AB’s. I played rugby, cricket, and league when I was a kid… It is really hard to think that spending your most productive years chasing a ball around a field is anything to be strived for.. Professional sportspeople in my opinion are about the only more stupid form of life I know after the usual dumbarse National politicians. The mindless chasing the impossible unreality in both cases.

      • ochocinco 3.2.1

        lprent my ABs comment was directed at the “London Kiwis” who go to the UK, contribute to the building of the UK economy, contribute nothing to NZ, but continue to whine about how brilliant NZ is and support the ABs.

        Personally I think that’s a double treason; if you’re going to tie yourself to the UK in terms of economic advancement the least you can do is support their team as well.

        Maybe I’m old fashioned but I always thought you couldn’t “divide” loyalty … unless you were a Quisling

        And you know what? We’ll get the Treasury benches back in ’14 so this brief neolib phase will pass soon enough. Not worth abandoning the motherland for!!

      • lprent 3.2.2

        I’ve just been looking at the pay differentiation between Aussie and here. The pay is about 30-40% higher for my areas of expertise – even after I look at the extra taxes. The work looks as interesting if not more interesting. Looking further afield makes the aussies look like pikers.

        It has been pretty noticeable that NZ is going precisely nowhere under the current set of clowns. Not because of austerity measures and really stupidly timed taxcuts, but purely because they’re too damn thick to put the right types of supports in for startup export industries. We did pretty well over the last 20 years getting tech industries up and running. They are our third biggest export sector these days – mostly because of the “knowledge economy” policies of the last Labour government. Biggest hassle has been keeping them owned here.

        The only other export earning sector growing over the last few decades was farming – specifically dairy farming – and that is a commodity industry (and only did it because of the cooperative of Fonterra – which I see National wants to destroy).

        It was pretty noticeable the other night at the hi-tech awards that the companies established in mid-00’s were present and getting stronger (the one I’m currently in was from then) but that there were very few from the last 4 years. I’m seeing bugger all startups even with the relatively easy venture capital floating around (at least compared to the early 90’s when I started with startups). It isn’t even from the GFC because that actually made it easier to get capital as the property boom stopped sucking up all of the available investment money.

        It is pretty apparent from the cuts that this government has been making throughout the tech and marketing areas in both grants and with the TE/MFAT staff that it isn’t a focus of this government. Similarly they’re making it more and more profitable to pay off student loans offshore. Makes it a lot easier to look at getting closer to the markets than staying here far from distribution chains.

        Problem is that I’m not seeing much of interest in policy from Labour either. They look rather more interested in cruising in after a National defeat than actually looking at what they should do if they regain get the treasury benches.

        They’re welcome to try it – but it is a strategy that simply won’t work. If they don’t provide a focus then they won’t be able to push to a dominant position amongst the opposition parties in party vote AND they’ll find that the other opposition parties will cut deals with National rather than letting themselves get associated with a grey party.

        None of the other parties look like they have any workable ideas either.

        Definitely time to consider to stop paying taxes here and look at burgeoning the bank account instead. After all I have been saying since 1980 that the government won’t be able to pay my superannuation. That and hospitals is almost the only thing I’m get directly from taxes. I’m sort of a socialist – but I’m afraid that I have a rather strong aversion to short-term stupidity – especially in government. If the society is clearly voting for the dumbest government policies since Ruth Richardson got booted by Bolger, then they are voting for the incestuous internal business relationships that this government has become famed for.

        Why bother putting up with that for another 5 years when Winston makes a deal with National rather than Labour. Or if Labour just run as National-lite… Like many others I’m contemplating voting with my feet (all I have to do is to convince Lyn)

    • Bill 3.3

      Since when did the state matter to leftists ochicinco? Answer at your leisure 🙂

      • Colonial Viper 3.3.1

        Since the days the Left decided that it was going to make state power its main (only) power.

        • Bill

          What ‘left’ was that CV? The social democrat ‘left’? And do social democracts constitute the whole of the ‘left’? Are they even all that ‘left’ any more?

          Or maybe you’re referring to the state c’mmunists? Not very ‘left’.

          But whatever your agreement or disagreement on those takes of two self proclaimed sections of the left, ochocinco was all inclusive in the statement he/she made. And that makes the statement codswallop.

          Oh. And did I mention he/she is smacks of being a right wing troll type? (I could be wrong)

          • Colonial Viper

            I was being facetious I have to admit. Sort of. IMO until capital and revenue generating structures are owned by broadly held and broadly controlled worker co-ops, the Left is going to always struggle.

            The Right have the capital and they have the corporate power. And in a capitalist economy, that is a winning hand, regardless of whether or not they hold the Treasury benches in a given term.

            • ochocinco

              The thing is, the right will never accept “worker co-ops”
              Better to muzzle them through good strict legislation and the development of new laws preventing outsourcing and restructuring etc.
              Then as capitalism firms go under, we can nationalise those firms/industries and seize the “commanding heights of the economy”

              • Bill

                Worker’s Collectives and Worker’s Co-operatives and Housing Co-operatives can be set up today under current legislation. The problem isn’t ‘the right’. they really couldn’t give a toss.

                The problems are a lack of self belief, a lack of knowledge (personal and institutional), ingrained organisational habits and a dumb unfounded belief that ‘things have always been done this way and there is no other way’.

                But go beyond the shores of NZ…to the US, UK, Europe or even as close afield as Australia and you will find examples of succesful worker controlled, worker owned businesses and tennent controlled/owned housing. And some have been around quite a number of years.

                And thats before looking at examples throughout Latin and South America.

          • ochocinco

            Hi Bill

            I am definitely not right wing. I belong to a left wing party, have always belonged to unions, believe in old-fashioned collective morality like nationalism, patriotism, and social conscience (and oppose neo-lib bullshit like outsourcing internationally for that reason) etc.

            However I’m not a hippy. I believe the left needs to stop coddling the lazy. Look, there’s an entire “Stakhanovite” stream of left-wing thought that basically says we need to work harder and smarter than the right because we’re trying to build a better world, not just get rich.

            I find it disturbing how much individualist thought is seeping into today’s left wing threads. There’s also far too much bleeding-heart liberal crap.

            Every true socialist should ask themselves: how can we make NZ better? And it’s not through leaving NZ for Australia (it’s also not through whining about an additional $40 a year in prescription charges).

            • Bill

              Putting aside our differences on nationalism and patriotism (to me they’re a poison), the appeal to ‘Stakhanovitism’ …or however you’d term the phrase, just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

              Productivity has risen substantially in recent decades. Wages haven’t. And Labour says we should all be good Stakhanovits and up our productivity? Nah. Not buying into that one. You can. (Seems you have).

              Bleeding heart liberal crap? Had enough of it? Me to.

              So what course should we set that might take us in the direction of a better world? (I know you referred only to NZ, but lets broaden that out a bit, eh?) Well, there are a number of ideas out there and some definately have merit. But you know what? Labouring to make a ‘better’ version of what we have right now isn’t one of them. The ‘better’ version of what we have right now has been being dismantled since around the early 70’s.

              And you won’t get it back. (Personally, I don’t want it back, it only leads to this. Obviously.)

              So unless your ‘working harder and smarter’ means something other than ‘working harder and smarter’ within current market constraints and other current capitalist institutions, there just isn’t any point to it. None. Not if you want a better world or even just a better NZ.

              All that will achieve is a prolonged sense of hope…and then hope against hope… in those unwise enough to buy into it. I just hope there aren’t too many noble patriots out there ready to ‘do their bit’ – glory in today’s pain for tomorrow’s gain – and by their sheer numbers, drag us all to hell on the back of a seriously misguided and ultimately misanthropic never – never.

      • ochocinco 3.3.2

        I think the Comintern was dissolved back in the 1940s, so you can keep your withering of the state internationalism one-world crap in political theory 101 🙂

        • Bill

          Did I mention anything about the withering of the state? Have I ever mentioned anything about the withering of the state? (The answer is ‘no’, btw)

          Now, care to answer the question I asked?

          • ochocinco

            If you would like me to cite exactly when key left-wing thinkers like Lenin and Stalin talked about loyalty to the state, then you’re out of luck, because I can’t be bothered.

            The state has always been vital to leftists. Unlike neolibs and libertarians,

            • Bill

              I’ve no interest in Lenin or Stalin. They aren’t examples of any worthwhile or honest left wing thought/action.

              And the state is crucial to right wing liberatrians!

              Democrats, anti-parliamentarians of 1001 stripes, left wing libertarians, autonomous marxists and communists (not to be confused with Bolsheviks and the Bolshevik tradition) as well as anarchists and whoever else, on the other hand, have never entertained within their visions the idea of political and economic power being vested in a centralised state.

    • Jeremy 3.4

      I didn’t leave New Zealand entirely for selfish reasons. I had 2 options: stay in New Zealand and live on the dole indefinitely, or leave New Zealand and get a rewarding job that contributes to the welbeing of others. Given that choice: I did more for my country by leaving than I could have done by staying.
      In the longer term I am likely to come back, but only once I’ve saved enough money to have a reasonable shot at starting my own business. Given what my skills are and aren’t it’s unlikely I’ll get a job there any other way.

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