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NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Old Nov 12th 2012, 12:19 am
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Default NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Hi,

I wanted to get other people's opinions on their new life in New Zealand vs their old life's in the UK. Before I begin, this is my opinion. Everyone is different and I don't want to offend anyone. I am just wondering if my experience is the same as other people's or are we alone.

My wife and I moved here 14 months ago from Scotland. I had an engineering job in Scotland and was earning around $60,000. My wife was cabin crew for a local airline and was earning around $28,000. We had a 3 bed victorian terrace in Dundee on the east coast of Scotland. I worked around 37.5 hours per week. My wife worked around 30 hours per week. Our family lives in Dundee and we used to see them regularly.

Due to the economic climate I felt my job wasn't very secure and we began to explore options about moving overseas. A friend of mine had emmigrated to New Zealand a few years before and he was living in Christchurch and I had obviously heard about all the work going on as part of the rebuild so I contacted him to enquire if there was work out here. There was and after a few months and a couple of interviews I was offered a job and we moved out here.

I am working in a similar engineering role as I was back home, although I am working 45 hours a week. I am being paid around $90,000 though so with more hours comes more money. The thing is though, I was always told the work life balance in New Zealand was better than in the UK. I am working a day extra every week more than I was working back in the UK. I also get less holidays than I did in Scotland and more of my holidays here are determined by the company. I have to take 2 weeks at Christmas here whereas I only had to take 4 days leave at Christmas when I was at home. That only leaves 2 weeks leave for the rest of the year which isn't that much.

The cost of living here in Christchurch seems to be very high in comparison to Scotland. We are living in a 1 bed flat in the city which is only 25% cheaper than our 3 bed victorian terrace in Dundee. The quality of housing here is poor and a lot of houses don't have double glazing or any sort of heating. They are also lacking in insulation which causes damp in the properties.

Fuel is only around 10% cheaper here than in Scotland. Second hand cars are a lot more expensive, although they do seem to last longer because they don't salt the roads.

Food and alcohol is a lot more expensive than in Scotland. A 15 pack of beer will cost around $35 compared to around $20 in the UK. Food prices are very dependant on what's in season. Recently tomatoes were $12/kg! Peppers (capsicums) are around $3 each. You can pick up a 3 pack in Tesco for $4!

If you want to go for a pint you are looking at paying around $8-$10 a pint. In Scotland I would be paying around $5-$6 a pint.

New Zealand is a beautiful country and I can see why people move here. It is a giant playground and because of the better weather people spend more time outdoors than they would back in Scotland. The thing is though, all the things we do here, we could do back home. Tramping, mountain biking etc. We feel that having more sunshine just isn't enough to want us to stay here. Scotland is also a beautiful country with lots of beautiful places to visit. It does rain more often but you just learn to deal with the rain.

We are also starting to feel that it is just too far from home to stay permanently. We went home for a friends wedding in May and it cost us $10,000 for 3 weeks. There is no way we could afford to do that every year so we would maybe only manage to get home every 2 or 3 years. We would love for some of our family to move here but everyone is settled there and not everyone is earning enough money to be able to come out here every year.

We also miss having concerts or plays or shows to go and see. There isn't a lot coming to the south island. We did go and see mumford and sons last week and it was amazing. It would be nice to have more things like that here.

My wife has struggled to pick up work since coming here and that has also been difficult. We have met some new friends but that has also been more difficult than we first thought. All our friends are expats. We find Kiwis, as friendly as they are when you initially meet them, are very reserved and private. Maybe this is just our experience or maybe this is just Christchurch, I don't know.

My wife is now 4 months pregnant and we are at the point where we are not sure whether to stay here or go home and be closer to our family so we have support for the baby coming. We would love for our baby to get citizenship here so it had options when it was older but we don't want to sacrifice our happiness in the process.

Are we the only people who feel like this? Have other people been through similar feelings/emotions when moving here? How did you get through it or did you decide that it wasn't for you? We were just surprised because we had heard so many wonderful things about NZ before we came and when we got here it wasn't the same as we thought it would be.

Thank you in advance for your comments. I look forward to hearing all of your experiences and how you dealt with the massive changes involved in moving overseas.

David
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 12:59 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Hi David and congratulations on the impending addition!

Workwise it seems you took a useful pay rate increase to come here but probably a household income cut. In fact most of what you have said applies equally as if you had moved from Dundee to the SE of England - the difference is distance from family which is bound to be a big pull as you start a family.

Some of your points I relate to entirely, others I am just not fussed about, we are all different as you say. Unfortunately only you and yours can decide if the balance for you, here, is better/different/worse than the balance you had in Dundee or anywhere else...worth bearing in mind that your life in Dundee (if you went back), wouldn't be the same in any case as the bairn will see to that :-)

Oh and for what it is worth, so long as you refer to Scotland as "home", you haven't emigrated, you are only visiting...IMHO and tongue-in-cheek

Last edited by simonsi; Nov 12th 2012 at 1:02 am.
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 1:55 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Simonsi,

Thanks for your reply. Well pointed out that I still refer to Scotland as home! I'm sure life will be changing very soon for us!

What we don't want to do is be a winging expat and go home and realise what we had here in New Zealand. You hear about it happening so much, but having family support when we are going to be starting a family ourselves means a lot to us.

On the other hand, if we stay here, even for until our resident's visas expire, our baby will have dual citizenship. I really feel this would be a great opportunity for when the child is older to be able to travel to so many countries without having to obtain visas. Who knows what the world will be like in 10 years time.

Thank you for your comments and I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 2:14 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Ok - will answer some of your points in comparison

Kiwis - yes I fully agree with this one. We've found New Zealanders to be very helpful on the outside but when you want to try and become friends, they tend to back off. However, it does seem that ante natal classes and the arrival of the young one MIGHT have changed all that. The wife in particular has become friendly with 4 other females from the class and there's a slight possibility of keeping in touch. There was a couple we would be friends with from there but as we've not heard about their arrival, we're unsure. We're praying that the worst hasn't happened

I joined a golf club and have a group of Kiwis and one expat that I usually play with on saturdays and wednesdays. They're golfing buddies that I may have the odd social meet up once every 3 or 4 months. I'm fine with that. I'm happy with work Mon-Fri, social fri night, golf sat or sun and golf wed night. I've got the wife, the young one, football manager 2011 and work to keep me occupied the rest of the time

Housing is one of those things about New Zealand. We rent a 2 bedroom house in Merivale and it's freezing in winter but warm in summer. That's part and parcel of living here in my opinion. Our rent is slightly more expensive than what we were paying for our first property rent in Wanstead, North East London. Merivale area is just as nice in my opinion but less traffic.

I don't miss the UK at all. I hate the place so much, my biggest regret so far was the arrival of our son. I don't mean this in a nasty way but I just wished the wife waited until we were official residents so that our son could become a NZ citizen immediately and that I wouldn't have to apply for him to get a British passport. He's being taught to support New Zealand at everything, especially football in particular!

Whenever a move happens, there's always sacrifices. Food, drink, etc may be more expensive but over a year - the major difference between car insurance pricing makes up for the gap in food consumption pricing. My car insurance renewal came through recently and since it was very cheap, I did a UK comparison. 1600 quid cheaper! Of course New Zealand doesn't have ambulance chasing no win no fee (insert as many names as you want to) here at the moment so when someone crashes into me delibrately, they can't go and claim wiplash resulting in my premium increasing. The day founders/directors actually anyone who works for those businesses gets made redundant and forced to live in the arctic circle in a cardboard box with only piles of human excrement to eat - and moulded rotten fish to wear as clothing, then may be I might consider a chance to return. Aaah sorry for the rant

Scotland is a cracking country I agree with that. I used to visit Edinburgh regularly and loved rounds of golf up there (Carnoustie, Gleneagles, Royal Troon - cracking courses). Shame south of Hadrians Wall does it start to deteriorate

By all means you can only chose your way forward but for me - unless the wife gets extremely unhappy and wants to return, the UK might as well have my passport back
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 2:14 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

hmm can't remember my account, so not really my first post:P

I lived in Christchurch most of my life and moved to Brisbane early this year and wonder why :P

Keep in mind Christchurch has a housing shortage for very obvious reasons. House prices have gone up which very much includes rentals, why supply has gone down. Plenty of new estates around with 4bed 2 bath double glassing central heating etc, but it will cost you more than it would a few years ago.

You need to start by remembering why you moved to CHCH in the first place. Even though you are on a decent salary, CHCH is a small city and certainly not the top for income. If income is your #1 goal then go to London or maybe Sydney but you will pay in other ways. Certain jobs will be hard to come by for some time like retail and hotel work while construction/trade jobs are easy.

Christchurch Lost most of its major CBD ish entertainment venues in the quakes .... Town hall, Conference Center, QE2 park, god knows how many restraints, night clubs and shops, its only just got back a smaller temp sports stadium.

None of this should be a surprise?. Don't get me wrong I live in Brisbane with a much larger CBD and I frigging hate going there.

Christchurch has a real opportunity to NOT recreate a typical CBD where everyone packs into each day living a commuting hellish nightmare.


Lastly it feels like you might be missing friends and family back home more than anything. The UK will always be your home, you will never be a Kiwi any more than I will feel like a Aussie.
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 2:27 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Originally Posted by robey1978 View Post
Simonsi,

Thanks for your reply. Well pointed out that I still refer to Scotland as home! I'm sure life will be changing very soon for us!

What we don't want to do is be a winging expat and go home and realise what we had here in New Zealand. You hear about it happening so much, but having family support when we are going to be starting a family ourselves means a lot to us.

On the other hand, if we stay here, even for until our resident's visas expire, our baby will have dual citizenship. I really feel this would be a great opportunity for when the child is older to be able to travel to so many countries without having to obtain visas. Who knows what the world will be like in 10 years time.

Thank you for your comments and I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
I would stay for that alone BUT it will mean a hard time, remember there are restrictions on travel before the birth and there will be a period after the birth before it is sensible, it also means family will be delayed seeing the baby etc etc so it is a big hurdle - but I think you would regret it if you did not avail the baby of that opportunity.

BUT it also may make a difference to how far down the baby's line of descendants as to whether British citizenship will be conferred...you should research that before deciding. Basically your baby will be British by descent as not born in the UK, which may not mean his/her children are British citizens...this area has become less straightforward in the last few years.

On balance I would still get them born here though
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 2:29 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Originally Posted by Anterograde View Post
The UK will always be your home, you will never be a Kiwi
Hmmm, they are different things imho, I don't think I'll ever be calling myself a Kiwi but I already call NZ home...
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 2:53 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Originally Posted by simonsi View Post
Hmmm, they are different things imho, I don't think I'll ever be calling myself a Kiwi but I already call NZ home...
+1
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 2:59 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Originally Posted by robey1978 View Post
even for until our resident's visas expire
Just a thought but do you mean residence as in Permanent Residence or are you on some form of Residence permit that expires??
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 3:01 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Originally Posted by robey1978 View Post
The thing is though, I was always told the work life balance in New Zealand was better than in the UK. I am working a day extra every week ... That only leaves 2 weeks leave for the rest of the year which isn't that much.
I can relate to that, though I'm not sure where you got the idea prior to moving that the work-life balance was better in NZ given the longer working week, lower wages and less annual leave

My husband earns a lot more here than he could (will!) in the Uk but he works long hours with little annual leave, which is mostly spent either hosting rellies or visiting rellies.

Originally Posted by robey1978 View Post
The cost of living here in Christchurch seems to be very high ...
Yeah, all this is because you haven't been here very long and I would suggest you sound quite unsettled, which causes one to continually compare and contrast in an endless and exhausting cycle. It's a horrid place to be in but in my experience it does pass after 4+ years and you start to see that both countries have their respective pros and cons.

Originally Posted by robey1978 View Post
We are also starting to feel that it is just too far from home to stay permanently.
Hmm, that is hard- it's so much further than you realise before you move here I think.

Originally Posted by robey1978 View Post
My wife is now 4 months pregnant and we are at the point where we are not sure whether to stay here or go home and be closer to our family so we have support for the baby coming. We would love for our baby to get citizenship here so it had options when it was older but we don't want to sacrifice our happiness in the process.
I think staying for your child's future possible ease of entry to NZ is a really poor reason to balance against the three of you sharing the early years with your wider family. But that's just my opinion

Originally Posted by robey1978 View Post
Are we the only people who feel like this? Have other people been through similar feelings/emotions when moving here? How did you get through it or did you decide that it wasn't for you? We were just surprised because we had heard so many wonderful things about NZ before we came and when we got here it wasn't the same as we thought it would be.
We've stayed for nearly six years and in many ways I've grown to love NZ as much as I love the UK BUT I now know that I'm actually no happier here than I was before I emigrated! And I've made the decision that I'm not prepared to trade proximity to family off for the garden and sunshine at this point in our children's lives. No regrets though and if all my family moved out here I'd probably stay but we both think that with hindsight it would have been better to come to NZ for 1-2 years life experience and gone back. Moving back after 6 years is logistically daunting!!!

Originally Posted by simonsi View Post
Oh and for what it is worth, so long as you refer to Scotland as "home", you haven't emigrated, you are only visiting...IMHO and tongue-in-cheek
I know you said tongue in cheek but I guess you must think this a bit and I don't agree It's possible to have quite a fluid sense of home and belonging.
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 3:37 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

I'll try to keep this polite...
Sounds like you didn't get too much in depth research done, or most of your points would've been known to you before you headed out.
I did write more but just deleted them. If a terraced house is a positive, then you're probably better off not here.
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 3:48 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Thanks for your response. In the 14 months we have been here the cost of living has risen. I did do online research and found a cost of living calculator on a nz a website but that only gave the impression it was around 15% more expensive which it isn't.

The terraced house is a Victorian period house in a conservation area with views over a river and countryside with a large corner plot. Please don't be so quick to judge. If your criticism can't be constructive then please don't post. I'm looking for people who can help me and give me guidance, not have a pop because our opinions are different.

Thank you
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 3:55 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

I'm from near you and I much prefer my life in New Zealand! NZ is like Scotland only better....

I took a step back workwise - a conscious decision and while I work slightly longer, the weekends are free and I earn the same as I did in the UK. Hubbie works longer, earns more - but it's a different role. So no real change.

Yes, you can do all the things you can do here in Scotland - but chances are it will be peeing down and freezing and there will be thousands of other people (tourists) trying to do it at the same time.

Price of living - yes things are more expensive, but petrol is cheaper and I'm not paying $600 a month in National Insurance for a service I rarely used. Again, don't notice a huge difference.

And it isn't dark for most of the year

If find the people even more friendly than those in Scotland (because in Scotland, they're indoors for six months of the year)

I love Scotland, but I think NZ is better for now. That may change...and yes I do miss my family....but as I drive home in the sunshine to my home with a view....I think I can cope.

It's horses for courses and what you want out of life though - and we all learn what's important when we move here.
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 3:59 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

Originally Posted by robey1978 View Post
Hi,

I wanted to get other people's opinions on their new life in New Zealand vs their old life's in the UK. Before I begin, this is my opinion. Everyone is different and I don't want to offend anyone. I am just wondering if my experience is the same as other people's or are we alone.

My wife and I moved here 14 months ago from Scotland. I had an engineering job in Scotland and was earning around $60,000. My wife was cabin crew for a local airline and was earning around $28,000. We had a 3 bed victorian terrace in Dundee on the east coast of Scotland. I worked around 37.5 hours per week. My wife worked around 30 hours per week. Our family lives in Dundee and we used to see them regularly.

Due to the economic climate I felt my job wasn't very secure and we began to explore options about moving overseas. A friend of mine had emmigrated to New Zealand a few years before and he was living in Christchurch and I had obviously heard about all the work going on as part of the rebuild so I contacted him to enquire if there was work out here. There was and after a few months and a couple of interviews I was offered a job and we moved out here.

I am working in a similar engineering role as I was back home, although I am working 45 hours a week. I am being paid around $90,000 though so with more hours comes more money. The thing is though, I was always told the work life balance in New Zealand was better than in the UK. I am working a day extra every week more than I was working back in the UK. I also get less holidays than I did in Scotland and more of my holidays here are determined by the company. I have to take 2 weeks at Christmas here whereas I only had to take 4 days leave at Christmas when I was at home. That only leaves 2 weeks leave for the rest of the year which isn't that much.

The cost of living here in Christchurch seems to be very high in comparison to Scotland. We are living in a 1 bed flat in the city which is only 25% cheaper than our 3 bed victorian terrace in Dundee. The quality of housing here is poor and a lot of houses don't have double glazing or any sort of heating. They are also lacking in insulation which causes damp in the properties.

Fuel is only around 10% cheaper here than in Scotland. Second hand cars are a lot more expensive, although they do seem to last longer because they don't salt the roads.

Food and alcohol is a lot more expensive than in Scotland. A 15 pack of beer will cost around $35 compared to around $20 in the UK. Food prices are very dependant on what's in season. Recently tomatoes were $12/kg! Peppers (capsicums) are around $3 each. You can pick up a 3 pack in Tesco for $4!

If you want to go for a pint you are looking at paying around $8-$10 a pint. In Scotland I would be paying around $5-$6 a pint.

New Zealand is a beautiful country and I can see why people move here. It is a giant playground and because of the better weather people spend more time outdoors than they would back in Scotland. The thing is though, all the things we do here, we could do back home. Tramping, mountain biking etc. We feel that having more sunshine just isn't enough to want us to stay here. Scotland is also a beautiful country with lots of beautiful places to visit. It does rain more often but you just learn to deal with the rain.

We are also starting to feel that it is just too far from home to stay permanently. We went home for a friends wedding in May and it cost us $10,000 for 3 weeks. There is no way we could afford to do that every year so we would maybe only manage to get home every 2 or 3 years. We would love for some of our family to move here but everyone is settled there and not everyone is earning enough money to be able to come out here every year.

We also miss having concerts or plays or shows to go and see. There isn't a lot coming to the south island. We did go and see mumford and sons last week and it was amazing. It would be nice to have more things like that here.

My wife has struggled to pick up work since coming here and that has also been difficult. We have met some new friends but that has also been more difficult than we first thought. All our friends are expats. We find Kiwis, as friendly as they are when you initially meet them, are very reserved and private. Maybe this is just our experience or maybe this is just Christchurch, I don't know.

My wife is now 4 months pregnant and we are at the point where we are not sure whether to stay here or go home and be closer to our family so we have support for the baby coming. We would love for our baby to get citizenship here so it had options when it was older but we don't want to sacrifice our happiness in the process.

Are we the only people who feel like this? Have other people been through similar feelings/emotions when moving here? How did you get through it or did you decide that it wasn't for you? We were just surprised because we had heard so many wonderful things about NZ before we came and when we got here it wasn't the same as we thought it would be.

Thank you in advance for your comments. I look forward to hearing all of your experiences and how you dealt with the massive changes involved in moving overseas.

David
David, only you and your OH can decide on whats best.

Is NZ better than Scotland? Are apples tastier than oranges? Should dog people marry cat people? Are we alone in the Universe?

I am happy here, but I go with the flow.
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Old Nov 12th 2012, 4:18 am
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Default Re: NZ vs UK - not all it's cracked up to be. Is it just me?

It's funny to hear you say about there being lots of people up the hills in Scotland. I actually like speaking to people when I'm tramping. Also, I personally think Scottish people are very friendly. It's funny how what one person likes isn't the same as the other. I suppose it's like this move really. What one person might love isn't necessarily the same for us. The fact I am asking these questions makes me think that something isn't right. We might go home and feel we've made a mistake but time with our family is more important to us than a lifestyle at the present moment. Just for the avoidance of doubt, I think New Zealand is a fantastic country and I would visit here on holiday, but I just don't think it is for us.
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