Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Every option has costs, every lever pulls on something else

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  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sam Bradford,

    I'm an ESL teacher, so maintaining high incoming numbers is in my best interests, but I don't think it's sustainable.

    I read somewhere a few years back that there were reports of foreign students commenting that they saw too many of their fellow citizens at the same tertiary institute. One deliberately studied in Wellington for that very reason.

    The standard of most educational institutions (not mine) is a lot worse than Russell imagines, I think. They will pass anyone to keep the numbers up. There are students who are just there to get a visa who don't give a shit, and even worse, there are some who have spent a small fortune believing they'll get a decent qualification, who are ready to work hard, who get a worthless certificate because the course is designed to pass anyone.

    It seems the Asian Financial Crisis didn't dislodge a lot of the diploma mills that had sprung up at the time.

    I suspect the overall effect will be to widen inequality too, as if that weren't already a problem. The large number of 'students'/work visa holders desperate to find a job pushes down wages, and at the same time their presence raises rents and reduces rental standards. As others have mentioned, it also reduces the incentive for employers and govt. to invest in training, and we're already horrible at that and getting worse. (Try, as a building apprentice, to find a builder in Auckland who will pay more than minimum wage, not expect you to work 60-hour-weeks, and who is not literally on crack. Try it.)

    Or amphetamines, for that matter? The building sector in Auckland seems highly fragmented with many small players who don't have big economies of scale.

    And once again, underinvestment in training is Brexitrump accelerant when left unchecked.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    affordable educational option for upwardly moving Chinese

    I’d agree with that as far as it goes – but still these are not Hooten’s “lower middle class”.
    NZ (especially, Auckland) is also not reliably more affordable than Sydney, for example – but we do offer a flexible range of entry routes to suit even the lowest-proficiency cases (e.g., starting at an accredited language school, then into a university-run English proficiency programme, and finally into degree courses proper).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Davis, in reply to Sam Bradford,

    Yes, it is sobering that the regulatory authorities - in education and immigration - have not got a handle on these obvious scams that come up repeatedly. They sour the legitimate education sector and give the NZ image a bad name overseas. I just cannot understand why these obvious scams are allowed to survive.

    Since Mar 2016 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to linger,

    NZ (especially, Auckland) is also not reliably more affordable than Sydney, for example – but we do offer a flexible range of entry routes to suit even the lowest-proficiency cases (e.g., starting at an accredited language school, then into a university-run English proficiency programme, and finally into degree courses proper).

    There appears to be no lack of cut-price paths to "degree courses proper" on offer within easy reach of Sydney. It's now sixteen years since the University of Wollongong fired - and was later forced to reinstate - a staff whistleblower who went public with his concerns about the deliberate downgrading of academic standards in pursuit of foreign student cash. Strangely enough, the problem seems to persist in one form or another.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger, in reply to Peter Davis,

    Peter Davis said:
    (2) Working holidays visas. There are a lot of these, but I cannot see how these are anything more than tourist visas for young people who are allowed to work part of the time. These are not serious migrants in the sense of being "new settlers", although some may become so. This should not be part of the debate.
    ~~~~~~~~
    I was in Picton and Kaikoura 18 months ago and young people with foreign accents were working everywhere. I was so struck by it that when I did meet a young NZer working in a shop I started talking to her about how she got the work - her aunty ran the shop and she worked in it part-time and she had another part-time job.

    Working holiday visas are a big deal because employers prefer mid-twenties tourists rather than kids just out of high school who would have got those jobs previously. The problem is that the young NZers have to leave those places to find decent work and opportunities or scrabble at the bottom of the employment heap. The working holiday visas are depriving young NZers of job opportunities, experience and income.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Lynn Yum,

    Just looking at the graph, the obvious question to ask is what happened in and since 2013-2014 to cause the migration figures to go completely out of whack? Brexit and Trump can’t explain the trend that started in 2013-2014.

    I may have mentioned this before. For us, the catalyst for moving to New Zealand was specifically Steven Joyce’s announcement of plans to arrest people who had defaulted on student loan payments. That policy changed our life, without it we would not be living in New Zealand.

    I saw Matthew Hooton mention somewhere the other day that there there are 800k New Zealand expats whose movement the Government can do little to control. Obviously many have started families while away, so in many cases any given return might become 1 kiwi +>0. Those who might justifiably want to relocate here in a time of international emergency could make the current housing crisis look like a walk in the park.

    Obviously that’s anecdotal, I only know of a couple of other people (plus partners) for whom the student loan arrest announcement pushed their hand, but it certainly can’t have mitigated the immigration/housing/services issue.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Video: Cassia owner Chand Saharawat accepts the Metro Restaurant of the Year award for the second year running – and slams the government’s new policy on “low-skilled” workers from from the stage.

    "You love the naan bread, right? The man who’s cooking this bread won’t be around if immigration [rules change]… I’d rather hire a Kiwi, but you know what, I can’t find them.”

    She called on Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who was on stage at the awards, to take the message back to the Government that restaurants like theirs needed people with specific skills.

    Her husband earlier told RNZ that out of the 40 staff he employed, just four were from New Zealand.

    Mr Sahrawat said the pool of local talent was already low as highly trained New Zealand chefs and other hospitality workers were opting to work overseas.

    “We just can’t find enough people for front of house, or kitchen. It’s a constant battle to get people who are driven and passionate about hospitality,” he told RNZ’s Checkpoint programme.

    The government should be making it easier for business owners to hire and keep migrants on staff, Mr Sahrawat said.

    Under the proposed changes low-skilled migrants would be made to leave the country after three years and then wait at least a year before they could re-apply.

    “It’s already hard enough for us to try and renew someone’s visa … and to make it even harder, [the changes are] going to be challenging for any restaurant or cafe owner in the country."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I don't think we'll run out of restaurants and cafes, somehow. Maybe we could be like Switzerland, where eating out, even McDonalds, is quite expensive, so people just have to think about whether they cook for themselves more?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    It's now sixteen years since the University of Wollongong fired - and was later forced to reinstate - a staff whistleblower who went public with his concerns about the deliberate downgrading of academic standards in pursuit of foreign student cash. Strangely enough, the problem seems to persist in one form or another.

    Sadly not so strange when tertiary education is perverted from a public good to a perishable good - Trump University is an obvious example. And like the housing bubble, the int'l student industry seems to be too big to fail for any meaningful reform to happen. And when a sector gets too big to fail, it's too big, period.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Russell Brown,

    “You love the naan bread, right? The man who’s cooking this bread won’t be around if immigration [rules change]… I’d rather hire a Kiwi, but you know what, I can’t find them.”

    Doesn't this tend to support the prime minister's comments that unemployed kiwis are all lazy or on drugs? And hasn't the blogo- and twitter-spheres already decided that was nonsense?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    No...perhaps kiwis prefer to have jobs that pay well without insane hours.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz, in reply to John Farrell,

    Yes it does suggest NZ employers don't pay well...because in the same article ....

    Mr Sahrawat said the pool of local talent was already low as highly trained New Zealand chefs and other hospitality workers were opting to work overseas.

    Opting to work overseas might be for the experience and more interesting work and lifestyle...but it might also be because the pay here is so poor.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    The PM's facile comments do rather more to support the conclusion that National politicians are lazy or on drugs.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    Compare and contrast Peter Davis and Matthew Hooton. It's a pity one has so much prominence in our country.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    Mr Sahrawat said the pool of local talent was already low as highly trained New Zealand chefs and other hospitality workers were opting to work overseas.

    Doesn’t this tend to suggest that pre-NCEA schools (of the kind Mr Hooton attended) were rubbish at teaching logic and reasoning?

    Ahh…Steve got in before me. Professional trolls are good ones.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Doesn’t this tend to support the prime minister’s comments that unemployed kiwis are all lazy or on drugs?

    No, it doesn't. That's quite ridiculous. You'll need to provide a bit more evidence for that claim than a third hand story about a guy hiring cheap immigrants in his kitchen and no Kiwis.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    The last Indian restaurant I went to (about 6 weeks ago) had two Pakeha uni students as waiting staff - the waitress said that she had been eating there since she was a child and loved it so it seemed like a natural fit.

    I suspect non-Indians find working in an Indian restaurant intimidating because the food is exotic. And Indians tend to want to work in their own business rather than someone elses.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Doesn't this tend to support the prime minister's comments that unemployed kiwis are all lazy or on drugs? And hasn't the blogo- and twitter-spheres already decided that was nonsense?

    Ever thought for a moment that substance abuse is a symptom, rather than a cause, of societal malaise? And remind me again of who's profiting from drug testing in NZ.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    Opting to work overseas might be for the experience and more interesting work and lifestyle...but it might also be because the pay here is so poor.

    And high living costs, especially in Auckland. We can thank in large part the housing bubble for that. And the self-appointed landed gentry who are willingly making it too big to fail.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    unemployed kiwis are all lazy or on drugs

    Just to turn it around all employed kiwis are one step away from being exploitative condescending psychopaths who dont give a fuck about anyone or anything but their comfort and self image. Sorta like Trump, who being a human, exhibits traits that are universal not in a good way.

    And that is much more dangerous than being high and indolent for a while.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    Finally, Paul Spoonley has admitted:

    There is a case for revising aspects of the recruitment and approval of immigrants. The low value courses and qualifications offered by some educational providers puts New Zealand’s reputation at risk.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11847932

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Doesn't this tend to support the prime minister's comments that unemployed kiwis are all lazy or on drugs?

    Alcohol abuse here is common, yes, but broader than the unemployed.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Mmmm yeah I’d like to see the real numbers on this, I suspect that a lot of the export earnings in this area come at diploma level, not degree.

    Fair call. You may well be right.

    Part of that is the expansion of the definition of "tertiary degree". Way (way way way) back when, it used to mean a university degree and nothing else. That was elitist, in the sense that it marked those with the privilege and training and yes to some degree the intelligence to get a uni degree as somehow "better". Of course they weren't better, they just had different aptitudes and skills and yes the privilege of their communities to go to Uni.

    That doesn't diminish the value of university trained people to society, they are useful and society does need them.

    Anyway at some point folks decided to include all sorts of post high school training and learning as tertiary education. Rightly so. All those training/education schemes "add value" to the people who take them and add value to society.

    The question though is whether all those tertiary education institutes have the same value with respect to immigrants? Some certainly do and some certainly don't but I don't think immigration policy distinguishes at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    the infrastructure deficit in NZ is a massive, massive problem

    This is the key.

    If we had the capacity to house and transport and fairly pay these immigrants we wouldn't be having the panic attack we are having.

    For the last two to three decades we've had governments, both national and local, that have focused on cutting costs. Lower taxes, lower rates, get re-elected.

    But the only way that works is if you stop spending rates and taxes on things like roads and drains and medium density housing and public transport ...

    So we've spent the last couple of decades patting ourselves on the backs saying gosh we pay less tax than anyone in the world ... and now we discover our cities just don't work, they're broken.

    And instead of looking at the problem honestly and deciding to spend the money (taxes and rates) to fix our broken cities we blame immigrants?????

    FFS

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    as highly trained New Zealand chefs and other hospitality workers were opting to work overseas.

    Where they get paid more???????

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

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