Ponderings of an immigrant

I come from a country half around the world from New Zealand. And I became a resident because I work in information technology. It is a branch I do not like too much as it shows its bad sides nowadays, where people create portals that make them rich while others do work for them on low wages (Amazon, Uber … just to name a few).The IT industry is currently the best example for neo liberalism or “turbo capitalism” that overlays its values on social life – you know, the sort of values that put money into the center of all things.

What does this have to do with immigration?

Well, in Germany (the country on the other hemisphere) there have been a few incidents lately where groups of people gathered to display their concern or anger about immigrants, especially muslims. A sad display of human nature searching for scape goats when things go pear shaped. But back to NZ.

Today I stumbled upon the facebook feed of Winston Peters, the leader of the New Zealand First party. His feed is bristling with anti-immigrant posts and remarks. Well, New Zealand first – the name is program. He writes:

Imagine the pressure on our hospitals, housing, transport and schools as New Zealand copes with rising immigration – in the year to December we had the highest ever net migration of 50,900 people, that’s about the population of Invercargill.

The truth is that more people create more problems. A global problem as we can see in other countries. So back to nationalism? I don’t think so.

If one would wipe out the immigrants in NZ, the hospitals, Peters is talking about, will be severely understaffed. That’s a fact

Kiwis complaining that they are seen as lazy whereas immigrants getting resident status because of their skills. As a matter of fact, I hear that from Kiwi-friends from time to time and a certain admiration of the “progress” in other western countries. That attitude can be found mainly with business people who have a certain understanding of “progress”.

New Zealanders have generally an attitude that holds values other than permanent growth, money and the ultimate result of greed: They enjoy life, their barbie and the outdoors. Saying that, on the other hand, Kiwis seem to be living at the end of the golden age ( late 70’s in the US and Europe ) where resources were not an issue. That’s changing as corporate and private equities are pushing in under a national government that fosters a neo-capitalist culture. And that’s a reason why Kiwis may feel pressured with soaring property prices and a surreptitious glance at overseas people’s performance.

That bespoken “performance” is not a good thing but a result of the economic demand for people to generate more and more wealth (for people on top of things). That corporate greed shakes the country and its values. New Zealanders must withstand that peer pressure and the belief in a “better life through hard work” as this mantra is what is disintegrating societies all over the world now.

Another fact at last: New Zealand has the highest rate of migrant doctors in the OECD. A fact that a politician should acknowledge and stay away from demagogic spewing. Well, things seem to be the way that societies start ripping themselves apart instead of focusing on the real problems together.

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