Advice and Support for South Africans Immigrating to New Zealand

South Africans Going To New Zealand

Author Topic: The negative side of going to NZ  (Read 4114 times)

Offline Hope2Go2

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The negative side of going to NZ
« on: August 07, 2015, 09:59:29 am »
Nico's thread http://www.sagoingtonz.co.nz/forum/index.php/topic,8704.msg113420.html#new made me think about my negative expectations with regards to our NZ plans.

I know that in life the things you fear tend not to happen; it is often those unexpected blows out of nowhere that can derail you.

I'd appreciate if some of you who already went through this could maybe add the actual negative experiences you've had in NZ, in order to better prepare those of us who are still dreaming of going 'somewhere over the rainbow'?

Here are some of my less than sunny expectations regarding this move.  I expect it will be difficult:
  • - to be thousands of miles away from family and friends and all things familiar.
  • - to live in 'English', although I know that gets better with time and practice.  This will of course only be an issue for 'boere' like us! - or speakers of SA's other native languages.  I think English speakers tend to only get glimpses of my true self, as it is so difficult to translate all of one's hopes, dreams, jokes and fears into your second language.
  • - to cope if our parents start suffering ill health, or if friends/family in SA die.  Being 'denied' the chance to properly say goodbye to loved ones will be a bitter pill, but it seems like an inevitable outcome of the path we are choosing (in our case, as I don't expect that we'll have enough money to fly back often).
  • - to raise our children in what is often described as a 'godless' nation with a culture that will be foreign to us.
  • - to find our feet financially, start from scratch and get used to living with less.  We're 'old follks', already past 40 and I expect our careful provision for our old age to become practically void once converted to dollars, not to mention the financial cost of emigration.  I actually expect us to be 'poor' on the long-term, although it feels strange to call if that if we'll still have access to decent medical care and good schooling for the kids.
  • - to run into NZ thugs, punks and other people with anti-social behaviour in NZ.  You obviously get those everywhere, but we are to a large extent emigrating to get away from people who has it in them to rape, mutilate or hack others apart. (I loathe calling violent, bloodthirsty criminals 'people'.)
  • - to cope when our kids come home from school crying, specifically when I feel this is connected to our migrant status.  I'm sure they will at times get picked on for being different, not to mention how hard it will be for them to establish themselves as they can't speak English.  I'll do what I can to keep them from suffering academic disadvantage, but it won't be easy.  My kids are very shy, sweet kids, which probably won't help - although being good-natured will hopefully help them making friends in the long term.  I expect my kids to have a difficult time establishing their identities and to go through their teenage years feeling very embarrassed by their 'odd', old-fashioned parents.
  • - to cope with feeling discriminated against when applying for jobs, due to being immigrants.  I definitely expect some discrimination, especially as English is our second language - but at least it will be nothing that is written down in the country's laws!
  • - to get used to cold, windy, rainy winters.  We really live in utopia at the moment, as far as weather is concerned.  I dislike most other parts of SA for their bad weather, especially Cape Town.  This is one awesome aspect of living in Limpopo.
  • - to handle Kiwis who view immigrants as a threat, e.g. as people taking their jobs or parasites on their health system.  I'm sure you get Kiwis with such negative views.
  • - to spend some time (hopefully not for ever!) living in 'small', dodgy rentals on camping equipment.  We're spoiled back at home with a lovely, large family house.  We'll probably never have something similar in NZ, but it will be awesome to be able to go anywhere without fear.  At the moment, I sometimes feel like we're under a sort of house arrest - especially after dark.

In short, I expect to live the rest of my life as a foreigner in a land where I don't really belong.  I already feel like an unwanted stranger in SA though.  I expect to feel bitter about a lot of things - but again, this will be nothing new.

To end on a positive note, I hope to also feel gratitude for being granted to opportunity to chase such wide horizons and to be able to have such amazing adventures.  I expect to feel safe and free again and I expect my children to have a bright future.

Feb 2015 - Submit EOI, selected
Mar 2015 - ITA received
May 2015 - NZ Medicals done
Jun 2015 - PR application submitted
Jul 2015 - Received NZQA Assessment result
Oct 2015 - Case officer assigned
16 Dec 2015:  Residence approved!

Offline mbl77

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 06:55:07 pm »
We been in Auckland just over a year-and-a-half. From Cape Town, English-speaking, so my experience vs my background might not reflect what you'll go through, but here goes...

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to be thousands of miles away from family and friends and all things familiar.

The family part is the hardest part, especially initially when you haven't made any new friends on this side. Having said that, one is so busy with building a new life here, that by the time you've realised it, you actually have made new friends here. Regular family chats via skype keep us going. I think its harder for our parents than for us, even if all of them understand why, and have given us their "blessing".

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to live in 'English', although I know that gets better with time and practice.  This will of course only be an issue for 'boere' like us! - or speakers of SA's other native languages.  I think English speakers tend to only get glimpses of my true self, as it is so difficult to translate all of one's hopes, dreams, jokes and fears into your second language.

No issue here :). As an English-speaker I prefer it, after having had Afrikaans rammed down our throats our whole lives. There are large South African communities in some areas though, and amongst those I'd say on balance there are more native Afrikaans speakers than English.

Despite the language being the same for us, there are cultural differences (probably more if you're Afrikaans), so we made the conscious decision to not specifically seek out South African related groups/friends/areas/etc. Of course along the way we've met (and made friends with) people from South Africa (English and Afrikaans), but also many British, American, Chinese and Canadian immigrants, as well as obviously lots of native Kiwis. We are not here to try to replicate South Africa.

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to cope if our parents start suffering ill health, or if friends/family in SA die.  Being 'denied' the chance to properly say goodbye to loved ones will be a bitter pill, but it seems like an inevitable outcome of the path we are choosing (in our case, as I don't expect that we'll have enough money to fly back often).

I'm going through this right now. My dad has cancer and has only a few months left. I'm flying back to SA next week to spend a week with him before he's completely bed-ridden. That will likely be the last time I see him. Its difficult and there's no way around it.

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to raise our children in what is often described as a 'godless' nation with a culture that will be foreign to us.

I'm not religious (the opposite in fact), but don't think you'll have a problem here. There are some Christian Schools and you'll find plenty of churches, even Afrikaans ones in some areas. And even if by some remote chance you landed in an area without those, I believe religious indoctrination starts at home, and you can raise your kids (mostly) the way you want.

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to find our feet financially, start from scratch and get used to living with less.  We're 'old follks', already past 40 and I expect our careful provision for our old age to become practically void once converted to dollars, not to mention the financial cost of emigration.  I actually expect us to be 'poor' on the long-term, although it feels strange to call if that if we'll still have access to decent medical care and good schooling for the kids.

Past 40 is old?!  ;D. I turned 44 a few weeks after we arrived in NZ. Financially most people take a huge hit, and you're right, the older you are the fewer years you have to rebuild those savings. You may be financially worse off, but quite likely you will be far from "poor". You can't put a price on the non-monetary things that you will be gaining - schooling, medical, personal safety, and a majority culture that is probably far closer to yours than that which now exists in SA.

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to run into NZ thugs, punks and other people with anti-social behaviour in NZ.  You obviously get those everywhere, but we are to a large extent emigrating to get away from people who has it in them to rape, mutilate or hack others apart. (I loathe calling violent, bloodthirsty criminals 'people'.)

There's far less of that here, and mostly its drug-related, so the gratuitous violence is largely absent. Also most offenders are actually caught. There is a problem youth-drinking culture, but since our daughter is only 5, I can't comment directly on that yet.

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to cope when our kids come home from school crying, specifically when I feel this is connected to our migrant status.  I'm sure they will at times get picked on for being different, not to mention how hard it will be for them to establish themselves as they can't speak English.  I'll do what I can to keep them from suffering academic disadvantage, but it won't be easy.  My kids are very shy, sweet kids, which probably won't help - although being good-natured will hopefully help them making friends in the long term.  I expect my kids to have a difficult time establishing their identities and to go through their teenage years feeling very embarrassed by their 'odd', old-fashioned parents.

The community (in Auckland especially) is very diverse. Schools and teachers are mostly exceedingly accommodating in helping new/foreign students integrate. Chances are that many of the teachers will be immigrants themselves.

I'm not sure how old your kids are, but the younger they are, the quicker they will adapt. The new language will come to them far more quickly than it will come to you.

I can't speak about how embarrassing you are as parents :) but I believe most kids go through that phase anyway, no matter the parents.

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- to cope with feeling discriminated against when applying for jobs, due to being immigrants.  I definitely expect some discrimination, especially as English is our second language - but at least it will be nothing that is written down in the country's laws!

I don't believe you'll see much, if any, discrimination because you are an immigrant specifically. BUT, understand that you are being held to the same standard as the English-speaking local that you are competing against (and you're probably competing against some other immigrants too). So if your language skills are an impediment to the job, or there is some local knowledge that you don't have that is relevant to the job, then of course you're slightly disadvantaged. You just need to make sure that your other positive attributes outweigh those negatives, and of course work on those negatives as much as you can.

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- to get used to cold, windy, rainy winters.  We really live in utopia at the moment, as far as weather is concerned.  I dislike most other parts of SA for their bad weather, especially Cape Town.  This is one awesome aspect of living in Limpopo.

This varies a bit across NZ, but in Auckland there's no argument, winters are wet. Not that cold though, the low is just above zero, so probably warmer than what you're used to. I've never understood the rap Cape Town gets for bad weather (having lived there most of my life). Cape Town has ~550mm of annual rainfall, Auckland has ~1200mm.

You'll need to adapt to the rain. Which largely means ignoring it. People just get on with their lives, rain or shine. You'll end up with multiple umbrellas, gumboots, etc. If you enjoy outdoor sports, waterproof clothing will become a part of your gear. In winter you may join a gym (you can get memberships just for the rainy months), and you'll discover new indoor activities.

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to handle Kiwis who view immigrants as a threat, e.g. as people taking their jobs or parasites on their health system.  I'm sure you get Kiwis with such negative views.

I'm sure there are a few like that, but they're unlikely to say it to your face. Most (unjustified) resistance against immigrants is directed at the Chinese, for a number of reasons that would need a whole article, so I won't go into that here.

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to spend some time (hopefully not for ever!) living in 'small', dodgy rentals on camping equipment.  We're spoiled back at home with a lovely, large family house.  We'll probably never have something similar in NZ, but it will be awesome to be able to go anywhere without fear.  At the moment, I sometimes feel like we're under a sort of house arrest - especially after dark.

That period living with very little will make you realise how little you actually need, and what is really important in life. And I believe as you rebuild your lives, that will shape (for the better) the future decisions you make.

We live in a small house, but most of the time the front door isn't locked, sometimes it isn't even closed! Your outlook on the world and how you deal with others will change substantially when that "fear" is removed from your sub-conscious.

In short, don't worry! Things will be fine if you put 100% effort into it.

SA Going to NZ Advice Forum

Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 06:55:07 pm »

Offline TheJo

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2015, 02:51:41 am »
Lovely post mbl77.

Here's my experience:
- to be thousands of miles away from family and friends and all things familiar.[/li][/list]

I didn't find this as difficult as I expected. I reconnected with old SA friends who are also here and I made a bunch of kiwi friends. I find most people in NZ to be very friendly. I've been here 1 year and I've been invited to 3 birthday parties and 2 weddings. I have more of a social life than I did in SA. In the beginning I decided that I would say yes to any invitation and by doing this I met plenty of people and made friends.

- to live in 'English', although I know that gets better with time and practice. 

I'm an English speaker and I agree with mbl77 about Afrikaans getting rammed down our throats in SA. It was something I really hated because my Afrikaans is poor but I worked in an Afrikaans area and people would insist on me speaking it even though they could speak English. Hope2Go, I don't really think you have to worry. Your English is quite good and I think your kids probably know a fair amount from TV, although they might not be comfortable using it.

- to cope if our parents start suffering ill health, or if friends/family in SA die. 

That is difficult. My father passed away suddenly 2 months ago and I didn't get to say goodbye. I don't know that I would feel differently if I had been there. We didn't know he was going to die, he was improving (in hospital in ICU) and then all of a sudden he declined and passed away. Before, I had been able to phone him in hospital, but in the ICU he didn't have his cellphone.

- to raise our children in what is often described as a 'godless' nation with a culture that will be foreign to us.[/li][/list]

I am not religious but some of my friends are and it seems to me that it is much the same as SA. I think that you may have to adapt to church because they may be more relaxed than you're used to. Although now that I think about it I'm sure someone told me that there is an Afrikaans church in Brown's Bay.

- to find our feet financially, start from scratch and get used to living with less. 

This worries me too. In Auckland I think it's impossible that we'll ever afford a home. Friends that have been here longer say that they thought that too but now they do have their own home. Some older SA friends - in their 50's - have said that they don't want to buy a home, they are happy renting. I think that so much of it is mindset. Lots of people have housemates and flatmates where I always considered that a student thing. In SA the rental market is not the same as in NZ and I feel that there's not as much emphasis placed on renting in SA. In NZ a lot of people rent and for a very long time.

- to run into NZ thugs, punks and other people with anti-social behaviour in NZ. 

I've heard of people here worrying about that but I've not experienced it nor do I know anyone who has. I think that it's not as prevalent as it's made out to be, it's just that NZ has fewer problems than SA.

- to cope with feeling discriminated against when applying for jobs, due to being immigrants.  I definitely expect some discrimination, especially as English is our second language - but at least it will be nothing that is written down in the country's laws![/li][/list]

I thought I would experience that too but it's not like that at all. South Africans are not considered foreigners the way Asian people are. We are thought of as very similar to kiwis. Most kiwis know some SA words (like braai). If you have a work visa/ residence then you have the same chance as a kiwi. The office I work in is 25% South African. If you like rugby or cricket then there'll always be something to talk about  ;)

- to get used to cold, windy, rainy winters. 

Awesome and Limpopo don't go together in the same sentence - far too hot  >:D. It's not so cold in Auckland, but it rains a lot. Coming from Joburg where it almost never rains was a huge adjustment. One thing I do miss is thunderstorms with lightning. Here it just rains, thunder is rare. The rain is also not like in Joburg, it's often stop-start: raining for 5 minutes, sunny for 30 minutes, raining again, and so on. It is also very windy in Auckland.

- to spend some time (hopefully not for ever!) living in 'small', dodgy rentals on camping equipment.  We're spoiled back at home with a lovely, large family house.

In my opinion this is the number 1 area where SA tops NZ. The houses in SA are awesome and beautiful, the furnishing and fixtures, cabinetry etc are so much better than in NZ. In NZ a house is a house and very few are outstanding. You get the charming old villas which are really beautiful but many need work. You get the average block-shaped house and the expensive block-shaped house. The difference between an expensive house and a cheaper house is usually location and views but the house will be identical. Houses are wooden (which still freaks me out) and they use gib board for walls which is really soft and can be dented by a door handle. Kiwis also seem to LOVE wall-to-wall carpeting (I don't like carpets - just personal choice). In SA a "cheap" kitchen cabinet was the Builder's Warehouse stuff - oh how I wish I could find cabinets of that quality here. Maybe I just don't know where to look.

On balance I'm glad we're in NZ because our life is better.
11 Feb 15: Residence visa approved

Offline ShaunB

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2015, 11:09:16 pm »
Yup, good idea to talk about the not so sunny part.

hmmm the negatives...

It rains a lot, I enjoy the rain, but I know most people get pretty sick of it quickly.

Although the schools are well equipped, the kids do have adjustment issues, always pay attention to the kids no matter how young or old they are, immigration is hard. The kids didn't ask for it, but they sure deserve it and the future it offers!

Our parents and other family getting sick or having an emergency is always a concern. My wife had to make an unexpected urgent trip back to SA at the end of May. The cost of a plane ticket at short notice is heavy and can really impact your progress of settling in quite a bit. Try and keep an emergency fund for this if possible.

I have not been made to feel like an immigrant or a foreigner once since being here, but my eldest son has had one or two comments, but ironically, it wasn't from a kiwi kid...

The houses are smaller and closer together.

When the All Blacks loose to Australia, it hurts as much as when the Boks loose to Australia...  :-\




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Offline Hope2Go2

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2015, 09:30:44 pm »
I prefer to hope for the best while expecting the worst, but I must say that you guys are seriously knocking my negative expectations here.

So sorry to hear about your dad, mbl77.  There is no way around that and it is something we'll no doubt have to deal with - hubby's, as well as my parents are 4 beloved, still healthy grandparents of 70+ who will be staying behind in SA.   :'(

I felt kinda bad reading about your negative experiences of Afrikaans, but on second thoughts I realized just how much I detest that I even started to feel guilty about that!  Maybe that is what happens if you're forever being told that you are personally to blame for all sorts of $%&% that reportedly happened when you were definitely not even there.  So here's to getting an opportunity to, in Elsa from Frozen's words, let it go!  It would be nice to hopefully leave those kinds of ghosts behind.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 08:39:24 am by Hope2Go2 »
Feb 2015 - Submit EOI, selected
Mar 2015 - ITA received
May 2015 - NZ Medicals done
Jun 2015 - PR application submitted
Jul 2015 - Received NZQA Assessment result
Oct 2015 - Case officer assigned
16 Dec 2015:  Residence approved!

Offline Hope2Go2

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2015, 08:43:39 am »
I was wondering how you guys in NZ are doing in terms of health?  Did any of you end up with new allergies for example?  I'm not too worried about this though, as we are blessed with extraordinarily good health as a family - so I don't expect any significant issues.

When I went to London, everyone from SA seemed to get really bad flu during their first winter there.  I guess you get in contact with lots of new germs and bugs that are new to your body?
Feb 2015 - Submit EOI, selected
Mar 2015 - ITA received
May 2015 - NZ Medicals done
Jun 2015 - PR application submitted
Jul 2015 - Received NZQA Assessment result
Oct 2015 - Case officer assigned
16 Dec 2015:  Residence approved!

Offline TheJo

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2015, 11:28:00 pm »
Hope2Go2, I seem to be different to others but one thing I never realised is how badly condensation can affect me. The humidity is very high here so there is a lot more condensation in houses. I developed a very bad chest infection on 2 occasions due to this. I know how to deal with this now but it came as a surprise to me. Otherwise, there was a particularly bad flu that did the rounds and I caught that; some people ended up with pneumonia but I didn't.

No new allergies and no worsening of existing conditions that we found.
11 Feb 15: Residence visa approved

SA Going to NZ Advice Forum

Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2015, 11:28:00 pm »

Offline mbl77

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2015, 12:22:19 am »
I know a few people with asthma that seem to feel worse here. Not sure of the cause. No problems with me, but I'm one of those lucky perennially healthy people.

Offline Savayla

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2015, 03:56:56 am »
We love NZ and love living here. It is like a cream come true, even. 5 years later. We do live in. Nelson, so can't complain about the weather. However, these are my bug bears.

Prices of local flights. Ridiculously expensive.

Postage overseas. Expensive.

Skin conditions. We have contracted so many weird skin conditions, especially in winter, since living here. Most severe was a Staph infection that saw me go from a bloodless scrape to being on crutches within 24 hours. Weird.

Price of wood. Come on, it's basically a big farm and I live in a forestry industry area !!!

Cops and laws not being tough enough on hoons and other youngsters.

I can live with all the above. Just gripes really in the greater scheme of things.

Offline Hope2Go2

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2015, 11:14:38 am »
If lots of NZ houses harbour mold, it makes sense that kiwis (and expats) have problems with asthma and chest infections - as I believe mold makes those problems more likely?

Prices of local flights. Ridiculously expensive.

Watch this space - Jetstar hopefully soon coming to the rescue!:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11496544

Skin conditions. We have contracted so many weird skin conditions, especially in winter, since living here. Most severe was a Staph infection that saw me go from a bloodless scrape to being on crutches within 24 hours. Weird.
Wicked! :o
Feb 2015 - Submit EOI, selected
Mar 2015 - ITA received
May 2015 - NZ Medicals done
Jun 2015 - PR application submitted
Jul 2015 - Received NZQA Assessment result
Oct 2015 - Case officer assigned
16 Dec 2015:  Residence approved!

Offline Seeker

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2015, 05:53:04 pm »
I would like to know more about the 1080 poisoning situation? What is the feeling from local people in NZ or does most people not care when their government slowly poisons them and their environment? Are all these acts of cruelty still being swept under the carpet?  :tickedoff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQRuOj96CRs


Offline Crusader

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2015, 09:20:52 pm »
TBH, I have been in NZ now for 8 years, 1st time I heard of it...if you search for negative things about NZ, you will always find them, same as for any other Country in the World!!!

SA Going to NZ Advice Forum

Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2015, 09:20:52 pm »

Offline mbl77

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2015, 03:19:08 pm »
I would like to know more about the 1080 poisoning situation? What is the feeling from local people in NZ or does most people not care when their government slowly poisons them and their environment? Are all these acts of cruelty still being swept under the carpet?  :tickedoff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQRuOj96CRs

I haven't watched your video, but 1080 is essential for keeping the rats and possums under control. Remember they are not native animals and they have no natural predators. Without the 1080 native birds and other animals are under huge threat. 1080 is used because it is very effective and doesn't linger in the environment.

That's what an environmentalist friend told me anyway, and I'm inclined to believe him.

Offline Seeker

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2015, 08:47:11 pm »
I haven't watched your video, but 1080 is essential for keeping the rats and possums under control. Remember they are not native animals and they have no natural predators. Without the 1080 native birds and other animals are under huge threat.

1080 is a huge threat to anything breathing oxygen. It is indiscriminate and animal cruelty to the worst extend. It does not choose between killing a rat or killing a native bird, it kills them all. Watch the video and you will see that the story that the NZ government and Department of Conservation wants people to believe about saving native birds and that 1080 does not stay in the environment is a lot of hogwash. Anybody who knows how an ecosystem work, will know that you cannot save a species by poisoning its environment.

No agricultural produce like dairy, vegetables, fruit or meat gets tested for 1080. Nor are fish in streams tested for it. People go fishing without knowing that fish might be contaminated. If 1080 does not kill an organism it will transfers from organism to organism. It gets even taken up by plants and there is proof that plant lice was found that were poisoned by 1080 from eating the sap of plants in a contaminated area.

Do yourself a favour and watch the video!!!

Offline mbl77

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Re: The negative side of going to NZ
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2015, 08:35:17 am »
1080 is a huge threat to anything breathing oxygen. It is indiscriminate and animal cruelty to the worst extend. It does not choose between killing a rat or killing a native bird, it kills them all. Watch the video and you will see that the story that the NZ government and Department of Conservation wants people to believe about saving native birds and that 1080 does not stay in the environment is a lot of hogwash. Anybody who knows how an ecosystem work, will know that you cannot save a species by poisoning its environment.

No agricultural produce like dairy, vegetables, fruit or meat gets tested for 1080. Nor are fish in streams tested for it. People go fishing without knowing that fish might be contaminated. If 1080 does not kill an organism it will transfers from organism to organism. It gets even taken up by plants and there is proof that plant lice was found that were poisoned by 1080 from eating the sap of plants in a contaminated area.

Do yourself a favour and watch the video!!!

That may all be true, but the alternative is worse, or not practical. I like the Green's policy on 1080, that it is the measure of last resort. To quote from the Green's: "A recent film has highlighted the downsides of aerial 1080 use, however, the film-makers have acknowledged that they did not try to present a balanced documentary. There is scientific evidence that aerial poison does benefit our forests by reducing the threat of pest animals."

https://home.greens.org.nz/features/more-and-better-pest-control-1080-last-resort