Friday, November 23, 2012

Strengthening New Zealand So People Don't Want to Leave

I watched a current affairs program about the New Zealanders going to live in Australia in their thousands over the last five years. The current situation is that New Zealanders arriving in Australia are temporary citizens, not able to access any government money in the form of grants or benefits. That people cannot access unemployment benefits is a good thing, as it is often too easy to become dependent instead of standing on your own two feet.  However, the argument was the children who have gone with their parents to live in Australia since 2003 are unable to access student loans when they wish to study and will need to pay overseas student fees which are significantly higher.
Minister Peter Garrett responded to questions about this situation, stating that New Zealanders were making the choice, knowing this information before they left New Zealand.  He did indicate that there were avenues, government to government that could be undertaken to change this situation. He handled a difficult interview by maintaining his stance that it was an informed choice.
The tweets running underneath the story were interesting.  They used all the disconnecting habits. Understandably, few supported what Peter Garrett was saying.
  #New Zealand should do the same thing to any Australians who come here.  Take away their rights.  Threatening and punishing are deeply entrenched in our society. 
#It’s not fair.  We don’t do it so why should they? Blaming and ‘shoulding’ behaviours,   
One tweet suggested that we strengthen New Zealand so that people did not want to leave the country. What a great idea.  Make New Zealand a needs- satisfying place to be and they will want to stay.
If New Zealand was a place that people wanted to be, what would that be like?  A place where people felt safe; where they had a sense of freedom; where they could be playful and stay connected. Perhaps most people equate a move to Australia with financial success. How can we change the perception of financial success to one of being satisfied with what we already have?  Difficult in a materialistic, celebrity-driven society.
The William Glasser Institute-New Zealand has as its vision statement, Strengthening New Zealand through Choice Theory Psychology. Dr Glasser once told me he believed that New Zealand was a small enough country to have the majority of people knowing, understanding and using Choice Theory.  If they did know, and lived a life where they did not meet their needs at the expense of others, then New Zealand would be a better place to be.