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.  


  1. Hi Bette,

    I am an Aussie and I don't mind Kiwis coming over here. In fact my feeling is that you guys are part of us and we part of you. Unfortunately in my experience I have come across people from NZ who have not felt the same. Could we look at this in the context of Choice Theory?
    Many of your people have no thought of leaving the country... it is home. It would be expected these (happy) people have made good choices in their lives and are relatively content.
    This inner contentment would continue in their lives where ever they lived.
    In past decades many people from Britain have come to this country and a parallel could be drawn with what is happening with NZ.
    If people leave their places in the world to travel to another, there has to be a reason.
    In the case of many of these people it is due to discontentment in their lives.

    In the context of Choice Theory many have made self destroying decisions. Others have come due to different reasons than these, so of course there are exceptions. It is easy to look at some of the people who come, and when you notice they are from another country you could decide that this is how others from that country must be.
    The reason I have noticed this is when I have met others from that country who did not have the need to leave, they seemed to have an entirely different outlook.
    Australia is not exempt from this phenomenon. The same occurs from Aussie. We seem to export the unhappy or irresponsible people who "know" that life owes them something better.

    I feel your perspective has merit.
    Do you know about what happened in Northern Ireland?
    A large group of people teaching “Choice Theory” went to Northern Ireland during the height of the conflict that was going on there, and taught them . Could this have been a large contributor to... Peace? One of the longest running conflicts in modern history?
    Of course the politicians took the credit.
    I bring this to your attention so it can be seen what could be possible.

    So... the questions relating to this phenomenon in your case... Knowing that all movements are started by the revelation of a need to one person.

    What are you doing?
    What do you want?
    What are you doing to help this happen?
    When will you know you are succeeding?
    When will you tell me about your success?

    Gray Tell

    1. Hi Gray
      I enjoyed reading your piece. I concur with your viewpoint about people deciding to move countries and taking with them a basic disposition. Carol Dweck writes about a closed mindset and a growth mindset which relates to the way that thinking and beliefs have been modelled by parents and teachers in the upbringing and schooling of young people. I think that this may have something to do with it.

      Unless people learn differently they will continue with habits that have worked for them in the past.

      I was interested in the Northern Ireland piece. I was unaware of the training that happened in that part of the country. I know that there has been extensive training in the south through people like Brian Lennon.

      Thank you for taking the time to respond. And wouldn't we have an awesome rugby union team if we became one country.

  2. You know Bette,
    I am not sure how I feel when you guys beat us at rugby yet again.
    On one hand I feel a bit down trodden. But I have to tell you my overwhelming feeling is joy that you have succeeded and that you guys are right up there. You even export your coaches who are second to non.
    May be this feeling is only possible because I am not a follower of the game, but who cares I think you guys have a lot going for you.
    Take up the challenge and find a way to change your country for the better, Teach Choice Theory. We have been given an understanding, this is too big to hide under a bushel.