New Zealand 2.5 years later

Tuesday 28 December 2010
I drove down Remuera Road with a sense of deja vu as I passed all the familiar landmarks as well as the ancient speed camera encased in a painted white wooden box on the side of the road. I visited all my favorite eateries and shops. Everything stayed the same yet they're different. Two and a half years away in the UK has changed me in many ways. I've gained another perspective and adjusted to another culture. It made me look at New Zealand with a fresh outlook which saddens me somewhat as I know it'll be difficult for me to live in this country which I've called home for almost two decades. My only links to the country are my family and friends who are so very dear to me.

Recession has hit New Zealand rather badly. As I browsed at the many shops in Newmarket, retailers tell me that this is the worst it has ever been. Their inventories aren't moving despite putting up the sale signs a few weeks before Christmas. Crowds are staying away and shops are closing at an alarming rate. I can't believe my eyes when I dropped by at a Countdown supermarket (I couldn't recognize it as they've changed their logo and Foodtown as I know of it is now defunct) at the crazy food prices displayed on the shelves. Food prices have skyrocketed. A 500gm block of butter is now NZD $5.89 and a rockmelon costs NZD $8.50 each! I often pay £1/NZD $2.10 for butter. Toiletries cost at least 2-3 times more than their equivalent in the UK but sadly, the average salary here is amongst the lowest in the developed countries. Don't get me started on the cost of properties here.

The next day, I decided to pay a visit to my favorite department store - DFS (Duty Free Shop) which houses all the major designer brands under one roof. Despite the "end of year sale" banner placed strategically by the main entrance, there were only a handful of customers browsing in the store but the cash registers remained silent. I was thrilled to see some of the lovely sales associates whom I knew from years of shopping at DFS. They informed me rather ruefully that sales have been going downhill since 2008 with this year being the worst it has ever been.


  1. Yup, the Smith and Caughey's sale was a big let down. Few people, things were still reasonably pricey. NZ has become a retirement country for the wealthy....

  2. I wasn't very impressed by the measly discounts on Boxing Day sale. Such an expensive country to live in.



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