Before leaving SA, I'd applied for teaching, conservation and drama related jobs throughout NZ. Regret letters I'd received advised it was better to be in NZ when applying for jobs, which entailed expense for the interviewee. Principals suggested relief-teaching. Regret letters were mostly form-letters. Some were inaccurate. Some misspelt my name, and some didn't mention my name. Some employers didn't bother to reply.
In 1985, Lange's Labour government had introduced capitalist reforms. Kiwis with welfare-state hangovers still reeled after our arrival. State businesses had been privatized. Hospital waiting lists increased. State Community Services cards assisted poor citizens' medical costs. State dole and Family Assistance benefits, for unemployed or low income families, inadequately supported families, as house rentals or mortgages were not fully covered by the dole.
City charities had longer food-queues, with food-gift requests from the destitute and homeless, while business management golden -handshakes increased. Results of free-market reforms, which we saw in NZ, was a low class of thousands of unemployed and under -employed citizens, including professional immigrants, which NZ never had before, and which welfare bureaucrats chivvied with form-letters, phone-calls and compulsory meetings.
Christchurch employees had a brief use-by date. Teenagers were employed as cheap-labour on Youth Rates. Adults, if lucky to get work, became redundant in their 40s, after signing work contracts under the aegis of the 1991 Employment Contracts Act (ECA). Many jobs were temp jobs, which benefitted employers but not employees. I would find that Christchurch employers presented all my ECA temp -work contracts as non-negotiable documents.
At a deafness checkup my Quack said, "You're younger than fifty, so you're still in the work-force!" He didn't mention the fate of over-50-year-olds. Quacks made money from unemployed patients paying reduced fees using their Community Services cards, then Quacks applied for state subsidised funding for those same patients who'd use the cards. I found Quacks wanted me to unnecessarily visit them more than I was used to in SA, so they could claim more from the state. Example: Diagnosis of a burn on my leg needed two Quack consultations: 1st consultation - a "check for fungus swab" had to be sent away for lab assessment; 2nd consultation - Quack had to tell me the lab results. After the 1st consultation, I treated the burn with aloe vera and left that Quack.
As my Starkey hearing-aids were useless I posted them back to East London, and demanded a refund from my Worm City audiologist.
A Bealey Avenue audiologist said, "You're over 70% deaf - profoundly deaf." I trial-wore behind-the-ear hearing-aids. As digital hearing-aids were being developed, the audiologist gave me old stock Phonaks, which were painful with increased volumes.
Kelly Services sent me to a Brougham Street printer, a one month scratch-card sorting job. After two days, fifty temp labourers and I were sacked, as the printer had messed up scratch-card printing. Kelly Services didn't find me another job.
At Riccarton Employment Service, I obtained a list of job agencies from Yam, Chinese case-manager, then I registered with job agencies. Interviewers gave me forms to fill in. I never heard from them again. I made an appointment to see the Mature Employment Services lady manager. I arrived. She didn't.
Yam sent me to state funded Workbridge. Although I was a professional scribe with professional work experience, Workbridge insisted I rewrite my CV. A lady interviewed me, like I was cerebral -palsied. Her male boss sent me back to Yam, after weeks of my to-ing and fro-ing. Yam made me complete a form, then waved me to a pc to look for a job on the job list. Yam wasn't doing her job. She asked me to explain to a black man how to use the pc. Weeks later, Yam, asked me to complete the same form. When I complained, Yam keyed my details into her pc.
Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.