Category Archives: settlement

Do not study business

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In a previous post, I exposed the dangerous minefield called the student visa.

If you are the type of person where money is not an issue and really want to pursue further studies in New Zealand then it would be wise to select the right course that would increase your chances of securing a skilled job.

Recently, I’ve been meeting a lot of pinoys studying diploma of business here that had been sold to them by unscrupulous agents back home.

Many have paid thousands of dollars, worked in odd jobs and ended up packing their bags in debt.

Studying business is a terrible choice if you plan on permanently settling here.

After finishing your studies it is highly unlikely someone will offer you to “manage” their business.

For one, New Zealand is a tiny, isolated country in the Pacific where the average business is 1-5 people, a vast majority of which are solo operators.

Think about this – if you had a business in the Philippines would you hire a foreigner to manage your operations?

No, you would hire someone with local knowledge and that takes years of on-the-ground experience.

Not an expensive piece of paper.

Business courses do not teach a marketable trade or specific skill.

The most successful business people in the world did not study “business”, they just had an idea and learned it as they went along.

Another similar course being peddled is “Healthcare Management” to target the clueless pinoy nurses and other medical professionals.

The reason why these types of courses are being pushed are the low overhead costs of offering these programs. Whereas let’s say you offer a degree like engineering or computer networking, you would need to build the expensive infrastructure to support it.

With “Healthcare Management” or “Business,” all you need is a room, perhaps a whiteboard and a guy off the street pretending to be a “management guru.”

What it ultimately boils down to is that Kiwi employers are not looking to give any “fresh off the boat” immigrant any kind of managerial or leadership position.

Because of its size, taking in a rookie “manager” is a risky position for most New Zealand companies. Aggravating this further are the strict labour laws, making it hard to fire people who they later find unsuitable.

If you are aspiring Kiwi and want to learn a skill that will lead to jobs, the best course of action would be to look at the job sites and talk directly to employers.

Why I switched to prepaid electricity in New Zealand

Back when I used to live in Manila, I remember to receive unexpected, exaggerated electricity bills all the time because there was no way to closely monitor your consumption on a day to day basis. And because Meralco is a monopoly, you had to pay up your bill on time or your powerline gets ruthlessly cut.

When I moved into my first rental property here in NZ, I had the luxury of choosing over 10 power retailers! This number keeps growing. If you didn’t like the service or the price you are paying for one company, it was very easy to switch to another one. In fact, the government encourages healthy competition among power retailers by asking people to visit this site to find out who gives the cheapest price at a particular point in time. In the end, the consumers win.

As I believe in supporting local businesses, I am with Powershop for the past seven years, a Wellington-based prepaid power company. What I liked about their service is they had smart tools that lets me closely monitor my usage behaviour, and thus giving me power to control my bill.

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It was very easy to buy “load” through their website or phone app. Like a brick and mortar shop, you can buy “patingi tingi” or buy in bulk or in advance to save you money.

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For example, you will get considerable savings if you buy power for the winter during the summer time where prices are cheaper. If you overbuy power by any chance, they will refund you. If let’s say you go on vacation and turn off everything in your house including the fridge, you don’t have to pay anything. My bill dropped to zero when I went back to the Philippines one time.

As an added bonus, I pay Powershop through my American Express card which they accept so I earn airpoints from paying utility bills. At the end of the year, I could earn a free flight from all the airpoints accumulated.

There is no requirement to pay in advance to keep your power going. They will automatically charge your debit or credit card each month if you have not bought enough “powerpacks” in advance to cover your usage. You will not be cut off just because you haven’t logged into their website or app.

If you are already in New Zealand and want to try Powershop, you can use this link to receive $150 worth of power, free.

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Powershop’s quirky “Same power, different attitude” campaign