September 12, 2008

The Other Side of the Story

My sister and her husband left for Brisbane several years ago because their family was already there (Editorial, Sept 9). They bought several reasonably priced acres of land outside the city but the poor soil and hot climate mean it's hard to grow anything.

Even the tropical grass dies in summer.

They went to the expense of installing six large water tanks, but still occasionally buy water and restrict its use. Any flowers or vegetables nurtured with grey water are ruined by wildlife.

They don't sit outside on their verandah in summer because it's so hot and flying insects and fire ants are rampant. Summer heat and jellyfish make beaches uncomfortable and local people spend their weekends in airconditioned malls.

Travel distances mean two cars, and car registration is very expensive. Her husband's wages are lower than in New Zealand. Healthcare is good but they have to contribute to Medicare and feel that private insurance is essential.

They want to retire but Australian asset-testing rules this out and they can't get NZ Superannuation.


Lower Hutt

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