Clearing the first hurdle

Unforeseen issues and last minute hold ups notwithstanding, come the
5th of December, I will be taking on a newly-created operations and
strategy role with a regional utility company in based Auckland. It
is a smaller company than my last but the role manages and oversees
three departments: the call centre, the dispute and complaints team
and the network management centre. However, with 150,000 individual
commercial and residential customers, not to mention vendors and
third party field teams to manage, the initial challenge will be to
lead further improvements in customer service and deliver new
services for customers within the next 18 months. I am looking
forward to the novelty of working with a smaller team again in a
different industry. In the longer term, one of the attractive
aspects of the role is that I would assume a greater strategic role
in larger regional operations. I was shown around the operations
centre and met a few folks who seemed pleasant and happy in their
work. After what I understand have been a few tough years, they
seems to be a close knit team who are keen to develop and progress.

Elsewhere, whilst things are looking hopeful and we are confident of
making a go of things here, the uncertainty over permits and visas,
together with some unexpected hassles has all added to an certain
level of underlying stress. Though our visitor’s visa are still OK
for another four months, I hope to have my work permit sorted within
the next two or three weeks which, in turn, will allow us to start
the long process of applying for residence visa for all the family.
The only major unforeseen problem that we have encountered thus far
concerns the shipping container that has all our worldly possessions
in it. After weeks at sea, it finally arrived at the port in
Wellington and was unloaded at the container base. The NZ shippers
contacted us regarding a few pieces of paper work and we thought that
all was going well. A week later, we were asked to provide a UK
prescription for just eight pain killer tablets that we declared had
been packed inadvertently by the shippers. Obviously, having used
the prescription to get the tablets, we were unable to comply. We
were then asked to get a private NZ doctor’s letter and prescription
instead. This we did and, on all information and advice, hoped to
have our container released. However, to our annoyance, it turns out
that all this activity took us over a previously unmentioned time
limit that is applied to shipped items belonging to those with
visitor’s visas. This, we were cheerfully informed, meant that we
are now liable for VAT on the shipment as Customs now deem our
belongings to be ‘imported’ goods rather than personal possessions.
The only upside to this is that clothes and personal effects
(jewellery, handbags etc) are not included in the calculation and
some element of depreciation will be deducted against the furniture,
books and kitchen stuff. If that is the only thing we missed in our
research, then we’ll take it on the chin and move on. It seems
churlish to complain when some, like the folks affected by the
Pakistan earthquake, are homeless with just what they can carry in
their arms and no money to start again.

Now we know where I’ll be working, we’ll be off on a recce next week
to find rented accommodation we can move into before the Christmas
holidays, which is also the big summer break here. From there, we’ll
be better able to search for schools and find a new home to buy.
With Christmas just six weeks away (where did the year go?), we’ll
still be house hunting, living out of cases with most of our stuff
still packed in boxes in the garage or shed and our friends and
family will be thousands of miles away. However, the best present
this year will be the very real possibility that our new life in Te
Ika a M?ui ? Aotearoa (the North Island of New Zealand) moves from
being a dream to a reality. We’re convinced that “she’ll be right”
as they say here. That said, we’re not quite there yet and I need to
ensure that my work permit application is correctly completed and the
application filed next week if I am to start work on schedule, so I’m
off to start on that before catching the All Blacks v Ireland match a
little later.

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4 Responses to Clearing the first hurdle

  1. Ian McKenzie says:

    Great news! I’m sure the search for living quarters will be an easier hurdle to clear. :)

  2. pigpogm says:

    Congratulations – good to hear things are finally starting to get sorted.

  3. Emchi says:

    Congratulations. I knew things would come right. I’m sure you’ll find somewhere to live and have everything sorted by Christmas. Look on the bright side, at least you’re not in the cloudy grey damp smoggy area that is east London at the moment. You’ll be spending Christmas 2005 with your new life, in great new surroundings, with your family enjoying the new start!! Plus I’m not sure you’d find dolphins swimming in the thames (although if you’re still reading BBC news online then you’ll know there are crocodiles, minks and other odd creatures in this country’s water ways… but no dolphins :o )

  4. Marion from Cape Town says:

    Hurrah! So thrilled to hear this. It was great to catch up on all your other news. Love to all Dunnings, will email soon.

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