Youth advocate questions why young Kiwis would stay in New Zealand when they feel 'more appreciated' overseas

A youth and culture advocate has questioned why young Kiwis would choose to stay in New Zealand when they feel "more appreciated" overseas.

Businesses are feeling the pinch as the Kiwi brain drain is well underway with more people leaving than coming into the country.

Youth and culture advocate Arizona Leger told AM on Wednesday if she had it her way, she would leave New Zealand and head overseas.

"To be honest, if I had it my way and I have got a huge privilege in being able to travel, I want to go," she said.

"I want to get out of here for a little bit. Just go figure the world out for a little bit and when I have travelled, I will say, sometimes I'm more appreciated in another country as this young Oceania woman than I am here, so why would I choose to stay if I can go and thrive and succeed in another country."

Leger said she's proud to be a Kiwi but feels there are better opportunities overseas than here in New Zealand.

"I won't deny, I'm proud to be tāngata whenua to this land so there is a yearning to always be home. But it feels like and from past experiences there are opportunities that exist in other countries around the world that I don't feel like exist here for me imparticular," she told AM.

"To be able to thrive, to be able to progress and get to levels in my career and in my life that I want to be at and then maybe then come back and create the impact I want to create here.

"I just feel like there are some invisible glass ceilings I'm still trying to smash here and I'm trying to live through every single day as a 26-year-old, just trying to fight her way through the world. "

Youth and culture advocate Arizona Leger.
Youth and culture advocate Arizona Leger. Photo credit: AM

Leger added that it's a "heck of a lot more appealing" to head overseas and get some "experience under my belt" because she feels she can't achieve that in New Zealand.

Columnist David Slack, who was part of the panel with Leger on AM, said New Zealand has become "very complacent".

"We are in so many ways very complacent here. We've become very smug and complacent about buying a house and letting it pay us," he told AM.

"That has left nothing for this generation, where once you would pay three times your annual income, you now pay something more like 15 or 20 and that is insane and we have to get off that track."

Columnist David Slack.
Columnist David Slack. Photo credit: AM

Infometrics principal economist and director Brad Olsen had earlier told AM on Wednesday the numbers aren't good for the amount of Kiwis leaving the country.

"Over the last 12 months, we've seen over 7300 people more leave the country than have come in, certainly those are the worst numbers we've seen in over a decade," he said.

Olsen said the outflow is significant and businesses are feeling the pinch.

"Businesses who are looking out there trying to find talent and finding most people that they want to hire seem to be hopping on planes each and every day."

Watch the full panel interview with David Slack and Arizona Leger above.