Members of Auckland's Greek community gathered today to talk passionately about the state of the Greek economy and how that affects their families back home.

Her body draped in a Greek flag, Sofia Athineou, a mother of three teens, said acceptance of international bailout conditions in Sunday's referendum would "destroy" Greece.

"So, this is a vote for NO.

"It's for the future of my kids, for the future of all the Greeks, for my mother who struggles to pay anything with her pension and for my ancestors who fought in all the wars to give is the freedom to live in a beautiful country.


"I live in New Zealand since 2000 and my kids have great life here but I don't want the people of my own country to be slaves."

The Greek community of Auckland held a gathering at the Orthodox Parish of Auckland in Western Springs. Photo / Jason Dorday
The Greek community of Auckland held a gathering at the Orthodox Parish of Auckland in Western Springs. Photo / Jason Dorday

A No vote was also preferred by a new arrival from Greece at the Hellenic Community Hall in Western Springs.

Giorgor Lourmas, a civil engineers, said his pregnant wife was coming to join him in a few months and he felt that under the present economic crisis New Zealand was better place to raise his first child.

"Greece is in a no hope situation - it's at a dead end and we hope that with a No vote it becomes better."

Christos Montes said the younger people who were most affected the long term and most will be mostly against what's happening."

Auckland Hellenic Community president Costa Kritos said Greece borrowed and spent money from banks.

"But you can't blame the Greeks only, because while Greeks were spending, why did the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission keep pouring money in?

"They could have stopped after the Olympic Games when we started to go downhill and could not keep up the repayments."


Christos Montes said he hoped the younger people would vote No because they would be the most affected in the long term under austerity measures.

"Shrinking a bad economy will not help in the long term and is not sustainable so you have to think about solutions."

Mr Montes said a No vote was the consensus of the 50 people at the community hall but was not the formal view of the community in Auckland, which numbered about 400.

Earlier today, New Zealand's Finance Minister said he was "not particularly concerned" about whether Greece's financial crisis will roll on to New Zealand.

Bill English said from New Zealand's point of view, the economic risk would be "contagion where financial markets get really worried about a Greek exit".

That would affect the markets in which New Zealand was borrowing, Mr English told TVNZ current affairs show Q+A this morning.

The Finance Minister said the bigger implications were the political challenges for Europe, where they will be having "intensive discussions" about what it could mean for one set of fiscal policies right across Europe.

"I don't think anyone ever really imagined a country would actually exit Europe."

Mr English told Q+A the effects on financial markets could be potentially a bit disruptive, but "it's not like this is a shock".

Should "flow on effects" from Greece cause a credit crunch like the 2008 crisis, New Zealand would be prepared.

"This time round, if anything happened this time round, we're in pretty good shape," Mr English said.

"The last time round, we weren't. Like most developed countries, we weren't really ready, but we still got through it okay."

- Additional reporting NZME. News Service