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The Saturday Rant-6 September 2008


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Adam had thought about several topics for his rant this week. Aspects of media coverage of issues, stupidity of regulations yet a post at Homepaddock caused Adam to think about a completely different topic, or aspects of a topic. The post in question is entitled ‘You can’t eat lifestyle’, which referenced an article on Stuff. An extract from the article is later in the post.

Ever since Adam arrived in late 1989 he has heard people talk about the quality of lifestyle as being one of the main reasons New Zealanders return home and others wish to come here. He was not convinced of this in 1989 and is definitely not convinced of it today.

Quite frankly he is at times inclined to find the comment vomit inducing, because it usually prefaces or follows remarks which are effectively an apology for a marked deficiency in some benefit, service or good of New Zealand origin.

In 1989 Adam came here because he was offered an excellent job, not because of so called lifestyle.

Part of the Stuff article contained these comments:-

The much-vaunted quality of life in New Zealand may no longer be enough to keep Kiwis at home, with high wages and family ties drawing growing numbers across the Tasman.

In the year to July, 32,600 New Zealanders made a long-term move to Australia, with 500 going to both Britain and the United Arab Emirates and 400 to Canada.

Net migration last crested 30,000 in 2001, and in seven of the past 10 years more than 20,000 New Zealanders have crossed the Tasman.

Statistics New Zealand figures show people from all walks of life have made the move, led by sales workers, professionals and trades workers (each 2100), along with 13,200 people without an occupation, most of whom were children or students.

News this week that the average Australian wage of $NZ1398 a week dwarfs New Zealand’s $886 is expected to make the Lucky Country seem more alluring to potential migrants.

Council of Trade Unions economist Peter Conway said that while money was an important factor for workers, migration to Australia was becoming generational and ingrained behaviour for New Zealanders.

“The really concerning thing about the numbers we have now is that it’s starting to look like a long-run trend,” he said.

Well Adam would suggest that it has been a long term trend for a long while. The CTU is rather late in waking up to the realities of this issue.


Quality of life

Adam would take issue with the comment about quality of life. Whilst there is much to enjoy about New Zealand that of itself does not make it better than other countries. You can have an excellent quality of life in other countries, indeed in many the provision of many services is better than it is here.

The statement ‘much vaunted quality of life’ is terribly complacent and Adam would suggest does not stack up when assessed.

A country where many of the best and the brightest leave as soon as they can, many either never to return or only many years later is clearly lacking. It suggests that many find aspects of life here unattractive.

Quality of life is used as an excuse for things being worse than they need to be, for lack of economic growth and poor productivity and wages.

Might it not be that quality of life is hindered by the significantly anti-business, anti-success, ant-progress attitudes so prevalent today in our society.

Quality of life is unlikely to be present in a society which over doses on political correctness and social engineering.


Health Services

The health system in this country is getting worse. This is despite the huge sums of money thrown at it by governments of all political persuasions.

Health care is an essential element in quality of life, yet for many it is hard to obtain, and/or effectively rationed.

The latest example is that of Capital and Coast flying patients to Australia.

The current system is ridiculous. 21 or 22 DHBs for a country of just over 4 million people. Only idiots would devise a system such as this. It needs root and branch reform. At the present time the system fails patients, doctor and nurses, but grows more and more bureaucrats.

In regard to quality of life our health system fails us.



Whether or not people wish to realise it, business underpins the society we live in. To generate the income from which comes the taxes to finance the public services we need, requires that New Zealand makes or provides goods eg primary produce or services eg tourism that people wish to purchase. Unless we can do this effectively then collectively we all go down the pan.

To do this we need amongst a number of other matters to improve our education system dramatically.

The education system needs to produce people who can contribute to our society in a number of ways. We need people who can be entrepreneurs, trades people, scientists, doctors, teachers, nurses academics etc etc.

Critical to all this is that graduates of the education system need certain basic skills such as reasoning; plus the ability to read, write coherently and perform at least basic arithmetic. Judging from various comments, including some by the Prime Minister earlier this year, the system is not doing this. Yet we pour billions into education.

We need to understand why this is happening. When we do, we must rectify the situation else we will fall further and further behind.

Adam suspects that there is a culture of mediocrity, political correctness and a bias against merit infecting the education system.


Rather than go on and on, Adam is ending here, but may return to aspects of this rant in future posts.

  1. bobux permalink
    07/09/2008 10:56

    Off topic, but this is also a country where the main pretender to being a ‘serious’ sunday broadsheet (the SST) is unable to correctly spell the headline for its own editorial.

    I guess the sub-editors were out somehere enjoying the quality of life.

    While they were out, some deranged Winston supporter also managed to slip in a cartoon suggesting His Baubleness isn’t getting a fair go.


  2. Sinner permalink
    06/09/2008 17:56

    Key will never be able to compete with the political “smarts” of Clark and Cullen,

    translating that into English, what I think it means is: “Key will never be as corrupt as Clark and Cullen”

    political “smarts” he has in spades: shown first of all by joining National, not Labour


  3. 06/09/2008 17:14

    Excellent and provocative post Adam. One of the things that frustrates me about New Zealand is our willingness to accept second-best, or mediocrity.

    Applying this to the political scene, I guess that has been one of the things that excites me about National and Key – Key could go and work anywhere in the world, but he has CHOSEN to come back to a life in politics. Unfortunately, the New Zealand political landscape is not ideally suited to someone such as Key. And it really disappoints me to see someone like Darren Hughes, who seems to be a very pleasant, articulate and intelligent young man becoming wedded to the system which brings out the worst in people. I would far rather see Hughes step out of Parliament for a couple of terms, and get some REAL life experience – as Key has – then he could come back to politics a much better rounded person, and an asset. Instead at 30, Hughes runs the risk of becoming a younger version of Michael Cullen.

    Key will never be able to compete with the political “smarts” of Clark and Cullen, but with his international experience, and drawing on the skills that have made him a wealthy and successfull businessman, he could become an outstanding PM. But at the moment, as soon as he rises above the pack, we (as a people) are only too ready to cut him back down to our size.

    What is wrong with success? What is wrong with an individual accruing wealth as a result of his own efforts? Absolutely nothing. What is wrong with New Zealanders’ attitudes towards those traits? Plenty!


  4. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    06/09/2008 15:35

    HP, I agree, but to many here growth appears to be evil. Personally I am very keen on growth, but we need to ensure that the growth pursued and achieved is appropriate.

    We need to move up the value chain and focus on added value not bulk product. This is especially the case now with the costs of transportation.

    We should look also to the export of services the so called weightless economy.

    A key factor in all this is values and education. Too many here accept mediocrity.

    If we put a tenth of the effort put into rugby into inculcating a focus on business achievement and valuing business then we would have made a start.


  5. 06/09/2008 15:11

    That should read: … a first world lifestyle with first world health …


  6. 06/09/2008 15:09

    The only way to have first world lifestyle with health and education services is to have a first world economy. A first world economy needs, among other things, well educated people with the willingness to apply themselves.

    New Zealand has a growth problem and almost every other problem – including declining lifestyle, heath and education standards, is a symptom of that.



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