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NZ - An American Perspective

I wouldn't usually reproduce someone else's blog piece but this week I am going to (and I hope the author doesn't mind). I do so in response to some pretty vicious and defamatory comments posted last week on the Letters from New Zealand blog site. Most posts I took down ...


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NZ - An American Perspective

I wouldn't usually reproduce someone else's blog piece but this week I am going to (and I hope the author doesn't mind). I do so in response to some pretty vicious and defamatory comments posted last week on the Letters from New Zealand blog site. Most posts I took down ...


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NZ - An American Perspective

Posted by Iain on Feb. 15, 2013, 6:52 p.m. in Living

I wouldn't usually reproduce someone else's blog piece but this week I am going to (and I hope the author doesn't mind). I do so in response to some pretty vicious and defamatory comments posted last week on the Letters from New Zealand blog site. Most posts I took down - anything defamatory will always be removed especially when the person is too cowardly to put their real name and email address to it.

I am however all for adult and respectful discourse so I left most of them up even though they will fail statstical or half intelligent scrutiny. The ones that ran down New Zealand as 'third world', 'a shithole', terrorised by urban gangs, suffering a youth drinking culture (that part at least is true), terrible child abuse statistics, high cost of living, low wages etc I left up. After all I have nothing to fear from such opinions - I am the guy who leads a team of Consultants who stand up at seminars around the world and warn people to be careful in their expectations of this country or any other. To do their homework, establish their employability, visit if they can and make a balanced decision in the full knowledge nowhere is perfect and the migration process comes with no guarantees. I hear myself at every seminar say up front and openly 'I don't live in paradise, I live in New Zealand'.

There will always be contrarian views - some migrants do view New Zealand as heaven and others hell. Most fall somewhere in between.

In the interest then of other perspectives read this from a US based blogger comparing his country with New Zealand and he draws on real, verifiable statistics.


Written by Nonny Mouse from American blog 'Crooks & Liars'. 

We Americans like to think, and in fact have been indoctrinated for decades to believe, that we are the greatest country in the world, the best at just about everything. Sadly, that hasn’t been true for quite some time. Words patriots once gave their lives for, like ‘freedom’... and ‘patriots’... have become almost meaningless.

So if you’re curious about who’s taken our crown, you might be surprised. The latest international index of 123 countries released by the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank, and Germany's Liberales Institut, ranked New Zealand number one for offering the highest level of freedom worldwide, followed by the Netherlands then Hong Kong. Australia, Canada and Ireland tied for fourth spot. The survey measured the degree to which people are free to enjoy classic civil liberties - freedom of speech, religion, individual economic choice, and association and assembly - in each country surveyed, as well as indicators of crime and violence, freedom of movement, legal discrimination against homosexuals, and women's freedoms. Pretty extensive stuff.

The United States tied Denmark for seventh. We didn’t even get bronze.

As for the idea that the United States is the envy of the world when it comes to free markets and business? Wrong again. The U.S. continues to lose ground against other nations in Forbes’ annual look at the Best Countries for Business. The U.S. placed second in 2009, but in 2012 it ranks 12th, trailing fellow G-8 countries Canada (5th), the United Kingdom (10th) and Australia (11th) The world’s biggest economy at $15.1 trillion scores abysmally when it comes to trade freedom and monetary freedom.

So, who did top the list for the Best Countries for Business?

New Zealand. New Zealand can boast a transparent and stable business climate that encourages entrepreneurship. New Zealand is the smallest economy in the top 10 at $162 billion, but it ranks first in personal freedom and investor protection, as well as a lack of red tape and corruption.

Okay, so at least MIT is still the best university in the entire world, we’re still first at something...Well, according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, there are two thousand six hundred eighteen accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States, most of which operate privately or as part of state governments. Only fifty-four of these are in the top 200, very slightly over 2% . So who does top the educational rankings?

That would be New Zealand again, first in the world on the basis of performance in three areas: access to education, quality of education and human capital.

The annual QS World University survey ranks institutions based on scores for academic reputation, employer reputation and how many international students it has, among other things. Up to 20,000 universities from around the world were surveyed to find the top 700 academic institutions from 72 countries, the best universities in the world.

New Zealand has eight universities nationwide, with slightly less than around a half million students. According to the QS World University Rankings, two of New Zealand’s universities – Auckland and Otago – rank in the top 200 of the 700 best universities in the world, and Auckland in the top 100 (83rd and 133rd respectively). That's 25% compared to the United State's 2.06%. All eight universities rank in the top 500, with Auckland University of Technology appearing on the list for the first time this year. That’s a 100% rating.

Even when New Zealand isn’t top of the list, they’re outranking and out-performing the United States on just about any index you want to consider. How about the environment? According to the Yale University and Columbia University 2012 Environmental Performance Index at the World Economic Forum, ranking 132 countries, New Zealand placed 14th in the top 30. The United States trailed at 49th.

We rank top of the list for the most expensive health care system in the world, but dead last overall compared to six other industrialized countries - Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom – when it comes to quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and the ability to lead long, healthy, productive lives.

There are a few other things the United States tops the charts at: We’re fifth out of the top 25 countries in the world in terms of crime rate. New Zealand is 24th.

Auckland is ranked the third best city out of the top five for quality of living, after Vienna and Zurich, nothing in the United States making the list at all. Even when it’s just the Americas being ranked for quality of living overall (taking New Zealand out of the equation altogether), the top four cities are all in Canada, with Honolulu coming 28th.

Don’t even get me started on the All Blacks.

One of the smallest countries in the world is kicking our ass when it comes to actually living up to the standards we Americans pretend we still have. Isn’t it about time we stopped kidding ourselves, stopped living on past glories that mostly never were, and started actually trying to be at least as good as one of the smallest nations on earth?

Blog Ends


So I am not the only one that thinks New Zealand is doing okay.

Until next week

Iain MacLeod - Southern Man

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3 comments on this post
Feb. 17, 2013, 3:56 p.m. by Jesse Small

I agree with this article and you Ian. New Zealand is a great place to live. For the record, I am an American.

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Feb. 17, 2013, 6:40 p.m. by Karen

Reading this, I think you may see Singapore a rotten place now. Our universities are among the top 100 apart from the rest of the two newer universities. We have a recent protest rallying over the population white paper... I think NZ is a great place to live but I also know people may not like immigrants too because there are already many in Auckland.

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Feb. 18, 2013, 9:48 a.m. by Mike

Iain. I have heard of people trashing NZ. The ones I know who do it, have never been here or even researched being here. Those South Africans, my countrymen, that I know in NZ, think it’s a great place, as do I even though I have only been here a year. This article just goes to highlight why those of us who chose NZ have made an excellent choice and there are many more reasons than discussed. NZ is nor perfect as you have said, but it has got to be close. In my view the transparency of the news probably highlights issues in NZ in manner that few other countries do. As a result it seems to the unacquainted that NZ has huge issues. Kiwis just face up to them and get on with solving them. I personally love the ways Kiwis sweat the so called small stuff as it knocks the big stuff into line. I guess there will always be those who have nothing good to say about NZ and I suppose they are entitled to their opinions even if they are not factual. As for the rest of us, we are grateful to be here and I for one will do all I can to keep NZ great.

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