The Unlucky Country. New Zealand

A telling piece by Oliver Hartwich.

What Kiwis need is an honest conversation with themselves. Frankly, if there is one thing New Zealanders are pathologically unable to do, it is an honest national conversation. Not even close.

Our small population size has fostered a social conformity that makes it hard to speak one’s mind. With two-degrees-of-separation, you cannot afford to burn bridges. And given our latent inferiority complex, we don’t publicly admit to our problems.

The international media’s positive obsession with New Zealand plays into all these issues. Most of us no longer dare question if it is grounded in reality and anyone who does is called unpatriotic and petty.

So, at the risk of being torn to pieces, let me do it anyway.

This is the original link to the article. Thanks!


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22 Responses to The Unlucky Country. New Zealand

  1. Bob

    Someone got a better version of the article? Every page has large swathes blocked out and pages seem to be missing or at least poorly connected.

  2. duncanm

    I nice summary of the problem here in Oz, too.

    NZ has turned into the greens’ utopia – a pristine holiday destination for the world which is populated by dumbed-down serfs trying to keep a roof over the heads by working in menial service jobs.

    Oz isn’t much better – we dig shit out of the ground and ship it out. We can’t even economically process it before shipping.

    (ps: might try printing that again without the blanks ads over the top.)

  3. stackja

    #3638409, posted on October 31, 2020 at 9:29 am


  4. duncanm

    For those on linkedin (and maybe those not), here is the commentary.

  5. That seems to be a good article. Housing unaffordability is a common problem. Wouldn’t have been helped by the Christchurch situation, I guess.

    NZ is so small and remote, it’s always going to struggle. Ardern has a massive mandate to change things if she wants to. It’s easy to identify the problems, less easy to fix them. Best of luck to her.

  6. Eyrie

    Ardern doesn’t want to change. She will stand by and pilot NZ into a poverty stricken, socialist utopia as is her plan.

    “Social Conformity” is the phrase I’ve been looking for for quite a while to describe NZ society.

  7. notafan

    staying locked up is a brilliant step in the right direction for NZ

  8. miltonf

    Horseface used to be in the bLIAR charmed circle. No more needs to be said.

  9. Tintarella di Luna

    Dr Oliver Hartwich rare courage to speak the truth when it is so dangerous in in these cancel-people cultural times

    Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck. It lives on other people’s ideas, and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all fields) so lack curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise.

  10. Pete of Perth

    Social conformity brings Japan to mind. At least they have the cahonies to publically state that foreigners can never become Japs. My Japanese sis in law left about 15 years ago to get away from the conformity. Maybe the next generation will loosen up.
    NZ nice place to visit. Run down outside the major centres and tourists spots. Just like Tassie

  11. michaelK

    Everthing the writer says is correct. I adore NZ, but the economy is is too dependent on tourism and farming. The housimg market is frankly insane, Auckland and Queenstown most particularly. Tbe land costs, single blocks near Queenstoen are 500,000+. Auckland matches inner Sydney. Realisticaly all property is at least 1/3 over valued and in some areas more. Sadly under Adern tbe crash will come and it will be brutal. Maybe on the upside I will then get to buy the holiday home I want over there.

  12. Entropy

    NZ and Australia are the opposite of Japan when it comes to immigration. The whole GDP po is is built around it, and one of the reasons for high property prices (the others being Byzantine regulatory controls and restricted on land availability).

  13. gafa

    Australia is the Kiwi’s get out of jail free card. That TTTA arrangement needs to be shut down immediately and all New Zealanders sent back…maybe then they will take managing their own country a bit more seriously.

  14. liliana

    “Social Conformity”

    describes NZ perfectly. Lovely country but except for a few independent thinkers most of them are sheeple. Mentally they are the Sweden of the south. They remind me of Dodo’s and their destiny is probably the same.

  15. Roger

    Our policy sclerosis threatens to turn New Zealand into a highly indebted, unproductive and uneducated backwater.

    Economic refugees from NZ I speak to here would say that has already happened.

    And their countrymen just voted to double down on it.

  16. Chris M

    Good article, thoughtful and well written.

    And with scary parallels to Australia of course! unaffordable housing, over-regulation, unchecked immigration, poor quality education… 🙁

  17. old bloke

    Tribal affiliations determine the character of nations within the English speaking world. Australia is predominately Ephraim with Manasseh forming the second largest portion of the population (mirror reverse to the USA). New Zealand is also predominately Ephraim, with Asher the second largest group (from the Scottish immigrants).

    Canada again is predominately Ephraim with Reuben (French) having a large influence on the national character. The USA is predominately Manasseh with a strong influence from Ephraim (the “Bible Belt” southern states).

    New Zealand has never been seriously challenged, that big lump of land to their west (Australia) has shielded them from potential enemies in a hostile world. They are, and shall continue to be an insular nation, drawing satisfaction from “the international media’s positive obsession with New Zealand,” and the successes of their All Blacks.

  18. Aynsley Kellow

    Interesting article. As someone who is (still) a New Zealand citizen, though now dual and have lived in Australia for longer, it sets out some of the reasons why I have never seriously contemplated returning. I was trawled for a job in Auckland once, but the money was what I was getting anyway and the prospect of paying Auckland real estate prices was just a deal breaker.

    Muldoon and then Rogernomics improved economic performance, but I would have to attribute the demise since in large part to the introduction of MMP, which has empowered minority interests and decreased the possibility of comprehensive reform – instead a series of minor, corrupting detractions from where it was. Fo this I blame Geoffrey Palmer, who was not PM for long, but preached the virtues of the separation of powers in the model of the US, where he had been educated, and which featured in his paean to that system, Unbridled Power.

    What they have now is a PM who uses her PR degree superbly, and successfully politically, but is best described as a Zelig – adopting the attributes of those she finds herself among (hijab when mourning Islamic victims of a shooting, Maori cloak when among them, Samoan regalia, etc) She is the epitome of the modern politician – good on the correct empathetic speech, but seemingly not adept at governing. The state of the economy in ‘saving’ the country from Covid that will have its deferred toll once (if?) the economy is finally opened up is testament to that.

    There have been a few of these. There is a reason why there is a book on Obama titled ‘The Worst President in History’. And we had our own in Turnbull – who was like a dog chasing a car, but had no idea what to do when he caught it.

  19. A Lurker

    New Zealand has never been seriously challenged, that big lump of land to their west (Australia) has shielded them from potential enemies in a hostile world.

    I suspect that the CCP will come calling on NZ to collect their Belt and Road debts.

  20. Albatross

    NZ is full of Kiwis, so of course it’s shithouse.

  21. Squirrel

    Hartwich was our loss and NZ’s gain.

  22. mundi

    NZ dollar will devalue in the next decade.
    They have basically no significant exports.
    They used to use their free hydro energy to smelt, the greenest cheapest smelters on the planet. Then they decided even that isn’t green enough for them, do they are all shutting down.

    So that made their only export tourism, which is dead under covid and will remain that way until a real vaccine is made in ~10 years.

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