15 January 2015

I've Seen The Future Of Low Public Spending... 11,000 Miles Away.

Unaffordable housing, dire public transport, crumbling roads and infrastructure, scandalous road deaths, rising crime, desperate rising inequality and a dearth of decent paying jobs. The UK? How about New Zealand!

Perhaps not the image you might think of about the land of the Hobbit and the Maori. Of course New Zealand has wondrous abundant countryside and is well worth a visit (if you don't mind lots of driving). But for a country with an abundance of natural wealth, it isn't half in a mess.

Add in unaffordable healthcosts and dire TV and radio to the above list and you might understand why so many New Zealanders emigrate.

If you want a vision of life without the BBC, spend an evening watching (or rather enduring) New Zealand TV.

No homespun dramas, just endless imports, repeats, derivative programming and incessant adverts littering every programme, making them unwatchable. I started watching a film at 9pm, by midnight I had given up getting to the end of the movie after literally dozens of very long advertising breaks. I was then told that New Zealanders NEVER watch anything live, preferring to spend their time zapping adverts every few minutes on their timeshifted shows.

If you'd like the idea of a bonfire of regulations, you will love New Zealand. Where land developers are free to destroy beautiful countryside at will (while brownfield sites are left to decay), to throw up dilapadated tin houses with no insulation, that even in New Zealand's mild climate will leave you shivering. Where drink driving will result in only a slap on the wrist fine and result not surprisingly in the most dangerous roads in the Western world. To get too old or sick to drive is really to experience loneliness for most New Zealanders. Trapped in isolated towns with no resources for health (or much else).

So there you have the free market in all its glory and all its excuses laid bare. There are no planning restrictions holding developers back from building homes in New Zealand. And in a country bigger than the UK with just a 4.4m population, there is masses of space. Yet still they don't build. Why? Because big developers control the market like in the UK and by carefully restricting supply drive up property and land prices, especially in the crowded cities. Hence bigger profits, and that is the bottom line of market economics. It is not run for the masses, or even for efficiency. It is to make profits for the few. Proper regulation is needed to ensure competition diminishes profiteering. And a thriving private sector needs the public sector to provide opportunities and infrastructure support.

Go to New Zealand and drive (or should I say bounce) on their many "unsealed" roads, i.e. rubble tracks that are untarmac-ed. Go to their historic "spiritual" sites, if you can afford the theme park prices and stomach the theme park mentality. And woe betide if you can't drive. They don't even spend money on bridges or tunnels for their trains, preferring to run them through traffic islands. Not as if it matters when they run so infrequently for passengers, they are next to useless. They will never be able to expand public transport precluded by this lack of foresight. When New Zealand's population does grow big, as it will, they have laid the foundations for a living hell for future generations.

It is all such a shame, such a beautiful country, and through mean public infrastructure and reckless irresponsibility they are in a rush to despoil it.

I've seen the future for the UK if we keep heading in the same direction. The Tory road leads to New Zealand, but without the countryside.


  1. Grim reading indeed. No mention of their healthcare system - dare I ask?

  2. NZ came 14th out of 14 developed countries in a 2010 survey of healthcare. It spent the lowest per head, a quarter of popn rely on private healthcare and emergencies are provided by charities (st johns).