“Very good news for New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern is an inspiration for progressive politicians around the world,” president of the SD, Tanja Fajon, wrote on Twitter on the occasion of Ardern’s Labor victory in the New Zealand elections. Her comrades from the SD led by Jernej Štromajer as well as the socio-political workers of the media mainstream agreed with her comment.
Honestly, I have almost nothing to say. I myself am enthusiastic about New Zealand, in my comments, columns and editorials I mention it a lot as an example of a country where it is good to live. And that Slovenia should learn something from New Zealand – the furthest country from us – and above all, follow its example. Why? Regardless of who comes to power (left, center or right), it maintains the basic orientation of the country, which by all indications makes it the freest country in the world.
An economical country
New Zealand is an economical and fiscally healthy country, currently spending 37 percent of GDP and planning to reduce public spending to 35 percent of GDP by 2024.
Public debt is at 32 percent and still declining.
New Zealand has very low taxes. The highest income tax rate is 33 percent (above $ 70,000), VAT is 15 percent. The land of kiwis does not know the tax on real estate, gifts and inheritance, the maximum rate of excise duty is 15 percent.
New Zealand has no compulsory contribution to public television (abolished in 1999), public television receives part of the funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, which oversees and conducts the NHIF (Broadcasting Commission). The latter takes care of the distribution of funds for content that is in the public interest. Funds go to all televisions, radio stations and other media platforms.
85 percent of children in New Zealand attend public schools, 10 percent “integrated” schools (run by the Catholic community, for example), and 5 percent private schools. State and integrated are financed by the state, private are self-paying (elite). The contribution from the latter is around 11,000 euros per year.
Most countries have made the transition from private to public (state) health care. In New Zealand, it went in the opposite direction. From purely public healthcare, they moved to mixed private and public healthcare.
New Zealand does not know subsidies for agriculture, employment, in fact it does not know subsidies for the private sector. Starting a business in New Zealand is very easy: one opens it from home and can start working immediately. One does not need any medical, work or other certificates.
Despite the fact that New Zealand has restricted the purchase and possession of weapons after the mass shooting (shooting in Christhurch in 2019), they still have one of the most liberal gun laws. Everyone can easily obtains a personal protection pistol and walk around armed. The restriction only applies for semi-automatic weapons, which are not completely prohibited, but only limited to a maximum of 10 bullets. Nevertheless, they have one of the lowest crime rates in the world. In 2017, only 35 murders were recorded, which is 7 per million inhabitants (in Germany, for example, between 10 and 15 per million inhabitants).
According to the latest figures, 17 percent of children live in poverty. These are the families with the lowest incomes. But New Zealand does not increase social benefits (although politicians promise it before the elections). Therefore, private charities (classic charities) are financed from the profits from gambling, they can also own slot machines.
The New Zealand charity and humanitarian sector employs 140,000 (5 percent of the total workforce) people, with another 250,000 people volunteering each week.
The point of New Zealand charities is not to burden the taxpayers.
NGOs are mostly funded by private sector grants. The government finances projects that are important to all citizens. In New Zealand, an organizations like the Peace Institute did not get a single euro of taxpayer money. They mainly fund science projects, not social ones.
The spending of taxpayers’ money is monitored by various organizations. One of the strongest is the New Zealand Taxpayers Association. Its opinion is taken into account (and feared) by all governments, regardless of their colour. This association has a motto: Lower taxes. Less waste, more transparency.
New Zealand’s workforce is mostly made up of migrants. These are migrant workers who entered New Zealand territory legally and, above all, came to work and not play social tourism.
There are almost no illegal migrants and asylum seekers in New Zealand. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, social policy is very “unfriendly” to illegal migrants. Even organizations dealing with migrants (such as the CL Community, one of the largest) communicate to illegal migrants: if you have entered illegally and do not have a valid permit to be in New Zealand, it means that you are here illegally and must leave the country immediately.
Secondly, illegal migrants find it difficult to get to the island. Before coming to New Zealand (for example by boat) they are already intercepted by Australians as part of their NO WAY project.
New Zealand had police on its streets during the first wave, introduced the classic curfew, special camps for the sick (as an alternative solution to special hospitals for the sick and a lack of hospital beds).
Dear Tanja Fajon, Jernej Štromajer and comrades from the SD, I am immediately ready to share your enthusiasm about the victory of Jacinda Ardern, if you accept the NZ policies listed above. In New Zealand, which is a very free country where civil servants are employees of the citizens (private sector), and which is so great precisely because of their attitude towards taxes, private individuals, migrants, NGOs, and weapons. However, I am afraid that all this is too liberal for you, not to say neoliberal.
For now, this is the case. In her first term Ardern used some social-democratic solutions, but not too many, as New Zealand is still the freest country in the world. There will be nothing different in her second term. I am (almost) sure of that.