New Zealand: Thoughts After Seven Years, Part 2, by Nivek

Part 2

I’ll begin Part 2 with some random thoughts. I am just going to comment on various items from daily life.

A Small Country

One really important thing is the size of the market here in New Zealand. The population is something over 4.5 million spread out over an area about the size of California, and then split into two islands. The U.S. has well over 350 million people. This makes world products to be priced high here because the market share is low and the logistics are difficult to get things down here. Another factor is that almost the entire population in New Zealand is concentrated into a few major cities and the remaining population is spread out over the rest of the country.

Living in New Zealand

It has a clean environment and it’s great for kids to grow up in. Hiking, biking, sports, swimming, hunting and fishing are all major activities. Sports in schools are also a big deal along with overall healthy activity. In our school, the kids at year four go on overnight camps for two days. Each year the activities get more difficult and they all run a cross country race which is 2-3 kilometers long. The year eight students go on a week-long backpacking trip through the Able Tasman Park. All trips have parent volunteers along with teaching staff to ensure a safe trip. The adults are all screened to insure safety.

As mentioned before, they have a very good school system. Yes you still have to do the leg work to find what you want. And there are some trouble schools with lower scores and bullying problems.

High school (they call it college) can also be very good but they really put too much into sports for my tastes. They are very big on teamwork with your mates. During the high school years they have a series of tests to pass. Here is a link to see further information on the tests.

As mentioned before, food is very clean but it comes at a higher price. The seasons greatly affect the price of vegetables.

Miscellaneous Items
  • Get your New Zealand citizenship. That will open the door to Australia.
  • New Zealand is a long plane ride from everywhere. For example, it is 12 hours from San Francisco.
  • As it is hard to get to, many world problems don’t make it down here–or they take longer to arrive.
Bring a Police Scanner

Get or bring along a scanner so that you can listen to what is happening on the public service bands. It’s one of the best ways to see what is going on behind the scenes. Some of the large cities have gone digital, so do some checking on what radio will work for you. There are gang and drug problems but those are mostly in the larger cities. Crime is also higher in the cities. Listening to the scanner will give you more of a feel for your area. I’ll have more comments later on what you hear on the radio.

News Reporting

I find that the news media here is reasonably fair but I feel it is a bit on the left-leaning side of things. As they seem to rely on the U.S.-based news corporations, it slants reporting to the left. Because they don’t get the other side of the story they don’t understand most of our problems as we see them from a right-leaning perspective. At times I am asked about things like immigration and what Trump is doing. Once I explain the other side of the news they get a better understanding of the problem. Some people after hearing my comments wonder how our media can be so one-sided? Others don’t seem to be convinced and change the subject.

The people are very friendly and honest. Yes you will run across the occasional jerk. In dealing with someone, always keep your word and follow through on what you agree to. If you cheat someone the word will spread quickly. Yes, you may be at the losing end of a deal someday. Suck it up, learn and move ahead. Remember, you’re the outsider until you prove yourself to the community. Volunteer and help out with things at your school and church.


New Zealand is not a litigious society. Yes there are lawyers (barristers) which are used for many contracts and they seem to fill the roll as escrow and title agent when you purchase a property. I don’t think an ambulance chaser would fit in too well. People have told me that frivolous lawsuits are unheard of.

It is a very rugged and beautiful country, especially in the south island. Hiking (tramping) and camping are very popular. Once you leave your vehicle at the car park (parking lot) of a trailhead and you start down the path, you’re on your own. If you screw up and get hurt it may be a while till they find you. If you slip off a cliff and kill yourself, tough luck. Your family is not going to be filing a lawsuit for any unsafe conditions. Many hikers and campers die each year. Be prepared for rapid weather changes.

Roads and Driving

They do drive on the wrong side of the road here. It’s not a big deal. You get used to it. Traffic circles are used heavily, so learn how to use them. I live in a town of about 30,000+ people. There is not one traffic signal and you can count the number of stop signs on one hand. The traffic can get a little heavy but you almost never see a traffic accident.

The accidents that do happen seem to be mostly on the highways and usually by tourists. The big cities have some nice wide streets and some freeway networks. But for the most part you will be using narrow, winding roads. The road shoulders are almost nonexistent. Usually the max speed is 100km per hour (60 mph), even on the twisting mountain roads. Some people can maintain this speed, if you can’t, pull over when you can to let others pass. Turnouts are usually hard to find and show up without much notice. I hear many times a day on the scanner where drivers will call the police about unsafe drivers. I don’t really care for a Stoolie Society but I can see the need to get unsafe drivers off the roads.

More about roads: New Zealand doesn’t have the huge tax base to have an extensive road network of wide, high speed roads. In the rural areas it is very rare to see a road that is made with an asphalt machine. Instead the road crews will work on a small patch about 50 feet long. They dig out the surface a little, spread some small rocks and sand, wet it and roll the surface down. Sometimes they actually seal it with oil slurry. The result is lots of rock chips hitting windshields (locally called “windscreens”).

A Tip:  Get the $50 windscreen insurance rider on your car insurance. You will get many chips in your windscreen over the year.

So why do I need the $50 windscreen insurance? Well, your vehicle has to go through a safety inspection every year for newer vehicles. Two times a year for older vehicles. A chip within an area in front of the steering wheel will require repair or replacement. You will not see a vehicle here driving down the street dragging a muffler or bumper. It will be quickly tagged to get repaired immediately.

Health Care

Health care is sort of a two level system. On the public side, everyone is covered and when you go to the clinic you usually get a different doctor. On the private side you get to select or find your own doctor. Usually the private doctors may have a waiting list to get on their roll. When you go in to the clinic or doctor’s office you pay a fee for the visit. A trip to my doctor will cost me $45 and I can usually get in the same day or sometimes the next. I don’t have to wait two weeks like in the states. If I need a prescription, I would usually pay $5 for the medicine. The above applies if you have private coverage also. Blood tests are free but you will pay if you have to go see a specialist. (I am not positive on that as I have not had to go to a specialist.) Things like going to see an EENT doctor to have ear wax removed is about $40. The major difference if you’re on the public side is you may have to wait a while if you need an elective procedure or be referred to a specialist. Sometimes the list is short, other times the wait is longer.

I don’t know what kind of other fees you pay on the public side as I have not used it. I went the private route, mostly from the fear of the medical billing system in the U.S. For the first 5 years I kept a high level policy coverage for myself and the family. I was spending about $500 per month for this coverage. Because of my fear, I kept the high coverage until I later learned the ins and outs of the system. Now I pay $150 per month. Lessons learned. My experiences with the health care system have been very positive. A few years back I needed a hernia operation. The total bill for the entire process was $4,500. The insurance paid for it 100% and I did not spend one penny. Even when I had to go back to correct a small problem I was not charged anything.

Health care for children is free until they turn 12 years old.

Dental care is good. It takes a little looking but you will find someone that is using the latest techniques. Prices are about the same for fillings and cleaning as in the states. Crowns and caps are more than in the U.S.

(To be continued, in two additional parts.)


    1. With less snark, I encourage everyone to look up US govt subsidies for most hospitals.

      If I remember correctly at least a few years ago most births were subsidized in some way.

      As far as NZ, their healthcare outcome % are probably better than the US.

        1. Even before ObamaCare, there was a river of federal money going to healthcare.

          The majority of hospitals are non-profits and are exempt from federal, state and local taxes if they provide a community benefit, such as charitable care. Hospitals also receive federal funding to offset some of the costs of treating the poor.

          Who pays when someone without insurance shows up in the ER? –

  1. New Zealand has a good population of Christians, hence ChristChurch is an actual name of a major city. I’ve noticed when I visited there, that it isn’t a fallen monarchy as you see in European countries teeming with LEFTist wackos. NZ though Western like Europe, hasn’t seen that level of demise of the Christian faith… but the world is getting there.

    Look no further than the US Congress this week during the SOTU [women wearing suffrage clothing demanding their right to fill more male positions but not support a man in the home, demanding their right to kill humans in the womb with surgical instruments, demanding gun control with the demand humans not be killed by bullets, demanding woman worded laws- for women only [ ], demanding women the right sue more corporations [currently $10-trillion in lawsuits since 1960 by women], demanding the right of women to fire men at work, demanding that men be incarcerated for women only crimes on the books [marriage rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, discrimination, male privelidge, rape, the host of other laws written to snare only men], and demanding that women rule the world while destroying the American family [divorce rate is 60-70% the same as the women employment rate–it was 10% for both divorce and women employment in 1960. When we reach 100% women employed we would have reached 100% divorce].

    Go American Congress Sufferage Movement– be more a threat to national security than every American enemy both foreign and domestic combined since the inception of the country. Talk about terrany– those democratic women in Congress are about to put all men in a hossegow when more are elected. Watch and be warned men!

    Sorry for the tirade, but someone would state, “What? America has no problems!”

    Good New Zealand women are not feminized to create such destruction to NZ as American feminists are jockying for position to commit tremendous suffering on American soil.

    1. I was in NZ a few years ago. I thought it was really nice there. It is a lot more expensive there. When I went to Burger King there, the prices cost more and the servings were smaller. Their large fries are like our small fries and the same for the drinks at BK. At a restaurant, it was easy to spend $20 US per person without even trying. Driving on the left side was no big deal after driving a few minutes. Where I was at, the police were super strict on speeding. They had no problem giving a ticket for 2 km over the limit.

  2. So by and large you could chalk up some benefits on moving to NZ. But one might do that for many nations ( well maybe not the DPRK ). It seems the thrust of this article centers on the educational aspect of his chidren. So in the USA, if one does mot want the leftist indoctrination of public schools one simply home schools or do as my wife and I did: send our 3 daughters to a Christian school. Yes this cost us beaucoup bucks but we feel this was worth it overall.

    On the healthcare end of things it seems favorable, unless you or your family may need cutting edge medical care/ procedures. I would venture to say NZ might not be able to provide such.

  3. The main points I see are two fold. An American is going to be treated like an “outsider”. That is never good.

    And the author has stated everything is more expensive than the US. It seems only highly paid people or one of serious wealth needs to apply.

    1. Sounds like their job migration system is merit based. What is wrong with that? Or do they want millions coming to the island that can’t speak, read, or write English, barely have an elementary school education, bring drugs, bring child prostitutes? Why not, it has been working out so great for the US. Sarcasm intended

  4. “In our school, the kids at year four go on overnight camps for two days. Each year the activities get more difficult and they all run a cross country race which is 2-3 kilometers long. The year eight students go on a week-long backpacking trip through the Able Tasman Park. All trips have parent volunteers along with teaching staff to ensure a safe trip. The adults are all screened to insure safety.”
    Sorry, you lost me right there. My kids don’t go overnight for 2 days without me. A week long back packing trip??!?? No……anyone remember what happened to Natalie Holloway? Yeah, parents were on the trip, supervising and chaperoning. Only they didn’t. The Holloways lost their daughter forever. I don’t care what kind of screening the volunteers go through or who “insures” their safety; it is still a cr*p shoot that you will ever see your child again. No thanks.

    1. Yeah, kids here in the US get to see nature on their phone or pad while on the couch in the living room. Super safe, they don’t even get a scratch. We might as well cover the kids here in bubble wrap to ensure they are completely protected nanny state style.
      My nephew goes to school in China and every year his class spends a few months traveling to different places around the world. Ohhh, by the way, he is 7. And we wonder why our kids here are so narrow minded with no idea or care of what goes on around the world safely tucked away in their safe space.

  5. This sounds wonderful, and after watching The Lord of the Rings, I so want to live on South Island.

    The problem is that I do not want to learn Chinese. China is already encroaching on Vietnamese and Phillipine territory, and there is nothing either country can do about it. The Chinese have turned their offshore islands into artificial island military bases. They are planning world conquest, starting with their neighbors, of which New Zealand is one.

    Do you really think they will politely decline to invade because most New Zealanders are white and speak English? If what they did to Tibet and Tibetan women is anything to go by, New Zealand will be full of beautiful Eurasian babies nine months after they invade.

    You probably have about four or five years to get back home.

    And stock up on Bibles. They are legally unobtainable in China.

  6. reply to part 2
    Thanks for the many comments. I will post this in all four parts of the article. It was the editors option to split the article up the way he did.

    1. I moved to NZ for my children’s primary education years. I did not plan to stay as long as I have. My son started in school year 1 (age 5), now in year 8 (age 11/12).

    2. We never gave up our U.S. citizenship as we always planned to return to the states for high school and university years. We picked up NZ citizenship and a passport as a bonus. We can use it or forget it, but we have it and that may mean something someday. Believe it or not, there are some places in the world you don’t want to have a U.S. passport on you.

    3. I agree the costs are high here and I tried to give you an idea of what some costs are. If you want to relocate, you better have some cash reserves or a highly sought after skill. All in all, you can have a good life here. Everyone will be different.

    4. The medical is a two level system. One side is all public and you wait your turn. The other is private. You pay for the ability to be seen quicker and by private doctors/surgeons. That’s why the taxes are high.

    5. It is not the U.S. and can never have the infrastructure that we have in the states. You are moving down the ladder to a more rural and simpler system. Yes, they do things different here in the way the government tackles problems. It is far less stressful living here and can be much slower. Time to enjoy life instead of buying that next big screen TV or another new car. It’s what you make of it.

    6. Yes, China is having great influence in NZ and Australia. If China wanted to take over, it probably would not be too difficult, aside from a few arguments, then World War X would start. If that were to happen? Well that’s what all of the ‘doom and gloom’ books are about.

    7. One person questioned the idea that the schools have a program where the kids go away from home on increasingly difficult outdoor trips. Yes, it’s a risk to let your children leave home, but they have to learn. It’s something I probably wouldn’t do in the states, but they do learn responsibility and how to get through a hard hike. I am very impressed with the strength and determination the children learn by the age of 12.

    8. Another person made a comment about kids in school with ADD and how they handle them. Well, in the U.S. I think that is mostly a result of kids sitting in front of the TV/video game all day and eating bags of snacks. The playgrounds in NZ would be an ambulance chasers dream come true. You see quite a few kids each year with broken arms and legs. Guess what, they learned that sometimes you fall down and get a boo-boo’. But these same kids are usually running right along side their friends playing, cast and all.
    The kids in class are monitored at the start of the school year as to their abilities in math, spelling, reading… and placed in groups that ‘push’ them to do better. The slowest kid does not slow down the rest of the class. They realize some kids are dumb and will most likely learn how to operate a shovel someday.

    I know I didn’t reply to everyone’s comments. I would be happy to answer if you want to email me through my web site.
    In closing, I tried to give you a sense of what it is like here. I am sure the same problems would be found for where ever you want to go. Again, my primary purpose was education for my children and a chance to run through a park barefoot.
    My next challenge will be to try and teach them to live in America with all of the problems in the states, but also all of the benefits which make the U.S. great.

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