Saturday, December 20, 2008

Do we have too much freedom in New Zealand?

One of the contrasts between Britain and New Zealand is the way life can seemingly be mapped out for you.
When I was a lad, I expected life would involve marriage, mortgage, responsibility and steadily rising up the career ladder until retirement. There would be a large Ford in the driveway and all would be secure and happy with the world, even if it meant a life of hard work and sacrifice to achieve it.
When I first arrived in New Zealand in the mid-90s, I felt this overwhelming sense of freedom. You were not prejudged quite so easily, if at all. Expectations were not so high.
Quite often in Britain when meeting someone for the first time, you would ask them what job they did and where did they live. That way you could pigeonhole them in an instant.
Anyway, people in New Zealand have fewer expectations. They also seem to realise there is a life outside work too. People also seem more tolerant of all kinds of various characteristics.
However, I have seen how this can pan out if you take too many liberties.
I have seen what happens from friends when they have not performed, took time off, took drugs, drunk a lot and got into trouble. And it has brought them a whole load of grief. Isn’t it easier to lead a blameless life?
As for me, I’ve kept my nose clean, lead the blameless, wholesome life, but I do wonder if I might have progressed more had I totally stayed to the path of true virtue, rather than have the occasional stumble.
Nonetheless, I certainly see a contrast between the work focus of both countries and how people plan their lives.
Yet people seem happier in New Zealand, much as we might grumble about our low wages.
In harder working Britain, people have pots of cash to spend, but they seem so miserable with it. People also seem more judgemental and you are more supposed to ‘know your place.’
So who has got the balance right?
I think the truth is somewhere between the two, and both countries have much to learn from each other.


Lou Taylor said...

Agree with you here. The western world will need to find a new balance between work and play. I think that when the chips have finally fallen, NZ will come out on top, but we will be working harder.
Why don't you write a book. Would beat the crap out of getting a job.

Anonymous said...

Do we have too much freedom in New Zealand?

Who's we? And what is freedom?

Freedom is really the ability to say that 2+2=4, not 5, and not 3. In New Zealand, of course, 2+2=2.4 (after you've paid tax). In the UK, for most people, 2+2=3.

Who's we? hardworking, taxpaying New Zealanders?
Or Bludgers?

Bludgers - dole, dpb, wff, civil servants, and all the rest of the parasites - clearly have too much freedom in New Zealand

Hardworking, taxpaying New Zealanders voted overwhelmingly in November to elect a government that will gives us more of our freedom back

Anonymous said...

but we will be working harder.

NZ workers are 1/3 less productive than australians. This means, basically, a salary cut of at least 30% for everybody is required if NZ wants to become competitive. 4 weeks annual leave, etc etc, all just make it worse. A serious government tackling NZ's economic crisis should simply abandon the leave act, and switch to a 6-day week. Of course, the National party is not serious in tackling the problems of NZ.

Civil servants - on the treasury figures -are twice as bad. 50% pay cut for a start, and move from a 7 to a 10 hour day.

Arbeit Macht Frei

ZenTiger said...

Hi Abreit.

Salaries are lower in New Zealand, and with the exchange rate the way it is, there is no need to cut wages.

Civil servants do not need to take pay cuts either. We should be prepared to pay much more for good people in government as in the private sector.

Cutting the civil service by 50% (not evenly across all departments though) might achieve something closer to your aim.

Six day week and 10 hour days? Sorry, my self discipline fails and I have to call you completely bonkers. Work hard, work well, and ensure you have time for other areas in life - family, hobbies, charity work, relaxation, etc. 8 hour days 5 days a week is enough.

I agree 4 weeks annual leave plus stats is max though. They should phase out the 5 weeks civil servants get. Far too generous.

Clunking Fist said...

"In harder working Britain"

Shit, the place has changed since I left there in 2003! Maybe it was only in London that days (for the lazy bastard locals) were not much more than 7 hours long...

And why are we less productive in NZ? I've always felt that some of the reason is the lack of economies of scale that businesses can achieve in NZ.

KG said...

"harder working Britain" eh.....
That must be why they're importing so many people to do the jobs brits won't, even as so many native-born bludgers spend generations on welfare.
And Kiwis don't have too much freedom (however you define that) they simply have a better idea of the work/play balance necessary for a fulfilling existence.

Anonymous said...

work/play balance necessary for a fulfilling existence.

I think that says is all really. Yet another fucking lefty.

Psycho Milt said...

To the fascist, everyone else is a lefty, it's true.


Certainly my family seem the hard working ones, parents (before they retired), brother, nieces, uncles, etc, etc.
I did see though where the government is to let in tens of thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians to pick the fruit and vegetables because indigenous British can't be bothered as it too easy for them to claim dole.

Heine said...

My current job in London is to deal with job seekers from the UK or outside and my Brit clients are the laziest fuckers you'll ever meet who are more than happy to whinge about foreigners taking jobs yet will refuse any job I point them towards. Meanwhile my foreign clients will do almost anything to keep away from benefits and cannot believe the local work ethic.

The UK needs foreigners as the Poms get too much from the welfare state here, recent changes to the benefit system is welcomed here but there has been the usual complaining that putting them into work is "unfair". Sheesh!