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SOVEREIGN MAN

7 hard truths about New Zealand

April 1, 2010
Panama City, Panama

No place is perfect. There’s not a single country on the planet that is a total paradise, so prospective expats need to be willing to make compromises and trade-offs.

Naturally, it’s much better to be well-informed in advance about the challenges and limitations about a particular country… it’s easy to tout the positives, but finding objective information about a country’s negative aspects can be difficult to find.

Panama, for example, is a place that I’ve been vocally bullish on. But it’s nowhere near perfect… there are significant infrastructure challenges, corruption, and inefficient bureaucracies to deal with.

On the balance, though, the positives outweigh the negatives in my assessment; most importantly, the country is consistently maturing on an upward trend.

New Zealand is another country that gets a lot of favorable press in the expat community, but I think it’s important to balance the information with a realistic description of the country’s challenges.

As such, I’ve once again asked my friend Mark who is on the ground in New Zealand to give his take:

Simon has asked me to write a few articles for SovereignMan.com to discuss living and immigrating to New Zealand; now it’s time to talk about the bad and the ugly.

As Simon likes to say, no place is perfect…  but lack of perfection sometimes equals opportunity, and New Zealand is no exception.

So, here’s the “bad”–

Censorship: There is now Internet censorship in New Zealand.  As of February 1, 2010, some New Zealand ISPs have begun implementing a new government Internet filtering scheme.  This is bad news, but unfortunately in-line with Internet monitoring around the world.

Internet and wireless service:  In general, they are expensive compared to North America, and much less reliable. However, plans are in the works to bring fiber to the door of every NZ home.  Furthermore, the wireless duopolies of Vodafone and Telecom are starting to get some competition.

Bureaucracy: According to an OECD report, New Zealand has more government departments and ministries than any other developed country in the world.   To be fair, John Key’s National Party government has been unwinding some of Labour’s socialist agenda, but there is much further to go.

Taxation: New Zealand is not a tax haven, and depending on your line of work, you could be paying more than in your home country.  It looks like the top tax rate will be falling from 38% to 33%, but GST (sales tax) is getting a boost from 12.5% to 15%.

Now a little of the “ugly”…

Drunk driving: The local paper just ran a story about a guy who has had 17 drink driving convictions, and he is STILL on the road!  Drinking in general is a problem here; it embarrasses a lot of Kiwis, but little is being done to solve it.

Teen angst/violence: Auckland and some of the other larger cities have gang issues.  The police DO NOT carry guns, so there is little deterrent when trying to break up a drunk mob of teens in a park.  Many police officers end up in the hospital after taking beatings from civilians.

New Zealand’s “green” image: This is excellent marketing at best. The locals are totally uneducated about organics; New Zealand drops 1080 poison from helicopters to kill possums in its national parks, builds full-scale hydro dams on pristine rivers and has open pit coal and gold mines.

It’s “green” because of its low population density, period!

So, what do I think of this?  Look, New Zealand isn’t perfect, but I’m quite happy with a relatively unspoiled, empty, economically sound, English speaking, educated country.

Lack of perfection is what provides us with opportunity, and New Zealand holds a lot of opportunity for anyone with a little initiative.

Simon again. As usual, Mark’s New Zealand notes are on the money. I’ve mentioned before– New Zealand passes my ‘fundamental country test.’ When you look 10-years out, is New Zealand likely to be in a better position than today? Absolutely.

I know that Mark is working diligently on a new e-book about NZ immigration and investment with a lot of insider, actionable advice and contacts… if you have interest in something like this, or a request of what you’d like to see in his book, let me know by posting a comment here and I’ll pass it along to him.

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dawson Wolfe

    Would be very interested in getting the e-book on immigration/investing in NZ. Thanks for your informative e-mails.

    Dawson

  • http://maskmaker.net Liz

    Hi Simon & Mark
    I am very interested in the e-book when it comes out. I would appreciate being added to any notification e-list. Thank you, Liz

  • Nick

    Hi all,
    I think you should add that there is a widespread sense of apathy amoungst the general population when it comes to things that should be important to them (She’ll be right, mate).

    Unless you bring up rugby or nuclear power!!!

    NZers are generally laid back, easy going people and this has both positive and negative qualities.

    • honki

      we even have a phrase for that: Yeah, Na

  • Stephen Mandell

    Religious freedom – how is it playing out? ChristChurch was quaint and had interesting history… but how comfortable would Orthodox Jews be (or any members of the clan…) or the group in Mufti? It’s a crazy world we’re in and freedom has many issues.

    Retirees – pensioners. With enough money to buy a home and keep it running… are there additional requirements regarding age, work skills, “adding to society”?

  • David Evans

    Simon, I have only recently been receiving your letter. It is very informative. A appreciate the fact that it is not necessary to go through 15 pages of bull to glean one paragraph………..Every thought is good and articulated well. I have been looking at possible residence other than the USA for some time. The problem I have had is that International living or Gary Scott is attached to almost everything you pull up on the web where positive spin and selfish promotional interest is about all you get. Suggestions on where to look? Thanks, David Evans

  • http://n/a James Wright

    I am interested in the NZ immigration / investment book, and would like to see something added in. How is their energy policy / development / situation? Are they dependent on foreign energy supplies, developing their own with an eye towards self-sufficiency, captive to the major oil companies, or otherwise? If I want to settle down somewhere, I’d like them to have a clue on how to manage enough energy to make living there stable and pleasant as possible.
    Thanks!
    james

    • Rick Harriss

      Energy, not managed at all really. They are highly dependent on foreign energy. Example to illustrate. Auckland is growing , and nothing was done about electricity supplies, until it was so overloaded that it physically blew up. Auckland was without any electricity until they managed to build a temporary HV power-line. Now they will dig up the national parks for minerals, The country has run a national deficit as long as anyone can remember, and keep borrowing. New Zealand will be the next Iceland and Greece.

      • Chris

        New Zealand goverment debt was 29% of GDP in 2009.

        One of the lowest levels in the developed world.

  • Janet

    Simon,
    I would be interested in getting a copy of a New Zealand ebook. There’s a lot to like about the few facts I know about the country, and as you’ve pointed out – no place is perfect!!

    Love your daily messages. I’ve learned so much from them. Keep them coming!

    Janet

  • William Sutton

    Yes Simon, I’d absolutely be interested in Mark’s ebook regarding NZ immigration. I’ve often thought of moving there since my circumnavigation of the south island after my season at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in 2002.

    Best regards,

    Bill

  • Don

    Simon,

    Although both you and Mark have spoken somewhat glowingly about NZ, with the previously-noted caveats, of course, I really see little difference between NZ, the UK and the US, especially in terms of personal privacy. In fact, I see these three, along with Australia and many parts of the EU, as becoming increasingly alike in this regard as time goes on. And I would submit that Mark’s reference to how ISPs are “implementing a new GOVERNMENT Internet filtering scheme (emphasis added)” is a clear example and vindication of my assessment. It would be bad enough of these corporations were the sole instigators of such censorship, but having the government behind it is only more problematic and indicative, I think, of how NZ, is quite the nightmare for those of us who value our privacy and eschew the government’s efforts to invade that privacy.

    Personally, I want to like NZ, but just can’t get past this issue.

    Interestingly but on a different front, there was a lecture delivered on February 11, 2004, at Hillsdale College (Hillsdale, Michigan, USA) by Maurice P. McTigue titled “Rolling Back Government: Lessons from New Zealand.” An adaption of that lecture has been made available at http://www.lawfulpath.com/ref/govshrink.php. Some of your readers may find it insightful and beneficial. (Note that I would be happy to send to anyone interested a .pdf of that lecture’s adaption.)

    Thanks for the good material, Simon. As always, your newsletters give me much to consider.

  • Debra

    Hi, Simon. I’d like to get on the list of folks interested in Mark’s e-book about NZ immigration/investment. No specific content requests; just whatever he deems important.

    Thanks
    Debra

  • George

    Yes, I am interested in investment in New Zealand. I am in my seventies and I think imigration would be a little diffcult at this age. However, investment opportunities are of great interest.

    Thank you.
    George

    • Rick Harriss

      George, you can forget about New Zealand. You need to be nearly half your age to get in and have top university degrees, unless you are filthy rich of course and they like you at the same time and you give away the money. I Chinese woman is trying to invest $1.5 billion just now in farming, and the existing farmers don’t like the competition so they claim vigorously that she is “not of good character”, they are digging dirt on her. With your age you will immediately be classified as a “burden on the social welfare system”. New Zealander’s are lazy and laid-back and do just about anything to keep efficient people out.

      • Charlotte

         Your readers should have a read of expatexposed.com or city-data New Zealand section or http://emigratetonewzealand.wordpress.com/
        as well as the more commercial “sponsored” forums before moving their
        entire lives to New Zealand. I personally know two non-Kiwi attorneys on
        the former forum. It is a unique but remote nation with a particular
        culture of its own. It’s not for everyone. Prospective migrants should
        do as much research as possible, and take a long visit first, preferably
        at least half a year. Longer would be better. Leave sufficient assets
        to migrate back out if New Zealand is not a good cultural fit for you.

  • George

    Yes, I am interested in Marks ebook on New Zealand, too.

    Thak you.

    George

  • http://SimonBlack George

    Dear Simon:

    Being a man in my seventies looking for diversity. Looking to live nicely. Have a large income. Pay a lot in taxes. What countries would be the best in your estimation to invest in with the safety of principal. I will be at Casey Summit seminar in Las Vegas and would like to meet you personally.

    Regards,

    George

  • Blonde

    Thank you for the info. I’m thinking about NZ and Autralia, and find “grains of negative truth” with difficulties.

  • RICH Novak

    Simon and/or Mark:
    It is my understanding that any person older than 55 years of age is NOT welcome and can NOT immigrate to New Zeland –

    Is this true?

    Please advise your readers.

    Thank YOU!

    • Rick Harriss

      In reality, it is 40. It is so tight that a Korean woman who was legitimately in New Zealand to study was told to leave when she became pregnant with her husband, who also was a legitimate student. She offered to pay the cost herself, but was told there was “not enough resources”.

  • SteveK

    I think a key topic to address in the upcoming e-book is NZ’s position on denying residency to any who would be considered a burden on their health care system. What exactly constitutes a burden? Most countries want you to prove you don’t have a communicable disease, but NZ goes beyond that. Like denying a licensed Registered Nurse from England because she was considered too obese. What about a person that had cancer and is in remission? Should they just fuggedaboudit as far as NZ is concerened?

    SK

    • Rick Harriss

      Case. I family was denied to stay as one daughter had a very low IQ. It was considered she would be a burden on the society.

  • gerald

    What do you think about Honduras overall as a place of ‘residence’?

  • Himanshu

    Hi Simon,
    I ve been planning on the NZ immigration for some time now but not able to act mainly due to lack to proper info. Would appreciate receiving your e-book on this.

  • Bruce

    Hi Simon,

    Please put me on Mark’s notification list for his e-book.Cheers Bruce

  • John

    Simon,
    Thank you for Mark’s comments on NZ.
    I had been interested in moving to NZ for a long time.
    I like the idea that police don’t have guns…where I live,
    cops are just a little too trigger happy.
    Unfortunately, I just lost interest in NZ because of the internet
    privacy issue.

    • Rick Harriss

      John, sorry, the police have guns and tasers and pepper spray, but they are not as trigger happy as in some other parts of the world. They just keep the guns out of sight. It is turning uglier. In Auckland recently a police team was going to check out a car in a driveway with the lights flashing. Pretty normal, it could have been someone with a heart attack inside, and not able to raise the alarm. One police was gunned down from out of the dark, and nearly died. This was unheard of in the “old” New Zealand.

  • Robert

    Simon,
    I like the idea of New Zealand I would really like some timely information about immigration. If this is the ugly side of things, NJ must be H_LL on Earth.

  • Andy

    Would be very interested in getting the e-book on immigration/investing in NZ. Thanks for your informative e-mails.

  • Jim

    Simon – Please add me to list of interested parties re: the e-book.

    Thanks much,

    Jim

  • BSB

    Plse could you put me on the list for the NZ e – book. Many thanks.

  • Scott

    Hi Simon,
    I too enjoy your newsletter & all the valuble info you share.
    I am a factory worker living in the mid-west, with not a lot of accumulated wealth. Is it possible for someone with limited means/social stature (I’d like to think I’m living “under the radar”) to have the experiences you mention?

  • Yanlin

    Hi,
    Yes, I too, would love to receive your e-book regarding New Zealand.

    Thanks

  • farside

    The current negative feelings about new Zealand are true.
    I grew up as a kid in New Zealand having emigrated from England.
    With a population of new immigrants came a sense of neighbourhood and family values. I have seen all this change as Corporations and Government bedded down together. If you look at the Auckland skyline it is telling. Insurance Companies, banks and the landmark tower of the Casino tower above it all. Downtown Auckland is black..with the powersuited. Restaurants in the city severly overpriced. As values changed, so did the emphasis on housing. The average cost of a house in most every part of NZ far outstrips the salary of the average earner. People no longer have the orchard in the back yard, chickens and a vegetable garden…the 1/4 acre paradise that was within reach of every family has been subdivided and sold off. Even in heritage protected areas…I have known people to pay off council in order to encroach on boundaries, destroy a view. NZ Green image is only so, because of Media hype…and current space. If you call any corporation..you can not speak to a person. Phone, electricity, water bills are crippling most people, elderly cannot afford to heat homes in winter. It rains as much as Singapore water table. You can rent a house in summer at christmas at the beach and spend 3 weeks inside, as I did rescuing seabirds blown in by one storm after another. Try camping and it is the same. Storm after storm. Summer it rains until February /March/April and you can get blue slies. A lot of people head to Northern winters just to get out of the rain.Then winter sets in . By August people who can afford to leave to go to Fiji, Australia..a kind of cabin fever sets in and the locals are sick of rain. The tall poppy syndrom is correct. You cannot do too well there. NZ’ers love a story of the fall of a business people…you can often tell the mentality of a country by its front page news. You can be lulled into the routine of the place, the comfort is there but only if you are wealthy. If you have money invested there take care. If you are seen to have deep pockets, take care. The gray areas of the legal system, the protection corporates have from the governmenr, the way corporates are in everything…the sports staduim, the civic buildings, the arts, education, hospital wings etc…so of course the corporations are protected by the government as seen by the government implementing unusual new laws…which can be seen in restrictive measures, privacy, taxes etc…NZ is all about corporates and friends in high places. from what I have seen and experienced, the residents are getting wary and confused and overloaded with government directives. Worse it is not transparent. That makes it unsafe. The land of the Golden Summers is gone along with care, humanity and moral values. It is a corrupt, gray place.

  • Marquelle

    The newest New Zealand passport looks very nice and attractive, and if Simon and Mark can produce an ebook that can help me or anyone else here to acquire one, then by all means YES, PLEASE! and THANKS IN ADVANCE!

  • Dave

    Hi,
    I would like information on the weather during various seasons and how it compares to North American climates. In addition information or requirements for bringing pets. As a retiree any specific information or hurdles that may prevent me from emigrating to NZ.

    • Rick Harriss

      Your main hurdle would be to be a retiree. New Zealand don’t want them as they are considered to be a burden on the health system and the society as a whole.

  • Mark

    I’m planning an extended trip to New Zealand and Australia this winter and would like any information available.

  • mike dunham

    I would be very interested in your e-book about New
    Zealand. Would be interested in knowing what financial privacy New Zealand has for its citizen.

  • Aled

    I’d be very interested in this e-book, please add me to the email list. Keep up the great work Simon, you’re a diamond

  • David

    Very much interested in NZ e-book. Please sign me up.

  • Patrick

    Hi Simon,

    When should one expect to hear from you in regards to your open job positions?

    Thanks,

    Patrick

  • Lyall S

    I live in New Zealand but would be interested in your e-book.
    Glad to answer any questions if I can too.

  • Red

    Hi Simon — Keep up the valuable insights….though not all are applicable to me, I enjoy learning about various countries and investment ideas. Would dearly love to be included in Mark’s e-book notification list re: NZ.

  • kerry

    simon, would like to be put on the list for mark’s e-book. have been doing some business in nz for the last 2yrs. i defintly agree with nick’s comment. keep up the good work and stay safe!!!

  • Yoda

    Hi Simon,

    I too would be interested in you E-book on NZ. I also would love some more information about obtaining citizenship through adoption. You mentioned that several months ago, and I open your mails each day hoping you will talk more about that process and how it works. Keep up the good work, I really enjoy reading your posts!

  • martha

    Would like to be notified of ebook on NZ when it comes out. Is it true that NZ is in need of doctors. Is there anyway an American doctor can practice in NZ without having to go through their exam and training program? Thank you for your generosity and all your invaluable information.

  • Rick Harriss

    I also grew up in New Zealand, I remember the old New Zealand, I loved it, but now New Zealand has turned the “Nigeria” or “Iraq” of the South Pacific. I have left permanently now, and I don’t plan to return. I live in China, where I have far more personal freedom, I feel safe, welcome, a member of the community, friends I can trust, and have an extensive personal freedom of expression, all compared to New Zealand.

    • New Zealand is the third dirtiest country in the world, (UN figures)
    • It is among the top most violent (murders, rape, muggings, etc) (Recent research)
    • Police *IS* armed, just not visibly.
    • Police use teargas and tasers frequently
    • If you want to complain about police, you complain to the police.
    • There is also an “independent” police complaints authority, staffed with police.
    • You leave your car for repair, ask for a quote, but them there were “unforeseen” extras, if you want it back you pay, or spend two years with legal action before you get the car. (Common business practice with all professions, including lawyers)
    • Corruption in the police, the courts, among lawyers, and other “top” professions is rife and commonplace. The insiders look after their ”friends”. Papers are commonly “mislaid” and disappear, etc.
    • Racism is rampant, especially against Asians, they are prime targets for muggings, beatings, and kidnappings.
    • If you are a visitor for studies or as a tourist and you get pregnant, you get deported. (Case)
    • Immigration is highly racially biased. If you are Asian, it is much more difficult.
    • The Police is also well known to be racially biased. If you are Asian, tough luck.
    • Police is seldom punished, they get cautioned and re-trained, and the rest of us get fined and imprisoned.
    • Local councils deign bylaws to maximize fines as an income. They make the rules so you break them and you pay.
    • Police has a paramilitary force that operates masked and anonymously.
    • All internet, telephones and email are logged and saved.
    • Roadblocks are common, easily, they stop 20,000 people in one day in random checks on a location.
    • Drugs are common, almost in everyday use. Medications are highly restricted, even medicines for the common cold need ID and registration when bought.
    • It is now more difficult to take a drivers license that an aeroplane license.
    • Many authorities have unbridled powers as entering your home and take anything without a warrant, or confiscating your bank account only with a simple admin procedure.
    • Authorities have unbridled powers to come and inspect your home at any time unannounced.
    • Tax is among the highest in the world.
    • Retirement benefits are below poverty level.
    • If you leave the country to stay overseas more than six months, your retirement is cut further.
    • A retiree must report in detail about his life every six months, or else he looses his retirement he paid for.
    • If he has saved into another retirement it gets confiscated every month.
    • Officials can call up any publication and order it closed. As Attorney General did with http://www.kiwisfirst.com when it criticized the establishment.
    • News media is highly censored, they never print anything anyone else may regard as defamatory.
    • Censorship is the rule. Papers do not publish anything anyone can claim is defamatory. Big business and people in the establishment can require that critical articles be removed in media
    • There is little of free media. The establishment and the business own and control the media.
    • Judges can order anything in court stay secret, and can not be published. It is regularly done with members of the judiciary, politicians or artists. The courts become secret.
    • You are not allowed to criticise Judges, or high profile people (Vince Siemer was fined $1 million for doing just that and made bankrupt as a Judge/profile revenge).
    • You are not permitted to discuss court cases before or during them.
    • Jury members are anonymous.
    • New Zealand still has a secret court, nothing can be mad public (Family Court)
    • If you don’t use lawyers judges openly disadvantage you. (Judges are also lawyers). Only lawyers can become judges.
    • Judges are never fired in New Zealand. No judge has ever been fired in the county’s history. They are known as “the secret order”.
    • Judges are appointed with a secret system.
    • Lawyers have exclusive rights to use the courts, and they have their own “disciplinary” systems.
    • Laws are changed frequently, very easily and quickly, and always to someone’s advantage.
    • Law always include “discretionary” clauses, as if you invest in New Zealand, you must be judges to be of “good character”, in someone’s opinion. Else you can not invest or your investment can be confiscated.
    • Contacts as prenuptial agreement are useless. Judges have cancelled them because “the situation has changed”, or the correct procedure was not followed, maybe some 30 years ago. No foreign agreements are valid in New Zealand.
    • If you are wealthy and marry a woman, you must maintain her lifestyle to your present level for the rest of her life, even if she divorce you. (Court case)
    • A woman always takes half your assets at a divorce, even if she never contributed in her life, even if she never cared for children and a family.
    • Judges and courts in New Zealand are open about that they ignore any “international laws”. Such things do not exist in New Zealand.
    • You can be “served” a court action over the internet, as on Facebook or any social media.
    • If you are made bankrupt in New Zealand you are in reality prevented to run your own business for life.
    • A citizenship can easily be cancelled by a minister, with no appeal.
    • There is no statutory limit on anything. People have been accused of offences, as rape, which goes back 25 years or more, but now they had money to someone could take.
    • Police are well known to lie to “get their man”. Several people have gone to prison for long times, and later been found innocent. (Bain, Allan Arthur Thomas, a group of girls)
    • Police is know to plant and falsify evidence.
    • New Zealand does not have any prosecutors, the police is the investigator, and the prosecutor.
    • First page stories in New Zealand are as how to spell city names, a Mayor takes a leak behind a tree, woman pours customers glass of wine back into bottle, etc.
    • It takes six month for people to pay bills, the next man is the bank credit.
    • You are travelling overseas, the bank cancels your credit card. Being overseas is a fraud risk they say.
    • You want to send for money while overseas to go back home, you must visit the bank’s office in New Zealand to sign a form that the bank has no responsibility.
    • The Big Brother supervision of everyone is amazing, every corner covered by video camera, telephone calls logged, internet logged, frequent road checks, etc.
    • To freeze your bank accounts only takes a phone call from a lawyer, nothing else.
    • Just about every authority can confiscate your bank balances with a simple admin routine, a junior clerk sign it off for instance.
    • You want to look for a job, no niggers, slant-eys or oldie please, middle men recruiters and employment consultants have legal right to keep everything secret as “evaluative information”.
    • If you are over 50, sorry you are “over the hill”, too many miles on the clock for employment.
    • If you have an academic education from overseas you are “overqualified”, no need to apply. Go and drive a Taxi. New Zealand has the highest qualified taxi drivers in the world (Fact).
    • If you are a medical doctor and your patient die, it maybe considered murder or manslaughter.
    • If you have a medical degree from outside New Zealand, you have to pass a test not eve New Zealand trained doctors would pass. Then you can get the junior job at the hospital.
    • Recently a major systematic fraud by lawyers was discovered. Names was still kept secret and nobody punished, just the system was changed. The investigator was a lawyer too.

    • Victoria J.

      I am an American physician who has been living and working (practicing medicine) in Auckland since Nov 2008. All I can say is that my experience has been positive, completely at odds with what is written above by Rick Hariss. I did not have to take an exam (which I would have had to do if I were a Kiwi doctor trying to work in the US).
      New Zealand is a small country, with huge numbers of people trying to immigrate here. Since there is socialized medicine and a retirement benefit, it is understandable that NZ does not want to allow immigration of people who are going to burden the health care system or other government funded programs. The population would increase by millions overnight if they relaxed the rules.
      The weather in Auckland can be beautiful in the warm months (November through April); the winters are cool and rainy (no freezing temperatures and no snow). The climate varies from one part of the country to another.
      If you want to immigrate, go to the NZ immigration website and see what category you would qualify for. Very young people can come over to look for work for a certain period of time. If you have a skill in the “critical shortage” category, everything will be much easier, assuming you and your dependents are in good health and have no criminal record.
      I am over 55, and cannot get citizenship. I can qualify for residency in one of the new (within the last month) categories, and I can remain here on a work visa for up to six years. Since I am on salary, and my employer withholds taxes, I don’t have to file a tax return here, just the US return. Taxes are high, but simple.

      My partner and I have traveled outside NZ, and had no issues; our NZ bank issues travel cards in most major currencies for a small fee (to use like a bank ATM card), which was very convenient and easy to use in Australia. There have been stories in the paper of people coming here from other countries and committing bank frauds, then disappearing, so there may be good reason for what looks like unfair policy.

      If you decide to give NZ a go, your experience will be unique to you and your perceptions. Do as much research as you can, consider your own values and circumstances.

    • Bren

      Interesting then that New Zealand was recently ranked least corrupt nation in the World by Transparency International.

    • honki

      • New Zealand is the third dirtiest country in the world, (UN figures)
      LINK PLS? AS OF 2009, NZ WAS 7TH CLEANEST. WE ARE FALLING DOWN THE RANKINGS THO.
      • It is among the top most violent (murders, rape, muggings, etc) (Recent research)
      NO, ONE OF THE LOWEST HOMICIDE RATES, BUT HIGH FOR REPORTED RAPES.• Police *IS* armed, just not visibly.
      NO, SOME CARS HAVE GUNS IN, AND ONLY SOME COPS CARRY TASERS• Police use teargas and tasers frequently
      TEARGAS – NO, ONLY THE AOS IS PERMITTED TO DO SO UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES. TASERS – NOT ALL COPS CARRY AND YES OF COURSE UNDER THREAT THEY WILL DO SO.• If you want to complain about police, you complain to the police.
      YES IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, LIKE ANY OTHER COUNTRY. • There is also an “independent” police complaints authority, staffed with police.
      YES BUT THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND TO BE FAIR IN THEIR FINDINGS. • You leave your car for repair, ask for a quote, but them there were “unforeseen” extras, if you want it back you pay, or spend two years with legal action before you get the car. CLEARLY YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE AND POSSIBLY THE WAY YOU HANDLE THE ISSUE. (Common business practice with all professions, including lawyers) • Corruption in the police, the courts, among lawyers, and other “top” professions is rife and commonplace. The insiders look after their ”friends”. Papers are commonly “mislaid” and disappear, etc. • Racism is rampant, especially against Asians, they are prime targets for muggings, beatings, and kidnappings.
      NOT TRUE. OFTEN CRIMES ON ASIANS ARE COMMITTED BY ASIANS DUE TO ORGANISED CRIME.• If you are a visitor for studies or as a tourist and you get pregnant, you get deported. (Case)
      SOME PEOPLE DO SO IN ORDER TO STAY IN THE COUNTRY, AND IN THOSE CASES THE PROBLEM IS? • Immigration is highly racially biased. If you are Asian, it is much more difficult.
      RUBBISH. MORE ASIANS ARE APPROVED TO SETTLE IN NZ THAN ANY OTHER ETHNIC GROUP. THEY NOW COMPRISE ABOUT 14% OF THE POPULATION.• The Police is also well known to be racially biased. If you are Asian, tough luck.
      AGAIN, TOTAL RUBBISH. NZ POLICE ACTIVELY RECRUIT ASIAN OFFICERS.• Police is seldom punished, they get cautioned and re-trained, and the rest of us get fined and imprisoned.
      CANT COMMENT• Local councils deign bylaws to maximize fines as an income. They make the rules so you break them and you pay. A
      ND THIS DOESNT HAPPEN WHERE?• Police has a paramilitary force that operates masked and anonymously.
      HAHA PARAMILITARY! NO. INFACT, THEY ARE THE AOS AND DEAL WITH SCUMBAG DRUG DEALERS AND GANG MEMBERS. WHY SHOULD THEY HAVE THEIR ID EXPOSED?• All internet, telephones and email are logged and saved. EVIDENCE? BY WHOM?• Roadblocks are common, easily, they stop 20,000 people in one day in random checks on a location.
      YES WE HAVE RBTs, WHICH ARE A VERY GOOD DETERRENT TO DRINK DRIVING. YOU’D HAVE TO BE IN AN UNUSUALLY BUSY PART OF NZ FOR THEM TO STOP 20,000 PEOPLE!!!• Drugs are common, almost in everyday use.
      YES KIWIS TEND TO ABUSE LOTS OF DRUGS FOR SOME REASON. Medications are highly restricted, even medicines for the common cold need ID and registration when bought.
      AGAIN NO, ONLY PSEUDOEPHYDRINE AND OTHER PRECURSORS FOR MAKING OF METH REQUIRE ID. • It is now more difficult to take a drivers license that an aeroplane license.
      FOR WHOM? I’D CERTAINLY FIND FLYING HARDER THAN DRIVING. AGAIN MAYBE YOUR EXPERIENCE.• Many authorities have unbridled powers as entering your home and take anything without a warrant, or confiscating your bank account only with a simple admin procedure.
      AGAIN WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE OF THIS? WHAT AUTHORITIES CAN ENTER WTHOUT A WARRANT?• Authorities have unbridled powers to come and inspect your home at any time unannounced.
      AGAIN, WHO? • Tax is among the highest in the world.
      NO, CHECK AGAIN. OUR COMPANY TAXIS NOW 30% AND TOP TAX RATE ABOVE $70K NOW 33% COMING DOWN TO 30% SOON.• Retirement benefits are below poverty level.
      ANY SENSIBLE PERSON WOULD HAVE BUILT WEALTH OVER THEIR LIFETIME TO SUPPLEMENT. SAME IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY.• If you leave the country to stay overseas more than six months, your retirement is cut further.
      YAWN.• A retiree must report in detail about his life every six months, or else he looses his retirement he paid for.
      CRAP! WHERE DO YOU GET THIS IDEA? MY FATHER HAS UK PENSION, NZ PENSION, AND INVESTMENT INCOME, THE PENSION IS NOT INCOME TESTED!!• If he has saved into another retirement it gets confiscated every month.
      SEE ABOVE• Officials can call up any publication and order it closed. As Attorney General did with http://www.kiwisfirst.com when it criticized the establishment.
      THERE ARE 1000’S OF BLOGS AND WEBSITES CRITICISING THE GOVT – NONE OF THEM HAVE EVEN MENTIONED THEY HAVE BEEN THREATENED WITH CLOSURE. WHAT WAS KIWIFIRST?• News media is highly censored, they never print anything anyone else may regard as defamatory. • Censorship is the rule. Papers do not publish anything anyone can claim is defamatory. Big business and people in the establishment can require that critical articles be removed in media
      YES NAME SUPPRESSION IS BEING DISCUSSED TO BE DONE AWAY WITH IN MOST CASES. IT IS A CRAZY LAW.• There is little of free media. The establishment and the business own and control the media.
      UMM, WORLD PROBLEM!!! 6 FAMILIES OWN ALL THE WORLD’S MSM• Judges can order anything in court stay secret, and can not be published. It is regularly done with members of the judiciary, politicians or artists. The courts become secret.
      AGAIN NAME SUPP• You are not allowed to criticise Judges, or high profile people (Vince Siemer was fined $1 million for doing just that and made bankrupt as a Judge/profile revenge). • You are not permitted to discuss court cases before or during them.
      YES, SUB JUDICEA (SIC?) IS COMMON IN MANY COUNTRIES• Jury members are anonymous.
      UNFORTUNATELY NOT ANON ENOUGH. SO THEY SHOULD BE.• New Zealand still has a secret court, nothing can be mad public (Family Court) • If you don’t use lawyers judges openly disadvantage you. (Judges are also lawyers). Only lawyers can become judges. • Judges are never fired in New Zealand. No judge has ever been fired in the county’s history. They are known as “the secret order”. • Judges are appointed with a secret system. • Lawyers have exclusive rights to use the courts, and they have their own “disciplinary” systems. • Laws are changed frequently, very easily and quickly, and always to someone’s advantage. • Law always include “discretionary” clauses, as if you invest in New Zealand, you must be judges to be of “good character”, in someone’s opinion. Else you can not invest or your investment can be confiscated. • Contacts as prenuptial agreement are useless. Judges have cancelled them because “the situation has changed”, or the correct procedure was not followed, maybe some 30 years ago. No foreign agreements are valid in New Zealand. • If you are wealthy and marry a woman, you must maintain her lifestyle to your present level for the rest of her life, even if she divorce you. (Court case)
      AGAIN 1 OFF? MOST DIVORCES ARE EXACTLY THAT, BYE BYE.• A woman always takes half your assets at a divorce, even if she never contributed in her life, even if she never cared for children and a family.
      YES THIS IS A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE.• Judges and courts in New Zealand are open about that they ignore any “international laws”. Such things do not exist in New Zealand.
      WRONG. BUT DO YOU NOT THINK IT IS GOOD FOR ANY COUNTRY TO RETAIN ITS SOVEREIGNTY?• You can be “served” a court action over the internet, as on Facebook or any social media.
      YEP, STOPS THE ELUSIVE CRIMS FROM AVOIDING GETTING SERVED.• If you are made bankrupt in New Zealand you are in reality prevented to run your own business for life.
      UNTRUE. THERE ARE MANY OUTCOMES TO BANKRUPTCY• A citizenship can easily be cancelled by a minister, with no appeal.
      CASE IN POINT?• There is no statutory limit on anything. People have been accused of offences, as rape, which goes back 25 years or more, but now they had money to someone could take. • Police are well known to lie to “get their man”. Several people have gone to prison for long times, and later been found innocent. (Bain, Allan Arthur Thomas, a group of girls)
      WTF A GROUP OF GIRLS??? YES AS IN ANY COUNTRY WE HAVE A SHARE OF WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS.• Police is know to plant and falsify evidence. AGAIN THIS RELATES TO THE ABOVE CASES• New Zealand does not have any prosecutors, the police is the investigator, and the prosecutor.
      CORRECT, AND?• First page stories in New Zealand are as how to spell city names, a Mayor takes a leak behind a tree, woman pours customers glass of wine back into bottle, etc.
      YES LAUGHABLE ISNT IT? NO TERROR ATTACKS, RIOTS, NUCLEAR MELTDOWNS, ASSASSINATIONS, STARVING PEOPLE. HOW DULL.• It takes six month for people to pay bills, the next man is the bank credit.
      AGAIN YOUR EXPERIENCE OR?• You are travelling overseas, the bank cancels your credit card. Being overseas is a fraud risk they say.
      UTTER RUBBISH!!! MAYBE YOU ARE A RISK? GOD THIS IS THE BEST ONE YET!• You want to send for money while overseas to go back home, you must visit the bank’s office in New Zealand to sign a form that the bank has no responsibility.
      NO!! YOU ARE THINKING OF AUSTRALIA OR THE UK. MAYBE THEY DONT TRUST YOU FOR SOME REASON?• The Big Brother supervision of everyone is amazing, every corner covered by video camera, telephone calls logged, internet logged, frequent road checks, etc.
      AGAIN UTTER CRAP. IN NO WAY IS EVERY CORNER CCTV’D, NOT EVEN IN AUCKLAND. AS FOR CITIES EVEN AS ‘BIG’ AS TAURANGA, WE HAVE 3 CCTV CAMERAS AROUND THE PLACE!• To freeze your bank accounts only takes a phone call from a lawyer, nothing else.
      YOU MUST REALLY HAVE STRUCK SOME TROUBLE. CAN I ASK WHY?• Just about every authority can confiscate your bank balances with a simple admin routine, a junior clerk sign it off for instance. NO.• You want to look for a job, no niggers, slant-eys or oldie please, middle men recruiters and employment consultants have legal right to keep everything secret as “evaluative information”.
      WRONG. MY MATE IS IN THE INDUSTRY, THEY HAVE TO DISCLOSE ALL DETAILS.• If you are over 50, sorry you are “over the hill”, too many miles on the clock for employment. AGAIN IT DEPENDS ON ATTITUDE AND THE PERSON
      • If you have an academic education from overseas you are “overqualified”, no need to apply. Go and drive a Taxi. New Zealand has the highest qualified taxi drivers in the world (Fact). I LIKE HOW YOU PUT (FACT) AGAINST THIS ONE!!• If you are a medical doctor and your patient die, it maybe considered murder or manslaughter. YES AND PROBLEM?• If you have a medical degree from outside New Zealand, you have to pass a test not eve New Zealand trained doctors would pass. Then you can get the junior job at the hospital. • Recently a major systematic fraud by lawyers was discovered. Names was still kept secret and nobody punished, just the system was changed. The investigator was a lawyer too. CASE?

      WOW THAT WAS QUITE TIRING. RICK WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS FROM?

  • Laurie

    Hi Mark,
    I enjoyed this as well as your other posts. I am a part time US/Nelson expat working nights online thanks to the time difference. I agree 17 drunk driving convictions is unconscienable, but here in the Top of the South, I routinely return from Golden Bay to Nelson on a Friday evening and am consistently stopped for a sobriety check–never anywhere in the US. And in Nelson we have a sober driving service–husband and wife team to pick you up in your vehicle and return you both to your home.
    Keep posting, please!

  • Don

    A note to those interested in NZ: CryptoHippie recently issued it’s most-up-to-date iteration of their Electronic Police State report (found at https://secure.cryptohippie.com/pubs/EPS-2010.pdf). Interestingly, NZ fell from the 20th spot it held last year to 27th for this year, which would indicate a move towards personal privacy. I suggest the report be read, including the parameters used to determine the “EPS” level of a particular country.

    Also, some may find the following article (http://techliberty.org.nz/nz-filter-now-operational/) insightful: “New Zealand’s government internet filter is already running.”

  • Oswald

    I would love to receive Marks eBook on New Zealand.
    Thanks for all informations and insights, they are very much appreciated.

  • farside

    RICK HARRISS your comments are absolutely correct.
    Every comment is absolutely true. You have to live as an insider for many years to know that.
    I prefer to live in Asian countries.
    Yes the passport is attractive…but the look on the surface is merely superficial. I resigned my residency, handed over my passport and citizenship papers…back to the NZ Embassy in protest. Every point written in the post by Rick. is true. Yes NZ was a great place in the 1950’s. 1960’s, 1970’s: Arguably then, the BEST LITTLE COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. But now it is in a real STATE : government judges, lawyers,police, regulations, corruption,mandates, adgendas.

  • farside

    You experience the real New Zealand when you come up against any one of the many points Rick mentioned. As he says. You can be quoted by lawyers $90,000 and end up being charged $600,000. This is perfectly acceptable…to them! And they loose the case, slap a caveat on investment property, buy mortgages off the bank and add it to your mortgage free home. Unheard of before in Bank history but lawyers can do that in New Zealand. You can protest the local council allowing a housing estate to be built on zoned rural and even though every local votes against the development, the council can change zoned rural coastal reserve at the flick of a pen. Not only that, they rule you pay $100,000 plus costs for going against their decision and “wasting their time” They want to collect rates and can’t do that if cows graze the block of coastal land. You can appeal a decision and the same judge that ruled against you, will hear your appeal and deny your appeal. Because the judgement was fair and there is no reason to appeal.When you are away on holiday, the local council can give permission to a neighbour to build a dwelling encroaching your view and boundary, you arrive home to construction, even though that needed your signature in a heritage zoning…the local council allowed it. And you can do nothing about it.You trim a hedge on your property and the neighbour then sues you for $25,000 for destroying his view…even though the hedge will grow backin a few months. A neighbor can serve you notice that your 100 year old villa is 15cm over his boundary and he plans to sue you. If your accountant does your tax return…he may call you and tell you to pay $45,000 by the following Monday…because oh! he forgot to tell you…it is a “catch-up” month.

  • Sam

    In the 1970’s a professor warned his students that NZ was going to become like countries in Europe. He said the police are given too many powers and people will loose their privacy.

    In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s there
    was an exodus of the wealthy from New
    Zealand. These were the multimillionaires
    who made money in the 80’s, had corporations, homes on beachfront, properties in Queenstown, second homes in places like the Bay of Islands, beach houses, yachts etc. There was a sale
    of all these magnificent properties and assets. Everything,as if forewarned of things to come. Many said if a Labour government gets in , we are out.
    These multimillionaires, many the top percent of wealthy, took their families and left New Zeland. Most left for Ireland and the USA.
    It is written that the wealthy are always ahead of the game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=764335256 David Higley

    Simon et al,

    How about income taxes on money outside the country? In particular, if I become a permanent resident of NZ, do I have to pay FIF tax on my 401k or Roth IRA back home in the US? I can’t find this info anywhere, and I’ve picked up so much useful info here, I thought I’d give you and your readers a try.

    Thanks for your help!!!

  • TyTy

    Hi, I am a US citizen and own a home in New Zealand, If I sell it for a profit, what are the taxes i would pay when I bring the money back ?

  • White Cloud

    A lot of conflicting information…is the NZ government growing or shrinking? Or both?
    I went to New Zealand as a tourist in 1999, ended up living there 6 years under the radar as an illegal immigrant, or “overstayer” as they call it there. The criteria for legal residency are incredibly onerous as they assume that most immigrants want to take advantage of the welfare state. That was exactly what I was not interested in whatsoever, only in pioneering opportunities and living by my own merit. But to “prove” that, I would have needed a college degree, an offer for a job no Kiwi candidate could be found for, and about a quarter of a mllion NZ$.
    In the end, it became too stressful to wait any longer for an amnesty I’d qualify for, and I took off for the U.S.
    In hindsight, I sometimes wish I’d stuck it out, seeing where the U.S. is headed now. NZ really struck a chord in me and I still have homesick flashbacks every day. I must add it’s the land that I love, not the society.
    It was a mixed experience being there.
    I found the people very friendly on the surface and easy to make first contact with, but most turned out to be immature, treacherous, passive-aggressive, mawkish, and small-minded, as well as obnoxiously eccentric under a mask of hyper-conformity or vice-versa, once I got to know them a bit. That goes mainly for the white Kiwis. My best experiences people-wise were with the remote rural Maori population, precisely those communities everyone will tell you to stay away from, such as the very Northern and Eastern tips of the North Island.
    It is true that these folks are seething with anger, but not at a humble traveler who really wants to get to know their country. In these areas I was treated with unforgettable warm and genuine hospitality. Their rage is directed at the corporate fat cats and corrupt politicos who are still as relentlessly stealing their land and resources as they’ve been doing since the days of Captain Cook.
    The totalitarian bureaucracy and the people’s slavish deference to it are by far the most repellent part of New Zealand. Within this I must highlight the absolute obsession with the diagnose-drug-and-lock-up model of mental health, which I daresay surpasses even the US. They have propaganda ads on TV saying that 1 in 4 people have a mental illness and urging everyone to go see a shrink and get diagnosed, all under the banner of “reducing stigmatization” and of course the usual suspect, “human rights”.
    In some places, almost everyone I knew was training or retraining to become a counselor, clinical psychologist, social worker, or kindergarten teacher…all employed by the government or government-sponsored organizations. The corruption in that system oozed out of every seam like a black slime….creepy!
    Even the rednecks seemed more intensely redneck than their American brethren – a boy who isn’t into playing rugby is considered a monstrous freak and persecuted for that reason alone. Ugh.
    The impression of clean and green is true in a sense, definitely much cleaner than America, but only thanks to there being so few people. With a higher population density the difference would be lost.
    OK, with that rant out of the way, here is the good stuff: the country is out-of-this-world intensely mindblowingly beautiful, with a richly varied character from region to region. The climate ranges from subtropical to cool-temperate, so there’s someplace to suit everyone’s preferences in that respect. The oceans, streams, lakes, mountains, farmlands and forests are all extremely bountiful. If you like to play with boats and/or horses, it’s the cheapest place in the developed world to do so.
    If you’re a Tolkien fan, it really can feel like you’re living in Middle-Earth. And space, space, lots of empty space to get lost in for people who like solitude and privacy.

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