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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic.

New Zealand - Event Date: December 12 2014 - December 12 2015

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Johnray1 View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 05 2014 at 5:35pm
KiwiMum, I am sending this message because of a survey that I read on Yahoo. Yahoo rated New Zealand as the number country in the world over all to live in. New Zealand is suppose to have less government interference with the every day people there than any where else on earth. The people are also suppose to be happier over all. New Zealand was number in most of their categories for being a good place to live. The US did not even make the top 20.

Is this true? Is any or all of it true? Johnray1
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Yes Johnray, its gospel!

I grew up in New Zealand and its "God's Own Country".  I have spent most of my life homesick and dreaming of going back.

I have been to most countries on earth.  NZ tops them all.  But, don't take the lack of comments about America too hard, It sure beats here!  There are two things that go against America in any surveys of that nature, they are: 

#1 Death penalty, which is carried out in a frankly barbaric manner in some cases.  America kills more of its own people through the judicial system than any other nation except China. 

#2 People are frightened off by the number of different government agencies with police style powers that there are in America.  This is because the common people in the western world do not understand that the USA is a union of 50 different countries and that each has its own state agencies.  Most non Americans (Thanks in part to Hollywood) think that state government agencies run around with guns all over America, popping off people left-right-and-centre. 

TV news here, and thus Europe, only shows America in this negative light to try and defend our own poor quality policing, lack of a bill of rights and idiotic, stifling gun laws (most nations outside the USA have such good control of the thinking of their people, through propaganda, that they believe we do not need a bill of rights, because only those crazy yanks are out of control with their various gun attacks).  Besides which, what sane person is going to say that the richest, most powerfull nation on earth, that is obviously a lot better off than us brainwashed, socialist dominated nations is better than any of us.  We would have to admit that we got it all wrong. 



New Zealanders are not the kind of people to take crap from their government, they would soon tell them that they were full of BS, humiliate them totally in the press and throw them out before they could do any damage.  They would probably never be voted back in again.  As you may recall, when Muldoon, known as "Spotty Muldoon" in the newspapers, was in power, there were a lot of pigsty cartoons showing the government with its snouts in a trough etc., etc., ad nauseam.  A lot of stickers and badges at that time bore the legend "would the last person to leave New Zealand please turn out the lights." 

I find myself in an invidious situation.  I border on fanaticisim in my love for New Zealand, her people, her customs and the beautiful lands of which she is composed.  At the same time as I feel that, I should defend my many American friends that I have made in the forces and other places.  I would defend them right or wrong.  Suffice it to say, I believe that the fear of America and the belief that Americans are violent on the one hand and religious maniacs on the other to be totally false.  I have therefore got into a few awkward situations supporting Uncle Sam.

So, don't worry too much about America's position.  You have far father you could have fallen than you still have to climb.  Most anti-American feeling is based on ignorance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnray1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 06 2014 at 10:12am
WillobyBrat,thank you for your information on New Zealand. Every one that I have ever talked to that has been to New Zealand describes how beautiful it is.

Just because I am asking about New Zealand,please do not think that I do not love my native America. I have served my country in combat just as most of my family members have of different ages and different wars.I would be proud to serve America again,in a combat role. But I will probably never be called on again,because I am over 60 now.They do not have much for you as far as combat goes once you cross 60. I feel that I am physically and mentally able to carry out missions,but I do not think that DA will agree with me.

But,back to the point, I have heard so much about how beautiful New Zealand is,that I would like to at least see it,before I do get to old to travel.Thank you very much.Johnray1


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KiwiMum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 06 2014 at 12:43pm
Hi Johnray1
Where to begin? New Zealand is a very beautiful country. I live on an elevated 10 acre block overlooking the Southern Alps in the South Island and have breathtaking views every day. I can only see 5 other houses in a full 360 degree rotation and they are all in the distance. I'm 800 m from the nearest road to all I hear is the wind and the animals and the occasional plane.  At any moment of the day, I can look out and see at least one great hawk soaring over my land looking for it's next meal. Sometimes there are 3 or 4 of them. They sit on my fence posts and sometimes i can get within 5 metres of them before they take off and they really are big. 

To give you some perspective, NZ is approx the same size as the UK but with a population of 4.5 million. Only 1 million live in the South Island. The UK has about 57 million. So we don't have population stress.

However, the very low population levels mean that the cost of living is sky high and then some. The minimum wage here is NZ$ 15. And the average wage is $27 per hour, $55,000 a year. That doesn't sound too bad until you realise how much everything costs here. The average house price here is $415,000 (US$ 354,000) and for that you'll get a 3 bed house in a suburb. 

Groceries are very expensive. $6 for a pack of butter. My friends spend $350-450 a week on groceries. In fact a friend of mine recently filled her trolley at the supermarket and was shocked when it came to $750 (she had included many cleaning products but still that's alot). Where I live we have been rocked by 14000 earthquakes since Sept 10 and so property is in demand and rentals are easily getting $500 a week. How can the average person afford that? I have no idea.

The problem with our economy is the very high interest rates (7%) and so overseas investors are putting money into the NZ$ and inflating an already inflated market. You can buy NZ butter more cheaply in a supermarket in London than you can buy it here where it is produced. 

There is not so much status anxiety here. People are not really interested in what you do for a living, but are more interested in what you do in your spare time. I've been part of a community group for nearly 2 years and in that time not one person has asked me what I do. You still see a sizeable proportion of people wearing no shoes (it's a Kiwi thing). Formal functions are totally informal. People wear jeans to weddings, or shorts. And jandals of course. 

Everyone is on a first name basis. In fact I haven't been called Mrs since I my last trip to the UK. If I book to see a doctor then the receptionist will say "I'll put you in with Karen at 11am" and when I get there I'll say "Hi Karen". You don't get that in other countries. 

But NZ is changing. The Kiwi dream has always been the quarter acre plot (all houses in towns were originally built on a quarter acre block) but it is becoming unachievable for so many. I have no idea how the younger generations are supposed to get on the property ladder with prices to high. Traditionally only one income was needed to pay the mortgage but not any more. I don't know many mothers who don't work now, and that is undermining the Kiwi way of life. 

But I do believe people are happy here. It is a good place to raise a child but it's not so good for earning money or paying for stuff. What you will notice if you come here, is how little choice there is. Because we are a small island nation in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, most stuff is shipped here and with such a small population, there are not the numbers to warrant consumer choice. Very often there is choice of one brand only, in one size only and that's it. Certain things are almost impossible to get (real marzipan, tinned anchovies are my two bugbears). 

If you do come to NZ the only way to see it is in a campervan. Particularly if you want to visit the Lord of the Rings sites - which are all marked on the road maps - they are in the middle of no where and motels and guest houses are few and far between and very expensive. In the North Island you have to stay at a campsite, but in the South Island, so long as you have a toilet in your camper, you can stay anywhere. 

As for government interference, I'd say we get our fair share. We pay our taxes like everyone else and than we pay for all medical stuff - none of it's free. We're building at the moment and that has been one huge ball of red tape. But on the other hand people are more approachable here. I had a problem with some red tape recently and so phoned up the mayor, who answered his own phone, listened to my problem, and 20 minutes later called me back to say he'd sorted it. Frankly, that's what I pay my taxes for. 

I have siblings living in Australia, England and America and I am quite sure that I'm the one who is best off - although I really do envy them their shopping choices. I recently had to ship in metal curtain hooks because here you can only get plastic ones - can you believe that! And brass door handles from the UK.............and the list goes on.
If it is to be, it is up to me.
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Thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread!  Thanks to all who posted :)
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KiwiMum,thank you for your description of New Zealand. I still have to see it.

Are there enough wild animals in the woods and fish in the rivers for someone to live primarily off the land,along with the crops that you could grow? Johnray1
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There are certainly fish in the rivers. Huge fish. And sea fish too, crayfish are plentiful and delicious. There are certainly many wild boar around. They organise big boar hunts with a prize for the largest pig and kill  3 or 4 hundred in a day. I've seen escaped and now wild deer too. The trouble is that unless you own the land you can't go on it. 

You can climb the mountains and there is public access there, but there are huge farms (called stations) that own the rest of it. Some people have 20km long driveways. The area I live was all native bush until 1850 and now it is all grassland with conifer hedges between the blocks to slow up the huge winds we get. More and more people are planting native trees now but there is no where to go other than into the mountains to find wild animals and plants. 

The thing is there are very few roads here. You look at a map and don't realise what a large scale it is because there are hardly any roads in the less inhabited parts. So access to most of it is limited. It's not like England where you have right of ways over virtually every field and into every bit of woodland. So could you live off the land, yes you could but you would have to grow it yourself or raise it yourself. 

We raise all our own meat: rabbit, goose, turkey, chicken, pork and some beef. And then we produce all our own eggs and some of our vegetables, and I have 2 milking jersey cows and so produce all our milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, and some soft cheeses. I brew wine and distill our own hard liquor, and we make cider and have a nut orchard and a tree fruit orchard and I keep bees. So we're pretty well fed but it takes alot of effort and work. I still shop in the supermarket for things I can't produce or haven't got time to produce. We could do without them but choose not to. I'm eating a packet of jaffa cakes as I type this. I wouldn't know where to start to make them!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnray1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 07 2014 at 6:58am
KiwiMum, I can grow about any crop and I generally do very well at growing crops. I can also raise my own domestic animals.But I will not milk a cow. So it is possible.I am also capable of hiking long distances to hunt and I am very good at fishing.

So the next question is,how much does 4 or 5 acres of farm able land cost?Johnray1            P.S. KiwiMum I  thank you very much for all that you have told me.
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Hi Johnray, 

I'll make the assumption that you want to live in the South Island where there are fewer people. Down here land is sold in 10 acre blocks or larger. These are called lifestyle blocks and 10 acres affords you one title - which means you can build a house on it. The blocks start from around $120,000 (US $92,500) and go up to $400,000 if you have a sea view. Lifestyle blocks on the outskirts of a city sell for millions but I doubt you'd want one of those.

The cheaper blocks are cheap because, where I live, they are on pure riverstone. In other words they have only an inch or two of topsoil and then riverstone underneath. These blocks only have grass in the winter and they struggle to feed one horse. We paid $265,000 including GST (goods and services tax) on our block and have 11 acres. We looked at about 70 blocks before we found this one and we went armed with a shovel to dig holes and check the soil. We are on clay with about 14 inches of good loamy topsoil. We have grass all year round.

Each block comes with vehicle access to the gate, a 30,000 litre water tank and one unit of water a day (which is 1800 litres). And it has an external fence line. 

We put in a driveway, 2 barns, fences, a water ring main, 2 more tanks and some drainage for another $200K. Then we added an off grid system and finally a house. A standard house costs about $450,000 to have built where I live, which is about $100K more than other parts of the country since we have had alot of earthquakes and now our building code has been beefed up and the consumer pays in the end. 

We only did it this way because we couldn't afford to buy an existing property. Our way was definitely the hard way and we still mourn the fact that we have no mature trees. If you can afford it then buy an existing rural property. For $700 - $800k you would get something lovely with mature trees and an established garden and orchards, stock fencing etc. Very few Kiwis can afford more than $600,000.

If you decide to buy on the West coast of the South Island however, definitely build it yourself. The great Alpine Fault is due to rupture any moment and none of the houses there will withstand the quake, so definitely build new and make it earthquake resistant. 

Johnray, the biggest problem you will have is not finding a property, but will be getting residency here in NZ. We are one of the hardest countries to move to, second only to Canada. No matter what anyone tells you, do not buy and move here on a visitors visa. You must have permanent residency before you arrive. Every month there are sob stories in the news of people who were told they'd be fine and residency wouldn't be a problem so they bought and now are being deported. 

I believe you are a doctor, and since acceptance is based on health, wealth and qualifications, I'm sure you'd be fine. But get in touch with the embassy and find out your options. If you are a secret millionaire you can come in on an investment visa - which is a fast track. Also there is a skills shortage list, and if your profession is listed on that list and you can get a job offer before you apply, then they speed  you through in a couple of weeks. Definitely a good option. Otherwise the visa can take 2 years, especially if you are over 50.

By the way, if you buy an existing property then you will find them on smaller lots. Back in the day the 10 acre rule didn't exist. We have friends on a 5 acre block and also a few on one acres and yet they are rural too. 

Have a look at www.realestate.co.nz it's the site where all property is listed. Just beware of stony ground. We often go months with no rain here on the eastern side and those on stony ground are unable to grow anything. I have friends not far away already feeding out hay and we have only just started summer. I've got grass up above my knees, and plenty of it. Of course on the West coast it rains 50% of the time, but watch out for the Alpine fault. It goes off every 300 years + or - 30 years, and it last went off in 1717, 297 years ago.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnray1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 07 2014 at 1:11pm
KiwiMum.thanks for all of the tips. Especially the one about many places with thin soil.I definitely do not want to buy a rock,they are really hard to grow anything on. I will  have to come and look some day,but all of these tips will tell me what to look for.

The prices are much higher than I expected, I could do it,but it would take all that I have to buy a place and getting it up and producing,so I would really have to like what I found. Thank You Very Much,Johnray1
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You're most welcome Johnray. I think most people are surprised by the cost of things here. I guess it's why not many people try to settle here. Let me know if you ever come over. 
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KiwiMum, I will let you if and when I come to new Zealand. But after thinking about what all you have told me,maybe I can help you some.

There are many places in the US ,in Southeastern US and Midwestern US, that you could come to and buy far more than you have there for far less than what you are paying now.Plus,just about all of the land in the Southeastern US and Mideastern US will produce good crops. Johnray1               P.S. I just priced a place in Missouri,USA, that included a small house and 5 acres of good ground for less that $100,000 dollars.

There are many places like this all over the southern and mid western US.You can look on the internet at real estate in the US and you will find the huge prices that many people talk about,but I am telling you that there are a  great many very nice places to live in the US and produce your own food for a fraction of what you are paying.Johnray1
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My sister bought a farm in Kentucky years ago that was 30 acres and a run down house for $27,000. Thank you for the tip but I like it here very much. The whole big brother and police state nature of America is definitely not for me and there are far too many people. I also have a major problem with racism and from what I read in the papers, racism still seems to be rife in America. I find it hard to believe some of the stuff that happens, but there it is. 

We've already paid for our property so the hard bit is over. I suspect we'll live here forever now as I love my new house and can't entertain the idea of leaving it. 

One of my areas of interest is earthquakes. I'd be gutted if I missed the Alpine fault going off. I only hope it happens while I'm young enough to really enjoy it. Trust me, NZ is the right place to be for seismic activity. 

I read a great deal and it always amazes me when I read about the prices of stuff in America. It really is a fraction of what I pay here. At least the higher prices here focus our attention on what we really want rather than just what we fancy on a whim.
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KiwiMum, I also thank you for your informative posts!!  Big smile

I've never been to NZ, but have collaborated with scientists from the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand (WRONZ), who were performing an effluent study with one of my UK clients, a wool spinning company.  Considering I am in Chicago, USA, it was quite an endeavor!  Everything was performed via Internet in 1999.  


I long to visit Christchurch and other parts of NZ a great deal, thanks again for your stories!  At least NZ doesn't seem to have the gun violence that we have in Chicago, the robberies and hold-ups are very depressing. 
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KiwiMum,I was not trying to upset you. As far as the problems that are printed about the US in the papers and on the news, I guess that stuff really happens,but it does not happen in the area that I live in.We did have two daylights entries of two different houses a couples of years ago.on the same day,,which is really unusual here.My son was a cop then and he told me the whole story after the investigations were over. The intruders did not even know each other and this is a really rural area. No one knows how these two guys got to town.because neither one of them were from here and no one here knew who they were,but both were killed by the people in the houses,so it was over. It was really strange,but it did happen.-----I guess that there is racism here to,but there is not any where I live. I just stay away from the big cities.

CRS,DrPH as far as the gun violence and hold ups that you guys have in Chicago,these are pretty much the fault of you guys who live there. If you all would stop them by shooting the robbers and drug dealers,it would be a real peaceful place, they would stop happening. The police can not be everywhere at one time and some times they need help. Just about every one here carries a gun.So there are no robberies or gun violence because if it would start,we would stop it real quick.

KiwiMum, is it legal to own guns in New Zealand? Johnray1
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 07 2014 at 9:08pm
Originally posted by Johnray1 Johnray1 wrote:


CRS,DrPH as far as the gun violence and hold ups that you guys have in Chicago,these are pretty much the fault of you guys who live there. If you all would stop them by shooting the robbers and drug dealers,it would be a real peaceful place, they would stop happening. The police can not be everywhere at one time and some times they need help. Just about every one here carries a gun.So there are no robberies or gun violence because if it would start,we would stop it real quick.

Hah!  Great reply, you echo my feelings!  We only recently obtained our Concealed Carry rights, but God help you if you employ 'em.  

I used to live in Broken Arrow, OK, we were much more gun-friendly down there!  

Chicago is so badly broken that it can't be fixed.  Not enough bullets for all the bad guys we have, it is a way of life in certain areas.

Walk softly and carry a 1911 in .45 ACP, my friend. 
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CRS,DrPh,one of the finest weapons ever made.Johnray1
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Originally posted by Johnray1 Johnray1 wrote:

CRS,DrPh,one of the finest weapons ever made.Johnray1

Indeed!  Well proven by our armed forces.  

Dec. 7, a day that will live in infamy.  Be safe, Chuck
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CRS,DrPH, you be safe to. You are the one that lives in the dangerous place.Johnray1
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Originally posted by Johnray1 Johnray1 wrote:

CRS,DrPH, you be safe to. You are the one that lives in the dangerous place.Johnray1

Thanks, man!  My wife and I live 40 miles west of downtown Chicago, so we are fairly clear when TSHTF. 

If I had the money, I'd buy a chunk of land about 30 miles west.  However, we are not sure we wish to remain in The Peoples Republic of Illinois much longer.  

Now, New Zealand.....yeah, that's the ticket!  Tea & crumpets with KiwiMum!  Clap
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