Within hours of being named Favourite Country at the UK Telegraph readers’ Travel Awards, New Zealand has the audacity to complain that its not getting the right sort of tourists and the ones they do get are being cheapskates.
Although visitor numbers were up last year their spend went down.
John Key, Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, says he wants richer tourists and wants them to spend more (!).
Reading between the lines it looks like New Zealand is attracting more of the budget backpacker and student market, and less of the high rollers with fat wallets.
From the NZ Herald:
New Zealand needs tourists who spend more money, rather than just more people through the airport gates, Prime Minister John Key says.
A new report on the industry shows despite more visitors coming to New Zealand, they’re staying for fewer days and spending less money. That’s partly because a large proportion of the growth in visitor numbers had been an increase in low-spending Australians.
Mr Key said the Government intended to spend half a billion dollars in the next four years on tourism promotion, including an additional $158 million announced in this year’s Budget.
Spending would be focused on key areas, including new markets and high net-worth individuals.
“Essentially see if we can lift the number of people coming and the quality of tourist that comes to New Zealand,” Mr Key said.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is make sure we don’t just get more people coming through the airport and coming to New Zealand for a couple of days …the reality is we want them to come here, spend money, and have a quality experience…”
Mr Key would do well to remember its those low spending, low quality tourists that win New Zealand those first-place-tourism-destination accolades.
Or do they? Surely those votes aren’t purchased (or engineered through social media getting Kiwis abroad to vote) just to improve the country’s profile abroad? Now, that would be ridiculous.
Conde Nast (a travel company that caters for the more upmarket tourist) has a very different list. It places New Zealand 7th – behind Australia, Spain and the USA. Italy tops its favourite country list for a second year in a row.
We think this goes to show how subjective these awards are, we advise people to use common sense when appraising them.
Conde Nast’s 2013 Travel Awards list may be found here: http://www.cntraveller.com/awards/readers-travel-awards/readers-travel-awards-2013/best-holiday-destinations
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Kudos to the government initiative that will ban gang insignia from all state premises.
This means the gang patch ban will extend to all schools and will take some of the stress off staff who fear reprisals. It also removes the pressure from impressionable kids, it begins to marginalise gang membership in a country where it has become the norm.
The announcement was discussed in this article in stuff.co.nz.
Note how some schools already chose house colours with great care so as to prevent gang affiliations from being glamorised any more than they already are.
Naenae College principal John Russell said gang members associated with the school already had enough respect to keep their patches and colours at bay.
Bandanas, house colours and uniforms associated with red and blue were stripped from the school years ago, he said.
“Frankly we’re careful about how we choose colours for houses and uniforms.
“They’re purple, yellow, green and orange for a reason.”
Over the years there have been violent retributions against kids who wore the ‘wrong’ colour off their home turf – usually red, blue or black. Then there was the dog walker who was threatened for having the wrong colour (red) lead.
From an editorial in the Taranaki Daily News:
The colour of stupidity
Some weeks ago, further north, a young boy was assaulted. The reason for his punishment? He was wearing the wrong coloured shirt, its red deemed offensive to gang members who live, die, rape and steal for the blue…
Even places like New Plymouth, it would seem, are not immune from gang violence
It seemed like the kind of disgusting and stupid crime that would occur elsewhere, and certainly not on New Plymouth’s largely gang-free streets. But even here, people are being intimidated and killed simply because they choose to wear the wrong colour.
A man innocently walking his dog is lambasted and accosted by a drunk Black Power associate because the animal’s leash is red, the colour of rival gang the Mongrel Mob. That follows the killing of Peri Niwa, who was not a gang member but had the misfortune to work for a team of scaffolders run by an out-of-town Mongrel Mob member.” read the rest here
New Zealand is a rainbow nation for all of the wrong reasons.
- Maori hardest hit by gang patch laws – Workman (radionz.co.nz)
- Man shot dead in Mongrel Mob stoush (stuff.co.nz)
- Mongrel Mob arrests not a ‘major victory’ (stuff.co.nz)
- Gang patch ban to hit schools (stuff.co.nz)
- Mongrel Mob targeted in police raids (nzherald.co.nz)
- Law change to stamp out gang insignia (nzherald.co.nz)
“Huge rise in child abduction cases” screams the headline in today’s New Zealand Herald, sure to invoke images of children being dragged from the streets by persons unknown. But read the article and you’ll learn that these abductions are mostly parents taking their children out of the country without the consent of the other parent.
The Herald tells its readers the 54% jump in child abduction cases since 2007 is because parents are being refused legal aid to go before the courts and obtain permission to take their offspring out of New Zealand legally. What it doesn’t tell you is that many of those children are migrants to New Zealand – they hold foreign passports or were born outside of the country. Also, the rise in “abductions” corresponds with a rise in the overall numbers of people leaving New Zealand since 2007, brought on by the GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes.
What the article also doesn’t tell you is that there are hundreds of parents being held against their will in New Zealand because their partners refuse to give consent for their children to leave. In some cases these children were born into mixed marriages between kiwis and a foreigners, in others both parents are migrants. It is a sad fact of life that New Zealand courts rarely award custody to any parent who wants to remove their child from the country and there is no favour shown towards giving custody to mothers, regardless of how unfit the father may be. With New Zealand’s horrendous record for child abuse what right thinking parent is going to abandon their child and leave without them? Hence, many are forced into staying against their will to protect their children or face the prospect of “abducting” them.
With the knowledge that the courts are likely to favour the parent remaining in New Zealand increasing numbers of desperate parents (mostly mothers) are simply getting on a plane with their kids and never coming back. And who can blame them?
You may remember the story of four year old Emma Maddison, born to a Danish mother and Kiwi father, see http://e2nz.org/tag/emma-maddison/
When Emma was a toddler her parents returned to Denmark so that she could have medical treatment that wasn’t available in New Zealand.
After a period of time the girl’s father returned to New Zealand but the couple’s relationship broke up and the mother decided to stay in Denmark with her daughter. The case highlighted the enormous difficulties parents have with custody of their children after a relationship breaks up and they want to live in different countries. Even though her father alleged she was abducted and taken from the country illegally the Danish Supreme Court declined to return her to her father’s homeland. We are sure this case gave fresh hope to parents looking to find justice outside of New Zealand, it may even have set a precedence under European law for the way the Hague Convention is applied to dual nationality cases.
If you or someone you know is affected by this issue you may wish to participate in our long running discussion Trapped In NZ – Father Won’t Let Child Leave
Japan is about to ratify the Hague Convention, but with one important difference to some of the the other G7 countries that have already encompassed the convention in their own legislation: the Hague proceeding should not cause children more harm than good.
If it wished to New Zealand could also make this important decision because what we’re hearing from our readers (and from the Emma Maddison story) is in New Zealand the welfare of the child is subordinate to the rights of the parent who chooses to remain in New Zealand.
According to an article in the Miami Herald
Japan’s legislation is notable for another reason as well. It contains important and unique guidance to its courts concerning how to adjudicate allegations of domestic violence. Japanese judges must consider whether returning the child would risk violence to the child’s other parent and thereby cause serious psychological harm to the child. If it would, the child need not be returned in an expeditious proceeding pursuant to the Hague Convention.
Japan’s attention to domestic violence here is consistent with the Convention. The Convention allows a court to refuse to return a child if the return would cause a “grave risk of psychological or physical harm to the child or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.” Japan’s law ensures that its courts take seriously this “grave risk” defense and how domestic violence impacts children. In Japan, a Hague proceeding should not cause children more harm than good. That is what the Convention drafters had in mind when they provided defenses.
“Where are my human rights? It’s not my choice for Emma not to have her father in her life.”
“Two years later the case is still ongoing and Mr Maddison says he would do everything he could for his “wee girl”.
“I deserve my daughter and it has taken over my life. My daughter is a victim in this and so am I.” more here
Fortunately, Emma remains with her mother and is receiving the ongoing care she needs in Denmark. The Danish Supreme Court put her needs first.
- Huge rise in child abduction cases (nzherald.co.nz)
- Real Cases of Child Abduction (quinnlawassociates.wordpress.com)
- International child abductions: There’s more to the story (miamiherald.com)
- Summer holiday is the high season for International Parental Child Abduction. (prweb.com)
- Overseas child abductions on the rise (guardian.co.uk)
The annual OECD Better Life Index has just been published. It lists eleven variables to allow individuals to construct their own index based on what’s important to them.
Construct your own index here http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org.
Take all eleven variables in equal measure and what do you get? A list of 36 countries that can be ranked by their total Better Life scores.
New Zealand doesn’t do very well in comparison to its main competitors, some of whom are the source countries for many of its immigrants. It has also dropped two places in this year’s index compared to last year’s, a big drop from 2011′s index where it came 4th.
Britain and Australia come out higher than NZ for environment, jobs, safety. Australia also tops the table for civic engagement and scores higher for education than New Zealand, which is bound to create some controversy within New Zealand’s international student market sector.
Work life balance important to you? Stay put or move to Ireland. New Zealand ranks 24th, lower than the UK, and Ireland comes in at very respectable 8th place.
In these turbulent days perhaps safety is a priority for you. There are safer countries than New Zealand, according to the OECD. Chose from Japan, Canada, Poland, the UK and Australia.
Eight European countries, Canada and Mexico all score more highly for life satisfaction than bi-cultural New Zealand.
Where are the best places for a better life, according to the OECD? (top countries in bold)
6. United States
11. New Zealand
29 May update
The NewZealand Herald got hold of the report the day after this blog post was written and did its best to put a positive spin on it. If you read the report yourself and play around with the calculator you’ll get a feeling for how data is sometimes misrepresented in New Zealand.
The Herald wrote in an article headed Life Good in NZ, Says Global Study
The Better Life Index, released yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), places New Zealand close to the top in each of the 11 categories measured.
You can see for yourself that New Zealand ranked 24th for work life balance and 20th for income, that’s close to the bottom, not the top.
This is how New Zealand ranked for each category. It was in the top quartile for just four of them.
Community engagement 4th
Life satisfaction 11th
Work life balance 24th
30 May update
Following the OECD report, anti-Australian sentiment has been stepped up a notch in New Zealand. “Turning back from Oz dream” appears in the top corner of today’s front page of the New Zealand Herald. Not once did the article mention New Zealand’s overall position in the OECD’s rankings, nor that the country continues its decline in the last two annual rankings, whilst the country it competes with has remained at the top.
Australia has topped the Better Life Index for the last three years, but instead the Herald tells its readers success in Australia isn’t a certainty and there is no access to social security benefits for most New Zealanders, adding.
An OECD study which looked at the quality of life in 36 countries ranked Australia generally better in most categories including housing, income, community, education and civic engagement. New Zealand scored better than Australia in work-life balance, safety (sic) and life satisfaction, and equalled (sic) Australia in environment and health…”
What’s the truth of that? Here’s the scores for both countries, make up your own mind. Click to enlarge.
- Australia is rated best place to live and work for third year running (guardian.co.uk)
- Australia Tops OECD Better Life Index, Leading Sweden, Canada – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Study finds Canadians have ‘better life’ than most (cp24.com)
- Index ranks Canada among best places to live (globalnews.ca)
- New OECD national comparison suggests Canadians have ‘better life’ than most (globalnews.ca)
- Australia ranked happiest developed nation in OECD Index (australiantimes.co.uk)
- International Mother’s Day, New Zealand plunges in ‘Best Place to be a Mum’ rankings (e2nz.org)
- Canadians best-off in housing, third overall in new OECD quality of life survey (business.financialpost.com)