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COMMENTS ON NEW ZEALAND
  Karl Arnold Belser
11 March 2018



Jackie and I went to visit my brother Larry and his wife Mary in New Zealand because I have been having severe health problems as have my brother and his wife. I wanted to see them while we all are in reasonably good health.

New Zealand is still a wonderful place to live, and I learned a few new things about the country.

New Zealand has low cost, universal  medical coverage and accident insurance for everyone. The accident compensation corporation (ACC) is funded by a sovereign wealth fund that actually makes more money than it spends on claims. FUrther medical treatment is low cost because doctors do not have to have liability insurance and many aren't required to have expensive education   as compared to the US.

New Zealand is the land of extreme sports. So one might expect more accidents, but that does not seem to be the case. The key in making the health system solvent financially is that one cannot sue anyone if an accident occurs. The hazard might have to be  corrected, but that is it. For example the US is so accident adverse that it is taking merry go rounds out of public parks and if one has any type of water activity there has to be a paid life guard. This "snow flake" attitude is not true in New Zealand. The people there take charge of managing risk. The result is that New Zealandrrs appear to be more rugged as individuals compared to many US citizens.

One  public park in Christ Church not only has Merry Go Rounds but Zip lines, trampolines, four-story high slides and wading pools with all kinds of water apparatus such as water wheels
. This particular part is simply magnificent and typical of similar parks in Nelson where my brother lives. This kind of park could never exist in the US.

My nephew Mike and his wife don't carry any cash. They can  purchase anything using a debit card. For example there are automated gas stations that have two large, above-ground gas tanks, two isles with six pumps and a terminal similar to that of an ATM, One inserts a debit card into the ATM and it allows one to purchase up to $100 worth of  gasoline. This fully automated gas station saves about 10% when compared with any other station with an attendant.

Of course one has to pay the 15% goods and services tax (GST) on everything including gas and food. The result is that most  , New Zealanders do not have to file a national income tax form every year. The governmental bureaucracy in New Zealand is minimal and efficient and the "free rider" problem is eliminated. Everyone pays taxes. NZ has a balanced budget and a national debt that is about 12% of GDP. This debt is lower than that of most developed countries.

I could only hope that the US might copy New Zealand. NZ illustrates how a small country can innovate faster than any large nation such as the US or the EU. This lack of innovation and nimble change is what many large nations lack.
    
Last updated Msarch 11, 2018
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