Thursday, 3 April 2014

New Zealand is the best country in the world! Yeah right!

I guess New Zealand is the best place in the world to live if you don't actually live here. It is of course the land of the long white cloud. It is clean and green and beautiful and the air is free. For now. Yes we do live on a postcard perfect island but there is trouble in paradise and scratch the surface you will find anger. That our freedom of speech and personal rights are among the best in the world is very nice, and taken for granted mostly but our health, nutrition and medical care isn't ranked very high at all.

In fact I thought that the front page of the Herald was really rather pollyannaish given that the rest of the Nations news papers skipped this feel good story today to focus on some truthful issues. Marilyn Waring was interviewed on the morning radio news show and she pointed out that statistics can say anything. These sets of statistics excluded many indicators that would show a far lower rating. NZ treatment and access for disabled people is very poor. Does this show figures for women separate to men. The poverty and wealth distribution takes a different form.

What does socially advanced mean ? Gay Marriage and new cell phones? Everyone on Facebook , twitter or the internet? I listened to the Washington Based Think-Tank Social Progress Imperative tell us we are number one for Freedom. Hmm well it does seem that actually our freedoms are fast eroding. The GCSB bill made sure no one has total privacy or secrecy and we are all part of meta data. So we value these things more than health as our rating of 28th is alarming to me. More so when one of our low achievement is maternal death during childbirth. Seriously ? My god! If you are not a mother reading this , has death during childbirth ever been a concern to me? I gave birth unaided in a bathroom and I guess the possibility of either of us dying was high. An ambulance was despatched and we were both given what we needed although no one ever put socks on my freezing feet as it was 22 June and they were frozen.

I think health should be more preventative and less cost and treatments to the elderly. To live a healthy life we need to eat well, sleep well and exercise. If these basics were attended to we would be a more healthy population over all. I mean this is horrible but our suicide rate is really bad, so what is the value of these social advances when we are not dealing well with preventing suicide or obesity for that matter. Right near the bottom.

Our health crisis is coming and more prevention programmes are needed. More education and more active lifestyles are needed. What I think has happened is with life being lived 24/7 too many people are not getting enough sleep, are eating takeaway junk foods and never exercising.  Night shift workers have long been noted for having health problems , insomnia and gastric problems due to not being in sync with the rest of the day night world.  Yes we may be the first on the stock exchange floor when it opens in New York because it is the end of our trading day but should life not be lived at a more enjoyable pace with the emphasis on balance.

It comes down to reflecting the values of the think-tank as their core goal is Social Progress. Sadly if social progress means a mass global culture that means corporatisation of food we are only going to get less healthy. I hope that New Zealanders do reflect on this top rating for a moment to form our own opinion of what makes New Zealand our top choice as we are living here. What do we like the most and what do we want to retain as New Zealanders? What are the core values of being a KIWI and what things are non-negotiable?  Does the TPPA deal make you feel happy and safe with their plans?
 That is perhaps the question to ask ourselves.
Most people don't know what is in it.

But when I read of a survey overseas boasting how we are top in the world here in New Zealand I wonder how that headline looks, when this paper is used for a blanket, on the homeless man asleep on the bench in Avondale.
Thousands drive by every day.

And finally access to electricity  at 100% doesn't really correlate that well with the thousands of customers cut off . So figures and stats are funny things .