Nueva Zelanda

Flags outside the meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru in September. Photo: Getty Images.

The countries of Oceania have wildly different economies – Papua New Guinea (PNG) exported close to $4 billion in oil and gas in 2016, while in Tonga, the biggest commodity export was $11.6 million worth of agricultural products. But what they have in common is a history of communal landownership, an emphasis on social capital (as opposed to financial capital), and cash-strapped governments.

In many cases, the first two combine to supplement the shortfalls of the last. There may not be government-funded welfare, but someone in the extended family likely has access to land where they can grow food, or will share their fish catch, or will do a church fundraiser to help with school fees.…  Seguir leyendo »

New Zealand is a small country, often wrestling for relevance in the world beyond “The Lord of the Rings” references and sporting success. (We are very good at sports). There’s a running gag about journalists interviewing celebrity visitors as they get off the plane, asking “what do you think of the place so far?”

So imagine the consternation when The Washington Post ran a column titled “How the far right is poisoning New Zealand.” Numerous journalists, commentators and politicians took to social media to express degrees of horror and ridicule. How could the “far right” have poisoned this country without any of us noticing, they asked.…  Seguir leyendo »

A shadow is poisoning Middle-earth.

On the surface, New Zealand’s new government sounds like a progressive dream: a young, energetic prime minister reminiscent of Barack Obama or Justin Trudeau who not only discusses the importance of feminism but calls people out for misogynistic comments on the spot; ministers for climate change and child poverty reduction; and the fact that the heads of the three branches of government are all women.

But for all the excitement around Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her new government, the real power lies with the far right. And, more terrifying: The far right seized power by exploiting the very system meant to be a fairer version of democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

En 1972, le professeur de droit américain, Christopher D. Stone, rêvait d’attribuer «des droits juridiques aux forêts, rivières et autres objets dits “naturels” de l’environnement» dans son provocateur Should Trees Have Standing ? («les arbres devraient-ils se pourvoir en justice ?»). Quarante-cinq ans plus tard, la Nouvelle-Zélande a exaucé son vœu. Le fleuve Whanganui, le troisième plus long cours d’eau du pays, a été reconnu le 15 mars par le Parlement comme une entité vivante et s’est vu doter d’une «personnalité juridique».

«La décision du Parlement néo-zélandais n’est que la traduction législative d’un accord politique trouvé en 2012, sur un différend judiciaire de près de soixante-dix ans», décrit Victor David, juriste à l’Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) de Nouméa, en Nouvelle-Calédonie et chercheur en droit à l’environnement.…  Seguir leyendo »

At the end of the street where I lived in Wellington, at the southern end of the North Island of New Zealand, a street of gracious two-story houses set in large gardens that were planted with oak and ash and maple, with English herbaceous borders and flowering fruit trees and shrubberies, was a park.

“A park?” you say.

A park, yes. But not a park as you know a park to be, not what you would call a park. It was the place where we went to play, at the end of our street.

This park was set with games areas for children as is the case with most parks, with railings around the green, and a swimming pool at the entrance.…  Seguir leyendo »

New Zealand is as beautiful as it is isolated. We live a long way from anyone and anything, and we like it that way. We have almost four and a half million people and more than five million dairy cows. We have snow-capped mountains and deep dark woods where hobbits roam, as directed by Peter Jackson in his interminable “Lord of the Rings” movies. We sing (Lorde) and act (Russell Crowe) and throw stuff (rugby balls).

The rest of the world rarely notices our country, but this month everyone — well, some people — seems to be taking note. Our green and pleasant archipelago is heading to the polls for a national referendum on whether or not to do away with our current flag and replace it with something that kind of looks like a beach towel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Civil Liberties in Peril Down Under

Australia and New Zealand are not among the usual suspects when it comes to state suppression of civil liberties. But both countries, stung by Edward J. Snowden’s revelations last year about their intelligence-gathering efforts, have been cracking down on the press: Australia has passed sweeping secrecy laws, while police officers in New Zealand recently raided the home of a reporter who had published information regarding a government scandal.

There has been little international outcry, and Washington is hardly likely to be upset: The two countries harbor the only major intelligence gathering facilities for the National Security Agency in the Southern Hemisphere, and, along with Britain, Canada and the United States, are members of the intelligence-sharing arrangement known as the “Five Eyes.”

In New Zealand, the journalist targeted in the raid is the country’s top investigative reporter, Nicky Hager, who has been working with Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

In recent weeks visitors to Christchurch described the mood as optimistic, energised since the earthquake of 4 September, determined to rebuild. We were used to hearing about aftershocks; Cantabrians were used to toughing them out. And then this – shattering the fantasy that surviving one tragedy somehow exempts you from another.

It feels like much longer than a few days. There is, in general, what a friend calls a belief shortfall. For those of us not in Christchurch, not experiencing aftershocks day and night, not bereaved or homeless or without electricity and water, there’s the weirdness of the mornings, waking to realise it’s still happened.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Louise Chunn (THE GUARDIAN, 22/11/08):

The end of an era came this week when the millionaire merchant banker John Key was sworn in as New Zealand’s 38th prime minister. His centre-right National party had won a resounding victory over the longstanding Labour government. That also sadly meant the end to the reign of one of the country’s most successful leaders, Helen Clark, who then resigned as head of the party.

With all that is going on in the world, it is easy to think that peaceful regime change in a country with a population the size of the East Midlands, in the middle of an ocean 12,000 miles from here, isn’t exactly vital.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Jamie White (THE TIMES, 07/08/06):

NEW ZEALAND is a little, South Pacific version of 1950s England. People are friendly, trustworthy and hard-working. You can leave your front door unlocked when you go out. Women can safely walk alone at night and, if you drop your wallet, someone will deliver it to your door the next day.

If you share this common view, then you are probably wrong about 1950s England and you are certainly wrong about contemporary New Zealand. On Thursday my home country made a rare appearance on the non-sports pages of The Times. In her farewell speech, the departing Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Silvia Cartwright, lamented the country’s “dark secret”: we have an appalling amount of domestic violence.…  Seguir leyendo »