Plenty of positives for Aotearoa/New Zealand

Bad news often dominates media coverage of life in Aotearoa New Zealand, but there are plenty of positives we can be grateful for. Stuff summarises some in Here are some things to be cheerful about…


…the recently released Global Peace Index (GPI) named Aotearoa the world’s second safest destination, according to our level of peacefulness.

The GPI includes metrics other than armed conflict; particularly, security spending, civilian displacement, criminal violence and incarceration. High levels of security spending or incarceration may lead temporarily to lower levels of violence, but do not indicate any concrete improvement in peacefulness.


The Stats NZ General Social Survey of almost 9000 New Zealanders shows freedom, rights, and peace; and the natural scenery and environment, rated as extremely important factors in defining Aotearoa. However, older people were more likely than young people to rate farming as extremely important in defining New Zealand.

Around 83 per cent rated their overall life satisfaction at 7 or above on a 0–10 scale. The result was similar in 2014.

About 18 per cent of New Zealanders said they had more than enough money to meet everyday needs, up from around 13 per cent in 2008.

Just under 11 per cent of people said they did not have enough money to meet their needs for housing, food, clothing, and necessities – down from the 15 per cent who said they did not have enough for the basics in 2008.


Unemployment fell to 3.9 per cent in the September 2018 quarter, the lowest rate since the June 2008 quarter when it was 3.8 per cent.

The fall in unemployment, in tandem with a fall in underemployment, was key to the under-utilisation rate falling to 11.3 per cent.

The fall in the unemployment rate in the latest quarter reflected a fall in the number of unemployed people (down 13,000) and a strong rise in employment (up 29,000). Employment rate rose to 68.3 per cent, the highest rate since the series began more than 30 years ago.


Our murder rate has hit a 40-year-low. Figures to June 2018, put the number of murders in New Zealand in 2017 at 35 – a rate of seven for every million people.

Murder rates peaked in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, with the worst year being 1986 when there were 24 murders for every million people, 79 murders in total. The rate has not been at seven or below since 1975, when there were six murders for every million people.

That is a significant drop. Any murder is horrendous for those associated with the victim, but this shows a drop to less than a third of the record levels.


…in just eight months New Zealand’s prison population has dropped by 8 per cent – with more than 800 inmates released between April and late November.

For more than 20 years New Zealand’s prison population has been growing as the crime rate has been dropping. But following an instruction by Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis to get innovative, new schemes are keeping people from going behind bars.

Some of the schemes being tested include the introduction of an app which allows prisoners to track their bail applications and conditions, while sending reminders of upcoming court appearances.

Bail officers are now in prisons and courts to help illiterate prisoners who can’t fill out bail application forms. And in prison, specialised teams work with prisoners due for parole and help them meet the conditions to be eligible first time round.

Prison remains essential for the worst offenders, but the justice system was dysfunctional, resulting in too many people being imprisoned, especially before trial.


More than half of New Zealanders say te reo Māori should be a core subject in primary schools.

“Only six in 100 New Zealanders say they can kōrero i te reo Māori or speak Māori very well, well, or fairly well,” statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “However, more than half of New Zealanders commonly use te reo words or phrases.”

More than a third of those surveyed said it would be a good idea if all New Zealanders spoke both languages.

This is a good thing as long as it isn’t overdone. National media must give some priority to making themselves understood to as many people as possible and too much te reo can exclude the majority of people from the message, but te reo as an interest or hobby is good for those who want to use it more.


Premature babies born in New Zealand have a better chance to “survive and thrive” than in many other countries around the world, a world-first study showed.


Although 605,000 New Zealand adults still smoke, more than 700,000 have given up smoking and more than 1.9 million New Zealanders have never smoked regularly.

Smoking was one of the two leading modifiable risks to health in 2013, accounting for about 9 per cent of all illness, disability and premature mortality.

A biennial study of Year 10 students (14 to 15 year-olds) reports daily smoking rates are 2.1 per cent, an all-time low and down from 15.2 per cent when the survey began in 2000. More than 80 per cent of young people have never had tried tobacco.

A very positive trend. While both my parents smoked I have never liked it – and I realised just recently that although I had a few puffs of sorts when a child I never did it ‘properly’ – I never really inhaled into my lungs. I did get far too much second hand smoke, some at home but in particular later at pubs and parties, but now the occasion times I get a whiff of tobacco smoke walking down the street reminds me how horrible it is.


Broadband connections with unlimited data caps made up over 70 per cent of all broadband connections in New Zealand in 2018.

Also, nearly 600,000 homes and businesses now have high-speed fibre-optic internet connections, a 54 per cent increase from 2017.

I ditched my landline a couple of years ago, and connected to fibre earlier this year.

The latest ‘phone book’ is just a marketing publication now, no private phone numbers in it at all (some people must still have landlines).


​Expats love the Kiwi experience, culture and how welcoming we are, but we have high costs and low salaries.

Aotearoa ranked second overall in the HSBC global expat explorer studyfor 2018, coming in behind Singapore on the list of best destinations to live.

The list was long for what people loved about the land of the long white cloud: the quality of life, healthcare, work-life balance, safety, tolerance and it goes on.


Our air quality in New Zealand is generally good and that the overall trend is getting slightly better, with downward trends recorded for some pollutants.

Particulate matter levels have dropped since 2007 – Includes both organic and inorganic particles, such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets.

Nitrogen dioxide concentration dropping – Despite more vehicles on the road, there has been a decreasing trend in nitrogen dioxide concentrations between 2004 and 2016.

Light pollution is mainly good – Most of our skies are pristine. However, light pollution in cities means 56 per cent of Kiwis can’t see the Milky Way.

On clear nights I get a very good view of the night sky with the Milky Way clearly able to be seen.


Volunteers contributed over 13.5 million hours working for organisations in a Statistics NZ survey conducted in 2016. At the current minimum hourly wage rate of $16.50, ($17.70 next year) this would equate to just over $222 million every four weeks.

Women had a higher participation rate in volunteering than men – 54.4 per cent of, compared with 45 per cent of men.

I guess that running a blog sort of qualifies.

Good on Stuff for collating a pile of positives – most of us have a lot to be thankful for living in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Leave a comment


  1. kluelis

     /  26th December 2018

    Wow. Aotearoa is doing brilliantly.
    Congrats to all previous Govt’s these past 100 years 🙂

  2. artcroft

     /  26th December 2018

    Incredible! Judging by news paper coverage who’d have thunk we’d be doing so well.

  3. Blazer

     /  26th December 2018

    we’re all heading towards a …brighter future.Thanks Lynton.

    • Duker

       /  26th December 2018

      10 yrs later doesn’t count.
      What even was Nationals last election slogan…..that’s right Delivering for NZers.

  4. duperez

     /  26th December 2018
  5. Gezza

     /  26th December 2018

    One of the many positives about Kiwiland. We don’t have these ! 😮

    The Australian Reptile Park has reported a big increase in the number of deadly funnel-web spiders it receives – and it says they are the largest specimens they have ever handled.

    The park has issued a warning to the public after a record number of male funnel-webs were handed in during the Christmas period, general manager Tim Faulkner said. “We have had four of the largest male funnel-webs ever handed in received this very week,” Faulkner said.

    Spiders as big as 10cms in leg span have been handed in to the Australian Reptile Park.
    The recent dry weather followed by storms are believed to have played a part in the rise in numbers.

  6. Gezza

     /  26th December 2018

    As every regular here knows, I watch Aljazeera news every day. And I every day I thank Providence that I had the extremely good fortune to be born at this time, in this country, rather than in the Middle East, or Africa, or Asia, or Eurasia, or Crimea or Eastern Ukraine, or Bosnia or any of the host of other countries that are riven with strife, human rights abuses, grinding poverty, ignorance, famine, corruption, war and hatred for others which has lasted generations. New Zealand is a haven I love.


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