The illusion of New Zealand
In New Zealand an estimated 42,000 people are homeless or are living in poor housing conditions.
118,910 investigations of family violence were reported in 2016 Between July 2015 and June 2016 579 New Zealanders took their own lives. Is this a “perfect” New Zealand?
Introduction: We live in the illusion that New Zealand is some great place, a beautiful travel destination where nothing bad ever happens. New Zealand, the land of the free. We may live in a place that has a great ascetic, clean beaches and tracks that the outer world seems to adore. But behind the mask of chilled personas and walking tracks a more sinister thing is hidden; We live in societies of social injustice, where we seem to tolerate so much. But at what point do we stop and actually assess our actions and how we can help those in need. We live in a first world country with access to clean water and health care, but what we lack is the moral support to assist others. New Zealanders have a sense of pride when it comes to their lives and the way they live. People often hide behind shields, believing that it would make them weak to ask for help. That it’s their fault for being where they are, or in their current situation. We lack the sense of urgency to ask people the questions that matter. Is this a “perfect” New Zealand?
Paragraph 1: – Housing As of June 2016, 42,000 New Zealanders were estimated to either be living on the streets or living in substandard housing conditions. Poor housing conditions can range from damp surfaces, no hot or running water, or proper heating. This leaves people living in garages, garden shields, cars and caravan parks. Families living out of cars is not uncommon and not a way to live. Having access to running water or a stable roof over your head is something that we often overlook as we don’t see real families like this in Wanaka. But it’s still 42,000 people living in situations. Yet we seem to be doing nothing to help them. Is this still a “perfect” New Zealand?
Paragraph 2: – Domestic violence Family violence is often such a hidden factor in people’s lives and the illusion they create may be out of shame from being “too weak” to stand up for themselves or maybe out of fear of receiving another bashing. Some of these people who have been harmed either physically or emotionally by someone who they expected to love and support them have been demoralised and they no longer have the thought of deserving better. In 2016 alone 118,910 reports of family or domestic violence were investigated by police. 118,910 men, woman and children who were abused by their partner, parent or other family member last year. That’s one report every 5 and 1/2 minutes. With such a high rates of brutality hidden, is this still a “perfect” New Zealand?
Paragraph 3: – Suicide New Zealand has the second highest youth suicide rate in the developed world. Take a moment and process that. New Zealanders have always seemed to have an overall they’ll be right attitude to most things that they encounter and perhaps that’s why so many signs go unnoticed. Once every 67 hours a New Zealand youth commits suicide. Less than every 3 days a person aged between 11-19 believes that their is no other alternative. 1 in 20 New Zealand students attempt suicide every year. And these statistics are yet to go down. Is it now just the social norm that people want to die? Last year 579 New Zealanders took their own lives, every 16 hours someone decided they couldn’t do it anymore. Is New Zealand’s society so amoral that even the slightest expression of human negative emotion is dictated to be “weak”? Is the entire illusion of New Zealand pride really worth the death of hundreds of individuals each year? Is this still a “perfect” New Zealand?
Conclusion: New Zealand, the “perfect” country right? A perfect country with 42,000 of its people living on the streets. The perfect country with a domestic violence investigation reported every 5 and 1/2 minutes. A perfect country with the second highest suicide rate in the developed world. But these are the stats that make up a perfect New Zealand, aren’t they? No. They’re not. So why do we continue to live in the illusion of greatness when we are just passing over the line. We talk so much about things that don’t matter, yet so little about the things that do. We talk about a change that never happens. Whether its about adjusting a budget to make housing more affordable for those on low income salaries or making a line of communication easier to access for people in troublesome relationships or family circumstances. But this change slow, or non existent.
Passing piece of wisdom: But you know, is this still a “perfect” New Zealand?