Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Do we need some inspiration?

6 May 2024

We live in a world that is loaded down with rules, regulations, bureaucracy and unnecessary "overheads" in the form of compliance obligations imposed by a million and one "authorities".

Well at least that's the way it appears whenever you're dealing with government, a local council or anything that might in some way involve "the powers that be".

However, here in NZ we're pretty lightly regulated (mostly) when compared to other countries in the developed world -- even Australia.

Today I'm going to share a post from an Australian who seems to have had a guts-full of their government's over-reach.

This post was made to X (formerly Twitter) by a guy called John Goddard, a bloke with a fairly modest 15,000 followers.

Here's what he had to say:

Australia is a sad, pathetic country.

There are no companies, just real estate agents and public servants.

Where is the innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship?

It’s been crushed by taxation and regulation.

Everyone is too afraid to do anything because they don’t even know what they’re allowed to do anymore.

So they just clock into their government job and watch footy on the weekend.

Who is creating anything?

We have abundant natural resources, a beautiful and inspirational country-side.

We live on a massive, isolated island.

Australia should be world leading in every field.

It should be a utopia of free thought, free enterprise, and innovation.

But instead everyone is spiritually crushed by the nanny state.

You can’t fish or hunt or start a business or speak or build without seeking permission from some goblin in the public service.

A leech. A parasite. Who only exists to suck the life out of you.

We need libertas. Freedom.

Remove the shackles and people will do amazing, awe-inspiring things in this beautiful land.

But they can’t. They’re locked into 30-year mortgages that take away the majority of their take home pay.

Slaves to Commonwealth Bank just to own 200 square metres of land in Preston.

They have nothing left at the end of each month to experiment with.

So they’re forced to be a wage slave at one of the 8 companies that exist in this country.

Because it’s impossible to run anything apart from a large company in Australia.

The small ones can’t afford the compliance costs.

Nobody understands the thousands of pages of legislation they need to comply with the run a company.

We had this amazing opportunity and we fumbled it because everyone voted away their freedoms in exchange for some fake safety.

The penal colony never ended.

We asked for it to continue and it did.

What can I say?

Over 7,000 people have given his post a "like" and of the more than 1,000 comments it created, the vast majority are supportive of his analysis and echo his sentiments.

Poor Australia!

"The Lucky Country" is looking a lot like "The Lame Country", if this post and its supporters are to believed.

Now I don't think for one minute that New Zealand is nearly this bad -- but it's also far from as good as it could be in this regard. Like our Aussie cousins, we're over-governed, over-regulated and burdened with excessive compliance and other overheads, whenever we want to do something.

We recently had the roof replaced on our house and a *significant* amount of the cost was the errection of scafolding and other "safety" considerations. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to have to hose the remains of fallen roofers off my porch but I'm pretty sure there are ways to be "safe enough" without going over the top, in the way that we seem to be doing these days.

The other day I my wife to a hospital appointment in Rotorua, normally just a 40 minute drive from here. It took a *lot* longer because inordinately long stretches of road were flagged as 30Kph zones with cones as far as the eye could see -- but nobody working and no new seal or other reasons I could see for imposing such restriction.

Then, as I pointed out in a recent column, it took nearly a dozen workers to fix a pothole just down the road from here because of all the personel dedicated to traffic control, supervising, overseeing, monitoring plus health and safety considerations.

Almost every week I read in the paper that someone, somewhere in this country has been forced to live in their car because the local council has refused permission for them to inhabit the tiny home they've had errected on a family member's farm or similar for some specious reason or another.

So much of our money and our time now has to be sunk into "overheads" that there's just not enough left for true innovation and development of ideas.

Of course there are ways around this. Just this morning I watched a video made by a young guy in the USA who's been laid off from Tesla. He's gone from a $120K a year job to nothing overnight and without warning. He has decided to sell his house (can't afford the mortgage) and live in his car for five years. All the money he would otherwise be spending on sky-high mortgage fees or rent will be sunk into the stockmarket. His plan is to be financially secure within five years. I should also mention that this guy has a business degree.

Compare that to New Zealand -- where people thing that financial security is simply getting on the property ladder and giving a huge chunk of your income to the banks for the use of their money to buy a massively over-valued house.

There are ways around the hurdles that the X poster identified -- but those hurdles will discourage a huge number of people from "having a go" and they require far more sacrifice than should be necessary in a well adjusted economy.

Sadly, I think that both Aussie and NZ are on the back foot. We have some really bright people who could, if allowed, create greatness right here. Sadly however, our systems are geared against them such that once they're in a position to sell, they do -- and almost always to an offshore purchaser. The list of NZ "greats" that are now owned by offshore entities grows by the day and we'll never reach our full potential if our entrepreneurs consider the only exit strategy to be selling to a US company long before all the value has been realised.

How do we fix this?

I suspect we can't. Simply because there are far too few people who are either smart enough or care enough to demand better of our politicians. "She'll be right" is almost certainly what they'll be putting on our gravestone.

Carpe Diem folks!

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