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Op-Ed: Want to escape America’s Armageddon? Don’t come to New Zealand



#OpEd #escape #Americas #Armageddon #Dont #Zealand

Once I lived in america and folks discovered I used to be from New Zealand, the quick response was all the time one thing about “The Lord of the Rings” movies, which have been shot right here, however I’ve by no means seen any of them. Individuals additionally requested, “Why would you allow there to come back to the U.S.?” with the identical emphasis as one may ask, “Why would you allow Disneyland to come back to the dentist?”

As captured onscreen, New Zealand exists as a coveted, remoted elsewhere within the American creativeness. That extends to the nation’s political picture as a woman-led liberal bastion. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is understood for giving birth whereas in workplace, containing the spread of COVID-19 and passing gun control laws. However when “New Zealand” traits within the U.S., it’s hardly ever due to New Zealand in any respect. As a substitute, it’s normally as a result of one thing has occurred within the States that feels apocalyptic, after which Individuals panic and Google find out how to transfer to New Zealand.

Some noticeable peaks in “New Zealand” as a search time period embrace November 2016, when Donald Trump gained the presidential election, after which final month, with the overturn of Roe vs. Wade. When Individuals look up New Zealand residency purposes, it’s not as a result of they need to stay in Christchurch. It’s as a result of they need to transfer elsewhere. Anyplace. As distant from the place they do stay as attainable.

It won’t be such a foul factor if everybody repelled by the recriminalization of abortion have been emigrate Down Below, if it weren’t for the entire billionaires who’re already right here. You see, if American liberals idealize New Zealand as a distant island of 5 million environmentally moral social progressives that they might match into, then the American superrich see it as a distant island of environmentally moral social progressives that they might take over.

Billionaires have been buying luxury bunkers here for years as a way to spend money on what they understand to be their absolute best likelihood at surviving Armageddon. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel raised eyebrows in New Zealand in 2017 when news of his under-the-radar residency turned public, and in latest months, he has confronted resistance from local government planners over his proposal to construct a five-star guest lodge within the South Island. In the meantime, he’s backing right-wing U.S. congressional candidates who align with President Trump and advocate for stricter U.S. border laws, regardless of his bending of New Zealand residency restrictions to go well with himself.

Not that Thiel appears keen to assert being Kiwi, so why pay the excessive worth for our passport? On the one hand, the nation’s geographic isolation makes for a promising haven within the occasion of battle or illness. On the opposite, the sea level is rising, New Zealand is sinking and we’re so quake-prone that the entire place shakes like an ageing chihuahua. We’ve acquired high road fatalities, barely any military presence and one of many biggest threats to our nationwide well-being is a possum infestation.

Why is it, then, that the wealthy have their cash on us to outlive the apocalypse? They don’t, is the reply. They don’t anticipate New Zealand because it stands, nor its individuals, surviving the top of the world, however that’s a part of the allure. For them, we’re a simple conquest if the remainder of the world goes to hell.

Identified for having more sheep than individuals and, until recently, having a publicly funded wizard, New Zealand’s publicity workforce works tougher than Kris Jenner to place the nation as unintimidating and placid — Australia’s innocent sidekick. We money in, yearly, on being named one of many happiest countries in the world and one of many least corrupt countries in the world.

New Zealand additionally touts its racial variety and assist of Maori, including in government illustration. In actuality, we’re more than 70% white and our youth suicide rate is excessive. As for corruption, New Zealand has no taxes on capital gains or inheritances, and it doesn’t tax existing wealth both. Public scrutiny of firm property possession is minimal, and there’s little to no public registration of trusts. And, as Thiel made so clear, if you happen to’re rich sufficient, you possibly can buy your way throughout the border.

I wonder if the superrich would take into account New Zealand to be the perfect locale for his or her doomsday bunker if it actually have been, in actual fact, one of many least corrupt international locations on this planet and so they needed to spend 1,350 days right here to acquire a proper to citizenship, like different newcomers.

Don’t get me improper. There’s no nuclear energy, abortions are authorized, weapons are extremely regulated in New Zealand and also you’re by no means greater than 80 miles from the ocean. It’s stunning, however it isn’t Disneyland and it isn’t your elsewhere.

The nation you’re imagining, the one you’ve been bought, it doesn’t exist. We’re as unhappy, racist and corrupt as the remainder of the world, and, these days, there are a bunch extra billionaires in addition.

Diana Clarke is a author and instructor based mostly in New Zealand and creator of the latest novel “The Hop.”