He has now moved to the US with her. Her brother is a good friend of mine, and is incredibly irritated with his lack of drive and motivation. I've hiked with the guy, and I don't think he's lazy at all. He just doesn't value money, and his view on life is that he's going to teach school, and do whatever it takes to make his lifestyle match his income, rather than the other way around.
He told me that this is a cultural thing in New Zealand. Nobody pressures you to achieve a certain level of material success. The view is that if you are self-sufficient, then you've arrived. Nobody judges you for not being a "good provider."
Me, as an American, I envy this. I have tremendous pressure from my extended family to make money, so I do. (Plus, in this country, you can't have a decent school system and/or health insurance unless you have a good job)
I live here in New Zealand and thats quiet true. There are 3 billionaires in NZ and almost no one knows who they are. The only guy that is living a noticeable extravagant lifestyle is Kimdotcom, but that guy's german.
Maybe you are right and I am just cynical. But I have felt that some of these groups (with the exception of working class poor) are tolerated because of their success potential than for their status as individuals. And even with that a large number of people appear to disdainful of unsuccessful people in these fields.
And about the only people who seem to like the working class poor are politicians who see them as a voting bloc of sorts.
IMHO it's just a bit of cynicism.
Even those who "hate the poor" here don't hate the poor, they hate the lazy. They simply equate being lazy with being poor. But if you're poor and working (or even poor but not imposing on society) then even the right-wingers I'd know of would have tons of respect.
If anything the desire for status seems to be reviled more and more in America too.
(In this case for instance - living in the midwest puts me into contact with a very large number of people who's beliefs align nearly perfectly with the television narrative).
One thing you have to remember is that in general, Americans are culturally one of the most generous nations in the world. Broadly speaking, that includes foreign aid and domestic welfare as well as voluntary charity. But at that same time, the US is an industrious nation that prizes hard work. It's a fine line to walk and people fall through the cracks in the system.
Nevertheless, it's extremely uncharitable IMO to suggest that the poor are "hated" in America.
Broadly speaking, no, foreign aid given by the US is barely top 30 per capita.
US ranks #21 in Foreign aid and is 1/5 Sweden.
Welfare # GDP US: 14.8
Giving we are #1 in monitary donations but it's only 1.85% of GDP in the US. http://www.forbes.com/2008/12/24/america-philanthropy-income... "Based on volunteerism alone, the Netherlands comes first, followed by Sweden and then the U.S."
Both sides of the media play on peoples' emotions. The real question is: are you intellectually honest enough to entertain views and thoughts for their own merit without dismissing them flatly just because "they're from Fox", "John Stossel", or "Romney".
Not having won isn't the problem, it's being satisfied and not playing the game which society shuns.
The startup set are almost all wealthy, if not in assets then definitely in schooling, parenting, confidence. Where did all the most successful entrepreneurs grow up, go to school, what professions are their parents in. It's a pretty homogenous group really.
The poor are treated like shit in the US (and in most of the world), and their concerns and opinions mean nothing to those in power.
I think your perspective may be out of focus.
If you only could. The problem is that in the US a great portion of taxes are locally raised and spent, and the way of dealing with poverty is to price the poor out of areas where they aren't wanted.
To get access to halfway decent schools you need to move to the suburbs, and what's available there in housing is hugely outsized. You cannot save on heating, cooling, cleaning and enclosed space, nevermind the commute, because that economic option does not exist. So you bite the bullet with everyone else and you cannot choose not to play the game.
I, and many people I know are doing it. Of course, like anything worth doing, it takes hard work and dedication, but it certainly can be done.
If only. That would be a great form of funding community governance. Where local communities help themselves up, instead of practically begging for scraps from a wealthy government that really doesn't care until it gets them votes.
Change has to come from within. And it won't come so long as people think like you. i.e. "Change can come when funding comes from better places" Which completely ignores the real problems and real difficulties facing real people in those places you seem to not want to live in. Ask yourself why you don't want to live there.
Meanwhile any child unlucky enough to grow up poor is greated with decay and dysfunction at every turn, is never given the education nor the opportunities to succeed, or have interests much above basic survival. Upward mobility is basically zero. Welcome to feudal America.
We as a society can only share blame for one generation. The next one is on the parents.
As someone who has come from a poor family, I know full well what sacrifice and hard work can do to uplift your children's prospects in the world. Even if that means drastic life changes. And as a consequence of that, I will not accept peoples' excuses for remaining in poverty. Nor will I share the blame for their failings.
Kiwis are some of the warmest folks I have ever met. When my wife and I arrived at the airport our friends had forgotten which day we were arriving and had a 3 hour drive to get to us. The random woman who's phone we borrowed proceeded to argue with our friends over the phone about who's house we would stay at that night.
We saw similar hospitality everywhere we went. Its a stark contrast to the US.
Or when I was in a small town in Virginia with a friend, we were in a shop, and discussing whether the museum there would be open the next day. The shop assistant overheard and offered to call them for us. Even people in DC were wonderfully polite and friendly! So much so that I'm heading back for another holiday in a couple of weeks time.
Most have menial jobs just enough to get by with government assistance.
Yet everyone goes to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico every year and they make nothing. I can see how all-inclusive vacations became so popular.
I work with 20-year-olds who laugh if they are sent home at work for doing something wrong or if sent home due to some issue at work. A few have travelled all over Europe, Australia, South America yet make nothing as a salary I probably make four times what they do but can't see how they can afford it let alone me.
People are OK with you if you pay your bills nobody freaks out or looks down on you if you aren't super successful or even if you don't work full-time.
> I probably make four times what they do but can't see how they can afford it let alone me.
I'm sorry to break it to you but you are paying for it through taxes. Ok, that's an over-generalisation but there is some truth to it. It's very easy to get by without a salary in Quebec due to the multitude of governmental services (I recall reading that over 50% of Quebec's economy is driven by the public sector). I have a friend who is on welfare and still manages to go to Cuba every year.
Personally, I'm a fan of the attitude (not caring too much about work/money) on an individual level. For a while, I was living the 3 months freelancing / 3 months vacation lifestyle and it was great. That being said, I'm not a fan of the governmental policies which promote it at the expense of other equally admirable attitudes (e.g. entrepreneurship/hard work). It's not all fun and roses. The economy of Quebec has been suffering a lot from those "big government" policies and Quebec has now become one of the poorest province in Canada despite its abundance of natural resources and highly educated population. Of course, I implied here that there is a cause and effect between those policies and the economy but not everyone would agree with me on this. In fact, a sizeable fraction of the population (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_solidaire) actually advocates for economic degrowth...
Ok, I'm definitely going off topic now.
 I think part of the issue is that in U.S. success is judged by how much money you have.
I have trouble here with the word "invested". There's nothing wrong with giving your children a good education, and there's nothing wrong with wanting them to be successful for themselves and on their own terms. But an "investment" is exactly the wrong way to look at it. An "investment" is something people expect a return on. Having your child do well in life is not a return to you on your "investment".
Look again at what JPKab wrote:
>> I envy [the lack of pressure in NZ]. I have tremendous pressure from my extended family to make money, so I do.
Someone who feels this way is not living their own life.
I work hard to make money and be successful too. But I don't do it because someone else wants me to. I do it because I want to, and I do it the way I want to do it. So I don't envy the bucolic New Zealand lifestyle. It's right for some people, I'm sure, but it would bore me to tears in a matter of days. (I'm not saying I couldn't live in NZ, but I would still want to do the kind of work I'm doing.)
I used strong language quite intentionally. JPKab needs to figure out what he/she really wants to do in life, and that's going to require putting an emotional wall up to block out all that pressure. It won't be easy, but the reward will be an authentic life.
 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_law_of_headlines
This is similar to the way that European countries seem to lose out to the US in wages yet when you take into account the time spend on holidays and lack of overtime you see that the gap essentially disappears.
I genuinely think it's time for an overhaul of how we rate standard of living. Consumption is not a good measure, and it's too closely tied to "more money means better"
Where were you living? The hardcore 'bludgers' are a minority of our welfare claimants.
Your portrayal of NZ strikes me as lopsided, considering we're working longer and longer hours : http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/7841749/No-rest-for-th...
Edit: Huh? Why the down vote?
The point of the post is that NZL has 20% below OECD average GDP per capita, when it would be predicted for them to be 20% above.
The key figure is Figure 3 from http://www.productivity.govt.nz/sites/default/files/internat...
In that, you can see NZL at the far bottom right.
On the other hand, Norway, Sweden, and Finland are all above the line, meaning they have higher GDP per capita than predicted. The only nordic country below the line is Denmark, and they are barely below the line.
So, you are saying that the nordic countries are similar, but the very paper this blog post is based on shows they are not at all economically similar.
Oil revenues make such comparisons tricky at best. You would need to consider the hypothetical case of a New Zealand with lots of oil to sell, or a Norway without any.
The nordic countries are known for high taxes, excellent social welfare benefits, free healthcare, free education, low crime, low corruption, high quality of life and so on.
Sure they have some big companies but with a few exceptions they aren't build on innovation nor entrepreneurship. Most large companies in the nordic countries are quite old and the new ones that start there quickly move to the US, England or Asia if they want to scale.
Pretty much sounds like NZ.
Bullet points for starters:
1. We are genuinely relaxed people, life is good, weather not too hot or too cold, food easy to get or grow, housing not horribly expensive, healthcare obtainable for all, education as close to free as we can make it and an overall low crime and corruption rate. So the majority of us go to sleep at night, overall, not worried about losing our livelihood one day to the next or not having enough to eat. Similar in this respect to the Northern Europeans.
2. Tall poppy syndrome. We don't like people standing out from the crowd in terms of personality, flamboyance, income - to fit in, you maintain a level of 'bloke/girl next door'. Even if you have tons of money or you are flamboyantly dressy. If not, cue media outcry and attacks, so you move overseas where you can disappear among the masses.
3. Geography! You have no idea how expensive it can be to live here. We work hard to export all our fine goods to you and work harder to import the things we love.
4. The knowledge economy
We are messing up here. Internet is too expensive, kids are not getting properly schooled in computing skills and we don't place a high enough value on STEM. If the government really really focused on STEM the next 10 years our next gen kids could have incredible lives, where distance is no barrier thanks to internet access and quality of life is incredible (those mountains, sheep and rivers/lakes are totally as amazing as you see in the photos).
As someone who works in high-tech company, I can't see any reason to stay here once we've got a big enough base to support ourself. We'll probably shift to the US.
Most of my friends who entered the market recently were looking at prices of between $650k-$850k for something smallish in an OK area.
This was for houses which were not new builds (70s/80s) and would need a bit of work to get up to scratch (insulation, plumbing, kitchen/bathroom remodelling).
So I've just been sitting and building equity and cash reserves. Who knows when/if it will return to earth, but I don't feel comfortable leveraging up that much, so as a single buyer, I'm sitting this one out.
NZ has its own competitive advantages:
(1) An educated population;
(2) An English-speaking population (yes, this is an advantage. Regardless of the rise of the East, English is still the international language of business.)
But, clearly, it has certain disadvantages. Geographical isolation is one of those. It is difficult to close your trade deficit efficiently if your manufacturers are pummelled by shipping costs (and expensive labour costs). It's products are almost always going to be more expensive than it's competitors.
So, what should NZ do?
An obvious solution would be to invest in intangible exports (that's the technical terms for non-physical exports); exports that will bring money and jobs into NZ without having to saddle the costs of shipping.
This is what has happened in most of the west. But in most of Europe, we have invested in financial intangibles rather than digital intangibles. That's gone okay (hmm, okay might be a stretch). But it is unlikely to be the right move for NZ because it hasn't got an established financial center nor access to the Euro markets. (Actually with the rise of the China, which is geographically close to NZ, it might have a go at snapping up some of the renmimbi trade).
What does a country do with a highly educated workforce that needs to export intangibles? Software is the obvious solution.
Invest in Computer Science education at school, write an attractive set of tax laws for digital start-ups, and invest in high-tech infrastructure (i.e, be the first country to roll-out 5G).
In fact, the more I think about the it, the more this makes sense. As NZ is a comparatively small country with few concentrated geographical centres, it could roll-out super-fast broadband, 5G, etc, on the cheap.
Anyways, just a few thoughts.
The geographical 'closeness' of New Zealand to China can be overstated. The distance between Auckland and Hong Kong is only slightly less than the distance between Los Angeles and Santiago. I'm not sure that many US Americans would consider Santiago geographically close. The basic fact about New Zealand is that it really is not geographically close to anywhere and this is why it was the last significant habitable chunk of land on the planet to be settled by humans (within the last 1000 years). New Zealand is actually very close to the centre of the 'water hemisphere'.
Nevertheless, you're right that trade with China is becoming more and more important to New Zealand's economy.
> As NZ is a comparatively small country with few concentrated geographical centres, it could roll-out super-fast broadband, 5G, etc, on the cheap.
They are now doing this:
That said, the time-zone is an advantage when it comes to deployment - a 4am deployment German time is happily within normal 9 - 5 hours in NZ.
Admittedly, when we travel to Germany for quarterly planning, you realise that being able to walk up to the product owner's office and discuss things in person is far more efficient and far better for resolving things faster. But at the end of the day, we can run 3 Scrum teams in NZ for as much as it cost us to run 1 Scrum team in Munich when we tried it as an experiment - the business team accepts the downsides of distance and time-zone simply for the efficiencies in euros.
I guess that's an upside of being a low-wage economy - we're still competitive despite our stupidly high dollar.
I can think of several reasons to move to AU from NZ as a startup; a greater talent pool and larger investment community for starters. It's by no means a slam dunk, but they're valid reasons.
My read is that kiwis tend to come back when they're ready to start a family, but during those vital 18-25 years when the entrepreneurial spirit is strongest, they're simply not in the country. They're elsewhere.
The kiwis I talk to that are in that demographic here at Google all seem to be want to go back to NZ, but only if the prospects are there, such as Google opening a real-deal engineering office. But it's hard to convince companies that that is a worthwhile venture when Australia and NZ have freedom of worker movement.
Without the population to lead NZ forward, and with no companies willing to invest to drag it forward, I don't think we'll ever see NZ be richer and more productive. But as other commenters have noticed, I think NZ is perfectly happy with that, because they're happy with their lot, which is something to be envied.
The good news is that immigration from Asia, India and the Pacific has given the country a significant population of people who culturally are more likely than Europeans to help with population growth. So who knows, maybe in 10-20 years the population will be large enough for the brain drain to sort itself out.
Working at a distributed company, I really wish more Kiwis would apply to my company if only so I could have an excuse to go visit. :)
Because the country is so small - and generally without a class system - it's possible, on a relatively small income, to have everything you might want. This has sometimes been reported as the "three Bs" - a boat, a BMW and a beach house . To have those three things in the UK without being born into them, you might have to have a business that employs 100; a decent tradesman working alone in NZ can get those by their early 30s.
I think a short answer is "because it doesn't want to be."
 When traveling from Canada to Australia for work on my NZ passport, I was held up for some time explaining why I was traveling, who I worked for in Canada, who I was going to see, etc. If I had instead said "Hello, I want to live in your country forever, and claim benefits", they would have rubber-stamped my passport and allowed me on my merry way.
 Changing, even over the last few years, with the whim of the UK government
Surely you mean a bach bro?
Are boats and beach houses that much cheaper in NZ? In the US, you have to be quite wealthy, or quite an avid sailor, to own anything more substantial than a dinghy. Houses anywhere near a semi-desirable beach community cost >$1M. Even successful people in their 30s don't often buy second homes in that price range.
Figure 3 in Section 1 was really interesting, but maybe I haven't had enough coffee this morning:
New Zealand is in the lower-right quadrant, which I'm interpreting to mean that it is predicted to be 20+% above the OECD average, but it is observed to be at 20% below, i.e. -40% below expectations
So the top-left quadrant would be the best performers, right? Those that were expected to be below the OECD average but are observed to be higher, e.g. Norway with a +25% above expectations?
(Now that I wrote this out, it makes more sense to me...I was having trouble divining where exactly the USA stood by being in the top far right, but it's more about the distance from the line)
Vertical distance from the line is what you're looking for, so NZL is a crazy distance below. NOR, GRC and IRL are the furthest above the line.
However, another way to view this graph is to say that structural policies have no predictive power.
If you take out the outliers: the countries away from the central blob (e.g. Greece, Portugal and USA: all countries with exceptional circumstances), then the correlation is gone or perhaps even negative - meaning this is a poor model and a pointless exercise.
So, indeed, the outliers are driving the association... However, one is not permitted to cherry-pick data, so the "outliers" have to be left in.
Barnes, S., Bouis, R., Briard, P., Dougherty, S., and Eris, M. (2011).The GDP impact of reform: a simple simulation framework,OECD Economics Department Working Papers, no. 834, Paris, France: OECD.
I respect why you think this, but I don't agree. Identifying points on the graph which don't fit with the pattern of the rest of the data is a reasonable way to identify outliers. Even if you choose not to exclude those, there's a greater problem:
Correlation is not robust if it depends on 2 or 3 points being in just the right place. And, robustness is one of the things you really ought to check for if you calculate Pearson's r. If you get different results with outliers in and out, that's a problem for your results.
In my opinion, any significant result here is just statistical noise.
See Wikipedia for further discussion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearson_product-moment_correla...
Tasmania, in Australia, is not as wealthy as the mainland -- it's small and isolated. There are dozens of similar examples.
Meanwhile, Singapore is small, but sits athwart what has been, for hundreds of years, one of the busiest trading lanes on the planet.
You might want to revise that sentence. Singapore was nothing 100 years ago.
Singapore ceased to be part of the British Empire when it merged with Malaysia in 1963. Singapore lost its hinterland and was no longer the administrative or economic capital of the Malay Peninsula. The processing in Singapore of raw materials extracted in the Peninsula was drastically reduced due to the absence of a common market between Singapore and the Peninsular states.
Since Singapore's full independence in 1965, it has had to compete with other ports in the region to attract shipping and trade at its port. It has done so by developing an export-oriented economy based on value-added manufacturing. It obtains raw or partially manufactured products from regional and global markets and exports value-added products back to these markets through market access agreements such as World Trade Organization directives and free trade agreements.
By the 1980s, maritime trading activity had ceased in the vicinity of the Singapore River except in the form of passenger transport, as other terminals and harbours took over this role. Keppel Harbour is now home to three container terminals. Other terminals were built in Jurong and Pasir Panjang as well as in Sembawang in the north. Today, the port operations in Singapore are handled by two players: PSA International (formerly the Port of Singapore Authority) and Jurong Port, which collectively operate six container terminals and three general-purpose terminals around Singapore.
In the 1990s the Port became more well-known and overtook Yokohama, and eventually became the busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage
Singapore was colonised by Raffles in 1819 and within six years had a population of 10,000.
In 1756, the French colonised what would become the Seychelles Republic. Today it has a population of about 90,000.
Singapore may have been nothing 100 years ago, but trade through the region has been busy for much longer. Hence when Singapore decided to develop, it looked to the preexisting trade patterns, and developed accordingly.
New Zealand is the most beautiful place in the world, in my travels (circumvented the globe, but not been everywhere). Though I'm biased towards mountains.
So, theoretically, beauty+internet makes it a great place for software developers (and other information goods and services producers).
OTOH, NZ has prevented software patents (one of the few countries in the world to do so). Although many software developers love this, consider the question: will it increase investment in patentable inventions, or decrease it?
But in a way it's irrelevant: NZ itself is a tiny market. What counts is patents in other markets, US, Europe, Asia.
A few observations of factors that may be considered:
- Distance from markets impacts competitiveness of exports
- Distance from world / experience / culture / opportunities leads to exodus of young travelers (see "the Big OE", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overseas_experience) and braindrain
- "Tall-poppy syndrome" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome) reduces visibility of or desire for success
- "She'll be right" culture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She'll_be_right); apathetic, relaxed, or optimistic?
NZ has a very strong entrepreneurial culture but perhaps the challenges above or wrong choice of markets to target make that less effective econony-wise than it could be? There's an interesting read on that at http://pando.com/2013/05/14/number-8-wire-entrepreneurialism....
"Hawaii: If you lived HERE points to stunning scenery you'd be lazy too."
How does a Kiwi get a small business?, you give them a large business.
That's just a cruel joke and yet another data point in why Kiwis (rightly) think Aussies are pricks to them.
From my personal anecdotal experience of NZ:
* they have a much more laid back attitude
* many of the hard workers f-off to Australia to do it
* the government takes big stands on things, which is admirable but not indicative of a focus on business.
- i.e. No American nuclear ships allowed to dock there.
It's not just the local prostitute trade that benefits by having a US naval base in town.
None of this is NZ hate, far from it... they do their own thing and they are fine with it.
You may have missed that it's actually friendly sibling rivalry between the two. Most of the kiwis I've known make their own comedic jabs at Australia. It's all in good fun.
the government takes big stands on things ... No American nuclear ships allowed to dock there
This really isn't that big a stand. If NZ was where Borneo is, I doubt they'd have made that stand. NZ has effectively zero military needs due to its isolation. The closest potential threat to NZ is Indonesia, which is a quarter of the planet away. Not that Indonesia has any such desire, but Australia and PNG don't have the amount of armed forces required for an occupation, and the small islander nations just don't have enough people (with a few living off NZ aid in the first place).
Source: 4th paragraph here: http://johnquiggin.com/2011/05/19/9813/
Edit: Please note that the gravity model of trade is an approximate empirical observation of trade, not economic growth. Australia is just as isolated as is NZ and yet fares better.
Zuckerberg won't just bump into Sean Parker unless they are in a melting pot.
The variance of the past few years (between 1:1 to 1:2) is quite high. I guess theoretically the biggest difference between the two countries is the mineral wealth of Australia?
Unfortunately for us, we pissed all that windfall up against a wall. I don't think we posted a current account surplus at all throughout the resources boom years. Instead, Australian banks borrowed money from overseas to lend to Australians so they could sell houses to each other for ever increasing amounts every year. The Australian economy grew because we borrowed from overseas. Existing property owners got to feel richer. As soon as we start to pay back all the debt in a significant way, our economy will shrink. Just as the dependent to worker ratio has peaked. We will have nothing to show for it. Certainly not fast internets.
Sounds like the exact same finance became dominant in every other Western economy.
- many of the people I knew in IT in New Zealand have left, especially for Australia; when I was there, this was known as the 'brain drain'
- growing up in New Zealand, there was a strong anti-intellectual current to the culture, especially amongst Maori students (I came top in my year for Maori language despite there being fluent speakers in my school, because I did assignments and they didn't)
- successful people in New Zealand are often criticised because of their success; this is known as 'tall poppy syndrome'
- New Zealand is, politically speaking, entirely socialist; even their 'right wing' party is in favour of a welfare state, taxpayer-funded education and healthcare, and a wide range of 'sin taxes' and legislation designed to protect people from themselves (a.k.a. the 'Nanny State' to its critics)
- Universities there simply aren't as demanding as overseas; my wife cross-credited a psych. degree from Australia, and she was more than half way through a NZ undergrad degree after one year of a degree in Australia
Note that I haven't listed NZ's many positive characteristics. Just saying that all of the above contribute to an environment that in my experience is less productive and less entrepreneurial than Australia.
The problem is, this behavior is down to the fact that it's true, you do have to leave NZ to get anywhere in life (for the most part, unless you're happy only hitting it small). The most desirable companies to work for in the technology sector of NZ are essentially Xero and Vend right now, with your other choices being large corporates (Fujitsu, Datacom) or very small early stage startups with small amounts capital.
Startups don't thrive particularly well in New Zealand either, because there's nobody with enough capital to invest in them, so they often don't survive long enough or seek capital from overseas (like Xero/Vend, again, the exception to the rule).
The only natural thing to do is to move to a country with (a) more money, (b) more incentives, (c) more interesting work/problems to solve. The government of New Zealand does little to improve the situation and does not care about the technology sector much, doesn't work hard on getting better internet (we only have one cable to the outside world, and it's expensive to get bandwidth on it!) and doesn't encourage new, young companies to found here.
We just don't have much going for us here, in general, in the technology sector, but it's starting to change with initiatives like this from local government at least: http://hightechcapital.co.nz
It's sad. I wish the government would focus directly on optimizing NZ for technology companies, improve the internet, foster and encourage them (maybe even invest in them), help them get started in the world and meet investors. Some initiatives exist, like the Kiwi Landing Pad, but it's just not good enough yet.
90% of my friends immediately left the country after university. This is mostly due to low income employment and lack of potential career development.
Like most kiwis I moved to Australia (two and a half years ago now), my income increased by 50% just by making the move. People in Australia (Melbourne) also seem a lot happier and successful (by their own measures, whatever they might be).
For my friends and I, other than the beautiful landscape there wasn't much holding us to New Zealand and quality of life is better in Australia.
I'm from the 'West Island' (Australia) but the culture is very similar. Money is made from physical things, technology is a semi necessary, semi dubious expense that should only exist as part of 'doing real things'. This is one reason a lot of Australians and Kiwis who have an interest in technology leave.
That being said, there probably is also a cultural element. I wouldn't really say it was a cultural shift. It's more that the relative stability and increasing globalization in the latter half of the 20th century gave Singaporeans the opportunity to realize their entrepreneurial ambitions.
New Zealand is so isolated that there's an entire continent between them and "through traffic" shipping lanes.
This is in addition to their 'legal' tax avoidance-derived GDP. In 2012, Apple did $14 Billion in revenue in Singapore, which was more than they had in the rest of Asia combined, yet they didn't have a single store or manufacturing center in the city-state. Microsoft actually beat Apple to setup a Singapore-based affiliate for the same purpose.
I'm curious to see how they fare in a decade after these sources of 'income' are greatly restricted in the global crackdown.
One of these days, I'm going to devote a few hours to calculating how much of Singapore's GDP / Tax base only exists due to their status as a tax haven.
 - http://www.icij.org/search/node/singapore
[a] - http://globalnation.inquirer.net/95743/pnb-gets-marcos-loot-...
[b] - http://www.icij.org/offshore/mugabe-crony-among-thai-names-s...
[c] - http://www.icij.org/offshore/billionaires-among-thousands-in...
[d] - http://international.sueddeutsche.de/post/74093618828/chinas...
[e] - http://www.smh.com.au/news/business/singapore-a-friend-indee...
[f] - http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/036282b4-be65-11de-b4ab-00144...
 - http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/24/us-singapore-tax-i...
 - http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-singapore-bank...