Tag Archives: New Zealand

Another Example of How Messed up Our Health Care System is

Just another quick example of how messed up our health care system is. Bush started negotiations with New Zealand…
Now New Zealand, like every other first world “westernized” country has universal health care. Every New Zealand citizen is covered. Also included in that coverage is prescriptions. The government of New Zealand negotiates with the drug companies to get a cheap price on prescriptions. A fair chunk of this price is paid by the government, the citizen then pays a small percentage of that. Basically it is like a prescription plan we may have here, but cheaper, and subsidized by the government instead of an insurance company. If you want to eliminate wait times and other stuff that comes with the universal system, you can buy supplemental private insurance from for profit companies, as I noted before that would be about $80 NZD a month ($55 USD).
Anyhow, one of the main issues the administration had was that the government of New Zealand was subsidizing prescriptions for their citizens and negotiating such cheap rates. They wanted them to not to negotiate such low prices so that American pharmaceutical companies could make more profit. It was Bush’s view then that it is better to see New Zealand citizens suffer and pay more to protect US profits. And I think this helps point out one of the many problems we have here. The fact that too many people care about profits and not enough about sick people.

On Moving

Okay, so we have a 5 year plan to move out of the US.
We have a few main points of looking at so far…
Wellington, New Zealand. I would prefer somewhere along the Kapiti Coast if I could get a job there as well since it is so far from Wellington’s CBD, but still part of the Wellington Region.
Vancouver, Canada. Not sure where specifically to look at here. I was thinking North Vancouver, but that really depends on the job location.
To that list I keep thinking of adding Melbourne, Australia. Continue reading On Moving

Congrats to the All Blacks on Winning 2008 Tri Nations Cup

Big congratulations to the All Blacks for winning the Tri Nations Cup against the Wallabies 28 to 24 in Brisbane Australia.
I don’t follow Rugby enough to know if the All Blacks made the right choice by going with Graham Henry as head coach again over the Wallabies coach Robbie Deans. At the time it looked like the public was in favor of Robbie Deans, but I don’t know how they are reacting in New Zealand now that Henry pulled off the Tri-Nations… of course the real test will be if the All Blacks can win the Rugby World Cup when it happens next in 2011…(In 2007, they didn’t even make it to the final 4.)

Proof Bush is a Communist and Doesn’t Believe in Free Markets

Creekstone Farms Premium Beef in Kansas wanted to start testing all its meat for Mad Cow disease (currently only 1% of our meat is tested for the incurable disease that lays waste to the human brain), but the Bush administration stopped them because larger meat packing firms feared that if Creekstone Farms Premium Beef succeeded in getting better sales because they were advertising they were testing all their meat, then they would have to follow suit and start doing expensive tests themselves… in other words the meat packing industry feared the open market and asked the Bush administration. (Story.)
Since McCain is a twin of Bush, I would expect more of the same from him.
US beef (and a range of other meat) is already banned in many countries outside the US (even China refuses to let our meat in), I think this will just solidify their ban. (The EEC bans US beef do to the hormone treatments most US meat growers give their cows to speed the growth process.) I guess we can chalk up another reason to move to New Zealand as fast as possible, safer food.
Anyhow, I find it amazing that the Bush administration would actually take steps to block the free market from allowing proven safer beef from reaching the market, especially when the company was going to pay for it itself.

Just as I Thought They Need a Movie About Rugby

I just saw a trailer for yet another ping pong movie, and then one for soccer, and I started thinking, I have seen movies based on lots of sports: all the aforementioned, golf, football, basketball, a few others, but never one for rugby. Oddly, the very next trailer I clicked at random on Apple’s Trailer site was for Forever Strong, staring Sean Faris, Gary Cole and Sean Astin. (Despite the All Black Haka style intro we see at the start of the trailer, shown below, the movie takes place in the USA.)

Watch the better quality trailer at the official site linked above.

Texas and Ohio Voters are Idiots and Paul Still in the Race

Clinton won both Ohio and Texas. To be fair, she was expected to win both by a large margin, and her margin in Texas wasn’t much and the caucus isn’t counted far enough yet to see how delegates are distributed. None of the news organizations seem to agree on exactly how the counts are distributed, but even after the sad results of Texas and Ohio, Obama still has a sizable delegate lead.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media is ignoring that Ron Paul is still in the race and that McCain doesn’t have the race locked up as he doesn’t have the required number of pledged delegates. Ohio apparently is all unpledged. However, I truly think it is time for Ron Paul to move to the Libertarian party for his Presidential bid now that he won his Congressional seat back, and McCain is as good as the nominee. While he probably wouldn’t win the election on the Libertarian ticket, he would get them enough votes that they would be in the debates 4 years from now and there is a slim chance they may include Paul in the debates that way, though they probably wouldn’t.
If Clinton wins the nomination… well it is time to start looking more seriously at Vancouver or Nelson. Vancouver is closer, and Sara seems excited about it and Toronto. She isn’t sold on Nelson for some reason, perhaps due to it being so far, though it is in the foothills of the Southern Alps, has 4 seasons, is far sunnier than most places here save the South… Not that we can afford to move to either one for a long time anyhow. 🙁

I Think it is Telling

I think it is telling when the “better educated” people, as the media polls call them, favor Obama and the “less educated” people prefer Clinton. That should speak volumes as to whom the Democrats should elect. Obviously the “educated” people know who is the better choice.
If we get Obama vs McCain, I will vote for Obama, if it is McCain vs Clinton I think about moving out of the country but in the meantime vote 3rd party. If it is Obama vs Huckabee… well, that is likely not to happen, I’ll decide in the booth between 3rd party and Obama, unless of course that 3rd party choice is Ron Paul where Ron Paul is the clear choice…
Here is my current run down:
Ron Paul
Anybody but Clinton or McCain
The Libertarian choice if it isn’t Ron Paul…
I think that keeps care of everyone. 🙂
As far as moving out of the country, it would likely be Vancouver, though I would really prefer New Zealand, and of course I already covered the city choices there in other posts.
Meanwhile, what the flip is up with Washington state stopping their counts and declaring McCain the winner before they were done counting? The vote count was close enough, with enough votes left uncounted that the whole thing stinks. If I were a Washington voter, I would be highly pissed. Did the vote counters look at the uncounted ballots and see that Huckabee or Paul were going to win and decided to leave them uncounted? It is one thing for a network to declare a winner before the counts are done and the polls are closed (unlike 2000 where they declared a winner long before even the East coast polls were closed), but is another thing for the officials to declare a winner before they are done counting and then stop counting.
Anyhow, I officially support Obama, after Ron Paul.

If it Were to be Australia Instead of New Zealand

If I were to move to Australia instead of New Zealand, since I have always loved Koala’s and Kangaroo’s (but if there is one thing that I learned from the Crocodile Hunter, it is that nearly every deadliest creature in the world lives in Australia so that part isn’t cool). Anyhow big city order there would be: Melbourne, Sydney, and perhaps Brisbane. I would actually probably try to find a smaller city or town in those areas, but don’t feel like looking it up now. However, my heart still belongs to New Zealand, and of course to Nelson, New Zealand in particular. Heck, I would probably go to Auckland (not on my list of New Zealand cities to move to now) before considering the Melbourne area, then perhaps Melbourne then other New Zealand locations mixed in with some Australia locations…
For those wanting us to stay here… Phoenix area, then Vancouver, then somewhere between Portland and Seattle, then the Baltimore to DC area, Austin, Columbus then here… something like that list anyhow. 😉

Now 33rd in Google for Nelson, New Zealand Blog Searches

EDIT: As I jumped from 33rd to 1st, this isn’t a Nelson, New Zealand Blog… at least yet. 🙂 So if you are searching Google or whatever, ignore this entry… hopefully you see this show up before you follow the link. Original post below:

I am presently the 33rd Google result of looking for: Nelson, New Zealand Blog. 🙂
I was actually looking for another blog I saw before and ran across mine… actually an entry from just yesterday.
I was amused… go about your normal business, there is nothing to see here.
Still trying to find that one to my entry on the Pros of Nelson, New Zealand

On the Pros of Nelson, New Zealand

Okay, enough cons of moving to New Zealand. I have said the whole time, I still would move there after Ari graduates pre-school if money wasn’t the problem, and if Sara would agree. Anyhow, from beautiful Nelson, New Zealand (my first choice if I were to move to New Zealand) comes the Lantern Spectacular, a Summer Festival they seem to hold as the Center of New Zealand with lots of artists and performing artists doing their thing… Nelson having a very strong art community…
One of my earlier posts has another video about Nelson, New Zealand that covers Nelson as well (link to vid)…
A couple of blogs from Nelson:
Don and Angela: US Immigrants Living in Nelson, New Zealand. I think their title pretty well says it all…
EDIT: An interesting note, their city preferences when they moved there were the same as mine. Nelson first and foremost, then Wellington and then Christchurch.
Nelson Daily Photo. A photo blog of Nelson.
Ben’s Photo Sketchbook. Another photo blog by one of the two who do the NDP above.
Not a Woman of Few Words. A blog from the other half of the couple that make up the NDP.

I am off to dream of moving to Nelson, New Zealand.

Really Smart Parrot

Check out this video of some Kea’s doing really amazing stuff:
Apparently Kea’s are among the smartest birds out there and cause havoc with cars in car parks in New Zealand’s ski areas. Kea’s are a non-speaking parrot.

New Zealand Category Created & Another Con

I created a New Zealand category and moved most of the old posts taking about my New Zealand obsession to there. (Asperger people focus on obsessions, mine tend to rotate from thing to thing as one may have noticed… I haven’t decided on my next obsession yet. 😉 )

Also, a follow up to the cons of moving to New Zealand. Internet access is much slower then here where I am used to cable modem speeds. There it seems limited to ADSL for the most part, at least to the public at large. Further, you have a data allowance unlike here, so if you use up your data allowance you are either charged a per megabyte fee or your speed gets cut back drastically. Very uncool. This may actually be as serious a negative as the socialistic aspects. I can deal with being far from friends and family so long as I have Sara and Ari with me AND have broadband Internet access without huge fees. I can’t deal with Dial-up… I can deal with ADSL if I have to, but data allowances make no sense to me.
I am going to guess that it is New Zealand’s topography that has made it lag behind in the broadband department. However, I would expect that in the cities (Nelson sized and above, so Wellington, Christchurch and the like all the way up to the obvious Auckland) to have access to better Internet deals. Heck, I see no reason why in Nelson for example that one can’t have something like Verizon FiOS… drool… Heck I would love to have Full FiOS here…

More on the Cons of Moving to New Zealand…

This post will cover the few cons of moving to New Zealand… of course despite these, if money wasn’t an issue, and if Sara was willing…
On the con side I already mentioned the far distance from friends and family and the too Socialistic for my tastes aspect, but let’s view those in more detail…
Friends, well, we can make new friends. Not to undervalue our current friends, but Sara makes friends quickly, and thanks to the Internet, we can stay in touch with most of our current friends much the same as we do now. And they would then have a couch to sleep on if they decided to visit New Zealand.
As for family, that’s trickier. Odds are, once such a move was made we would be stuck there, and most of our family wouldn’t be able to visit us with a few exceptions. With this and other blogs we would be able to stay in touch, but it isn’t the same as a visit. Of course we could start a trend and see more people move there… then again, our parents are either too old, or nearly too old to emigrate.
The Socialistic aspects… well, short of Ron Paul being elected and having a Congress that will go with him and his plans, we are headed that way ourselves… ultimate disaster. If I am going to be stuck with Hillary’s ill conceived Socialized medical plan, I would rather leave the country. At least in New Zealand there isn’t a law that says you HAVE to see a doctor if you don’t want to, unlike Hillary’s plan… and Hillary is going to win unless the Republican’s wise up and put Ron Paul on the ballot, which I don’t think they’ll do. Even if elected, he’ll have a hard time with Congress that wants to move to disaster anyhow. Thanks to years of the Bush and Clinton clans, this country is quickly loosing any advantages it has as the best place to live.

Other really minor cons I meant to mention on my last New Zealand post:
Metric. Of course this might be a good thing since the rest of the world moved on to metric eons ago. However, it will take time to adapt… then again you probably adapt quickly…
Driving on the left. Another thing that one probably quickly adapts to, but there is still a period of adjustment… I have to ask why though. Had England, Australia and New Zealand all drove on the right like everyone else, car manufacturers would probably have an easier time of stuff, and well, thanks to it being what I am used to it just makes more sense to me. 🙂
Roundabouts. I have read the differences between a traffic circle and roundabouts, but I don’t know if I would be able to tell the difference just with a glance. Tallmadge Circle is apparently a roundabout, but I haven’t been on it for eons to remember if I hated it or not. Apparently however, roundabouts offer far better safety then a traffic circle, and are safer then four way stops as well… I have read they are safer then lighted intersections a great deal of the time as well, though I am not sure how… Anyhow, it another minor thing to get used to. Add that with the driving on the left and confusion may abound for a few months.

Again, I would love to move to Nelson, New Zealand and if money wasn’t an issue I would probably try to convince Sara to move there… if we liked it after a visit anyhow…

Moving to Aotearoa, Okay I Only Wish

Okay, we are not really moving to New Zealand (aka Aotearoa), but it is fun to fantasize.
Hence I present the pros and cons of each city I am considering in order, and then on the pros and cons of moving to New Zealand as a whole.
Nelson (go there in Google Earth). Wow. Simply wow. So many positive things to say about it. I’ll leave it mostly to videos, but it is the sunniest area of New Zealand. February, which seems to be the hottest month only gets to 75 (°F, that’s 22 °C for the rest of the world outside the US here). It is already on the South Island, so you have access to all the stuff down there without the ferry ride to the North Island. The culture and town as a whole seems to be very Saraish, nice parks, nice weather, lots of art, diverse people…
Check out these videos: Larry the Travel Guy in Nelson (there is a YouTube video on his channel, but it’s too small to see), or this Nelson slideshow/video, the Nelson Market, another slideshow, the CouchSurfer’s take a day off from the NZ Collective to go into the city, a slideshow of a father/son tramping (backpacking) trip through Abel Tasman National Park which isn’t too far from Nelson city. (go there).
Cons: It’s a small city, like 43,000, with another 45,000 in the district so finding a job that pays well enough becomes a challenge. Apparently the cost of living is a bit higher there then other cities, as one would expect for such an amazingly beautiful area. In July (the coldest month) the low can average 35 degrees (°F/1.6 °C)…okay that might be a positive, it’s a bit cold for me compared to Wellington (I’ll get to that city in a bit) but warmer then even the high in Ohio during the winter. Really, the only real negative to this city is the job prospects.
Wellington (go there). The capital of New Zealand.
Pros: It’s the capital. It’s a fairly large city so jobs should be no problem. It isn’t as large as Auckland, but by not moving to Auckland you get more points to your emigration request to move to New Zealand and really, Auckland is too far from the rest of New Zealand anyhow. The hot days are only 69 (I’ll stick to °F from here on out since that is what we are used to in the US) and the winter lows drop only to 43 with a winter high of 53. Of course this is kind of a negative as well, as the weather doesn’t have quit enough change. Being a big city, the access to culture is a bit more diverse. It is on the North Island so if you want to see stuff up there, there is no 3 hour ferry ride to get up there, then again, lots of the stuff I would want is on the South Island anyhow…
Cons: It’s a big city. It is apparently very windy there. Not quit as pretty as Nelson in my opinion.
Christchurch (go there).
Pros: On the South Island. Temperatures are nearly like Nelson. Larger than Nelson so the job prospects are better.
Cons: A bit too far South really, it would be nice to to have the North Island only a short ferry ride, not just a ferry ride and a 5 or 6 hour drive.
New Zealand pros and cons as a whole:
Pros: Far away from here, so in terms of a move that would shake things up in our lives, that is about as big a shake up as you get. Beautiful country, with lots of variety in driving range. That isn’t to say the US, doesn’t have vast variety, but you would need to travel longer to get to it. 3 weeks of vacation a year (required by all employers, I am not sure if that time rolls over to the next year if you don’t take it or not, and it may be 4 weeks now, though perhaps that 4th week counts all the holidays)!
Cons: Too Socialistic for me. Very far from friends and family, and giving the cost of tickets, we would seldom see any of them. Probably would have a hard time convincing Sara. Moving that far would be in a word, expensive… I can’t even imagine what it cots to rent a shipping container to get everything over there. The electronics would all have to be new as they use a different voltage/currant and outlet over there. The computer would be okay so long as I change the power supply, but everything else would have to be got there. They use PAL, which so far as I am concerned, outside of color, is far worse than NTSC, so shows wouldn’t look as good. Speaking of which, most of the shows I like wouldn’t be watchable there since there is little way of watching the shows there (not sure if you can watch shows through the network web pages there or not, or if NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC and the like block outside the US). We would probably still take Sara’s small TV, a DVD and VCR player and buy a converter so we can plug them in to keep up with our current DVDs in the even we don’t get a multiformat/region DVD player and/or TV there. (The best bet would be a multiformat TV.) The biggest issues though, as I already noted, is the socialistic aspects and that it is so far from friends and family. At least with a move to Arizona or something, friends and family could visit, but the chances of many of them visiting us there would be near zero (even Sara’s parents would probably only make it there a couple of times). Of course we would make new friends, and could try to convince everyone else to relocate as well. 😉

Great New Zealand Video

Here is a great commercial for New Zealand… God I want to visit so bad for a month or two…
The opening scene was done by Weta Digital, the people behind the The Lord of the Rings special effects. Of course as you may know, Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand, though I had an interest in New Zealand before that, those movies cemented the idea that a serious amount of time has to be spent there.
Warning, huge and near impossible fantasy vacation ahead…
Continue reading Great New Zealand Video

New Zealand Anthem and the All Black Haka

Since I am in a New Zealand mood here is the New Zealand national anthem (prior to an All Blacks game):

The lyrics (the first part is in Maori…):

E Ihoa Atua,
O nga Iwi Matoura,
Ata whaka rongona;
Me aroha noa.
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau to atawhai;
Manaakitia mai

God of nations! at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our Free Land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star,
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand…

There are more lyrics, but that is the part traditionally sung at sporting events.

The All Blacks do the new Haka:
As I understand it, it’s not just to intimidate your opponent, but to welcome them to the battle.
Continue reading New Zealand Anthem and the All Black Haka

If We Were In…

I haven’t played the If We Were In (insert city name here) Right Now game for a while.
Here the high is actually 46 with a low of 36. By the weekend the temperature will drop to 28 for the low with 40 for a high. Fairly mild for this time of year.
For other cities:
Auckland: High 68, low 55. The weekend 66/55.
Christchurch: High 50, low 40. The weekend (normally using Friday to mark the actual temperature on all these, save the NZ cities which use Saturday such as here) is 68/51. Not bad for being in the foothills of the Southern Alps of course it seems most of NZ has mild weather all year long until you move up into the Southern Alps itself.
Phoenix: High 69, low 48. The weekend warms up to 71/50.
Prescott: High 58, low 25. The weekend is 57/26. They are up fairly high in the mountains there so…
Vancouver: Looks like here. High 41, low 36. The weekend gets colder with a high of 37 and low of 21. For how far North they are, that seems fairly mild, though it is a coastal city with a warm ocean current running by it.
Wellington: High 64, low 53. By the weekend basically the same, though Friday chills down to 59 for a high with a low of 50 and Saturday warms back up to 64/57.

New Zealand Relaxes Rules for Industrial Hemp

New Zealand, despite having some of the harshest marijuana laws out there, has become one of the growing number of countries to have relaxed their regulations for growing industrial hemp. Like Canada, it requires a special license.
Hemp, recall, is a non-smokable form of cannabis and can’t get you high. It makes better paper than wood based paper, makes softer longer lasting clothes than cotton and uses far less pesticides than cotton (50% of all pesticides used in the US are on cotton alone), it can make healthier, better tasting foods than soy, it can be used in the making of bio-diesel, it is in short, perhaps the most useful plant in the world.
Sadly, the US doesn’t seem ready to join the rest of the world thanks to extreme lobby efforts from the cotton, wood, oil, pesticide industries and others. So US farmers will have to continue to suffer behind our neighbors to the North and a lot of the rest of the reasonable world so our politicians can get rich from lobby money.

The Chronicles of Narnia trailer online

The official Chronicles of Narnia- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe teaser trailer is up. The trailer does bring to mind the Lord of the Rings movies from the moment you see the lady coming up on the horse drawn cart to some of the rest, of course this could be partly because it was filmed in New Zealand like Lord of the Rings and the special effects was handled by Weta, who did Lord of the Rings… and perhaps because it is a fantasy like movie like Lord of the Rings.
AOL’s Research & Learn page about the movie, needs to research and learn a bit more about the books themselves it would seem. It says The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first book. From a Chronological point of view, it is the second book in The Chronicles of Narnia, though I do believe it was the first one published.