Australians often experience defeat in rugby and cricket, at the hands of New Zealanders. However, we also face evidence of New Zealand’s higher moral-ethical standing.
ABC journalist Alana Schetzer remarked, “Ever since our neighbours across the Tasman became the world’s first country to allow women the right to vote, we’ve been struggling to keep up. … New Zealand has also shown superb leadership in issues concerning native rights, campaigning against nuclear testing in the South Pacific, and have some of the strongest environmental laws in the world.”
The empathy and compassion demonstrated by NZ PM, Jacinda Ardern, following the Christchurch Massacres, was beyond anything shown by Australian senior political leaders.
Although compassion and mercy are universal values, they are integral to Islamic teachings.
It’s unsurprising that one 2010 assessment found NZ first in demonstrating qualities of an ‘Islamic’ country. Scheherazade and Askari in “How Islamic are Islamic Countries?” found from analysing countries based on Islamic teachings in economy, law and governance, human and political rights, that NZ ranks first.
NZ’s paramount position is confirmed in 2019
Differences between the two countries are likely consequences of differing emphases on materialism and spirituality.
NZ leaders have not blindly toed the line in tailing the US in morally questionable enterprises such as the Iraqi invasion. NZ did not participate but later helped rebuild Iraq.
NZ exemplifies good treatment of its indigenes. It differs from Australia – Aborigines display heterogeneity in languages and cultures whilst Maori society is more homogenous.
The population of Aboriginals in Australia is like that of Muslims (3%), while Maoris comprise a greater proportion in NZ.
The lower Aboriginal population is partly caused by colonial genocidal policies.
The positive experience of NZ in righting historical wrongs suggests Australia would benefit highly by having treaties with indigenous Australians and providing them with special Parliamentary seats.
While the ‘Happiness Index’ of New Zealanders (ranked 8th) improved, that of Australians slipped.
NZ is not without hotspots of racism and violence but on lesser levels.
Australia slipped six places in 12 months on the Social Progress Index at 15th placed behind NZ (10th).
New Zealand citizens benefit from balanced news media and so are better informed than Australians lambasted with news that is anti-Labour and anti-Muslim and promotes Anglo-European supremacy.
The Monthly’s correspondent, Richard Cooke, highlighted the threat to democracy from the Murdoch media: “Any thinking Australian has spent the better part of two decades looking across the Tasman with envy. I spent several months living there in 2017 … the difference seemed so pronounced it was almost shaming. Since roughly the turn of the millennium, just as Australia stalled and regressed, New Zealand has matured and progressed… They came to terms with their colonial history, while we denied ours. … Friendlier, less belligerent, more cultured, more innovative and somehow more at ease, New Zealand really was … ‘punching above its weight’, while Australia [assumed] the international role of a small man with a big mouth. Absence of NewsCorp media in New Zealand, surely a factor in all this, felt like fresh air.”
Schetzer exclaimed, “What is it about New Zealand that places them so far in front of us when it comes to equality and compassion?”
We are so like New Zealanders in sharing a common history, yet “we continually lack the initiative and imagination to embrace the reforms necessary to progress human rights, gender equality, environmental protections and embrace Indigenous culture and rights.”
Australians surely need to work at improving our moral-ethical outlook and also support initiatives towards having an Aboriginal Voice in Federal Parliament.