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  • Writer's pictureRichard Plumpton | ii |

Looking Across the Ditch with Envy.

Auckland Skyline, New Zealand

[Image: 'Auckland Skyline, New Zealand' | © 100% Pure New Zealand]

It's a mostly healthy rivalry, but sometimes the gap just gets too great.

I'm talking New Zealand vs. Australia here, and, for once, it's not about the rugby (although the All Blacks do have the poor Wallabies in their pockets on the rugby pitch at the moment), but about the way the country creates a role for itself in the interconnected global village we now live in.

In New Zealand's case it probably stems from the arrival of Prime Minister Ardern in late 2017, but they just exude a laid–back confidence at the moment and clearly believe they have a strong role to play in building a future for human society that is as just, equal and sustainable as possible. This ranges from their domestic policies relating to gender equality, right through to their deep and long–term commitment to supporting vulnerable neighbours like Fiji and Samoa. Not to mention their long–term commitment to being one of the greenest nations in the world (13th in the 2017 Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index).

Australia on the other hand has a new political leader virtually every year, an immigration policy that seems to be getting worse not better almost daily and a wholly selfish and inward–looking approach to climate policy that continues to ignore the rapidly disappearing competitive advantage we have in renewables and cleantech technology development.

Given the above just begins to scratch the surface on how the two countries are approaching their evolving roles in a rapidly changing and uncertain world, it's hard not to feel just a little bit jealous of our Kiwi neighbours – and to wonder if it really is a case of 'she'll be right mate' in the so–called lucky country.

And that's before the next Bledisloe Cup looms over the horizon...

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