The harsh truths Kiwis refuse to accept, according to Kiwis

Every country has its pros and cons, and Aotearoa New Zealand is no different.

Despite being a small nation with a population of just over five million, New Zealand still commands attention on the world stage and is widely regarded as a progressive, clean-and-green paradise.  

But like anywhere else in the world, New Zealand is not perfect - there is a dark underbelly to the sweeping scenic landscapes. According to the UNICEF Innocenti Report, New Zealand ranks 35th out of 41 developed countries for child wellbeing outcomes, and a child dies every five weeks as a result of family violence. 

While child poverty has improved overall since 2018, according to annual figures released in 2021, the statistics for Māori and Pasifika were labelled as "profoundly disturbing" by Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft. The report found that one in four Pasifika children and one in five Māori children meet the criteria for material hardship, statistics Becroft described as "plainly unacceptable in a civilised community".

New Zealand also has one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the OECD. 

Meanwhile, inflation has had its biggest increase in 31 years, leading to soaring prices for fuel, food and housing - disproportionately impacting lower-income New Zealanders. Annual food prices were 4.5 percent higher in December 2021 than they were a year previously, rents increased 3.8 percent, and petrol prices leapt 30 percent; yet the latest Stats New Zealand data shows 42 percent of Kiwis didn't get a pay rise last year and if they did, it was less than inflation.

Additionally, the cost of property in New Zealand has swelled over the last few years thanks to historically low interest rates and lack of supply, making it extremely difficult for first-home buyers to get on the ladder.  

With all of this said, many New Zealanders have a bone to pick with the country they call home - sentiments that have been expressed in a "brutally honest" Reddit thread over the last few days. 

Taking to the New Zealand forum on Friday, one user - inspired by a similar thread in its 'Australia' counterpart - asked fellow Redditors of Aotearoa for the harsh truths that Kiwis refuse to accept. 

"Time for some brutal honesty," they wrote. 

What are the harsh truths that Kiwis refuse to accept, according to Kiwis?

According to the thread, property is a primary bugbear for many New Zealanders, with several people expressing similar sentiments about the state of the country's housing.

"Our housing is very subpar, whilst also being some of the most expensive in the world," one said.

"I don't think people don't accept this, they just don't know how much better it is in other parts of the world," a second countered.

"The way houses have been built here up until recently seems to assume that the entire country is a tropical paradise. No double glazing? No central heating? I'm from the UK, and it's just as cold here in the winter. It's hotter in the summer, but that doesn't help for the other six months of the year," a third weighed in.

Many claimed that compared to other first world countries, New Zealand is largely "insignificant" and doesn't play a crucial role in global affairs.

"We are insignificant to most other countries and there's nothing wrong with that," one said. "We don't need to go out of our way to make everything directly relevant to us. It makes me cringe every time we have a news story about something in another country and they have to find a random Kiwi who was barely involved or knows nothing intelligible about it for an interview rather than speaking with someone more relevant.

"Likewise whenever foreign celebrities are interviewed for their movie PR there is always some awkward question about New Zealand designed to try and get them to talk about how great or beautiful the country is, even if they have never been here."

"Totally agree, this drives me nuts," another added. "It's like we need to be constantly noticed and praised like a needy insecure child. It also comes through as defensiveness whenever someone dares criticise us."

"YES! This irritates me so much, what's up with the crazy urge to make it always all about NZ? Is it nationalism? Is it a worry that NZ might otherwise be too insignificant? News flash: NZ is mostly insignificant to the rest of the world," a third chipped in.

Other Redditors levied their criticism at New Zealanders more broadly.

"Kiwis don't know how to have difficult conversations with people and as such have become some of the most passive aggressive people I have ever met," one claimed.

"Our easygoing friendliness has no real human depth to it. We can make small talk with strangers, but we're not good at making friends, or even at talking to the friends we do have," another weighed in, with many others sharing their own anecdotes of fostering friendships in New Zealand.

Other topics included the lack of nightlife, the quality of driving, the shortfall of mental health services and the poor state of public transportation.

"The nightlife/dating scene for over 25s is a complete joke in this country compared with overseas," one critiqued.

"Our public transport system is so incredibly bad it's really just embarrassing. It's f***ing impossible to live in Auckland unless you live right next to work/friends/family/whatever you want to do. As soon as you go to places with efficient train systems you see how f***ing ridiculous it is," another ranted. "How do we claim to be clean and green when the most efficient way to travel between cities is flying and all of our cities rely on car ownership?"

"We are not clean and green as we proudly state we are," another agreed.

"We're shit drivers. I'm not though," one joked.

"Mental health system is in shambles, and dating is rough," said a comment, while a second added: "Workplace bullying is not taken seriously enough."

"It's a good place to grow up but not a good place to spend your twenties and thirties. The majority of young 20-35-year-old people in... careers outside of agriculture would do much better in other countries, even just Australia. The salaries, level of excitement and housing options are not good here. New Zealand is not kind to young people," another suggested. 

"We lack the discipline and resolve to get things done. For instance, our failure to get public transport constructed, failures like Kiwi Build, the fact that Transmission Gully has taken years longer than it should have. I think about, for example, the rail network in Wellington completed decades ago. I have little confidence that anything like that could be built these days. I would even say the failure of the police to do something about the protesters is a symptom of this, where the Police are apparently paralysed in inaction," one claimed.

"The 'she'll be right' mentality will be the death of us all."