Why do some people hate New Zealand

Taking a bus tour in Auckland is like taking a trip with the colors of the world. You look into a multitude of faces in which almost every skin tone can be found. You get a good impression of the diversity that characterizes the immigrant country of New Zealand. Europeans, Maori, Asians, Pacific islanders and many more, whose original origins do not seem to be so important because they are all a living part of New Zealand. "We are a proud nation of over 200 ethnicities, 160 languages," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in her address after the terrorist attack on the Christchurch mosques. This is exactly what everyday life in this country exudes. And that's exactly why many people in New Zealand no longer understand their world.

Many Germans associate New Zealand with peace and nature

For many Europeans, New Zealand is a place of longing with lots of peace, lots of nature, lots of sheep. The island nation is so far away from the hustle and bustle and narrowness of the continent. He seems as frugal and open-minded as a large, friendly village in the middle of a roaring, tough world. Holidaymakers will find the calming force of a unique island landscape here, others find a whole new life and stay. The locals seem to be more welcoming here than anywhere else. The New Zealand cliché and the truth are often not that far apart. And it may be part of the terrorist's underhandedness that the attack was carried out right here. If something as terrible happens even in the world-famous Peace of New Zealand, it can no longer be safe anywhere. Jacinda Ardern caught the tone of the shocked nation when she said, "We, New Zealand, are not targeted because we are a safe haven for those who hate. We were not chosen because we condone racism or an enclave of the Are extremism. But precisely because we are not all that. "

Christchurch, a city of 350,000, is now acting like a beacon to the fact that terrorism is everywhere. In 2011 an earthquake claimed 185 lives here. The natural disaster was bad, but not quite as disturbing as the terrorist attack now, because the earthquake risk on the historically young New Zealand islands is relatively high.

The cityscape of Christchurch is shaped by a large park that resembles the English Garden in Munich. There are many sports facilities and beaches there. The city is just big enough for traffic jams in rush hour traffic, but too small for residents to get upset about it. Construction site noise can be heard in the center on normal days. Reconstruction after the 2011 earthquake is still ongoing. The stone church in the small pedestrian zone still has a huge hole in the front. It works like a memorial. Who is sitting in the café and saying "How are you?" is addressed, who meets people who want to talk to you, who want to know where you come from and what you are doing. In the city park you can witness the strong rugby culture in the country every morning, when dozens of teams start the day with their exercises here. Outside the center and around the adjacent beaches, Christchurch is surrounded by bungalow settlements, and very young surfers with very old VW bullies are out and about on the beaches.

A terrorist attack? Here? Unthinkable.

Of course, the picture of the ideal New Zealand world is not entirely correct. The friendly sheep distract from the fact that a strictly profit-oriented industrial agriculture makes New Zealand the leading export nation for dairy products and beef. And domestically? Immigration and the economic factor tourism are a burden on cities, and living space is scarce. In some parts of the country, poverty, a lack of prospects and alcoholism are widespread, especially among the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The nation upholds their language and culture and also successfully markets them as a tourist attraction. But this minority has not yet made up for all of its social disadvantages. The place of longing for German long-distance travelers is not that balanced after all. When it comes to immigration policy, there is especially great distrust of the Chinese. There is a widespread fear that wealthy businessmen from the mighty Middle Kingdom will be too big a part of New Zealand's economy.

This imbalance has probably also led to the current, somewhat weird governing coalition, which in 2017 lifted the conservative National Party with Prime Minister Bill English out of responsibility. Jacinda Ardern, 38, of the Social Democratic Labor Party concluded an alliance with the nationalists of the New Zealand First party after the election, which the otherwise not very important New Zealand Greens tolerated. New Zealand First stands for a populist course that wants to regulate immigration more strictly and focuses more on the education of locals. However, the party declares that New Zealand will continue to need skilled workers from abroad in the future. It is regarded as a party for old men that curves through the political landscape on a rolling course and is not easy to grasp for ordinary voters. They tend not to represent the cosmopolitan New Zealand. Nonetheless, the domestic political issues are an issue of their own and cannot simply be linked to the attacks in Christchurch. New Zealand has never been a dangerous place for refugees and other migrants. The idea that the island nation is a land of peace is not a cliché. Terror has come to a place where everyone felt safe.

Land full of weapons

Unlike in the USA, deaths from firearms are not part of everyday life in New Zealand. In the past few years, the New Zealand police recorded fewer than ten guns murder victims; In 2016, the most recent year with reliable data, nine people died from bullets. However, firearms are very popular. According to the Swiss expert group Small Arms Survey, there are a good 1.2 million private firearms, other estimates even assume 1.5 million, with 4.9 million inhabitants there is about one firearm for every four citizens. Stricter gun laws were always an issue after shootings. Only at the beginning of 2018 did the police association demand that the almost 14,000 semi-automatic weapons in the country should be discussed. rpr