here we are
Is the lawn always greener on the other hand? Well, that’s definitely true in New Zealand. After all, picturesque nature is the setting for countless movies. But families envy New Zealand for these nine reasons, too.
1. It is time to grieve after a miscarriage or breastfeeding
Families need time to cope with losing a child. In New Zealand, parents get it, too: after an abortion, parents are given three days of paid “leave” of mourning. No matter what stage of pregnancy the parents lost the child.
There is no special protection in Germany after this experience. You are only entitled to maternity leave if you deliver your baby calmly or if a miscarriage occurs after the 24th week. If you had a miscarriage before the 25th week, you may be able to take sick leave. You will then also get support from a midwife. Your partner is not entitled to a day of mourning.
2. Modern understanding of the family
The family has different faces. Even if the classic family of mother, father and child often lives – families are much more diverse. New Zealand has this in mind and a very modern concept of parenting. For example, a woman and her partner can take the aforementioned days of mourning. Biological parenthood plays as little role as marital status.
3. Mothers in office
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern became a mother during her first term in office and showed the world how work-life balance can be achieved if you bring your father to work. Then, of course, she also made it clear: You can’t do it alone. Us parents can confirm this.
Last year, the Prime Minister was re-elected by a large majority and of course he is a role model for many women and girls. However, it does not tell the “you can have it all” story: Ardern has repeatedly reported having to compromise.
It shows that much, but not all, is possible. Every now and then she talks about her daily life as a mother, for example about dancing with her daughter Nev when New Zealand was free of Corona. Or it shows an imperfect birthday cake that has to please her daughter on her second birthday.
4. Abortion is legal
Of course, abortions are not a reason for families to look for a new home. But the way society deals with abortion also shows how the country is woman-friendly and inclusive.
In New Zealand, the Abortion Regulations 1977 were removed from the Penal Code in March 2020. Now they are considered a medical benefit. For many women, this is a massive achievement that we are still a long way from in Germany. Because, even if it is treated differently in practice: according to Section 218 of the Criminal Code, abortions are not legal with us.
It would still be legal to force a woman to become pregnant against her will. There is even a risk of imprisonment if a pregnant woman terminates her pregnancy on her own. If the woman seeks counseling and complies with at least three days between the advice and termination, the termination will not be punished. But this is by no means the same regulations that have been put in place in New Zealand.
5. Four days a week
There is no official regulation, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had already suggested in 2020 that four days a week or at least more flexible working hours models should be considered. Ultimately, this is a decision that companies will have to make, but Ardern will certainly support such ideas.
Some companies have already introduced 4 days a week, but this is not yet an issue in Germany. Families would also benefit from such regulation, as reduced working hours would enable everyone to better combine family and work. We can focus more on our children, but at the same time we continue both careers on the job.
6. Inclusion is a top priority
“It is still too early or late at all to be a more inclusive nation.” This is what Jacinda Ardern said recently, marking the second anniversary of the fatal attacks in Christchurch. A man shot 51 people during Friday prayers at two mosques and Ardern at the time called repeatedly to speak about the victims rather than the culprit.
The Head of Government campaigns for a diverse and inclusive New Zealand, repeatedly engaging in dialogue with different people and seeing cultural diversity for what it is. Enrich us all.
7. The right to vote for everyone
New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce universal suffrage in 1893 (25 years before Germany). With political mills grinding slowly, New Zealand isn’t the only country where milk and honey flows. Here, too, there is poverty among children or violence in the family. But where women participate in government decisions at all levels, children and women are also more focused.
8. Children are important
Especially during the Corona pandemic, it turns out that the prime minister is watching over children. I addressed them several times in letters. She’s letting little kids know that the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus can keep coming to them, after all, she’s methodically relevant. Babies need speeches like this, because of course they also want to feel visible in these difficult times.
9. Mental health is an issue
Times are tough and our mental health can affect us. Unlike heads of government in Germany, Prime Minister Ardern makes this issue an issue. She always advises you to rest and stop. She regularly writes live reports on Instagram and Facebook (sometimes incompletely) and advises: “Until then, rest everyone” – “Until then, you will all have a rest.”
Will I immigrate to New Zealand with my family now? Better not. For now, it won’t work out anyway and the road is too long for someone with a fear of flying.
I also realize that New Zealand is not the country where everything is going well, of course there are problems here as well. But I can still see that something is going on here. I find this very welcome.