Aussies jealous as NZ dollar approaches parity

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

As the NZ dollar continues to rise, Australia looks at all the ways their neighbour across the ditch punches above its weight.

The Aussie dollar has staved off parity with the Kiwi ... for now.

A rate cut reprieve from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Tuesday saved what the Aussies called an embarrassment: parity with the Kiwi.

However, the market still expected the New Zealand dollar to achieve parity sooner than later as the RBA looks for a lower exchange rate to stimulate the economy across the Tasman.  

If the gold kiwi grows wings and soars above the golden kangaroo, the New Zealand dollar will be worth more than an Australian dollar for the first time since October 1973.

That was two days after the oil producing OPEC nations hiked the price of oil by 70 per cent. Paul Simon's Take Me To The Mardi Gras was about to top the Kiwi charts.

For New Zealanders aged under 42, if it the Kiwi tops the Aussie, it will be the first time in their lives that our dollar trumps the Aussie, and the first time since the currencies were floated that this has happened.

In this tumultuous time of change our trans-Tasman cobbers are taking stock and preparing to be humbled by their smaller neighbour in yet another way.

They already admit to envying the following: 

The All Blacks: Our rugby team basically has the best winning record of any international team of any sport ever, running at a winning percentage of 76.43 per cent.

Sauvignon Blanc: With just the right amount of crispness, a good New Zealand savvy dominates white wine in Australia. In fact it is the most drunk white in Australia, although local wine producers have gone on the record saying this well priced and superior product is "the McDonald's of wines".

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Prime Minister John Key: A centre-right PM who passed gay marriage, and a monarchist who supports changing the flag. He proved you can have surpluses and reintroduce knighthoods at the same time.

Our economy: After being a comparative basket case and haemorrhaging up to 50,000 people a year to Australia in the late 2000s, the New Zealand economy has turned around. It is growing strongly, there is now a net outflow of Aussies to NZ, unemployment is lower, and its government is delivering surpluses.

Russell Crowe.

Universal suffrage: NZ was the first country in the world to give women the vote, in 1893. Incidentally, those same women then voted in favour of prohibition during World War I. When the men came back thirsty from war, their votes saw that particular law overturned before it could be enacted.

Proper mountains: For such a small country, New Zealand has mountains, not molehills (I'm looking at you Kosciuszko. Well, I would be if I could see you, you minuscule topographic afterthought.)

Not joining the war in Iraq: Former PM Helen Clark was hard, and despite an awful lot of pressure did not commit us to fighting in what the US Studies Centre's Tom Switzer calls the Mess-in-potamia. New Zealand has subsequently played a support role in rebuilding the country, but it would be hard to claim the decision not to participate has not been vindicated.

Dairy: We have the world's biggest dairy exporter, Fonterra, and are responsible for a staggering third of the world's milk trade. Australia's milk production, despite massive growth in demand from China and India, has been declining. NZ dairy food is, coincidentally, delicious.

Lower taxes: Despite GST being 15 per cent and applying to everything, our top rate of income tax is only 33 cents, kicking in at $80,000; the top rate of company tax is 28 per cent. There is no payroll tax, no capital gains tax and no stamp duty.

Sir Edmund Hillary: First to scale Mt Everest. Sir Ernest Rutherford: first to split the atom. Enough said.

Hobbits: The Lord of the Rings films might have been nine hours of "Sam and Frodo: will they won't they" but they were beautifully shot and made the country a mecca for fantasy-loving, elvish-speaking tourists.

* Comments are now closed on this story.

 - Stuff

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