Why is everything so damn expensive in New Zealand? What, if anything, do we get cheaper here than overseas?
Last week a Taco Bell opened in Auckland. For most of New Lynn, this was a time for great celebrations.
Travellers have been returning to New Zealand with amazing tales of Taco Bell for generations. But one social media punter was not happy. He was "heartbroken" by the prices.
Apparently, Taco Bell is slightly cheaper in the States. This isn't surprising. Most things are more expensive here. We have pricier houses, fuel, Levis, Cadillacs, super dogs and now Taco Bell.
It's complex enough comparing prices within a nation. A one-third full glass of wine in Ponsonby will set you back over $100,000. Slamming a goon bag in your backyard is relatively cheap.
It is however easy to see why things are more expensive here compared to other nations. They're all bunched together. Whereas we live on a couple of isolated islands in the middle of the South Pacific.
We are alone and surrounded by lots and lots of water. Other countries have hundreds of millions of people. We have the population of a Chinese primary school.
It's hard to run economies of scale in New Zealand because no one lives here. Having said that, for some reason even the things we produce in large volumes cost us more. If we can't get cheap dairy in New Zealand what hope do we have?
So what are some cheap things in New Zealand? This is all I've come up with.
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Broken bones. If you fall off your E-scooter and end up in the Accident and Emergency you get fixed up for free. Well kind of free.
Recent DHB budget blowouts would suggest the taxpayer is coughing up a lot for our health care. But at least you don't have to paywave your credit card whilst bleeding from the head.
Cheap pizza is really cheap in New Zealand. You can get a massive pile of greasy carb-full boxes delivered to your house for next to nothing. Mind you, you can get that anywhere and expensive pizza is really expensive here.
Dumplings on Dominion Rd are cheap. So cheap I accidentally ordered 50 just for myself the other day. When the menu reads "Dumpling — Pork with Chive $11" you expect five dumplings at most. So I ordered times two. Got quite a shock when the giant pile came out.
Took me nearly an hour to get through them. I could hardly make it back to my car. It was humiliating.
Commercial Radio is cheap. ZM, Flava, ZB, Radio Sport, The Hits, Coast and the world-famous Radio Hauraki charge absolutely nothing for their services. In fact the big commercial radio stations employ many hundreds of people and pump millions back into the economy. So in a way they pay the country just to exist. (Full disclosure: I'm a commercial radio breakfast host).
Feijoas are cheap. Come round to my house late summer and I won't let you leave without a single-use plastic bag full of them. I'll flick you some avos too. You'll be doing me a favour. If you don't take them they'll just rot on the lawn. Then you start to get rats.
Our great beaches are completely free. The air we breathe is free too. It's the freshest least-polluted in the developed world. People actually pay money for our delicious air overseas. We bottle it up and send it over. Here you can huff away all day for zip.
The scenery is free. People fly from the other side of the planet to enjoy our natural beauty. While we Kiwis can just open our eyes and gaze at the sights free of charge. We get free views. There's Freeview too, which is also free.
Lovemaking is free in New Zealand. Arguably. Depending on who, where and for how long.
So what does this mean for Kiwis? Well, Taco Bell is a little bit more expensive here. There is no doubt house prices are crazy. No one is denying you need to get out a mortgage if you want the big breakfast at a cafe.
But the good news is, we all get to live here in New Zealand. A quirky 5-star boutique country.
A beautiful pricey little place where life isn't cheap.
That's a pretty bloody good deal if you ask me.