Lulled by a serene exterior and enchanted by exquisite scenery, visitors to New Zealand continue to look upon it as “God's own country.” Roughly the size of Japan or the state of Colorado and populated by ten million cows, seventy million sheep, and a mere three million people, how could it be otherwise? Even the venerable James Reston has swallowed the line that New Zealanders are free of the problems that vex the rest of the world. “Otherwise, all is as silent here as the sheep in the fields,” he wrote after a visit to the Antipodes several years ago, “and this may be their most serious dilemma. For they make no trouble and therefore make no news.” No news, perhaps, but like most places throughout the world, New Zealand has its troubles.
For the past decade New Zealand has been having increasingly serious economic difficulties; and since the country is generally twelve to eighteen months behind major international economic movements, predictions are that conditions will continue to deteriorate, at least through 1983.