Egalitarianism is also apparent in new zealand labour

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Egalitarianism is also apparent in New Zealand labour law which, until 1991, enforced a strict system of Awards that acted to ensure uniform minimum pay rates and conditions for the same jobs across all employers. Differentials between skill levels were based on negotiation rather than market considerations, and pay for seniority was far more prevalent than pay for performance. Economically, New Zealand was dependent almost entirely on agricultural exports. Early trade in flax and seafood (primarily with Australia) gave way to exports of meat, wool and dairy products to Britain. Throughout the period from 1875 until World War II, around 80% of our exports were sold to the United Kingdom, and we obtained over half our imports from that country (Department of Statistics, 1990). Coupled with this economic dependence, many of our political and social institutions and customs had English origins, and settlers continued to refer to Britain as Home with a capital ‘H’. New Zealand participation in the South African War (1899-1902) and World War I (where 103,000 served abroad, from a total population of around one million) led to a greater sense of national identity. New Zealanders compared themselves favourably with their British regular force counterparts. In particular, heroic actions of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli in 1915 are still recalled in annual ceremonies marked by a glorification of Australasian exploits, and a diminution of British (and other Allied) contributions. The dominant and enduring cultural theme portrays New Zealanders as self- reliant pioneers, brave and heroic, demonstrating initiative under pressure. These characteristics were said to engender leadership based on example rather than insistence on ‘red tape’, by officers who were “‘democratic’ and modest - one of the boys” (Phillips, 1989, p. 96). The pioneering settler history, combined with the dependence on farming, gave rise to a strong self-image of New Zealand as a country of rugged individualists in a dramatic rural landscape. The literary incarnation of this theme has a dark side, with an underlying sense of alienation and of distance. This imagery has been used metaphorically in describing
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6 interpersonal relationships, and conveys “uncertainties about the influence of the past as well as a lack of confidence in the future” (Lealand, 1988, pp. 29-30). At a more popular level the rural theme is the setting for much New Zealand humour, is used in locally made television dramas, and is portrayed in many different ways in commercial advertisements (Carter & Perry, 1987). Another important element of this cultural archetype is a practical, problem-solving approach to life. It involves the willingness to tackle problems and take on responsibilities outside one’s normal role. Innovative solutions using tools or material at hand are valued. Kiwis take pride in being able to fix anything with “a piece of No. 8 fencing wire”. We celebrate Richard
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