Dunno why the Mexicans bothered making a fuss over Labour MP David Parker’s warning that New Zealand risked turning into “Australia’s Mexico”.
The absurdity of the comparison was obvious to anyone with a reasonable share of brain cells.
For starters, Mexicans speak Spanish and use lots of maize in a diet that features tacos, enchiladas, mole sauce, atole, tamales, pozole and burritos. We Kiwis are fish and chips and meat-pie people, a diet complemented by steaks, oysters, mutton-birds, pork and puha and so on.
Mexicans fed on maize must be bursting to cross the border to get into some decent tucker, like Kentucky Fried and Big Macs.
Kiwis who go to Australia simply find the folks there are fish-and-chips and meat-pie people too, although they have turned the meat pie into something worthy of a banquet with a dish called the floater.
There are profound cultural differences:
A large percentage of Mexicans are Roman Catholics, and are thus quite conservative. Some Mexicans may be offended or may have strong opinions about certain sensitive topics, such as homosexuality and birth control, among others.
Gay Mexicans obviously will be tempted to find a better climate, culturally, in which to live. So they head for the USA.
As Damien O’Connor can tell you, this country – and the Labour Party – are intolerant of conservative attitudes to gays.
Indeed, being gay can help one’s climb up the Labour Party pecking order.
The point is, there is no advantage for gays in going to Australia.
But let’s get back to the remark that pissed off the Mexicans.
Labour MP David Parker made the comments in relation to New Zealand being a low wage economy compared with Australia.
But Mexican ambassador Leonora Rueda said in a letter to Parker Mexico was the 14th biggest economy in the world and was this year presiding over the G20 summit – “the most important international mechanism for dialogue at the economic level, comprised of the 20 most influential developed and emerging economies in the world.”
Parker can be a persistent prat, however, and says his comment was a statement of fact, not a criticism of Mexico.
“In US dollars Mexico’s GDP per capital in 2010 was $12,991 compared to the United States $41,976. New Zealand’s was $25,600 compared to Australia’s $36,570.
He said his comparison was between one country and a larger neighbour.
“I was highlighting that the Government promised to close the wage gap with Australia, and it’s going in the opposite direction.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But the Mexican outflow of people is much, much greater than the Kiwi outflow.
Not as great as US presidential aspirant Michele Bachman thought, mind you.
Michele Bachmann is taking some flack for this Bill O’Reilly interview in which she raises no objections to the notion of “dragging [illegal immigrants] out, putting them on a bus with their children’s crying,” but she also makes one whopper of a factual error:
BACHMANN: Can I tell you why this is such a big problem?
O’REILLY: No we know why it’s a problem.
BACHMANN: No let me tell you why. There was a column that came out this weekend by Mark Steyn, he said 50 percent of the population of Mexico has now gone north of the border, 50 percent of the population.
The actual number is quite high — around 11 percent as of 2008, though that may be declining — but 50 percent would really be something. Looking at the Mark Steyn column where Bachmann got the number, it’s pretty clear the author was intentionally exaggerating:
Another thing: there is a much bigger gap between the Mexican and American GDP per capita numbers Parker used (US$28,985) than the trans-Tasman gap (US$10,970).
This difference is magnified by real hourly minimum wages: Australia $US11.61 v New Zealand $US7.96 and the United States $US6.49 v Mexico’s $US 0.44.
On this basis, not only should Mexicans be flocking to the US, but Americans should be flocking to NZ.
There is another critical difference.
Mexicans enjoy bull-fighting. In other words, they focus on the front end of the bull and the avoidance of its horns. The Kiwi experience of bulls tends to be concentrated on the rear end and the avoidance of bullshit.
With the likes of Parker and other Labour politicians, however, it is hard not to be spattered.