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Where North meet Nouth: New Zealand Minister labelled Finns: uneducated, unemployed

Sunday, 25 March 2012
An interest row has broken between New Zealand and Finland as New Zealand Transport Minister, Gerry Brownlee, poured scorned on Finland during a recent debate, calling Finns a nation of uneducated, unemployed people with a high murder rate and little respect for women.

Brownlee was speaking during a parliamentary debate, in which he strongly rejected plans by the Labour party to model the New Zealand economy on the Finnish example.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the minister has sparked a near-diplomatic incident after suggesting Finns are uneducated, unemployed murderers who don't respect women.

Brownlee claimed that Finland “has worse unemployment than us, has less economic growth than us, can hardly feed the people who live there, has a terrible homicide rate, hardly educates its people, and has no respect for women."

Brownlee later said that his comments were intended to be satirical, but held some truth. He added that Finns should not be offended by the debate, and according to local press, conceded that "there were some aspects of Finland's economic policy that you'd have to say are admirable".

Ari Hallenberg, the Finnish Consul in Auckland, said that Brownlee’s comments would have been better left unsaid, adding that the statements were likely to cause a storm once reported in Finland.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the OECD Better Life Index, Finland's murder rate is nearly twice that of New Zealand. It also has worse unemployment and health provision.

“But on economic indicators such as income, life satisfaction and work-life balance, Finland is ahead of us - and for education, is rated best in the world.”
By Team

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