I'm glad that, when I decided to leave Japan, I opted to come to New Zealand, rather than to return to England - the country of my birth. The attraction is not that, politically, New Zealand is superior to the UK, but that it is smaller in terms of population and economy. And being smaller, its capacity for mischief is more limited. There was a time - when NZ sent a frigate into the French exclusion zone around Mururoa Atoll in an attempt to stop France's nuclear tests - that saw this country achieve some moral stature. But those times have long passed. These days, people keep their heads down. I see little awareness of, or even interest in, what is really going on in the world. The "dumbing-down" has been almost entirely successful.