> Should I ever visit New Zealand (I understand it’s a beautiful country), I’ll remember that. I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself or offend my waiter/barmaid/whatever.
You really should visit — it is a beautiful country, and reasonably safe by world standards. Most Americans I know who have visited have a really good time and are made most welcome.
One of the sure-fire ways of spotting a tourist is by their tipping: this can lead to crimes of opportunity. Because the locals don’t tip, and tourists tend to not know any better, it sets them apart as an easy target.
So as much as anything else, “no tipping” is a safety thing as well.
All taxes are included in every pricetag, except if it explicitly says “GST Excluded” (in which case add 12.5%). Otherwise, the price you see is the amount you pay out of your wallet.
Some bars will have a jar on them for your spare change: there is never an expectation of you putting money in, but you can if you like. Few do.
What leads the "few" who "do" to drop spare change in the jar? And what constitutes "change"? Does NZ have 1 and 2 dollar coins like Canada?