Based on your flights examples I think the point I'm making is lost on you.
I chose two very specific flights and prices for my comparison - the cheapest possible flexible LAX-EWR on UA (M class) and the cheapest possible AKL-AKL on Air NZ (H class). The key thing is that these are the two cheapest flexible fares that are available on those two routes, so are one of the few ways you can compare pricing across different airlines due to their differences in fare structures. Sure your example shows the US flights being cheaper because they're not comparing comparable fare levels. On a typical Air NZ domestic flight for example there are 14 different booking classes (at different prices).
And yes I am saying Air NZ (along with most other airlines) have never need to provide you a refund because of a weather disrupt unless you have a ticket that has fare rules that offers refunds. If you think this is "morally reprehensible" did you raise this during the reviews of the CAA act in both 2014 and 2018 when they sought public comments? Everybody seems to have a view on this right now, which raises the questions of why nobody really seemed to think this was a problem previously.
But why are you choosing fully refundable tickets? This specific topic is about non-refundable tickets, and the need for US/EU type protection. You said flights are more expensive in the US because of such protections - I have shown 2 examples [the first I looked at] where that is not true, and in my opinion it is not. Europe is a prime example of this also.
When I asked you about Air NZ I specifically asked if the normal practice was to not refund, not whether the legislation required it. I think you know that past behaviour by Air NZ was to refund when requested. The current situation shows we have a real lack of teeth within our legislation as far as consumer protection.
I also dont think you are being very fair to suggest nobody can assert an opinion if they didn't make submissions at select committee hearings years ago. Tens of thousands were not affected by the legislation previously, and people have thousands of dollars tied up in airlines through no fault of their own. I personally have received refunds from Air NZ and US/Europe based airlines 100% because of the US DOT legislation and no other reason. If my flights had been through Asia I would not. I think we should have the protections within our act.