Hard News by Russell Brown


The Best Country in the World: Selling fast!

If you could spare a moment from teaching your kids to play cricket on the back lawn, smoking fish in the back yard of your rustic cottage, paying no capital gains tax and just plain marveling that a place like this, with its low crime rate and friendly, contented people could even exist, there is an opportunity to which you may wish to alert your friends.

It is the Live and Prosper in New Zealand Seminar -- and boy do they have a country for you.

Did you know that in this blessed land, you'll still find homes, "and we mean proper houses you can move into -- for less than US$50,000!"?

Sure, the houses are in Tokanui -- but the people of rural eastern Southland are even friendlier that the people who live in cities. And budding sugar daddies should know that solo mums, who live in Tokanui at twice the national rate, are the friendliest of all! [NB: Two different Tokanuis there -- the first the the Southland one, the second in Waipa district.]

Not that life is ever grimy or difficult in the cities. They're paradise too:

Summertime in New Zealand—and the living is beyond easy. Music (opera, jazz, classical and rock) spills into the parks of Auckland, Wellington and numerous smaller cities and towns.

Yachts tack their white-sailed passage through the cobalt blue waters of Auckland’s island-studded gulf and the mazy waterways of the Marlborough Sounds. Around the Bay of Plenty, fishing enthusiasts are hauling in trophy standard marlin. Grapes ripen on vines and vegetable plots overflow with avocados, tomatoes and sweet-corn.

Cottage gardens are in full rose and lavender bloom. Friends are hiking, families are picnicking and lovers are punting along willow-hung rivers. The sound of a lazy-day afternoon? It’s the drone of honey-bees, the chink of glasses outside a shady inn and the thwack of ball against cricket bat.

Ah, those Kiwis. You just try and stop them getting up a friendly game of cricket. Not for nothing did Conde Nast Traveller call Aotearoa "The Best Country in the World".

And it just gets better: the New Zealand government just extended summertime by three weeks! When did your crappy foreign government last do you a favour like that!?

But you'd best be quick:

We’ve often heard it mentioned that New Zealand today is like Hawaii was 40 to 50 years ago. Back in those days, visitors were few and lots on the big island sold for chump change. Not any more.

New Zealand could be set to go the same way. Pacific beachfront is getting scarcer, and the more people who discover New Zealand’s seascapes, the more prices are like to increase. We won’t pretend you’ll find oceanfront lots for US $10,000 like in Hawaii in the 60s, but there are still deals around.

There are still places at the seminar, where your friends can hear a lineup of speakers including ANZ Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie, who totally won't be bumming anyone out by saying that New Zealand is "extremely vulnerable to the down turn in the global economy," like he did the other week. And Dan Denning, who, like doesn't actually live in New Zealand but totally rates the place. (Dan will be giving a bonus guest session on opportunities in Australia.)

Thanks to Craig Walls for the link.

So here are the Public Address Word(s) of the year for 2007. Not a bad list: topped by a genuine word-from-the-wild in "Te Qaeda". I talked to Sean Plunket about it on Morning Report today.

I haven't been able to find a $500 post in the Word of the Year thread, so I've decided to retain the Ezi-Pay Gift Station voucher and divvy the proceeds amongst the Public Address crew, who haven't had much from me late. Hope that's okay: think of it as a sub you didn't even have to pay. But Heineken kegs go to Felix Marwick for the lovely coinage "demagogcracy", and to Alastair Jamieson for being the first to suggest "Te Qaeda". Get in touch guys, and I'll have them delivered to your door.

And finally, a heads-up for a prolific and substantial newish blog by an anonymous Wellington "media professional": Poneke, it's called.

Already of interest: a farewell to The League of Rights, a look at the story behind the "Helen Clark attacks journalists" headlines (Mediawatch also had a useful report on that last issue) and the promise of an interesting publication on the Peter Ellis case at noon today.

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