Island Life by David Slack


Deliver us from Alan

The question looming largest in my mind at the moment is: what will happen to Tony Soprano this Monday? I try to distract myself by considering the official cash rate, and David Haywood’s bolshy mate Bollard. But that just gets me thinking about the exchange rate. 75 cents! It could go to 80, John Key says, and he’s supposed to know about These Things.

My patriotic export revenue-earning business can stand an exchange rate at par; a more advantageous one is icing on the cake. But you get nostalgic for the old days. At 40 cents it was aaaaaall icing, baby.

One needs always to be thinking about the new business opportunities in these uncertain times. In the last month my inbox has been filling with messages from friends and acquaintances contemplating fresh business ventures and looking for tips.

Restructuring can be bloody: the banks, the telcos, and of course the current Nightmare on Hobson Street. I wish I could say I had a specific suggestion for each person who drops me a line, but I don’t. Or rather, I don’t have safe, solid ones. My line runs to the more wacky and fanciful. You shouldn’t knock wacky and fanciful. Wacky and fanciful can be the seedbed for the good idea that eventually emerges.

People say: but that’s so obvious, why didn’t I think of that! And I think, well, maybe that’s because it emerged from an idea that was so ludicrous you’d have just laughed if I’d said it out loud.

So look, here are two frankly stupid ideas I had this week. Maybe you should take a look. Perhaps you can find a pony somewhere inside the horseshit.

Inspiration Number One: KiwiSaviour
If you have a church like Bishop Brian's, you’ll love this. One per cent rising to four is for pikers; make your worshippers a better offer! Say to them Give us your savings, and we’ll give you back tenfold in the sweet by and by.

If they keep ponying up 10% in the collection plate, you promise them, you'll match it with a full 20% which you’ll put into a special account for them to use in the afterlife.

Always Be Closing. Remind them what kind of table that will buy them when they’re dining in the Lord’s home!

Inspiration Number Two: The World Cup We Can Never Lose.
Bringing home the odd Americas Cup and Rugby World Cup is all very well, but how economically efficient is it for us to keep losing them again? Business needs certainty: just ask Michael Barnett or Frank O’Sullivan.

Here’s the answer. Stage a combined tournament in a trio of sports that makes us utterly unassailable. Each day for, oh, about a hundred days I reckon, you put on a match in three legs, with two teams of about two dozen players. First leg, you go out and buy a spec’ house somewhere in Auckland. You tart it up. Once that’s done, and you’ve had a quick lunch, you move on to the second leg. You take your world class yacht out on to the Hauraki Gulf and do your beating to windward and your keelhauling around the mark, and the puffing of your spinnaker, and your long luffing and whatever the hell else it is they do out there all afternoon. The important thing is, as ever, that you don’t break your stick and you get back over the line ahead of the other boat. With the remaining daylight hours, you get the spec house on the market and flick it off for a profit. By this stage, you’re ready to head to the Eden Park Coliseum for the third and final leg under lights. This will be a three hour game of rugby (with ad breaks) played according to whatever new rules are necessary to address whatever is presently wrong with the game everywhere else in the world.

You win a point for getting home first, another point for flicking your house for more than the other team and a third point for winning the footy game. Whoever has the most points after a hundred days is the world champion. As any fule kno, no-one in the world is better than “us” at any of these events. Put all three together and we will totally cream all comers.

As for the economic ramifications, well, all three sports are prized by that most desirable of all economic market segments: the High Net Worth Individual. They will come here for the duration of the tournament and they will spend like there’s no tomorrow, except of course there will be 100 of them.

And there’s more! After 100 days of the cocaine and hookers and high-rolling at Sky City, they’ll probably be feeling penitent. That will be the moment for the masterstroke: You introduce them to KiwiSaviour.

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