Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Ten good reasons to stay home

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An Australian friend recently sent me a cutting out of his local paper with a headline that said: “10 reasons why kiwis are kicking our backsides.” Actually it didn’t say “backsides”, but rather the plural of a four letter word beginning with the letter “A” which I thought was unsuitable for a family newspaper; ours that is, but obviously not theirs.

The article was accompanied by a large coloured cartoon of a kiwi appropriately kicking a kangaroo.

The author is Angela Mollard who apparently was once a native New Zealander, but crossed the Tasman some years ago and now appears to be wistfully looking back.

Her first reasoning is that we don’t have Attention Deficit Disorder when it comes to prime ministers and we play the long game politically. She tells her readers that John Key has just begun his third term while Helen Clark enjoyed nine years as the country’s first elected woman prime minister. Whereas Julia Gillard has largely sunk without trace, she says, Clark is being touted as the next head of the United Nations.

She was impressed with the way our rugby bosses handled Aaron Cruden’s missed flight to Argentina following a drinking session. Cruden was dropped from three tests and told to stay home. On returning to the squad he was benched for a match because his replacement was playing so well.

She compares this with the shenanigans over Kurtley Beale, whose text message scandal rumbled on, leading to two resignations, a $45,000 fine and the most turbulent episode in Australian rugby history.

She says we sell ourselves well with our “100 per cent Pure New Zealand” slogan and reckons that no visitor is in any doubt of our countries splendour. Air New Zealand’s inflight videos, featuring the All Blacks and the Hobbit, have gone viral on YouTube.

It’s a case, she says, of knowing who you are and what you’re proud of.

Aussies, she writes, have no ruddy idea.

She says when we boast “homemade” we mean it. Our wine is excellent, the craft beer is beery, and coffee is our national religion after rugby. But for her it’s our morning and afternoon teas that really excel. Not for us the mass-produced hydrogenated muffins and fridge-odoured caramel slices that fill the Aussie cafes, but by using the century old Edmonds baking bible we make scones and slices from scratch.

In New Zealand, she says, woman play sport. They play it in Australia too, but you’d never know it from watching television. In NZ netball is not only broadcast live, but its stars, along with Lydia Ko and Valerie Adams, appear in the glossies.

In Australia you only make the mags if you’ve had a juicy marriage break-up, a drug scandal or a dodgy text message exchange.

And she reckons we Kiwis are thrill seekers. Whereas in Oz you can’t visit a beach or a pool without a sign warning you against every possible activity short of breathing, we apparently view any body of water as a means to adrenalin. Having had the imagination to tie an elastic rope to our feet and jump, we’ve developed extreme flying foxes, mega swings and the sort of jet-boating that leaves your stomach in your mouth.

In New Zealand, she writes, race relations matter. Grievances are redressed through the Treaty of Waitangi, Maori culture is upheld in schools where the national anthem is sung in both languages and to have “mana” - which she describes as honour and respect - is to have it all.

She told her readers that we liberal New Zealanders didn’t see gay marriage as a threat, so we legalised it.

And we garner no special favours. Whereas in Australia they continue to endorse MPs who misuse their allowances and spend union funds on prostitutes, she was impressed that a New Zealand cabinet minister was fined $2000 last November after he bypassed airport security to board a domestic flight.

She sites our coinage as the tenth and final example of why the Muldoon IQ utterance is starting to gain some validity. They make complete sense, she says. The $2 is larger than the $1 and we withdrew the worthless 5 cent coin completely.

Despite her own compelling arguments Ms Mollard is not coming home anytime soon. She cites the high price of mangoes and says “the accent sucks.”

At the last Australian general election concern was expressed about the number of illegal immigrants there are in the lucky country. The government thought there were about sixty thousand.

Aboriginal sources said it was more like twenty two and a half million.

“New Zealander's moving to Australia raises the IQ of both countries.” -Sir Robert Muldoon.


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