David Slack: Freedom campers, it has been a pleasure doing business with you
OPINION: So, farewell then, freedom camper. Your time in our beautiful country is at an end. Haere ra, ka kite ano, and travel safely, oh brave young despoiler of public lands and native bush.
Also thanks for your modest contribution to our tourist economy, and it'd be great if you could fill out this short survey. Please tick all that apply.
Did you pick up a cheap car?
A. Yes, I bought a cheap import with a radio that plays only your Leighton Smith. The car broke down many times but on the plus side I now understand that climate change is a hoax concocted by globalists.
B. No, I got a campervan from Wicked Campers. I find the slogans on their vehicles are highly amusing. We have nothing like this in Munich.
What did you think of our muttonbird?
A. It did not taste at all like mutton.
B. It did not taste at all like bird.
C. It tasted of fish. Why do you call it mutton?
D. I felt you were having sport with me. The thing you call Southland Sushi was melted cheese and onion rolled up in toast.
E. Do not get me started on the mountain oysters.
Did you try our craft beer?
B. Yes, it was the only way I could make man with a beard and a skateboard stop talking.
C. Yes. But in Munich it does not cost so very much money.
Do you get the feeling Wellington is full of 34-year-old men with beards and skateboards who sneer at you and your meagre knowledge of Hegel's dialectic?
B. OMG yes. I thought it was just me who found them insufferable.
What work did you score?
A. Senior manager for EQC in Christchurch.
B. Claims assessor for EQC in Christchurch.
C. Strategic planner for EQC in Christchurch.
D. Labourer doing earthquake repairs in Christchurch.
What was your prior experience?
A. Nothing to do with insurance.
B. Nothing to do with building.
C. Nothing to do with strategic planning.
D. Ran a shell game in Leicester Square.
What was your most memorable rebuild experience?
A. Packing piles with scraps of wood instead of plastic spacers.
B. Not securing anything with wire.
C. Using filler, not epoxy resin, that sort of thing.
D. Filling the cracks, painting them over, walking away.
E. Rescoping a job from a $400,000 repair to a $90 patch up.
F. Seeing people collapse into despair as they discover their repair has been botched and EQC won't be doing anything about it because legally they don't have to.
How much fouling of our beautiful countryside did you do?
A. Not as much as a dairy cow.
B. Not as much as a dairy herd.
Would you say New Zealand is a soft touch?
A. No, every country in the world lets students use degree courses as a back door into the country.
B. No, every country does tax haven stuff.
C. No, every country lets tourists go traipsing through the place without charging them for access to the spots of natural beauty even the ones that take your breath away and need quite a lot of conservation funding.
Did you get to meet our former minister of tourism Sir John Key?
A. That guy who's supposed to be a business genius but got a tourist boom going without spending anything on infrastructure?
Yes that one.
A. Yes, we got forty minutes with him to do selfies. And his son. Your country is remarkable.
Do you have some suggestions on how we could make more money?
A. Cover the whole country in bush. You will get many more tourists who come here to marvel at the bird song.
B. Legalise weed. You will get many more tourists who come here to get baked and marvel at the bird song.
C. Ban cars except for tradies, and people who live in them, and freedom campers. You will get many more tourists.
D. An underwater travelator running between Auckland city and Devonport. Make it like Kelly Tarltons, if Kelly Tarltons were at Singapore airport. Fill it with birdsong. Make sure there's a weed kiosk.
E. Your country does not have a crisis of labour, it has a crisis of management. Just saying.
- Sunday Star Times