Opinion Reflections of a Returning Kiwi

My partner and I have been in Melbourne for three years. We recently decided to relocate back to Auckland. Here are our impressions. Wow, things have changed in New Zealand!

New York, New York
Auckland is the New York of the country – dynamic, aggressive, brash, creative, confident, sirens, choked, mad. Wellington is like San Francisco – urbane and cosmopolitan and to-die-for on sunny day. Christchurch, well Christchurch has got its act together and made the CBD pleasure for people.

Pure NZ
In Australia the 100% Pure NZ ads and billboards looked bit over the top to expat Kiwis. Back here they look so clever and accurate. In Victoria what landscape they think is pretty is absolute rubbish. New Zealand is gorgeous, and so green, dammit.

Thank god for inner city apartments
Life in the centre of our cities has transformed beyond belief – it’s action on weekday night. Even in Hamilton the CBD has become dynamic with cafes, restaurants, and lots of music.

Drive to die
Driving is the worst in the world. Auckland driver behaviour repeated in Melbourne would earn you prison sentence.

Business incubators are chic
Business start-ups have become sexy again, and the numerous incubator set-ups are impressive.

The new Young Turks
There seems to be new breed of entrepreneurs who are relentlessly promoted as personalities by the media.

America’s Cup
Brought the high-end glitz and the serious money here – so people could see what it looked like. It also provided the kick in the backside for the waterfront development, which is now better than Sydney’s.

Knowledge age – yeah, got it
What was still news in 2000, that New Zealand had to become Knowledge Age economy, is taken for granted- even if not many know how to do it.

Television is absolute c…
Free-to-air TV must be the lowest of the world’s low. What tragedy we did not get SBS, or PPBS here to keep the faith with IQs above 25.

The Asian Invasion
A spectacular change in Auckland. Try walking or driving around Mayoral Drive/Queen Street, then drive down Dominion Road, then try Howick – the sea of young Asians. Now speculate on the contribution to the economy this will make.

From branch office to kiosk
The outflow of corporations to Australia is evident, as is the downgrading of what were branch offices of multinationals to mere kiosks.

Selling lifestyle options
It seems obvious New Zealand will leverage the tourism industry into ‘lifestyle options’ industry. It is very attractive deal for global lifestylers to have service package and ‘piece of view’ investment here which enables them to live here occasionally, and be wired enough to work here too.

Think greater Oz – network like crazy
One thing that still stuffs this society is the failure to think of ourselves as economically and socially part of greater Oz. So we don’t exploit the networks that are available to us. Every state in Oz thinks of itself as proudly different and they all hate Canberra. We can have our cake and eat it too – think as part of greater Oz, but retain sovereignty.

Helen Clark tells the truth
In Melbourne the dinner party conversation about Howard was “so what if he did the whole Tampa refugee/children overboard as scam, the truth is irrelevant”.

New Zealand as Frodo
Watching the Lord of the Rings 2 and reading the mainstream media here which takes for granted the Iraq war fraud, we wondered whether New Zealand will again become the Frodo Baggins of the world with America, the evil empire. Perhaps George Bush will desperately want the Ring – of idealism and innocence – that is buried somewhere in Otago!

Nick Marsh is the director of Next Corporation. Email: [email protected]

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