December 28th, 2002


Kiwis for Sale!

What happens when you combine millions of Americans who are dissatisfied with their country and where it's going with a hugely successful series of movies that glamourize the beautiful, unspoilt, and relatively affordable nature of a foriegn country?!

Land grab!! In this case, the movies are The Lord of the Rings series and the country up for grabs seems to be New Zealand.

You too can be a NuKiwi, according to a website distinctly geared towards rich Americans.

The site features such ugly Americanisms as:

"New Zealand ...Don't just visit, Live It!" - Not just a bad slogan, but a registered service mark of NuKiwi... which is itself a registered trademark.

"A New Zealand Lifestyle Can Be Yours" - Straight. Gay. Lesbian. Bisexual. Transgendered. Kiwi?!

"Consider this -- thirty years ago, you could have bought a premium view lot in Hawaii or Aspen for less than $10,000. Today, you couldn't touch either for less than $1 million. No matter. They're old news anyway. But did you know that New Zealand is just as stunning and magnificent, while astoundingly undervalued by comparison?" - They'll be saying the same thing about beachfront property near Al Basrah in a year or two...

"The bad news is that those in the know, from all over the world, are converging on this lovely, unspoiled, and isolated oasis of the South Pacific. You owe it to yourself to discover what they already know -- to stake your claim in paradise before it's too late...remember Aspen and Hawaii." - i.e. Buy your piece of New Zealand now before other Americans turn what's left into strip malls and parking lots.

"Migrants have a different way of looking at things" .... "They tend to be more sceptical, jaded, and hard to please. If these traits are not properly tempered they can be perceived as irritating to others." - Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! Give that man a cigar!

If you're a rich American, you can basically buy your way into New Zealand... all you need is to invest $1,000,000 NZ into the local economy, which is only about $500,000 U.S. That might sound like a lot of money, but for many Americans, that is less than the price of purchasing a small house.

While such investment may boost the local economy, the question is "at what price?" I hope that New Zealand won't be turned into overpriced oceanfront condos and Starbucks franchises, as it would be kind of ironic for Tolkien's books to inadvertently encourage the development of unspoilt nature for commercial purposes.

Brutish invaders tearing down trees... where are the ents when you need them?!