Ah yes, the delights of Auckland. This city is a second home to me. Look how prosperous the inhabitants are, how well everyone appears to be doing.
Look at that family over there sleeping in their car. It’s a bit cramped with Mum, Dad and the four kids squeezed in, but I remember when I first got onto the property ladder. You don’t start out by buying the biggest and most expensive accommodation. You start small. Those people have the right idea.
The mother started crying as soon as I introduced myself to her, but I’m sure they’re tears of joy. It’s funny how I have that effect on people. I can go into any government job, take any minister’s role, and pretty soon everyone around me will be teary-eyed. I like to think that it’s all down to the positive energy I bring to my work. People get emotional when they’re around me, in touch with their feelings. An awful lot of sick and injured people got in touch with their feelings while I was ACC Minister.
People keep wanting to talk to me about the housing crisis, and I keep having to tell them there is no housing crisis. There are plenty of houses to go around. There are so many houses available that some people have bought four or five of them!
People accuse me of being out of touch. They say I have no idea what it’s like to be poor and unable to afford even to pay the rent, never mind save for a deposit on a house. But I reckon that’s absolute garbage. The people I talk to every day think the housing market’s in a great place. When I talk to my caucus colleagues about the price of real estate they almost all nod their heads, rub their hands together and say “isn’t it fantastic?”
What a time to be alive! With interest rates at historically low levels, it’s never been easier to own a house. Houses are even more affordable than they were when Labour was in power. And yet Labour keeps telling us there’s a housing crisis. Can you believe the negativity of these people? Everything’s doom and gloom, crisis this and crisis that. Haven’t they heard about the power of positive thinking? I prefer to call this an opportunity rather than a crisis. An opportunity for some people to make a killing!
As a minister I get blamed for just about everything. As Housing Minister I get blamed for problems in the housing market, and as Environment Minister I’m supposedly at fault for the fact that our rivers are polluted, and that what fresh water we do have is being virtually given away to overseas interests.
But I don’t mind all the criticism. It comes with the job. it’s all water off a duck’s back to me. As long as the water doesn’t come from the Manawatu River. That shit will kill you.
I just bumped into Mark Weldon. He was in a bar, crying over a glass of Terra Sancta Pinot Noir 2013.
“I tried so hard,” he blubbered. “But they were all so mean to me. Nobody understands.”
“There there,” I said soothingly. “Don’t let the bastards grind you down. I learned long ago to ignore all the people telling me I’m doing a rubbish job, that I’m delusional and out of touch, that when it comes to the housing market I’m fiddling while Rome burns, and that I leave almost every portfolio I ever touch in much worse shape than when I began.”
He stopped crying for a moment, staring at me. “But all those things are true,” he said.
“And yet what is truth?” I responded. “Can the truth ever really be knowable? And what is real? Are we here in this bar, or is this a dream? Do we even exist, or are we all just figments of some other being’s overactive imagination? And why must black be black? Why can’t black be white?”
He began to cry again. “This isn’t helping,” he mumbled through his tears.
“Perhaps not, but I know something that will cheer you up. Since we’ve been sitting in this bar having this conversation, the value of your Auckland property has gone up by fifty thousand dollars.”