Here, in the beautiful Far North, a land of water and shoreline, of wide open skies and rivers that flow to the sea, a man can sit a while, lay out his thoughts, and ponder the great and eternal question of existence.
Winfield Red, or Dunhill Blue? They're both good, solid cigarettes. Cigarettes which have been around. They've withstood the test of time and I think it's only proper that we take a second to acknowledge that, and respect it.
"I don't have all day, sir," said the man behind the counter at the dairy. "Which brand are you going to choose?"
Now if it's one thing I can't abide, it's bad manners. Whichever way I ultimately choose, it will be a decision that factors in a great many and varied considerations, and each of them require careful thought and a patient understanding. It's not a process which can be hastened, or hurried along.
I fixed him with a hard stare, and said, "You need to get something through your thick head. I'm not here to serve you. You're here to serve me."
He said, "I'm happy to serve you if you'll tell me which one you want. C'mon mate - Red, or Blue?"
I turned on my heel, and left without another word. If there's one other thing I can't abide, it's being put on the spot.
The great and eternal question of existence followed me to Auckland.
There's a lot to be said for Dunhill Blue. It's a strong, stable cigarette. It gets the job done. It's massively popular, and while it doesn't excite the imagination, it's reliable.
Equally, though, Winfield Red has its virtues. It's a go-ahead, adventurous cigarette. It has something refreshing about it. It's fairly popular, and while it's a bit flakey around the edges, it's satisfying.
"Would you mind making your mind up, sir," said the man behind the counter at the superette.
I turned on my heel, and left without another word. If there's one thing I won't tolerate, it's being grilled by an immigrant.
I flew to Wellington and who should be on the same flight but Steven Joyce from the National Party.
"Gidday, mate, fancy seeing you here," he said.
"Nice to see you," I said.
"Good, and you?"
"Couldn't be better," he said.
"Good," I said.
"Well," he said, "I best take my seat."
"See you in Wellington, I expect."
I looked at him, and said, "I'm not sure that you will."
I held a press conference to bring an end to the speculation.
I said, "There are a great many permutations to consider. That's what we have got to face. And each one of them has to be seriously considered. It's not a simple question of what I want or what I prefer; it's a serious and complex set of questions of what's best for everyone. Now all that will take time, and I won't say another word on the matter until October 7. Nothing will be decided until then. Thank you."
Lit up. Of course I know which one I want. I'm no fool.