Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan: Boxing match a chance to make NZ a turnoff

Joseph Parker has a chance to fight for the world title in Auckland - but the organisers' bid for taxpayer funding raises questions.  Picture / Photosport
Joseph Parker has a chance to fight for the world title in Auckland - but the organisers' bid for taxpayer funding raises questions. Picture / Photosport

Should the Government fund a heavyweight world title boxing match in Auckland?

The proper title match, between Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko and Britain's Tyson Fury, has been cancelled because Fury failed a drug test. (Fury, you may recall, last year said the end of the world is nigh, partly because homosexuality is legal. He is now in rehab, and rightly so.)

Now there's a chance for Kiwi Joseph Parker to fight a Mexican boxer (who also isn't the world champion) and somehow, through the magical square-dance of completely legit boxing, one of them becomes world champion.

Fine.

But wait a minute.

The argument for Government funding is that a prizefight in Auckland, with a global audience, will do good things for New Zealand.

But how do you make a boxing match scenic?

I suppose they could fight on a bridge overlooking the Southern Alps, while attached to bungy cords, the goal being to punch the other boxer off the bridge, so in defeat, he can bounce scenically up and down against a majestic backdrop.

Kayakers and jetboats could fish the beaten fighter out of the sparkling water (which hopefully hasn't been pooped in recently by a cow) - and in his boxing glove grasp, he surfaces holding a trout.

OK, fine, I buy it, 100% Pure.

But the question is, does New Zealand want to be more appealing to tourists?
Think about it. Given the background hum of the housing crisis, can we stand to be sexier to the world?

If housing is about supply and demand, and there's nothing we can do quickly about supply, then surely the least we can do is dampen demand.

Imagine for example, if we have this boxing match, and suddenly Auckland is faced with the kind of tourist boom that Klitschko's dominance of boxing must have created for Ukraine, that tourist magnet. We'd sink, and not just from climate change.

Ukraine is so popular with tourists, commercial jets fly around it, just for safety. (At least, that's Putin's explanation.)

Imagine if we got that sexy.

Could New Zealand cope with the kind of tourism demand that Tyson Fury has created for Britain? I know when I think of reasons to visit Britain, Tyson Fury springs to mind, only second to Nigel Farage, and whoever David Beckham's children are.

And politically, is this the right time for NZ to import and beat up a Mexican national, after the things Donald Trump has said about their country? No. If we invite anyone Mexican, we should hug them, and learn their ways, not punch them in the Remarkables.

So NZ is in a bind. We constantly, instinctively, want to leverage sport to look good - but by looking good, we risk increasing immigration. And our house prices are already too high.

Our housing crisis is so obvious, even the Government admits it exists.
We need to reduce housing demand. So we can't afford to get sexier. We can't afford to bring sexy back: we need to throw sexy out.

So yes, let's hold this title fight in Auckland. But let's use it to make NZ look unappealing, to completely turn off tourists, immigrants, and even returning Kiwis.
The venue for the fight should be supplied by Serco. Or possibly the fight should take place in a bus, in Auckland traffic, during peak hour.

In the ad-breaks, we could show videos of NZ made by Farmwatch, the people who look out for animal cruelty. Don't show off agriculture: show off aggro-culture.

Have the whole thing introduced by that guy in Blenheim who got beaten up this week for wearing pink. Along with fists, his assailants threw homophobic insults, just to clarify their motivation.

At first I thought, what year is this again? Then again, perhaps the right question is: what season is it? Maybe that was it. Maybe the attackers saw themselves as fashion vigilantes, patrolling the streets of Marlborough like their own runway, with the absolute conviction that in Spring/Summer 2017, earthy tones are in: they saw pink and saw red, so they decided to take matters into their own hands.

Kidding.

I was in Marlborough last weekend, and it didn't occur to me that Blenheim was like that. Then again, I was wearing safe neutral shades, blue and grey. There was an incident though. With another male comic, I went to a vineyard, and the manager ran us through their range. He told us the rosé is nowadays called 'bro-sé': "You don't have to be gay to drink it any more."

We may have beaten Australia to gay marriage, but obviously the vote wasn't unanimous.
It's amazing how pink can incite such primal reactions. But maybe it shouldn't be amazing in a country that so worships the colour black.

- NZ Herald

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Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan's books of humour include ‘America on 5 Bullets a Day’ and ‘An Asian at my Table’. Before comedy, he graduated with honours in law and his legal research was published in the New Zealand Law Journal. His TV work includes a documentary in which he trained to be a casino croupier. He once held his breath for 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Visit RaybonKan.com

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