Claws out for hairbrain idea

By Russell Bell

Earlier this week some stunning news interrupted what would have been an enjoyable day out with the kids. We were treated to the news that "[Gareth] Morgan calls for cats to be wiped out" - causing distress for the children.

Now, I am not a cat lover and the damage our cats have done to our furniture has had Mrs Bell apoplectic from time to time, but you have to ask yourself what is Mr Morgan thinking? He may be a respected economist and, more recently, owner of the freefalling Phoenix football club, but he may need to rethink his approach on this one.

He has done some very good things over the years and, whilst I disagree entirely with KiwiSaver and enforced saving, if I was forced to have KiwiSaver I would seek out his fund as a viable option to consider. Or perhaps the manner of this almost out-of- character attack on all things feline might make me think twice?

From KiwiSaver it's a massive leap to "cat killer" although I am sure that the fat, flightless, nocturnal bird from which the forced saving plan takes its name is on his list to be protected from the humble house kitty - although a recent trip to a Kiwi sanctuary revealed that dogs are equally culpable here.

So, where does this come from? Behind it is an argument that, by preying on native birds, cats diminish our future economic advantage.

Surely the only winners of Gareth's plan will be the rats and mice. And let's not forget rabbits - I'm sure the agricultural backbone of our economy will recoil at the thought of another rabbit population explosion. Having the rest of the world look at us and see plagues of rats, mice and rabbits would do more economic damage than that currently being perpetrated by the cat population.

So, nice idea to protect native birds but they are also probably more at risk from us, than our pets. And don't we have islands and reserves for this already?

What has been interesting has been watching the reaction, which has been swift (and, yes, by writing this I am a part of that too). A common statement appearing on Facebook and Twitter is "having it all does not equal having common sense", which is an interesting conclusion to draw and possibly evidence of the tall poppy syndrome.

It is natural for us all to want success and gravitate towards and pay credence to the utterances of the rich and famous but, from time to time, their ideas and opinions (to which they are equally entitled) won't ring true with us - or be downright loopy. But that is the way of society today.

We need to take care of what we pay credence to and, equally, ensure that this idea which seems so out of left field doesn't denigrate from what Mr Morgan has to say in future about the economy which will, quite likely, be salient and important and will need to be heeded by the business community.

Gareth wants to be a KiwiSaver, literally. Good for him. Perhaps save the Phoenix first?

Zenith Solutions is a Wanganui-based management consulting practice. It specialises in providing strategic planning, business process improvement and financial management services. Contact or phone 021-244-2421.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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