The column you are about to read has been on my mind for some months now.
Those of you expecting a laugh may be bitterly disappointed ... unless you view my idea as so absurd ... you wet yourself laughing.
In which case, I advise you don your adult diaper now.
When people ask me how I would label myself, I usually offer up a two-word descriptor - a creative.
An insomniac of old, my brain, small as it may be, ticks over relentlessly. It churns out ideas from the bizarre to the, possibly, brilliant, many of which I have been reluctant to share publicly, for fear they will be usurped by someone with more resources than I have available to me.
The following is actually one of my "tamer" ideas, yet still fits into the category of "thinking outside the box".
Behold - my idea for solving the housing/rental crisis in New Zealand!
And it's so apt that I float my idea as my solution is the government purchase of second-hand cruise ships.
Before you call for my committal to the nearest mental health facility, please hear me out.
Commonly referred to as floating cities ... with some obvious conversions ... they have the potential to house thousands of people without the purchase of vast quantities of overpriced land and create employment that will last well beyond the renovation process.
And like any city, the ship has the capability of catering to all needs and budgets, whether you opt to rent or own, I'm also hopeful the government will see fit to offer an exclusive rent to own scheme for good honest Kiwi citizens desperately searching for a way to find a foothold on the prized New Zealand property ladder.
From staterooms turned into luxury serviced apartments to twin/share rooms for students and backpackers, there would be something for everyone. Adjoining doors in cabins could easily facilitate the need for two or three bedroomed options, complete with a full range of kitchen options, from a microwave to a fully kitted designer job.
Some restaurants could be used as communal cooking and dining areas while others remain, to be downsized and leased or sold as businesses ... every city needs dining out options, right?
And just like in the real world, onboard pools and gym facilities could be utilised by means of membership or a casual usage fee.
With play areas for kids, nightclubs, outdoor activities, and retail premises that can be converted to what one would normally expect to find in a local shopping centre ...
bookshops, a chemist, banks, clothing outlets, dairies, a hairdresser, cafes ... you name it.
The likes of ballrooms and casinos could easily be transformed into department stores, supermarkets and/or tenants private parking areas, all of which would need to be staffed by hundreds if not thousands of workers, adding even more value to the economy.
Hospitality workers, security staff, retailers, an onboard medical and dentist practice, the sky's the limit.
With well thought out planning and design, and reasonably priced contractors who value the importance of its social necessity, as opposed to those looking to make a quick buck, as many government tenders do, a project such as this could change the lives of around 3000 people, with a shared dream of finding a place to call home.
This idea also has the potential to work anywhere. Cruise ships come in many sizes, any of which can be dry docked, if necessary.
Laugh all you like and brand me a lunatic, I couldn't give a toss ... I'm living proof that you can find a way to type despite the confines of a straightjacket. And let's face it, to date, the so-called conventional and reasonable approach has failed to deliver anything of substance.
God help us all if we opt, instead, for the hideous highrise estate models as seen in countries like Britain ... sinking ships if ever I've experienced them, which as it happens I have. #whateverfloatsyourboat
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