We used to berate ourselves for our national inferiority complex. The cultural cringe made us desperate to lick up any crumbs of praise that the rest of the world dropped on our floor.

Until around the 1980s, international attention stretched about as far as Kiri Te Kanawa and various sports achievers.

We took what we could get and revelled in such pats on the head. Then that began to change.

Suddenly, we no longer needed the outsiders of admiration to find ourselves admirable.

We listened to our own music, watched our own movies and followed our own soap opera.


So how have we gone full circle and become the playthings of the international jet set, not bothering to collect their taxes, letting them buy our property and enjoy windfall profits and playing fast and loose with our citizenship requirements in order to admit billionaires with reprehensible records?

Why do we let Apple sell its overpriced gewgaws here and pay no tax?

Do we come wrapped in a Tiffany box?

Do Silicon Valley companies give their star performers New Zealand citizenship vouchers as leaving presents when they move on?

Is New Zealand the new must-have in the shopping pages of the Robb Report, whose ads plutocrats peruse to find just the right gift for themselves?

We don't just grovel at the feet of the world's attention, we insist they use us a footstool because, honestly, we're more comfortable that way.

The more the world notices us, the more we want it to. We bend over backwards - and make of that position whatever mental image you feel is most appropriate - to accommodate our own special refugees and their billions.

"What? You're rich enough to buy a moon on Saturn but you've decided to annex Wanaka instead - and pay us for it? Well, bless my soul, I simply don't know where to look! Here - have another river. Please. And can we interest you in some swamp kauri? You'd be doing us a favour - it's just taking up space."
It's important to keep perspective. That five times as much New Zealand land was sold to foreign owners last year than was sold in the previous 12 months doesn't mean every branch of Foreign Plundering Inc has upped its booty by 500 per cent. Or that it's getting easier than ever to buy your own "slice of paradise - just add your own security wall".

That figure could be a random statistical spike caused by sun spots.You decide. I'm not an expert on sunspots.

And there's nothing to rule out the possibility our newly minted zillionaires will be an asset to the community.

Take, for instance, Nikita Volkov, of this parish, a Russian native with New Zealand citizenship who bought 20 top-line apartments in Auckland's Metropolis building since 2008 but has decided they are surplus to requirements and is selling them.

To be fair, we can't be sure he won't be using the profits to fund hot lunches for school kids in Northland or studies into ways to clean up our waterways.

Except that, actually, we can. Because he's going to use his Auckland property market windfall to fulfil his lifelong ambition to start a bank in Europe.

You've got to feel good knowing that you've helped a boy make his dream come true.

However, it's not like we're saying everything is for sale. You can have our water for free if you bring your own container.

And we still have so much left to give and so many more countries to impress. The most recent figures show that Brazil accounts for only 1 per cent of foreign investment here.

We obviously need to work on our samba.