OPINION: A kind of Christmas wish-list for Santa


Dear Santa,

I have been a really good girl this year so I reckon I have made the nice list.

Stuart, Chris, Jacinda, Brian?

No, Santa, that’s the wrong list.







They should be getting coal for Christmas.

But I guess coal has been add ed to the ‘cancelled’ list, being that it’s environmentally-unfriendly?

Anyway, back to what’s on my list.

First off, I’d like to revisit the definition of ‘kind’, please.

As you would know, ‘kind’ can be both a noun and an adjective.

As a noun it can mean any thing from ‘a specific or recognised variety’ (such as Labour ministers) to ‘the equivalent of what has been offered or received’ (not a lot, if you’re a business).

As an adjective it can mean anything from ‘a sympathetic or helpful nature’ (antonym: Tour
ism Minister), to ‘arising from, or characterised by, sympathy or forbearance’ (Auckland in lockdown).

I would like to add a third definition of ‘kind’, please, as a verb.

This would mean ‘discrimination based on personal choice’ (vaccination status) or ‘business
sector’ (anything to do with the visitor economy) or ‘just because your name came up somewhere’.

Used in a sentence it would be something along the lines of ‘‘I was kind to the anti-vaxxer’’, or ‘‘we are kind to anyone thinking they will enter fortress New Zealand’’, or ‘‘we were kind to [insert name here] online’’.

Next on my list this year, Santa, I would like legislation passed, under urgency, to ban all
forms of numbered or coloured ‘‘frameworks’’.

Of course, this is unless it is necessary for a minority group, or vulnerable population, or anyone with any influence over the government at the time, in order to be kind.

In the instance this legislation is passed, it should contain appropriate mistakes and  loopholes such that in its implementation there would be a number of unintended consequences requiring the introduction of a new ‘‘framework’’, so that we can all be kind.

The passing of this legislation should also be closely followed by the last meeting of government for the year, so the news media can move on to other exciting topics, like the road toll and the Christmas Day weather forecast, to ensure the public’s attention is diverted elsewhere.

For my third present, Santa, I’m thinking you will need to shop local.

It’s the thing to do these days, you know, as we move towards being regenerative and minimising our carbon footprint.

Now to my last present.

There’s a pandemic of huffing and puffing about ‘‘tourists’’, ‘‘loss of social licence’’ and ‘‘extortionate pricing’’, with a suggested vaccine of seeking only visitors ‘‘like us’’.

Santa, this is one vaccine I am definitely anti.

Let me tell you about people ‘‘like us’’.

People like us drink too much, too fast and attack others on the streets, making it unsafe and unpleasant — and that’s before the sun goes down.

People like us smoke in our national parks, drop rubbish, smuggle not just hip flasks, but
full bottles of spirits on to trips and then get abusive.

People like us make it difficult, if not impossible, to improve the safety and amenity of our towns.

People like us post dreadful comments about people they have never met online.

People like us prevaricate over calling out bad behaviour in others in case other people like
us, who don’t know them, will post dreadful comments about them online.

People like us abuse staff who are just trying to do the best they can amid a sea of changing of regulations, numbers and colours.

So Santa, for my last present this year, I would like to abandon being kind in favour of becoming the place we think we are, but we are not.

For 2022, I’d like Queenstown to be a place where we all work together, to be the best we can be.

Ruth Stokes is Queenstown Chamber of Commerce’s CEO