Several major US corporations have been in talks with New Zealand Prime Minister John Keyes this month amid revelations that the small Pacific nation may be in dire financial straits.
"We have always been motivated by the needs of the people," said SkyVille CEO Newton McMorrison when questioned on the negotiations. "It's clear that this country needs our help, and we have a duty to provide that as patriotic Americans."
Though he was tight-lipped about the agreement that might be reached, business insiders say that the aim is to create a surplus of low-paid jobs for the impoverished islanders. "It's a well-known economic fact that lowering the minimum wage and removing liberal employee 'protections' leads to increased productivity and cost-efficiency," a film industry financial expert, who did not wish to be named, explained. "By investing off-shore, everyone will benefit, through increased employment - or increased profit."
Not everyone agrees - there have been reports of protests from some native New Zealand fringe groups, claiming that labour protections are vital to prevent inequality. A group of almost thirty people gathered in the streets of the capital of Auckland, shouting communist slogans as they stumbled through the city's bar district, many displaying gang insignia.
New Zealand Development Minister Dan Carter dismissed the groups, though. "We fully expect that this deal will be good for the country," he said yesterday. "And it's only the beginning. We want the United States to know that New Zealand is open for business."
The offer seems to be genuine. Despite repeated claims to the New Zealanders that welfare programs, education and socialist healthcare are simply too unwieldy and expensive, the small nation's Treasury has been extremely generous to those businesses that have already invested on the islands. "We got twenty five million up-front," admitted Hobbit director Peter Johnson, a native-born New Zealander who emigrated to America in an inspiring rags-to-riches story. "Tax breaks, labor law amendments... and the best part is that we've really opened the door for others. A single payment only helps one business. Law changes help everyone who comes afterwards. It's a real bright day for America."
And New Zealand?
"Oh, yeah," he agreed, laughing. "Them too."
- Wall Street Today