We NZers like it when people like us. Jeremy Clarkson likes us.
John Cleese called Palmerston North the ''suicide capital of New Zealand'' because ''if you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick.” Clarkson disagrees, I think. If God had got it right, he says, ''Jesus would have been from Palmerston North.'' Perhaps he means it could be a good place for crucifixion?
In any case, he seems to like the rest of the place:
"If you were God and you were all-powerful, you wouldn't select Bethlehem as a suitable birthplace for your only child because it's a horrible place. And you certainly wouldn't let him grow up anywhere in the Holy Land. What you'd actually do is choose New Zealand.
"New Zealand causes anyone to question the wisdom of God. Because if he really were all-knowing, children at Christmas time today would be singing 'Oh little town of Wellington' and people would not cease from mental fight until Jerusalem had been built in Auckland's green and pleasant land.
"Jesus would have been from Palmerston North.
"I'm in New Zealand right now and it really is absolutely stunning; bite-the-back-of-your-hand-to-stop-yourself-from-crying-out lovely."
Clarkson was vastly less complimentary about Australia, calling Sydney Harbour "a river"and local photographers "convicts"during a visit last week.