OK, I'm here. Can't comment on Air NZ's new Premium Economy Class because I used up my gold airpoints upgrade vouchers to go in the new business class mmmmm - duvets and pillows and flat beds. Rather nice entertainment system fully interactive - not the variety as in Singapore Airlines or Virgin Atlantic, but better than Qantas. Food was excellent and in greater quantities than last time, and I could sleep in the bed, although it was a little hard it compares well with BA's Club Class.
Ahh New Zealand, land of the parochial soooo:
Things I have missed
Family and friends
Empty clean beaches, countryside, roads
Cheap good fresh fruit and veges
Good edible bread easy to get
More fish than haddock and cod that is easy to get
Sun and blue skies
Relatively good service
Lack of crowds
Things i have not missed
Nauseatingly patriotic navel gazing provincialism, as if New Zealand as an entity is important - it just exists and people there have to do things good to be noticed. Just because it is NZ made means nothing unless it is good.
Nasal drawling accents (LA Air NZ lounge I sat beside a blonde woman with the worst accent I've heard in ages - loud, nasal and SO glad she didn't sit upstairs).
High taxes on alcohol.
Anally retentive customs (you really think most illegal drugs used in NZ come through passengers at airports?)
Low value currency getting lower (good for me for now).
The preponderance of the stupid prickery using the roads (whereas in London they are homeless or riding buses).
Newspapers with large sections dedicated to parish pump pointlessness and bugger all analysis or incisive comment, and virtually no choice of newspapers.
Television virtually devoid of intelligence, unless it comes from foreign channels and awash with cultural cringe.
Radio largely devoid of intelligence (BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4, as leftwing as they are, are like undergraduate tutors compared to National Radio's adolescent students).
The subculture of welfare, drug addiction, crime, abuse and irresponsibility rampant in certain segments of society - and the political tolerance of it (yes I am very aware of it in the UK too, but it is a different but equally troublesome nature).
The perverse criminal justice system that puts a drug trafficker in jail for years, but lets women who beat up kids out in half the time.
The obsession with the road toll - but unwillingess to confront the cause - stupid driving.
OK that'll do, I don't enjoy sitting in front of a computer more than I have to :)