My spy at Whitecliffe College tells me that the college administration is busy making the building pretty for its forthcoming transfer to The Church of Scientology. Thirty grand has been spent on the floors and students have been banned from using oil-based paints; yes, in an art college. Interestingly enough, the college administration has yet to tell students anything of the sale of the building or their dreadful fate: the college is moving to Manukau (Face of the Future).
You may be wondering, at this point, why the Church of Scientology needs such a large building. Well, according to the Herald the building will cater for 200 students and 100 staff, which is a high student-to-staff ratio. In time-honoured Scientology tradition, many of the staff will be paying off the exorbitant fees for their own training by training the noobs.
In any case, the Church obviously needs a big building; according to spokesman Mike Ferris, they have about 5000 members in New Zealand. Quite where they all are is something of a mystery, since the 2006 census found only 357 souls prepared to stand up and be counted as children of Ron.
I guess we could blame that on the margin of error but the Church has had some difficulties with maths elsewhere. In Britain, the ratio of imaginary to real members is 100:1. Worldwide, the Church claims eight million adherents, although the real number seems to be more like half a million.
It seems that Church is having something of a worldwide spending spree, buying buildings that are rather grand but somewhat aesthetically incorrect, perfectly suited to the Church's downright tacky interior design style.
Whilst we are on the subject, whatever happened to Scientomogy, the locally-owned website whose owner endured threats and harassment from the Church?
Here's Culture Club: