NEXT or something like it will be built into Perl 6. People will start using it. And abusing it. And much obfu/spaghetti code will be written. But I'm still glad it's there in case I want it. (And I didn't know there was a NEXT for Perl 5, so thanks adrianh (for informing me of it)...and TheDamian (for writing it)!).
And let me reiterate that the only reason I disagreed with rir in the first place was because of the complaint about having multiple AUTOLOAD's in the inheritance tree, yet the OP had only one AUTOLOAD, in the base class, and with no multiple inheritance as in rir's later example. I might say the same things about maintainability when you start using multiple inheritance, but I won't :-)