Blood on the Tracks

Written By: - Date published: 10:27 am, July 10th, 2015 - 127 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

First up, a rare thing; mild praise for the National Government. In ignoring Treasury’s advice to do fully to KiwiRail what the troika is doing to Greece, Bill English has thrown our rail network a two year lifeline. This is a very good thing. Well, a step in the right direction, at least.

Without a rail network, all our goods would be moved via roads. And our roading system is already struggling to cope with the damage done by trucks as it is. Much like the dairy industry, the road transport lobbyists are determined that they should not have to compensate the taxpayer for the damage they cause. Both industries rely heavily on disguised subsidies from you and I to repair and maintain the infrastructure and environment that they so gleefully corrupt. Both claim to be vital to the NZ economy, but both are parasitic in nature.

Without rail, NZ would be entirely dependant on a form of transport that is nearing its nadir. The coming generation is likely to be the last that thinks energy inefficient and polluting trucks are the answer. They’re actually part of the problem.

Rail Leaflet_web

Labour transport spokesman Phil Twyford is correct when he says KiwiRail is effectively two seperate businesses, freight and lines, and that the pair should be treated differently.

The freight business absolutely should be expected to run profitably, but, as Twyford says,

“the lines are as much part of our national infrastructure as the roads or the water supply. You shouldn’t throw economic rationality out the window but this is infrastructure for the nation”.

We’ve invested nearly a billion dollars into KiwiRail since it was effectively nationalised by a forward thinking Labour government. It’s not profitable overall and, yes, it’s costing us millions each year. But that’s an investment that pays the kind of dividends that Treasury hates to acknowledge.

Twyford sums it up perfectly.

“This proposal by Treasury for the Government to consider actually shutting down the rail network is just nuts and it shows that Treasury doesn’t really understand transport economics and they certainly don’t get rail.”

Treasury is still locked in a 1984 Freedmanite free market mind set. They are only focussed on the bottom line, not the benefits investments like Kiwirail bring. And it’s not just Kiwirail they want to kill off, these weirdos also reckon the actual Kiwi bird is, ahem, “not aligned with overall Government priorities”.

Libertarians? Doncha hate ’em?

Here’s a thought. We could save ten million bucks a year by closing Treasury and hiring a couple of daleks. The effect would be pretty much the same. Crush, Kill, Destroyyyyyyyy!

National have given Kiwirail a two year grace period. Like the troika’s threat to Greece, this period is supposed to be spent finding internal economies (ie slash and burn). Expect job cuts, service reductions and a return to the regime of minimal maintenance and infrastructure upgrades. The same recipe that got our railways into the mire in the first place.

I’m kinda angry about this stuff. I grew up a couple of blocks from a railway workshop and some busy marshalling yards. When I crossed the railway bridge to go to school, hundreds of railway workers would be walking toward me as they went to good, constructive jobs. Now my old suburb and the one on the other side of the river are bywords for unemployment, drugs, gangs and apathy. The apathy mainly being from our ‘local’ Tory MP, who actually lives two hundred kms away from the city he represents, in another province altogether. He’s completely disengaged from the history of rail in that city, just as Treasury are disengaged from the future of rail in New Zealand.


We can’t just wait for the next Labour led government to give our rail network a viable future. This current administration need to be looking a lot further out than two years. They need to see the big picture and instead of letting rail limp along, they need to be looking at new lines, extensions to the old ones, re-opening of the Napier/Gisborne line, and electrification, electrification and electrification.

We have the bones of a truly great transport infrastructure already. We need to invest heavily to build and rebuild rail. We need to own our future or else we are truly trucked.

Last words to Phil Twyford:

“This proposal by Treasury for the Government to consider actually shutting down the rail network is just nuts and it shows that Treasury doesn’t really understand transport economics and they certainly don’t get rail.

To shut down, even to contemplate shutting down this valuable part of our nation’s infrastructure, is barmy.”


127 comments on “Blood on the Tracks”

  1. BM 1

    This site here has a lot of interesting truck information

    After having a quick browse I can see why the government emphasis is on trucking and not trains.

    • Skinny 1.1

      Without bothering to read your snake oil link to the National Party’s largest political donators the Trucking Lobbyist Group, we know how unbalanced the playing field is and that further carving up of state assets were always on the cards. Of course the public won’t tolerate a repeat of last disastrous privatisation scam National done.

    • philj 1.2

      This is PR spin from a self interested corporate lobby group. Where is the balance representing the common good? Where is the real costs of trucking and the cross subsidy that it receives? The entire system needs changing, that is obvious but current thinking is more trucks and highways. Signs of a rudderless ship me thinks.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        Where is the real costs of trucking and the cross subsidy that it receives?

        Yep, get rid of the huge subsidies that trucks receive and long distance trucking would disappear overnight. This is why I support road user charges for all vehicles properly set for mass. 0.1 cent per kilometre for the average one tonne car, $10 per kilometre for a fifty tonne truck.

        Trains will, of course, remain the same price as now as they don’t receive any subsidies.

        Signs of a rudderless ship me thinks.

        Nope. National definitely have plans and those plans are to cement in place the systems that benefit their donors no matter how much it costs the community.

        • philj

          Cheers DTB.
          You misunderstand my point. I am saying the ‘captain’ knows where he is going, but his rudder has fallen off, and possibly the propeller too! Regards.

    • John Shears 1.3

      A set of charts and comments from the trucking lobby , really??

      Some of the data is believable , perishables for instance but that used not to be the case. I was personally involved in sending about a ton of perishables from Wellington to Auckland , every week, by rail. Product was produced on a Monday loaded on Tuesday before 11am and ready for pickup and delivery in Auckland on Wednesday morning at 8am. That was in the 1960’s before the Trucking lobby became powerful in long haul traffic.

      There were equally efficient services out of Wellington on a daily basis to lower NI towns by a combination of rail & truck.Parcels Rail was another very efficient service , Auckland to Wellington as an example delivered in Wgtn city by 11am next day in the 1970’s.

      In the late 1990’s I could ring my supplier in Rotorua place an order before 11am and be unloading the rail wagon next morning at 8am in the Helensville yard. On one occasion they sent the order by road and it took 4 days to arrive.

      • dukeofurl 1.3.1

        Are you sure , Rotorua to Helensville in one day ?, by rail ? memory is playing tricks.

        You cant get that today by road ! ( maybe end of the next day)

        I have heard that Auckland to Napier by rail was up to two weeks during the 80s.

        The railways is out of the small consignment business now, its a container load or nothing. Otherwise bulk commodities like coal

        • Macro

          Yep! Quite believable. I had a consignment of timber from Carterton to Coatesville delivered at a cost of $25 within a day in the 2000’s. Rail to Auckland overnight – onto a truck and delivered to Coatesville the next morning (less than 24 hours). The cost for the same amount of timber from Kumeu to Coatesville (a 15 min journey) by truck alone from one supplier was over $150! Naturally I went for the cheapest option and did not buy locally!
          Those are the transport costs I’m talking about. The cost of the timber was much the same from both.

          • Brigid

            And if the rail head at Kumeu had still been operational, your consignment could have been trucked from there.

            • Macro

              Yes indeed! It would also relieve the extra thousands of car journeys down the NWestern per day which will eventuate with the new subdivisions around Huapai – Kumeu, with a regular and timely passenger rail service as well.

              • Brigid

                Oh no, We had our chance. No more trainsies for us. We were given a passenger service for a year and didn’t patronise it enough. Although it was slower and more expensive than the bus, and just a damn useless service. Ungrateful bastard we are

                • Macro

                  lol Yeah I remember that. I wonder how it would be now if the new trains were able to run up to Kumeu?
                  I’m now down in Thames by the way – had enough of taking my life in my hands every time I went out along the Coatesville Riverhead Highway – which was every time I went out. Now its 5 mins to practically everything.

        • John Shears

          So you are calling me a fibber?? It is true.
          Required a little knowledge of how things work. As soon as the driver was back from loading in Rotorua my supplier rang thru the wagon number, I then rang rail with number and there it was next morning as regular a clockwork in those days there was a train every day taking coal from Huntly to the cement works near Whangarei.
          Why would I make it up?

    • I love the way that they’re essentially saying “well, we have most of the business now, so we should keep it.” That’s really only an argument when nobody has a subsidy, but truckers have been externalising their costs onto the rest of us for ages. There’s a reason why many private users of vehicles prefer to have mixed-use vehicles go corporate and buy diesel while paying RUCs: It’s cheaper, despite the fact that it’s supposedly paying for the extra damage to the road heavily-laden commerical vehicles can do.

      Properly, RUCs should be set for weight vs distance for each trip, (mass rather than weight if you want to get technical) however there are issues with enforcement of such a system as it would require honest reporting from everyone involved and significant auditing to do. Possibly a better way would be to work out an average load for a class of vehicle and charge that amount per KM. Either way, road transport would become far less economic overnight and the trains would find themselves in a business boom for all sorts of freight, and probably unable to expand fast enough to pick it up.

      But let’s not let that disturb your precious “road transport forum” group that is totally impartial and not at all lobbying on behalf of truckies.

  2. Old Mickey 2

    “Treasury is still locked in a 1984 Freedmanite free market mind set. TThey are only focussed on the bottom line, not the benefits investments like Kiwirail bring. ” – Would love to know what these benefits are ? And, if I recall 1984 economics was labour party economincs as well as Friedman’s. Lets not forget the how badly the state owned rail system in Greece is run.

    The gem in Phils arument is this “KiwiRail is effectively two seperate businesses, freight and lines, and that the pair should be treated differently.” The burden of running the lines company should be separated, however, I would be concerned if the lines business was run like an electricity lines company like TLC, who would make up an “capacity or demand based” pricing model which would make the freight business uneconomic.

    • greywarshark 2.1

      The benefits from the rail system are the same as they were when first the tracks and system were set up in NZ and united the country and enabled business. The
      rail system got sloppy as so many government services with guaranteed jobs and protective legislation can do.

      Introducing proper accounting, monitoring and ideas people looking at ways to increase business and customer satisfaction would help rail pay its way better. Treasury figures I put up last night in Wed Open Mike showed that Kiwirail in 2014 got advances of about $180 million and paid to government $10 million. Those are just bald figures and I don’t understand what methodology was used. I point out that we pay out many millions for Treasury and their value to the people is moot.

      There are uncounted values of Kiwirail and its unrepeatable installation which mean that they are unconsidered national treasures, working for us. The government is at all times a caretaker of our land and built structure and it should be illegal for them to throw away, sell, or otherwise dispose of our resources without a referendum. This would be accompanied by a deep, searching, totally unbiased Treasury report mining every pro and every con so that we can decide the best thing to do.

  3. ianmac 3

    In the olden days there were problems with security on trains, and speed and efficiency of goods delivery. But that could have been rationalised in the modern world. Computers, security, efficiency etc. Renew freight on trains I say. Build it up, though the road freight lobby would make that very very hard to do.

    One way to do that would to make truck road users pay for the real cost of heavy trucks on roads. The damage and constant cost of repairs should go to the users which would make the freight by rail viable again.

  4. Chooky 4

    Goldman Sachs advises Treasury on sale of state assets…and on private investment opportunities…Is NZ rail being starved of taxpayer funds so it can be sold off privately and made into a private rail network.? ( the way they have done in Britain?)

    “Goldman Sachs is one of the largest infrastructure fund managers globally, having raised more than $10 billion of capital since the inception of the business in 2006.

    The primary focus for GS Infrastructure Partners (GSIP) is on investment opportunities with the following parameters:

    Sectors including transportation infrastructure (such as airports, ports, railways and roads) and utilities infrastructure (such as electricity, gas and water networks and conventional/ renewable contracted power generation),….

    …..Interesting also that Bill English did not front this on Nine-to- noon but used instead Joanne Black ( who used to be Bill English’s secretary) to front jonkey Nact government policy of financially gutting NZ rail, in an era when all other countries are looking to expand rail services….GUTLESS!

    “The government has put KiwiRail on notice, giving it two years to identify savings and reduce Crown funding required. What is the future of the rail network and what is its importance to regional New Zealand? The Hawkes Bay Regional Council. Regional leaders are fighting to retain rail links, and in Hawkes Bay to re-open its rail service. The Napier – Gisborne line was mothballed back in 2012 after it was washed out by a major storm. The Hawkes Bay Regional Council is fighting for its resurrection and has put up five-and-a-half million dollars to part fund the line. Liz Lambert is the Chief Executive of the Hawkes Bay Regional Council. Lawrence Yule is the mayor of Napier and chairman of Local Govenrment New Zealand. Joanne Black is the spokesperson for Kiwi Rail.”

    • Chooky 4.1

      would jonkey Nact like Goldman Sachs to redesign the New Zealand flag too?

    • Scintilla 4.2

      Beat me to that RNZ link! Very interesting listening to the Regional Council spokesperson, Liz Lambert, on how a tender is coming up in July for lease of the Napier-Gisborne line to private operators. The Regional Council is facilitating this, rather than looking to operate it themselves. Major logging to come on stream in future and Gisborne have cruise ship visits that depend on a steam train trip being up and running. The Gisborne Rail outfit have permission for this from kiwirail.

      Napier Gisborne Rail

      The Napier-Gizzy rail trip is fantastic – beats me why it is not tourism gold. Package holidays for rich rail freaks.

      Yule is correct when he says there needs to be a ‘stand back and take a good, long look at 10-50 years out’ for the nationwide transport scenario, by the Minister of Transport and the Ministry, to ensure development is coherent and beneficial for the regions and the country.

    • greywarshark 4.3

      That’s interesting Chooky. Why in hell should we have Goldman Sachs advising Treasury? What do we pay the Treasury staff inflated salaries for – their expertise and knowledge and professional training! I answer my own question here which is what they should be able to do with their examined questions, without bringing in their doubtful friends.

      Their friends Goldman Sachs and other money-spinners, come with pre-conceived notions that are not drawn from any fine, well-rounded economic texts of deep, objective theory. No, they are from cherry-picked lines out of their economic bibles, as with any semi-religious cult. All pronouncements are equally sacred, but some are more equal than others.

      Probably it’s old testament Hayek (et al), with a hatred of totalitarian society blinkering him from the way that following his bias would lead to deep authoritarianism in another direction.

      • Chooky 4.3.1

        +100…”Why in hell should we have Goldman Sachs advising Treasury?”…and who is responsible for this!?

  5. Skinny 5

    The timing of this Treasury release is a calculated move in conjuction with the Nats i’d say. Note how quickly the language has turned on one of our few remaining assets, the Kiwi Rail ‘Dog’. This was Judith Collins on Paul Henry’s show this morning, with Henry barking like a mad dog in agreement.

    Guess what happens in New Zealand when high spikes in imported oil occur? Long distance haulage trucks are instantly parked at their depots and our railway comes into it’s own. Smart Logistics Company’s know they cannot be successful without utilising an integrated transport strategy.

    • half crown 5.1

      “This was Judith Collins on Paul Henry’s show this morning, with Henry barking like a mad dog in agreement.”

      What did you expect from Prat Henry. If the National party shit on him from a great height he would try and convince you it was gold, or at least good quality shit.

  6. Born. Gisborne. 6

    Could we have our Napier link back please,
    sincerely, Gisborne.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    This proposal by Treasury for the Government to consider actually shutting down the rail network is just nuts and it shows that Treasury doesn’t really understand transport economics and they certainly don’t get rail.

    Actually, it proves conclusively that Treasury doesn’t understand the economy at all. They, like many economists, politicians and people in general, are focussed upon the financials and are completely missing how and economy works. How we need to be looking to use less resources rather than more. That even though the use of more resources produces more profits for the few that isn’t actually a valid measure of success for the economy.

    • Chooky 7.1

      does Treasury work for the long term economic good of all New Zealnders?…that is the real question

      …or has Treasury been co-opted to the interests of the corporates like Goldman Sachs?

      ‘Goldman Sachs NZ’s earnings soar on asset sales’

    • Macro 7.2

      Actually, it proves conclusively that Treasury doesn’t understand the economy at all. They, like many economists, politicians and people in general, are focussed upon the financials and are completely missing how an economy works.

      The problem is; many politicians (or Journalists for that matter), have any understanding on how an economy works either. Always focused on GDP, and making a profit, or “balancing books”, never on how they could work towards a more fairer distribution of resources.

  8. Skinny 8

    Let’s hope one of the suits from Treasury were heading up to the Bay of Islands today and got a look at what happens when a 50 tonne truck comes to grief on our ‘public roads’.

  9. dv 9

    Or the Manawatu gorge.

    That would mean no access to Wairapa as the Rimatuka hill is/was closed

    • Macro 9.1

      Pahiatua Track and Saddle Roads….
      Actually the Track is a quicker route to the Wairarapa from Palmy than the Gorge – but more bumpy and windy overall.

    • Skinny 9.2

      I drove down to the ski fields of central North Island on Sunday, the amount of trucks was annoying and scary in the wet. Ironically I ran into a yachting acquaintance at a BP station who use to be the former CEO of the then named Ontrack pre Kiwi Rail. Anyway he can’t believe the changes like doing away with the electricafacation between Wellington & Hamilton, if anything you would think they would be extending it through to Auckland and Tauranga. Unbelievably short sighted.

      I fully expect this outfit in charge to use this ‘fabricated opportunity’ to close lines and turn them into cycleways. North Auckland and West Coast Lines will be gone by Xmas I hear.

      Let’s hope the public get fully behind opposition party’s who are rallying to save this from happening.

      • Chooky 9.2.1

        +100…however I doubt the lines will be used for cycleways….once the publicly owned state asset of Kiwi Rail is starved of taxpayer money and run down ….nact will be getting their mates and blind trusts to develop and run private railways

        Rail is the future with global warming and a fossil fuel crisis

  10. tc 10

    National just doing what they normally do with treasury playing the bad cop role this time so jonkey and blinglish can save the day.

    The public service has become quite the govt lapdog as expected with all the ‘consultants’ NACT have placed all over the ministries.

  11. adam 11

    “Libertarians? Doncha hate ’em?”

    Depends – if they work for the state at any level, then yeah, they are scum.

    But I know many libertarians who are completely at odds with treasury and the act party. Those individuals who find it abhorrent to use the state for their own ideology. These libertarians I get on with on the whole – yeah we argue over capitalism. They see the state, especially the 21st model as a sad shadow of itself. Unable to decide beyond populism it’s function and purpose.

    And to some degree I agree we need a limited state. Especially, when the state becomes the political tool with which to empower the 1%, and destroy working peoples lives. Where have you been the last 35 years – the primary tool to hurt people has not been the market – it’s been the state. The market does not bring out the police to break up a picket, or evict people from homes. That’s not the market, that’s the state.

    So beyond health care, I’m not sure I want the state for much else. I think the state should get out labour laws – apart from compulsory unionism. And the obvious, no state protection for companies or banks. No limited liability companies, no corporations.

    I’m for smaller levels of governance. Contrary to the propaganda the Tory scum have pushed around, the borough system did work here. Local governance works well, and local governance can work collectively on issues across Aotearoa, to make things work – like rail.

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    If the NZ government were not a useless self-serving sack of syphilitic weasels they’d be building hi-speed rail from Wellington to Auckland and Christchurch to Picton. It would be very profitable as it would compete with flying, and cushion NZ against future oil shocks. Too futuristic though – Treasury are still in the nineteenth century.

    • David 12.1

      High speed rail? Do you have any idea how much that would cost? Auckland to
      Wellington would cost at least $20bn, double that more likely given NZ terrain.

      The futuristic option is to opitimise roads for self-driving trucks and cars.

      • Stuart Munro 12.1.1

        Actually useful infrastructure pays for itself relatively quickly. Actually high speed rail ought to be considerably cheaper per km than roads.

        The private car and truck are not particularly efficient and use will decline if petroleum prices return to normal.

        Trains are in the long term more sustainable.

        • David

          Can you point to any high speed rail line in use by such a small population anywhere else in the world?

          f you can build high speed rail for less than roads, then I suggest you contact the UK and US and offer your services, they are spending a couple of hundred billion on short stretches of high speed rail, I’m sure they would be interested in your claim.

          • Stuart Munro

            South Korea? The KTX is a French model that has become the prototype for hi-speed rail through China because of its success in Korea (which is about the same size as the South Island, with numerous mountain ranges.) It readily beat the much better established tenderer, the Japanese shinkansen.

            • Stuart Munro

              The power distribution system developed at the University of Auckland is the obvious solution to the power/weight problems constraining maglev development – & maglev can readily compete with air.

              If cost constraints are hampering England then they should’ve kept Branson out of it – ‘Raped by a Virgin’ is the byword for his PPPs.

  13. greywarshark 13

    Some great views of Kiwi trains along the Kaikoura track with their robust working sounds.

    From Nz Midland line with mournful train whistle.

    Through Arthurs Pass snowfall

    steam in Manawatu
    More Chch-Greymouth
    and Arthurs Pass

    Ours mustn’t degrade to this but look how the system can overcome poor conditions, though slowly.

    Trains seem to absorb the culture, the affections and hopes of prosperity of the people.
    Willie Nelson and The city of New Orleans and historic footage on this lovely song.

    The song city of new orleans by the writer himself – Steve Goodman

    About Steve Goodman and Arlo Guthrie and The City of New Orleans

    Like Chet Akins? Copy the link and take out spaces between youtube. and com – I am trying not to have instant play on the blog. com/watch?v=SQJ9RAm3CZw

  14. Skinny 14

    Geez Grey you could just post links rather than the whole foamer thing!

  15. wyndham 15

    Readers will be interested in this comment from 2012 in the ‘Naki Daily News. Those with grey hair will recall Prebble, the arch- henchman of Roger Douglas, going about the country with a massive “Save Rail” campaign. Upon being appointed Minister of Rail – – – “Goodbye Rail”. Probably one of the most blatant and cynical acts of betrayal ever committed by a Labour politician. He went on to sell off all our state forests to foreign interests at a fraction of their true worth.

    • Skinny 15.1

      Funny you mentioned Prebble I was holidaying down Lake Rotoma eariler in the week staying at my partners parents place. Apparently he lives there, anyway I have been hoping to run into him at the local cafe which I purposely frequent so I can rip the shit out of him, enough so he trys to throw a punch so I can justify dropping him for the good lefties he let down.

      • te reo putake 15.1.1

        For my sins, I door knocked for Prebble in two elections. My sweetest memory is him blubbing when he thought he was going to lose his seat early on election night 1990. Sadly, he went on to win by a couple of thousand votes.

        • Skinny

          Not so ha-ha and tragic considering the betrayal that followed. The prick knew how to work the Fiji crowd so he got the nod as the candidate. Out smarted quite a few seasoned campaigner, McCarten & me old cobbah Spanswick in the process.

        • Chooky

          …you “door knocked for Prebble” ….!!!!!

          • lprent

            I went along to meeting hosted by Prebble in 1989. That was when I decided that I’d head over the border back to my home territory in Mt Albert

        • Macro

          For your sins complete repentance and a thousand hail mary’s will not suffice! 🙂

          • te reo putake

            If you think that’s bad, I also once helped out Jack Elder, the man who almost single handedly cost Labour the ’81 election. But, as I’ve said here a few times, I’m not that motivated by the personalities, more by the policies. MP’s come and go but the party remains.

      • tc 15.1.2

        I thought he hung out at his retirement apartment in Selwyn village in akl’s point chev in between board junkets.

  16. greywarshark 16

    @TRP could you just wipe the whole of the comment. I didn’t know that all the damned youtube links would show like this. It is just annoying to every one as it is, including me. Sorry folks I did pick out some styley bits of train stuff.

    And Skinny. Geez Skinny don’t you think I tried!

    • Good as gold. Shame though, there’s some great links. I’ll try and edit it so the previews don’t show up. If that doesn’t work, I’ll disappear it.

      Edit. I put ( ) around the links, seems to work.

      • greywarshark 16.1.1

        Thanks so much. I was p.o. to think I had spent a few hours (doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourself) sorting out the best and then have it not work out. It’s good they are getting enjoyed. There are a many fans filming the grunty machines.and putting on youtube.

    • red-blooded 16.2

      Hey, I enjoyed the snow scene (and the original version of City of New Orleans). Don’t beat yourself up.

  17. Macro 17

    Here are some sensible proposals re Kiwirail and just why we need to reject this lunacy from National and Treasury out of hand.

    To BM – note the enormous subsidy to trucking – in the order of $3 billion per year, building roads we would not need if we were to have less not more trucks, and the on flow costs of reduced economic benefits to the regions.

    Treasury’s proposals will cost at less an extra 3000 trucks on NZ roads and extra roading to cope with them.

    Like all “successful businesses”, Trucking has learned to externalize its costs onto the general population – eg Oil Companies, Food and Beverage Companies, Dairying. NZ picks up the tab, Truck Companies pick up the ‘profit’.

  18. Ad 18

    Rail supports exactly the high-friction bulk commodity export economy that holds us back.

    Coal is dead.
    Milk in bulk should not be encouraged.
    Logs are just stupid.

    Electric metro rail is a Council concern (other than track access and maintenance).

    Rail freight doesn’t support the New Zealand economy we need.

  19. Kevin 19

    “We’ve invested nearly a billion dollars into KiwiRail since it was effectively nationalised by a forward thinking Labour government. ”

    Labour bought a dog for an outrageous price and we’re still paying for it.

    • tc 19.1

      Yes $1 very poorly invested to rescue much needed infrastructure. would 25c have been a better ROI ?

  20. Ad 20

    No argument from the export side then.
    Small quick rail lines from Edendale and Mosgiel to Port Chalmers make sense as they are profitable and almost purely bulk. For example.

    As for the import side, rail from Auckland Port (as primary importer) to Wiri inland port, Hamilton’s Te Rapa, and Tauranga, make sense. That’s where the demand for building products (and other heavy bulk items) is.

    No party is promoting the return of the preference for rail over x kilometres of freight.

    Rail freight – despite what TRP says – has had plenty of taxpayer subsidy unde this government and others.

    Time to put the questionmark over the perpetual rail-romance.

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      But are we not going to be shipping logs and milk powder for a long time to come?

      No party is promoting the return of the preference for rail over x kilometres of freight.


      • Macro 20.1.1

        It will return. A stupid decision made in the past will be overturned when the inevitable comes to pass.

    • Macro 20.2

      Your comment is nonsense.

      The annual subsidy by government to the trucking industry is measured in the Billions.

      The cost of scrapping our rail will be thousands of more trucks on our already congested arterial routes, Increased carbon emissions. (Transport accounts for over 20% and NZ is one of the “leading” causing a rise of over 45% in carbon emissions from transport since 1997.)

      Fortunately we have a rail system in existence – we need to see it for what it is – a public good and we need to preserve it, and develop it further, for it is our hope in the future

      • BM 20.2.1

        Multi use, buses, cars, motorbikes use the same roads as trucks, trains are too one dimensional and not really suited for NZ.
        I get the feeling the left only want rail because with rail comes union growth.

        NZ is much better served by a decent road network with trucking doing the majority of the haulage.

        • Colonial Viper

          You can ship many more tonnes of freight by rail per tonne of diesel, than via road.

          • Draco T Bastard

            And if you use electricity it costs even less.

          • indiana

            Are all NZ businesses located next to railway yards? Would you build a railway line just for one business located in a regional town simply because of your rail per tonne ideology?

            • McFlock

              ah. “No rail line to the door” must be the tory talking point of the day.

              Fucking trucking lobby.

          • BM

            Can trains do daily, over night, door to door.?
            Trains are too inflexible and slow for the majority of NZ businesses.

            As the link I posted at the top said the vast majority of freight transportation in NZ is in the Auckland, Hamilton Tauranga triangle, distances that are far too short for trains to make them a viable option.

            • McFlock

              What trucking company in the country does a residential door to door courier service solely using b-train trucks?

              Van picks up the package, takes it to a distribution centre, where it gets assigned to plane, train or truck for the longer haul.

              Your “inflexible” argument is fucking moronic. Trains don’t do door to door at all. But they do Invercargill to ChCh bloody well. Even daily.

            • Skinny

              Don’t go putting up your anti Rail argument to the head of logistics company Main Freight he will think your a short sighted lunatic as he knows the profits are good, hence they freight by train inter city where possible and truck to the door inner-city. Smart man you would have to agree Blind Man going by Main Freights high share price.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Can trains do daily, over night, door to door.?


              Trains are too inflexible and slow for the majority of NZ businesses.

              You do understand that, on average, they’re faster than trucks don’t you?

              As the link I posted at the top said the vast majority of freight transportation in NZ is in the Auckland, Hamilton Tauranga triangle, distances that are far too short for trains to make them a viable option.

              Which is false logic on your part. The triangle you mention is actually the perfect example of where rail should be used over trucks.

            • John Shears

              Yes of course they can where are you coming from BM?

        • McFlock

          Trucks are less efficient, more polluting, and damage the roads much more than everyone else using the same roads.

          Rail is an efficient way to move goods and people between distribution hubs, between cities and within some of the larger cities.

          The right want to kill rail because having the pretence of multiple rail companies on one line network is farcical and patently inefficient, and having competition in line networks is all but impossible. The market mechanism fails to account for rail, therefore the religion fails, therefore rail must be eliminated.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Multi use, buses, cars, motorbikes use the same roads as trucks, trains are too one dimensional and not really suited for NZ.

          What a load of fucken bullshit.

          If we had decent rail then nobody would be using cars, buses, motorbikes or planes long distance because it would be a hell of a lot cheaper and better to take the train.

          NZ is much better served by a decent road network with trucking doing the majority of the haulage.

          Nope. Roads and cars/trucks are uneconomical and always have been.

          We’ve built uneconomically in airports and roads when we should have been building better rail.

        • dukeofurl

          Yes and 75% of the nations roads are subsidised by the other 25%.

          We saw in the budget, where a ‘new’ state highway is being created to run from Marsden Pt up the centre of Northland just to serve the trucking industry and logging.

          Cost$5 million per year in maintenance alone, and it they do rebuilds as the logging trucks will wreck the sub grade much much more.

          Be that road doesn’t pay its way ?

        • Macro

          From the replies above – I rest my case.

          But to just elaborate.
          The damage done by large trucks to our rural road is enormous. Take a look next time you’re driving down a secondary highway to the “memory” left by large trucks on each side of the road. That is the dips or “ruts” where the wheels run. The edge of the road will be higher – where it should be the lowest section of the road. The road then dips then rises then dips then rises again to the middle. This “memory” is not caused by light traffic but by heavy trucks. The cost of 1 km of road can be millions $ and to repair such damage requires the road to be stripped back to its sub-grade and rebuilt again.
          The taxes collected in road user charges etc paid by trucking companies goes a small way towards repairing the damage but the majority is paid by the tax payer and car driver.

          • dukeofurl

            Plus the new HPM trucks , which are over the 40t maximum, when they worked out it wasnt ‘economic’ using standard trucks they just came up with a new version to get around the rules in a cunning way.

            Hey presto they get a 50t ( plus a 2t overage) truck without having to pay for it by way of RUC

            • Macro

              Yep! The worst ones around here are the logging trucks. Highway 26 between Thames and Paeroa is now pretty stuffed. There used to be a railway from Thames to Paeroa and beyond – it’s now a cycleway.
              Mind you the roads round Canada and USA are far worst – they carry those enormous Big Rigs. I remember counting 15 in one convoy between two cars on the 401 heading from Toronto to Detroit – and that was pretty much standard. The poor old 401 is just rubble in some places specially up near Montreal. I was driving a little Toyota and the car just shook!- i’ve never driven over a surface like it here in NZ. Then again they do have the ice and snows of winter to contend with – but the trucks don’t help.

              • Macro

                Flying back home from Toronto to Vancouver I sat beside two very interesting people. The woman in her 60’s bet me I couldn’t name her job. And no I couldn’t. She reckoned she could be a millionaire on that bet alone. 🙂 She was the first woman railroad engineer (train driver) in Canada.
                Whilst I was in Canada there was quite a few news items on the growing number of fatal accidents involving trains. She was able to confirm that this was the case and was the direct result of policies by the new CEO to double the length of trains and half the number of staff. Also new employment conditions which meant drivers were on call 24 hours ,which meant they had very little proper rest because one could never be certain when the phone was to ring. She had enjoyed her job but now couldn’t wait to retire.
                The guy sitting on the other side was a venture capitalist and was involved in the financing of Tesla cars. A fascinating fellow who had his eye very much on the future. All in all the flight went very quickly.

                • David

                  So, the future is venture capitalists making cars is it?

                  • Macro

                    No. But an interesting conversation on the feasibility of electric cars and their potential. and interesting Vancouver is definitely gearing up for electric cars – for instance the railway museum at Squamish (a fascinating visit for any railway buff) has a quick charge facility in its car park as have many other public places. BC is the only Province in Canada that has actually reduced it’s carbon emissions – despite a right wing government. Has used its carbon tax to reinvest in public transport such as the sky train.

        • John Shears

          BM Br…Off you are a pain in the butt with your stupid comments.

  21. Ad 21

    No taxpayer benefits from the direct taxpayer subsidy to rail.

    If business consortia want to rent the tracks, great. Better than shutdowns.

    If Fonterra wanted to buy the rest of rail, we could take the dump trucks worth of subsidy and spend it on something useful like hospitals or home insulation or homeless people.

    A target of the next government could be decreasing the need for long haul freight overall. Just stop the obsession with fat transport capex, be it road or rail.

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      Fossil fuel use is largely going away within the next 30 years Ad. Where will your recomendations leave our nation then?

    • Ergo Robertina 21.2

      ”No taxpayer benefits from the direct taxpayer subsidy to rail.”

      Yes they do. For one thing, the roads are safer, meaning fewer crashes and less associated cost: financial, physical, social.
      That is the kind of flow-on effect the idiots at the Treasury do not appreciate.
      Having a robust rail network in a geographically difficult country with fragile low quality roads makes sense in every economic and productivity measure unless you are blinkered by a narrow cost accounting view of the world.

    • Macro 21.3

      “No taxpayer benefits from the direct taxpayer subsidy to rail.”

      Tell that to the 13.1 million users of Auckland Rail last year!

      Auckland’s rail patronage is 10 times higher than in the early 1990s, having swollen to 13 million passenger trips in the past year.

  22. Skinny 22

    The Transport Blog has some interesting details that is well worth a read.

  23. Ad 23

    Hey CV.
    Electric trucks!

    Love to have a transition economy.
    It never happened.

    • Macro 23.1

      Electric trucks have a limited range – and have to have a whopping big battery – cutting down their carrying capacity. They are useless for a trip from Auckland to Wellington for example.

      • Colonial Viper 23.1.1

        And how do you maintain tens of thousands of kilometres of road without diesel and bitumen?

        • Bill

          Cobble stones and many navvies?

          Or – with dirigibles running on bio-fuel and panels; coastal shipping running on electricity generated from tidal generators or bio-fuel; trains on electricity and people walking/cycling/riding the quaint overgrown rivers of the oil industry’s by-product from yesteryear, there might not be too much of a need to maintain many of those thousands of kms 😉

          On second thoughts, maybe they’d provide a reasonable base for smaller rail inlays…intercity trams?

          • weka

            which govt oversaw the removal of train tracks off the main trunk line into the provinces?

        • Macro

          Exactly – I was just pointing out that Electric Trucks might sound like a good idea – and around town where they should be used they are. No one here is saying trucks do not have a place in our transport mix. But they should not be the main vehicle for freight over long distances – that is clearly the job of rail. It was in the past – as we referred to above – it being illegal to run a truck from Auckland to Wellington when shipping by rail was an option.

          • Colonial Viper

            As Ad had inferred, in the ‘old days’ I understand it was illegal to freight something more than 25km by road, if rail was available.

            • Macro

              Yes that was the case – the overturning of that rule was a serious mistake IMHO – leading to the rise and rise of the inefficient trucking industry, and many dollars in a few peoples pockets.
              BM might cite the numbers of people involved – but few are making a lot out of it. Most “companies” are franchises and the driver owns the truck and has the maintenance and road costs etc to pay as well as insurance etc. They drive as long as they are legally able – just to make ends meet. Such is the way of our market economy.

              • Draco T Bastard

                This is our ‘trucking’ market:

                I know some of these drivers. They borrow to buy the big rig, put their name on the side and are all set to go into their own small business.

                Trouble is, as owner-drivers, they have little or no bargaining power. If the company decides to slash their contract price, the only recourse they have is to the Courts – requiring expensive lawyers and thousands of dollars the drivers don’t have.

                I met some of the drivers mentioned in the SST. They work for large well-known iconic companies and they are at the end of their tether, so have decided to speak out.

                They told us that driving 100 hours, seven days a week is common, how they put bald tyres scraping on the rims onto the inside of the truck because they can’t afford replacement tyres, how some of them found themselves asleep at the wheel, and how one had a crash on the way home from work because he was so knackered.

                We heard how the company had unilaterally cut $700 a week from their pay, and there was almost nothing they could do about it without spending thousands of dollars they don’t have on lawyers and court action.

                Somebody’s making money but it ain’t the truckies.

          • dukeofurl

            Electric trucks ?

            We have these now…well sort of … we join the trucks together with the electric engine at the front …its called a train

  24. Ad 24

    God sorry about repetition there

    [ repetitions removed (to trash). If the nesting and numbering screws up then I’m pouring me a wine and running away ;-)] – Bill

  25. Bill 25

    It’s a fact that we have to have zero energy related CO2 emissions by around 2050. Many people don’t like that fact or the medium term implications of it. Regardless, trashing the only part of our distribution/travel network that can be both quickly and easily converted so that it produces zero carbon emissions isn’t stupid: it’s fucking criminally insane.

  26. millsy 26

    Laos, Jamaica, PNG and Afghanistan.

    None of those countries have rail networks.

    Do we really want to be alongside them?

  27. BM 27

    I know every one here is keen on rail .
    But trucking does employs a fuck load of people both directly and indirectly

    There are 23,500people employed in the road freight industry according to the Statistics Department.

    An estimated 15,000 more people are indirectly employed by the industry, providing services ranging from vehicle equipment and maintenance to legal and accounting advice.

    With 4,057individual firms, road freight is typical of most other industries in New Zealand. It’s largely made up of locally-based and family-owned and run businesses, often started by taking out a mortgage on the family home. More than half have been in business for a decade or more.

    Most companies operate fewer than five trucks and have fewer than five people working for them.

    also lots of money is raised via RUC as well.

    • Ergo Robertina 27.1

      Many are working in a stressful and dangerous manner, forced to ignore fatigue and work long hours, breaking the rules. And as trucking becomes ever more powerful, they have fewer options and are less likely to leave unsafe positions or speak up.
      And it’s a bit rich you trying to make a show of sticking up for the workers.
      Hillside in Dunedin employed more than 100 people whose livelihoods were sacrificed for the sake of the ludicrous economic dogma to which you adhere.

      • BM 27.1.1

        100 vs 45,000

        • weka

          it’s not 100 vs 45,000. You’re not stupid, so why make the comparison.

          There are plenty of ways to create jobs. We’re well past the point of thinking we have to keep certain jobs that create huge problems, for the sake of the jobs.

        • Ergo Robertina

          I don’t know the full job loss figure for Kiwirail; obviously it’s higher than 100.
          But it’s not just about direct jobs – high quality manufacturing jobs have bigger flow-on benefits to the wider economy, as demonstrated in the Berl Hillside report:

          And putting aside the wider economic effects argument (which I know you probably can’t take it anyway as it challenges your narrow view of the world), it’s illuminating that you imply it’s all about headcount, without any concern for the dangerous conditions affecting people in the industry.

      • Macro 27.1.2

        🙂 Beat me to it! Hillside, Lower Hutt, – in the 1980’s many of today’s mechanical engineers learned their trade in our railway workshops.

    • Draco T Bastard 27.2

      But trucking does employs a fuck of people both directly and indirectly

      Which is just another part of what makes it uneconomic. Economics is about using less, not more.

      also lots of money is raised via RUC as well.

      Just not enough

      Road freight transport services are indirectly subsidised by about $2.5b (Ministry of Transport, 2009) of non-freight sector money over and above service provider RUC’s. This benefits all road users, however road transport gains significant free benefits in terms of transit times, network development, capacity, network maintenance, route availability, and service provider access opportunities.

      Yeah, as per normal you’re talking out your arse.

    • Bill 27.3

      The jobs don’t matter. All that matters is that we configure an economy in such a way that people don’t starve when the market economy implodes before the climatic onslaught that’s coming down on us.

      Any necessary functions currently embedded within the concept of ‘jobs’ need to be safeguarded and continued, but the jobs will be gone.

      It’s kinda like…hmm, freedom.

      Just a shame that we might only adapt to it when everything’s kinda hellish when we could have claimed it while we had everything on a plate. Them’s the breaks of the stupid I guess.

      • Macro 27.3.1

        Yep – We live in “The Age of Stupid”

        • greywarshark

          I see The Age of Stupid had Pete Postlethwaite as the lead. Died in 2011 but he won’t be forgotten – an ordinary looking bloke who was a star because he was such a good actor. His wikipedia page says that Stephen Spielberg said he was the best actor in the world.
          (Getting off subject here sorry

          • Macro

            Not really grey –

            He was gutted to be unable to attend the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009, but he dragged himself out of bed to be interviewed on Skype. He told me nothing cheered him up more than people stopping him in the street to explain how they were cutting their carbon.


            And the film asks the question (among others) – why are we ripping up railway tracks when we need them right now?

            A bit like your referral to that excellent song The city of New Orleans and the moving story of the song writer Steve Goodman. He saw the value of rail back then in the 70’s and that song too was the product of a (young) man putting his life and soul into telling an important truth.

    • miravox 27.4

      Never thought you’d be one to argue for ‘make work’ schemes, BM. Wasn’t the railways being apparently being used as a ‘make work’ scheme to keep unemployment down one of the arguments for privatisation of the rail network?

  28. greywarshark 28

    Some commenters touched on using electric road vehicles and for those with an interest in them there is an interview on RadioNZ Kim Hill’s Saturday morning (though she is away at present and Noelle McCarthy is sitting in).

    9:40 Stefan Andreas Meyer
    Dr Stefan Andreas Meyer completed a post-doctoral Fellowship at the Raman Laboratory at Victoria University of Wellington before taking up a position at the Institute for Automotive Technology, Technical University of Munich. In his spare time, he was the driving force for the past few years behind a project to design and build an open source electric car, which he details at Blitz Conversions Limited.

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    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    1 week ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    1 week ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    1 week ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy
    1 week ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 week ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    1 week ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago

  • Government to progress Control Orders for community safety
    The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill will have its first reading in Parliament today, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. “The control orders Bill will mean our community is better protected from the risks of the very small number of New Zealand citizens who have engaged in terrorism related activities overseas. ...
    3 hours ago
  • World-first plan for farmers to reduce emissions
    The Government and farming sector leaders have agreed to a world-first partnership to reduce primary sector emissions in one of the most significant developments on climate action in New Zealand's history. Today farming leaders and the Government announced a plan to join forces to develop practical and cost-effective ways to ...
    3 hours ago
  • More homes where they are needed
    More houses for homeless New Zealanders are being opened today in Tauranga by Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi. Six 2-bedroom quality units are being opened at 878 Cameron Road by Minister Faafoi and Accessible Properties, a local Community Housing Provider (CHP). Accessible Properties now provides more than 1,700 community housing ...
    7 hours ago
  • Minister of Finance and Sport and Recreation to visit Japan and Vietnam
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson departs tomorrow for events and meetings in Japan and Vietnam.  While in Japan, he will discuss economic and fiscal issues including meeting with the Minister of Finance, Taro Aso, and Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, Yasutoshi Nishimura. He will meet with the Minister of Education, ...
    20 hours ago
  • Dashboard tracks housing progress
    The Government’s Housing Dashboard released today confirms record numbers of state houses are under construction and shows the Government build programme is gaining momentum.  “After nine years of inaction, and a hands-off attitude from the previous government we’re starting to see things move in the right direction for housing,” says ...
    22 hours ago
  • Ministerial Statement on the International Convention Centre fire
    Mr Speaker, I wish to make a ministerial statement relating to the Auckland fire. The Government is closely monitoring the situation with the fire at the NZ International Convention Centre and is thankful that everyone is now safe. Firefighters are doing an incredible job managing the fire and bringing it ...
    23 hours ago
  • Government invests in Te Reo, environmental data research
    The Government is investing in ambitious research that will digitise Te Reo, grow the low-carbon protein efficient aquaculture industry, help interpret environmental trends, and large data sets says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The four projects range from teaching Siri to speak Te Reo to crunching large environmental ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces next steps as part of a comprehensive plan to fix skills gap
    A new education-to-employment brokerage service to strengthen connections between local employers and schools. Funding for more trades focused ‘speed-dating’ events to connect schools with employers. Promotional campaign to raise profile of vocational education. The Government is taking action to increase the number of young people taking up vocational education and ...
    1 day ago
  • Corrections Amendment Bill passes third reading
    A Bill to improve prison security and ensure the fair, safe, and humane treatment of people in prison while upholding public safety has passed its third reading. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the Corrections Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to ensure the Corrections Act 2004 is fit for ...
    2 days ago
  • Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council
    Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council. The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation ...
    2 days ago
  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    2 days ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    2 days ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    3 days ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    6 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    6 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    6 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    6 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    6 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    6 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    7 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    1 week ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    1 week ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    1 week ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    1 week ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    1 week ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    1 week ago