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Hilarious

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, August 4th, 2008 - 56 comments
Categories: greens, humour, national, transport - Tags:

Greens on National’s plan to borrow to build more roads:

Lonely dinosaur seeks white elephant

56 comments on “Hilarious ”

  1. Michael Cullen has just spent $1.5 billion of taxpayers money on a real white elephant called “Kiwirail”. The Greens are getting nervous that are going to be spending a fair while in opposition: though given Labour snubbed them it may not feel much different.

  2. But rail isn’t a white elephant, Mainfreight has applauded the buyback and rail gives us the chance to build a low carbon transport network… it’s great big motorways that will be the white elephant as peak oil continues, rail is a partial solution to the problem.

    What a tory like you doesn’t understand, Bryan, is that it’s not about being in charge for the Greens (and a to a lesser extent for Labour)… it’s about seeing the policies they stand for in put place.. of course being in power is the best way to see that happen, but the Greens have managed to do a great deal both in substantive policy and by dragging the political debate towards their ideals without being in power… it’s those successes on what matters, not the title on a CV that the Greens are after.

  3. outofbed 3

    Bryan

    The Greens are getting nervous that are going to be spending a fair while in opposition:

    Well I am a fairly active member of the Green Party and not surprisingly, talk to a huge number of Green Party members from up and down the country. From my perspective Bryan, that statement was sourced from your bottom

    BTW Good on you Russel that was a brilliant press release

    In Nelson in spite of the public transport system being shit, there is a noticeable drop in traffic flows.
    3 years ago a major link road was proposed through a thriving local community and now its a dead in the water proposal
    The local Council Transit and other interested parties have moved on and are actively investigating the best ways to implement sustainable transport initiatives. Don’t think new roads, think Transition Towns

  4. outofbed:so are you saying that the Greens have decided to go into coalition with National ?

  5. outofbed 5

    No Bryan:
    I am saying that you do not understand MMP

  6. Matthew Pilott 6

    Jeez Bryan, if you’re going to have a big cry and a whinge at the dimpost about The Standard and the level of the comments, I’d have thought you’d want to lift your game a bit. I guess not.

    Pathetic.

  7. Steve: The Australians are laughing all the way to the bank:

    “Matt O’Sullivan, Brisbane Times, May 6
    Ticket to profit You only get one Helen Clark in your life.

    But Little’s deal across the ditch shows he hasn’t lost his dealmaking nous. After all, Toll valued New Zealand’s rail and ferry assets at about $NZ231 million back in 2003 when it launched a takeover for TranzRail.
    Five years on, he’s sold most of the assets back for almost three times their value (and a considerable premium to their latest book value of $NZ430 million). Little even took some credit for delivering the assets back to Clark after “improving the efficiency of rail freight movements within NZ”.
    Though this isn’t quite how Clark and her minions see the rail system after a decade in private hands. “The selling-off of our public rail system in the early 1990s and the running-down of the asset afterward has been a painful lesson,” the Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, said.
    Little’s former trucking pal, Mark Rowsthorn, continues to ponder how he can engineer his own “Helen moment”. ”

    Of course Mainfreight approve: they know that their operations will now be subsidised by the New Zealand taxpayer. A subtle distinction you might appreciate when you have to look for a job in the real world next year.

  8. Bryan. a) you don’t know where I work

    b)all road users are subsidised by the taxpayer.

    c) you can’t ignore that oil prices are going through the roof – we need to invest in facing that..

  9. outofbed 9

    “The Australians are laughing all the way to the bank”…
    they don’t have to go far as they own them all… well not quite

  10. Phil 10

    Semantics, Steve; “as peak oil continues”

    Peak oil is a point in time – it cannot, by definition “continue”

    [peak oil is an economic crisis, we are starting to feel the effects of the approach of the point in time when the supply of oil starts to fall.. we will continue feeling those effects as the time approachs and then feel it even worse once the drop-off occurs. I was perfectly aware of the semantics I used and they are correct – peak oil is happening to us and will continue happening to us for some time to come. Phil, when did you give up on substantive debate? SP]

  11. Steve: Quoting the NZ Treasury:

    “The study finds that welfare has increased from the privatisation of rail. This reflects the remarkable improvement in productivity that took place. It finds that government and taxpayers gained the most from privatisation because of the elimination of their commitment to funding rail losses under public ownership. For instance, it cost taxpayers over $1.1 billion to support NZ Rail between 1983 and 1993, and since the 1880s rail was corporatised five times under state ownership and each time the reorganisation failed to deliver a sustainable improvement.”

  12. infused 12

    Oil prices are going to go through the roof, yes, but what about alternate fuels? If you think everyone’s just going to stop driving you’re very naive SP.

    The rail network is crap. It’s not going to be any good without billions of dollars invested in it, and it still suffers from fuel prices. Electrify you say? Good luck. Don’t we have a power crisis on our hands?

  13. infused 13

    Answer this question. Which is going to improve the productivity of New Zealand.

    1) The 1.5+b on the railway
    2) 1.5b on broadband

  14. randal 14

    neither: an extra few points on the intelligence quotient might make a difference especially when it comes down to reigning in conspicuous consumption by self referencing self infatuated idiots.

  15. “all road users are subsidised by the taxpayer.” really ? Then charge the true cost of using roads with tolls.

  16. Draco TB 16

    Semantics, Steve; “as peak oil continues’

    Peak oil is a point in time – it cannot, by definition “continue’

    Yes, but it will plateau at the peak for a few years before oil production goes into decline.

    Oil prices are going to go through the roof, yes, but what about alternate fuels? If you think everyone’s just going to stop driving you’re very naive SP.

    There’s a serious question about alternative fuels being able to cover the loss of energy that falling oil production will entail.

  17. infused 17

    Calm down randal, not the end of the world.

  18. Stephen 18

    I wasn’t aware that the taxpayer was going to subsidise anything about the railways (apart from buying it of course) – we left that crap in the 80s. Now we have the State Owned Enterprises Act and all that jazz…we don’t subsidise Kiwibank, but it’s run like a business. Would have thought the same applies to rail, am I wrong?

  19. vto 19

    Are you guys talking about the motorway being tunnelled under Clark’s electorate announced by Clark some short time ago? Or do those roading infrastructure jobs of Labour’s not count as the same sort of ‘white elephants’?

    more double standards

    [lprent: Don’t be a thickhead – I grew up there and it is still pretty much my home patch.

    No-one in Mt Albert or Mt Roskill wants or needs the damn thing. All it does for the local people is to have a bloody great big mess on their doorstep for many years screwing up traffic and spreading noise and dust.

    It is mainly being built for the benefit of the North Shore and Manakau, but has to go across the west isthmus.

    The opposition has been incredibly strong (because there is bugger all benefit) which is why Transit eventually worked through to a solution that could be tolerated (maybe).

    Unfortunately it is about the only real solution to join the exporters in Albany to the airport. It is unlikely to be a white elephant because we get almost all of the benefits immediately]

  20. Tane 20

    vto – take a look through our archives. I think the posters here have pretty consistently criticised Labour’s big roading projects.

    Again, some research before you start smearing us would be good.

  21. vto 21

    oh ok, fair enough. Research archives? there no way I have time to do that.

    [Fine but if you’re going to be ignorant don’t assume things. SP]

  22. Stephen 22

    The implication always seems to be that having a massive construction project in your electorate is ‘going to be great’!

    [lprent: It isn’t. The people in Mt Roskill can give you chapter and verse about why they hope their bit of the SH20 project will be over soon. People living even moderately close to the rest are in a sort of terrible resignation. ]

  23. Tane 23

    vto – in that case it’s probably best to hold off on the accusations of hypocrisy then.

  24. infused.

    Your options are incorrect because Labour is putting $500 million into broadband, with a plan the industry has welcomed. not just a pot of money for restoring telecom’s monopoly.

    I would say b) $1.5bil for rail (I’ve yet to see here you people are getting that figure from, btw) and $500 mil on broadband is the better option.

    The economy is still mostly about making stuff and moving it to factories, to ports, to shops, we need a transport network, and with peak oil upon us, that needs to be a low-oi/low-carbon network. Only rail and coastal shipping can provide those to us.

  25. Rex Widerstrom 25

    So one dinosaur party drives unemployment towards five percent while the other dinosaur party figures it’ll mop up some of those affected by resurrecting “Think Big”.

    It’s true that the Greens have seen their policies put in place. It’s just a pity that their policies are about embracing our return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and not actually innovating to address the problem.

    Does anyone in politics have a plan that doesn’t involve sending our living standards back to the days of the dinosaurs in one way or another?

    (And since you’re around on this thread, “Steve”, perhaps you could provide an answer to the question I posed on this thread rather than letting Lynn cop the flak for you?)

  26. infused. “Don’t we have a power crisis on our hands?” No we don’t , in case you missed it, it’s been raining for the last month solid… the lakes are full, we are not and never were short of power.

    As for alternative fuels. I know alternatives fuels are not going to come and save us in the next few years as peak oil esculates because I’ve looked into the issue extensively.

    infused. Do you know about storage and distribution issues of hydrogen for fuel cells? Do you know that the supply of rare earth minerals used in electric car batteries has already peaked(as hs the suplpy of uranium ,incidentally)? Do you know when the first mass-production electric cars are expected to be on the market and the projections for market peneration by non-oil driven vehicles? do you know how long it would take for 90% the fleet of vehicles on the road to be non-oil driven even once all new sales are? Do you know how much of the energy consumed by humans is supplied by hydro-carbons and the potential replacement sources and the limitations of each and their abiltiy to upscale?

    No, you don’t. If you haven’t done your research, don’t go calling me naive.

  27. Edosan 27

    Draco TB “Yes, but it will plateau at the peak for a few years before oil production goes into decline.”

    Well, I can’t see the plateau lasting very long, it might do if we were looking at a steady rate of demand, but because of places like China, demand is constantly increasing. I think it’ll be a much sharper curve than a few years. At the end of the day noone can know for sure seeing as we don’t know whats happening at the moment. OPEC countries are not coming clean about the level of their reserves.

  28. lprent 28

    infused: The rail.

    There is no known productivity gain from running fibre-optic to households. The only current use is doing video and uncompressed graphics, playing movies and video conferencing outside of some esoteric science and engineering apps.

    There will be a few people who may be able to use it from home, but they usually do it now from places already equipped with high bandwidth.

    So where do you expect it to increase productivity or increase growth?

    This is the type of stuff I do for a living – writing code for squirting data around.

  29. SweeetD 29

    “There is no known productivity gain from running fibre-optic to households. ” Iprent

    “640K of memory should be enough for anybody”. Bill Gates.

    I guess your great gran pappy wasn’t too impressed with the new fangled steam trains when they were invented either. And, who would want to fly!?!!?! If God had intended us to fly he would have given us wings!!!!!

    You surprise me considering what you do for a living.

  30. SweeetD. It surprises me that you wold consdier yourself better informed than Lynn, given what he does for a living.

    And, remember, he’s not saying ultra-fast broadband could never have any use, he’s saying there’s no case for it now.

  31. SweeetD 31

    Pierson, it may surprise you, but Iprent isn’t the only one in the country that works in IT.

    I thought you (labour [I’m not Labour, I’m a Green voter. SP]) would be jumping over this one, the benefits of teleworking (oil/petrol saved, less road damage, less emmisions into the atmosphere, more productivity) just for starters.

    He is very wrong on this one.

  32. outofbed 32

    Does anyone in politics have a plan that doesn’t involve sending our living standards
    back to the days of the dinosaurs in ? in one way or another?

    Rex surely the link you gave is wrong because this is what it is a about
    “The Sustainable Living Programme which grew out of an initiative by Marlborough District Council, but has since spread across the whole country.”

    can you furnish the correct one ?

  33. lprent 33

    Sweety: I teleworked for over 7 years up until the start of last year.

    My team of up to 7 programmers, testers, and graphics bods used VPN to access a central version control system with about 10k development files in it.

    We communicated using phone, e-mail and various instant messaging systems. That included the Boston office people. This was all done on ADSL right around Auckland, and in the US. High speed bandwidth isn’t required for teleworking at home.

    I didn’t even bother having a car. I took taxi’s to the monthly meetings.

    The only reason I stopped was because of some moronic National party decisions in the 1990’s that caused my apartment building to have leak issues. I had to go to work on a 9-5 because the builders were too damn noisy during the day.

    I’d say I know about teleworking. In fact in NZ I doubt there are too many people with as much experience. Have you done anything similar? Or is it just theory?

    I’d also point out that the only reason we did the teleworking was because I was willing to make sure it happened. Most managers would have a considerable problem coping with it.

  34. lprent 34

    SweeetD: Just at present I can’t see the applications that would make the fibre worthwhile. That includes in the places that already have the fibre in place like some US cities.

    The main use would probably be to do things like movie edits here and that has already been done. Besides the limiting factor is our shortage of bandwidth off-shore not in-shore.

  35. SweeetD 35

    “I’d say I know about teleworking. Have you done anything similar? Or is it just theory?”

    Audio, video and net conferencing in the UK for 6 years, both in a technical and operational capacity. Global technical meetigs via video and audio, team members seperated by time, location and language. Yes, I know something about it. We achieved much more than the sum of the individual parts.

    My point stands, and I still think you are wrong on the benefits of high speed fibre.

  36. infused 36

    I am from the same industry lprent. I originally came from a Software Engineering background, now manage many windows based customers.

    Seen any voip lately? The cisco stuff? Know the bandwidth required? Not just for voice, but video too.

    Online backup systems, disaster sites, hosted services (which I know you have a role in) etc all use huge amounts of data.

    If we don’t need the speed, why do I then have to host all my stuff overseas because New Zealand is so horrendously priced?

    VOIP in New Zealand is laughable. The only govt department I know using it NZ wide is WINZ via Cisco and that is on their own internal network via citylink.

    Take a guess how much data I move around a month? If you guessed over 5tb, you’d be right.

    But enough rambling, what has this got to do with productivity? Maybe if we had high speed internet, I wouldn’t have to come to work. Meetings would be able to be held without anyone leaving home. More internet based services could be offered etc.

  37. lprent 37

    infused: You’re mainly referring to server level operations. Not to the subject of John Keys ludicrous initiative – which is to bring fibre to the home.

    I agree that we need more bandwidth around NZ and offshore. I just cannot see a reason to pull it to most homes. The prices in NZ are high – but they probably always will be, It is a small local market.

    Voice – yeah that requires at most 64kbits/sec per converation. That is the maximum bandwidth used in the telco’s exchange switches for a single connection.

    Video does require more bandwidth. Around my place I can get standard ADSL with 8mbit/sec downlink, and 800kbit/sec uplink. That is ample for most video formats used for meetings.

    I could shift to the 24mbit/sec downlink ADSL – but I have no idea of the uplink speed. But I prefer voice/IM anyway.

    Tell your employer how much you’d like to work from home. It should be a user-pays luxury because I can see other things in the local nets that’d be much better to put money into than a consumer luxury.

  38. Phil 38

    Is it possible the broadband package could be the first step toward a program of modernisation for TVNZ?

  39. infused 39

    I run the business. The employer is very happy to have me work from home. What will happen though, forcing fiber to home is the business networks will have to be upgraded to cope. I don’t think it’s because NZ is a small market that the price is high. The price has been coming down over the years, just not quickly enough. Partially because of Telecom, but they are not all at fault.

    Yeah, you can do video on a link like that, but nothing else at the same time. That’s the problem. ADSL is crap. It was a crap technology then, it’s a crap technology now.

    USA had decent cable networks way back in 1996 when we were still logging in to BBS systems.

    It’s just not acceptable anymore. Considering the model of software development, something you must be noticing now is that all services are becoming web based. Apps are being deployed via the web. Web workspaces etc (google). Microsoft is about to hit this one, hard. Office online.

    Once again, New Zealand will be left in the slow lane.

  40. lprent 40

    Cool. We actually have people here who have done this stuff.

    SweeetD & infused – you get my point? I’m not against putting in fibre to the exchange levels and to businesses. It is the thought of putting fibre to residential homes that I find ludicrous. I can’t see any real way that can be useful to the point of putting NZD 1.5 billion of investment into it.

    I can see a point in

    1. Putting more fibre under the oceans to improve the security and bandwidth available.

    2. Pulling more fibre into commercial areas that don’t already have it.

    3. Helping to improve the hubs (things like NZ Gateway are really hairy with the periodic upgrades and slowdowns).

    4. Even wierdo things like subsidising the hosted servers – as infused said it is ridiculously expensive here. But if the stuff for NZ that is hosted offshore was here, then (maybe) the economies of scale would start to kick in.

    etc. Help build the real infrastructure of the local net. Not just make a meaningless promise. If they did pull fibre to the homes, then all it is likely to do is to

    1. increase the cost to the household – remember we charge per MB not by time.

    2. Blow out the local and links to the international network with excessive usage. There isn’t enough there already.

  41. lprent 41

    Phil: Who cares about TVNZ. Same problem – it doesn’t improve productivity or increase growth as far as I can see.

  42. infused 42

    I’ll have to have a think about it more, but I see what you’re saying.

  43. SweeetD 43

    Iprent, yip, good points. But, as we have a growth problem (as evidenced by our downward movemenents on the OECD table) I can only see good things happening out of providing a high speed pipe to all (not just businesses). Surely the point of the web is that you don’t have to work at a “designated” business site?!?! This goes back to my previous points on telecommunting, business should be where you want it to be.

  44. SweeetD. I suggest you actually look at the OECD table you’re referencing to understand that a change in ranking does not mean falling further behind the top half, I don’t have time to find the link for you just now, but it’s not hard.

  45. Rob 45

    Great article this really shows what a hypocrite Michael Cullen is he states anything under 30% is Fiscally prudent National Plans equal 22% oh oh dear the fear doctor has been caught out yet again!!

    Labour scores impressive own goal on debt
    by Hon Bill English, Finance04 August 2008
    National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says Labour has scored an impressive own goal in its rush to attack National’s plan to significantly boost infrastructure investment.

    “In the last Budget, Michael Cullen’s spending plans resulted in a $10.2 billion increase in the cash deficit out to 2011/12. To pay for this, he is going to raise gross debt by a total of $2.3 billion and is going to pay for the rest by selling Crown financial assets.

    “As a result, the Government’s net core Crown debt is projected to rise over the next few years.

    “Where was Dr Cullen’s anti-debt hysteria then? In fact, he quietly slipped through these changes without mentioning them in his Budget speech.

    “Labour is now claiming the sky is falling because National plans to borrow a modest amount more to build some of the infrastructure this country desperately needs.

    “This is a classic case of Michael Cullen believing others should do as he says, not as he does.

    “In his earlier Budgets, Dr Cullen declared that anything under 30% of GDP was a prudent level of debt.

    “By that standard, National’s plan to see gross debt average at around 22% of GDP over the next 10 years is ultra prudent.

    “OECD figures show that New Zealand has the third lowest gross debt-to-GDP ratio in the developed world. We don’t have a debt problem, we have a growth problem and a productivity problem.

    “Raising productivity is the key to lifting incomes, providing world-class public services, and helping our families through the tougher times.

    “National’s plan will clear the infrastructure gridlock that’s holding our country back.”

  46. Draco TB 46

    That’s not an article Rob but a National Party press release. The ideal amount of government debt is an average of 0%. Saying that we have the lowest debt in the OECD doesn’t make paying interest any more productive.

  47. lprent 47

    SweeetD: Yep – but as far as I’m concerned if you desperately want to have that last km to your home at highspeed. Then you (or your company) should pay for it (and I shouldn’t).

    Presumably there should be sufficient economic return to the individual (or company) that it becomes worth while paying for it. I definitely think that the state should be involved in ensuring that the infrastructure should be capable of bringing it to your door. But I’m afraid I don’t approve of “free lunches” that someone else is having to pay for.

    There has to be a cost that is at least partially related to the cost of provision. Otherwise the service isn’t valued, and usually therefore doesn’t get made to turn a profit. Otherwise why should I pay for you to play?

  48. randal 48

    do a few twangs on shonky johnkeys rubber bandwidth band?

  49. infused 49

    lprent: ever looked at japan where the average bandwidth to home is 100mbit?

  50. Rex Widerstrom 50

    outofbed:

    Sorry, been outofoffice or I would have replied sooner. Point of the link is the par that reads:

    …interest in the power and fuel-saving ideas they promote has been boosted by spiralling energy and petrol prices

    Good on Councils for educating people on sustainable living, but it’s being driven by necessity not some idyllic dream of a “The Good Life” type of existence. Pretty sorry state of affairs when we’re eking out a vege patch in our backyard because we have to, rather than because we want to.

    My point is, given that neither “major” party has a plan to stop us reverting to travelling on donkeys and using oxen for agriculture (and the Greens can’t wait for us to get there), who in politics is promoting innovative alternative ways of dealing with these issues?

    National’s fiddling about at the fringes with a broadband policy. That’s great, but without doing something to ensure it becomes a base on which to build a knowledge economy all they’re doing is exciting people like me who can use it to deliver high-speed high-quality streaming video, hopefully for a price.

    I’m talking support for government and private sector R&D; initiatives to support growth in the service sector, which doesn’t need trains or trucks to deliver it’s outputs… that sort of thing. Meanwhile Australia offers 150 – 175% R&D tax breaks and is toying (far, far too slowly) with using the HECS scheme as a way to encourage study in areas that could potentially drive the economy rather than turning out more lawyers and accountants.

  51. randal 51

    rexw.it is not a pretty sad state of affairs digging a vege patch because we have to. who guaranteed anybody anything? that includes soft carrots from the supermarket and instant rotting lettuces. People should not be allowed to live in any domicile over a cerain size ‘without’ having a vege garden under pain of eviction . people hAVE GONE SOFT IN THE HEAD AND BODY BECAUSE THEY ARE LAZy and want everything to look nice instead of basing their lives on utilitarian principles of obtaining happiness from achievement and not by buying goods. this way the weak will perish without hanging around too long.

  52. lprent 52

    infused: What is it used for? Anything that is heading towards a viable export industry. A home video industry with vast sales offshore perhaps? A major online games industry? Kind of makes my point really.

    Face it – fibre has been around for decades so far and with the exception of trunk lines, and a few video niches, it just hasn’t found much that absolutely relies on it. Copper technologies to the home are more widespread, simpler, better supported, and steadily increasing in capabilities. They lack elegance, but they are all that the market is demanding.

    So tell me again – why do the Nat’s think that I should invest in this technology, because I have no idea why I’d want to.

    BTW: have a look at this…
    williamson vs cunliffe at the hyatt ballroom

  53. Ari 53

    My point is, given that neither “major’ party has a plan to stop us reverting to travelling on donkeys and using oxen for agriculture (and the Greens can’t wait for us to get there), who in politics is promoting innovative alternative ways of dealing with these issues?

    You are either sorely exaggerating or you seriously do not understand Green policy. Try reading the stuff that’s available.

    Suggesting the Green Party would love us all to turn to oxen for agriculture is like suggesting Winston Peters would love for us all to become personality politicians.

  54. Draco TB 54

    So tell me again – why do the Nat’s think that I should invest in this technology, because I have no idea why I’d want to.

    Because it opens up possibilities for the economy that copper based technologies keep closed. FttH will also make those possibilities more competitive ensuring that they are delivered at the best price. IMO, copper based tech is just a stepping stone to fiber – use it until it can be replaced but you certainly don’t plan on keeping it.

    That said, I still don’t think Nationals plan is all that good either. IMO, any good plan will start with a public buy back of the existing fiber networks. My estimation is that our telecommunications are about 5 to 10 years behind where we would be if we hadn’t sold Telecom.

  55. Kevyn 55

    >>infused. “Don’t we have a power crisis on our hands?’ No we don’t , in case you missed it, it’s been raining for the last month solid the lakes are full, we are not and never were short of power.

    What a load of bollocks! Solid rain is called snow…it doesn’t fill the lakes till springtime. Southern lake levels are lower than they were a month ago. This is one subject where you don’t know nuthin boy.

  56. Rex Widerstrom 56

    Ari: Okay, I admit to using hyperbole to make a point. But I’m not inspired by the Green’s policies any more than I am by Labour’s or National’s, though the latter’s commitment to broadband is a sort of vague gesture in the right direction without, I think, any actual plan to capitalise upon it in a way that would address NZ’s competitiveness.

    randal: Compulsory vege gardening. Now there’s a fascinating platform. Who’ll enforce the law? I guess it’d give your hero Winnie something to do when the voters sack him and his thugs… after all his sole expertise is in shovelling manure.

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