Kiwis love their rail

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 pm, July 21st, 2008 - 56 comments
Categories: assets, polls, transport - Tags:

A poll on TV1 shows that Kiwis overwhelmingly support the Government move to bring rail back into public ownership. Despite a question that explicitly states the cost of Kiwirail but none of the benefits, respondents still voiced very strong support for the purchase- 68% in favour vs 24% against.

The Government has acted in a way that makes economic and environmental sense. The only opposition has been from the ‘free market is always right’ lobby and National. Their childish comments about buying a train-set have fooled no-one.

I think this issue and the growing questions around John Key’s leadership qualities, including his broken promise not to use Crosby/Textor, have been the catalysts for Labour’s resurgence in the polls. The 90 Day No Rights policy and ACC privatisation, despite National’s attempt to release on the quiet, have also gone down very badly with the public but they were released too recently to affect the latest polls. That may mean more bad news for National in the next round of polls.

56 comments on “Kiwis love their rail”

  1. vto 1

    A poll confirming people love trains is hardly surprising. Everyone loves trains – they are yesteryear, relaxing, romantic, big, loud and magnificent. Other than ships they are the biggest machines in existence.

    I would suggest it has zip to do with either economics or environment.

    It was a populist purchase.

    If the true cost was reflected in the number of notes every person had to pull out of their wallets each week they may change their choo choo choone. Maybe. It would be interesting to see ..

  2. I am surprised that you claim buying the rail company back makes economic sense. It is not something that has been shown to make economic sense by Cullen. he is incapable of even confirming the real cost or the level of expenditure needed to modernise it.

  3. vto. $1.5 billion over ten years is the cost, that’s $150 million a year (less actually in present value), per person that comes to less than $1 a taxpayer a week.

    And you show a disrespect for your fellow citizens that is all too common among the right (and the political Left). People are not stupid, they know that the privatisation of rail was a rip off that got Fay Richewaite and co rich and put more big trucks on our roads.

  4. vto 4

    barnsley bill, good point. Some sums then..

    Purchase price. Well not sure but lets says (in mini-me voice) one billion dollars.

    In kiwibank at 9% = $90million profit per annum.

    In conservative shares or property or other investment at say 4% = $40million profit per annum.

    In repaid tax at standard mortgage rate of 10% = $100million per annum into the average kiwi’s back pocket.

    Now I dont know but how much do rail’s books say they made in profit last year? (less than those numbers I hope).

  5. vto 5

    SP. I agree with your statement “People are not stupid, they know that the privatisation of rail was a rip off that got Fay Richewaite and co rich”

    I think this confuses a few different issues. But on the Fay Richwhite thing don’t even get me started. It is no wonder they hide in the country where the bullion gets hidden (best hiding place of course). I think they are embarrassed of themselves over their performance on rail. It is excessively simple – they took ALL the cash for maintenance and upgrade and stuffed it in their pockets.

    This was of course one part of human’s nature exposed. It should have been foreseen and the privatisation made infinitely more robust so that this was not possible (don’t ask me how).

    Gotta go

  6. Janet 6

    This rail buy back costs only a fraction of what is being spent on roading this year. Why is it OK for roads to be a public good and OK to spend huge amounts of public money on, whereas rail should somehow be profitable?

    One small section of proposed new road – the Transmission Gully route out of Wellington – is only a few kilometres long yet will cost much more than the total rail buy back and upgrade.

    Several years ago a green leaning MP suggested that upgrading the rail track out of Wellington and having a roll on roll off service at the Wgtn railway station for cars going up the coast would be a cheaper and more sensible proposition than building this new road. Perhaps it is time to take such ideas seriously.

  7. I’ll be quite interested to see how the rumblings of a universal student allowance becoming Labour policy will come out in the polls. I suspect it would be quite a popular move.

    http://newzblog.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/labour-gains-on-national-due-to-personal-attacks-media/

  8. rave 8

    Well I look forward to another tea and pie at Taumaranui any day over a cold flat and latte serve up by the Parnell poseurs.

  9. Tiger! You big old link whore you!

    Nice post by the way.

    [lprent: I think he is just imitating someone?]

  10. Only imitating the master 🙂 !

    Now to pen a reply to young Nick.

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    I think they are embarrassed of themselves over their performance on rail.

    [cough] BNZ [cough]
    [cough cough] European Pacific [cough cough]

    W8nkers.

    From Christchurch if I remember correctly.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  12. Daveski 12

    Bread and circuses anyone?

    Having worked at one stage for Tranzrail, I can’t help but agree with your views on Fay et al. It was the worst excesses of privatisation and your comments are right on the mark.

    But before you ask me to start humming the Red Flag, you conveniently overlook the massive improvement in service under privatisation – massive improvement in haulage with less than 20% of the staff. And the ferries ran during school holidays 🙂

    Rail won’t get all trucks off the road – in most cases, you still need trucks to drop off and pick up the goodies. That also explains why Toll/Tranzlink had the most trucks too.

    This could potentially prove to be a winner – if it’s run properly, it could deliver benefits. But that doesn’t hide the fact that this was a populist vote driven decision, much like no interest students loans, and the prospect of universal student allowances.

    So I’m not going to get excited by these poll results.

    Hold it … I thought you guys didn’t believe in polls??

  13. The Double Standard 13

    SO, if a policy is popular in a poll in 2008, the Teh Party will go for it, regardless of other considerations?

    Government by poll is not necessarily good government is it? What were those s59 polls running at again?

    I’m also not sure that running the line ‘F&R profited 15 years ago, so we must buy back this money-sink asset today’ is overly rational either.

  14. r0b 14

    SO, if a policy is popular in a poll in 2008, the Teh Party will go for it, regardless of other considerations?

    Nope. $50 tax cuts are pretty popular, but Labour has other considerations.

    Government by poll is not necessarily good government is it?

    Certainly isn’t, and to try and raise the issue here is to confuse the order of events. We bought back KiwiRail BEFORE any public poll on the matter.

    What were those s59 polls running at again?

    Wasn’t aware that any valid poll had been conducted.

  15. The Double Standard 15

    Lets play a little polling game:

    Poll question on Teh Party’s policy

    “Do you support the Labour-led buy back of rail for around $1bill” Y/N

    Poll question on The Nat’s policy

    “Do you support the Nat-led buy back of rail for around $1bill given that it will inevitably lead to more government borrowing and slashing of nurse and teacher numbers” Y/N

    I wonder what questions were actually used in the poll…

  16. The Double Standard 16

    Rob, do you really expect us to believe that Teh Party didn’t do private polling on Tranz Rail before pushing the button. Pull the other one eh?

    [lprent: I cannot believe the education system letting this sort of misspelling through. Oh well – lets add that to the list. ]

  17. randal 17

    yes well there wont be any spare track for the next buyers to sell overseas and buy themselves yacht races and castles in Ireland with.

  18. Pascal's bookie 18

    Cool, TDS returns!!

    Still a bit stupid though.

    This poll TDS, is asking what people think of something the government has already done. Answer: They like it.

    It could have gone the other way, they might have hated it.

    Governing by poll result is what you call it when a party decides to abandon principled positions on all sorts of things simply because their principled positions are deeply unpopular.

    An example might be the National party on interest free student loans, banning nuclear ships, not going to war in Iraq, kyoto, Cullen fund, Kiwisaver, 20 hrs free, stopping privatisation, keeping Don Brash’s ideas off the treasury benches, etc. These are all things that the National Party thought were bad for NZ, but now they support.

    Those things, for the National Party, would be governing by poll results. This thing, by the Labour party, not so much. The Labour party thinks buying the train set was a good idea, and the people agree. Lucky Labour.

    The way I read Steve’s post he is saying that this a good policy (opinion), and a popular one too (fact). He is not saying that it is good because it is popular, that would be stupid. Just like saying that you would now support a policy that you thought was actually bad for NZ just because it was popular. That would be wrong.

  19. Blar 19

    “his broken promise not to use Crosby/Textor”

    I’m not going to call you a liar because I can’t categorically say this was never promised, but I am pretty no such promise exists. Could you please provide a reference for this?

  20. Daveski 20

    r0b stated:

    Government by poll is not necessarily good government is it?

    Certainly isn’t, and to try and raise the issue here is to confuse the order of events. We bought back KiwiRail BEFORE any public poll on the matter.

    I was put on mod (OK, briefly) for accusing the Standard of being one and the same as the Labour party. I accept that it’s not.

    Perhaps r0b could explain his comments or risk also being modded?

    [lprent: I suspect that r0b is a member of the NZLP from previous comments.

    However he isn’t on our group of cheerful volunteers as far as I’m aware, most of whom admit that they are not (apart from me).

    However rOb is one of the few people capable of logging in and automatically getting that air of grey eminence.]

  21. MikeE 21

    Great, so they support the purchase, will they actually use it?

  22. r0b 22

    Perhaps r0b could explain his comments or risk also being modded?

    What needs explaining Daveski? We, as in the people of NZ, or “the gummint” if you like, bought back the railways. I wasn’t suggesting that The Standard bought it…

  23. randal 23

    sok rOb. daveski is one of the little people wif a truk so you might have to repeat it several times before it gets through!

  24. Matthew Pilott 24

    The Double Standard, are you incapable of rational thought? The rail buyback being a vote-catcher policy only? Ye gods and little fishes. What do you think a Labour Government would like to do with rail, irrespective of voters? Do you think they would like to buy it? Maybe you should keep quiet, or accept that a Labour core value is also shared by a good cross-section of the public.

    Maybe you’d also like to reflect on the concept of questioning a party ensuring that their policies are popular, if you’re trying to imply Labour ‘tested the waters’ with the rail buy-back. You think that’s entirely a bad thing? I won’t complain, as long as it isn’t the only consideration…

    I also think you’re being pretty obviously transparent – past experience has clearly shown that Labour will do what they think is right for the country, despite some strong opposition. No such polling on the quiet, methinks.

    Daveski, in case you are confused, r0b isn’t The Standard.

  25. TDS – you old bugger. Good to see you back! You should make a few comments at my blog bro…

    I’ve got a nice wee post on good hating –

    http://robinsod.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/still-some-good-hate-left/

    I reckon you’d like it, you being such a good hater and all.

    Well… impotent hater… but still – hate’s hate innit?

  26. Swampy 26

    “What do you think a Labour Government would like to do with rail, irrespective of voters? Do you think they would like to buy it?”

    Labour wants to bring back a rail freight monopoly because of their anti business bias, they can use the rail business to shut down the private sector road transport operators. It’s all payback for their loyal union affiliate members.

  27. ak 27

    Nice post (as always) Steve: and I think you’re right in predicting …more bad news for National in the next round of polls.

    Together with this poll on rail and today’s Fearfax jobby showing that the majority of kiwis (and of even the NActoids themselves) want more policy detail from NAct, it looks like voters are at last sobering up from their media-fed anti-Helen hate fest.

    Maybe its an age thing, but as a relative newcomer to this medium (and talkback wireless), the shock at first encountering the level and intensity of the naked hatred hurled at our current PM in these public quarters was quite mind-boggling (have we no defamation laws any more?). What’s worse is that the “halo effect” of this utterly mindless barrage of poison has spread widely (- even to my own highly genteel milieu: to witness the pathos of frail tory ex-pillocks of society lisping plaintive “nanny states” as they dribble their Horlicks is a surreal experience!)

    Bereft of ideology or policy, the Right’s tactic of relentless repetition of gutter insults via various lazy compliant media has – to even their own surprise – worked: but as with all hate-sessions, the artificial, transitory frisson of fury is rapidly fading. The Herald’s recent hagiography of Key exposed a driven, self-obsessed spiv whose sole achievement and ambition reads as the epitome of selfishness. Kiwis don’t go for manicured, prevaricating paper-shufflers – least of all his would-be base of farmers and small businessmen.

    It’s time to trumpet the gains and roll out the bold initiatives. Forget tory policy: set the menu and dare them to eat it.
    Like a welcome warm zephyr through an electorate tired and hungover from its brief flirtation with the bizarre, the solid reality of Labour’s impressive and incontrovertible achievement, experience, and vision of progressive optimism is set to return and reassure. Ride the wave from here on in.

  28. Daveski 28

    r0b – I’ll accept your word but the comment can easily be read differently given the subject of the post is the Government – not the people.

    I’m being deliberately pedantic but I think it was worth pointing out the semantic point which the mod has gone to pains to also point out.

    The challenge will be to keep the positive view of “NZ Rail 2” if services degrade or there is a perception that a government monopoly is taking advantage of its position.

    Let’s put it this way – I very much doubt that Labour – not the Standard 😉 – would have done this if they thought it would have been negatively received. In other word, the poll result is not unexpected and not tipping point in the electioneering foreplay.

    Randal’s comments aren’t worth commenting on.

    [lprent: You may shortly drive me to being even more pedantic. New software version (2.6) that I am testing could do with a few enhancements. I figure I could build a few of the ideas I have about troll generation into moderator tools. ]

  29. SO, if a policy is popular in a poll in 2008, the Teh Party will go for it, regardless of other considerations?

    And if it had been unpopular they woudl have been out of touch ivory tower communist academics hell bent at perusing ideology at all costs.

    Essentially what your saying is “National good, Labour bad. National good, Labour bad. National good, Labour bad. National good, Labour bad”

  30. Matthew Pilott 30

    Swampy – back on the Nats talking points! You’re meant to be telling us that we will still need trucks (as if that wee point isn’t somewhat obvious). Interesting you manage to exclude the numerous other reasons why functioning rail is a good idea. I’m too tired to rehash them, but you know what they are I’m sure.

    Killinginthenameof, don’t forget that one year in three a government isn’t allowed to release policy and govern as such, they can only bribe.

  31. Razorlight 31

    This is a Colmar Brunton Poll. I did not think you people gave much credit to those rogue pollsters.

    Seriously though. I don’t think the result of this poll changes any of the arguments made against the buyback.

    We will be proven wrong in 5 years time when this is a succesfully run SOE. Not five minutes after the purchase when a poll is run.

  32. rave 32

    I’m waiting for the ad with Key sitting stalled in the Merc being disappeared by the big bright orange monster toy.

  33. Good on Labour for buying back the rail. Such strategic infrastructure should be owned by the Government. It’s economic sense to have public ownership of the cogs that make your economy work, a fact that mainstream economists across the world have realised following the failure of ‘more market’ solutions in the 80s and 90s.

    But we can’t forget that Labour helped ruin New Zealand’s railway system during the 1980s, with line closures, massive staff layoffs and the imposition overall of a ruthless corporatisation strategy.

    Even more than this, why was the rail bought back now after years of failure and run-down by Toll? Why in election year and why for such a bloody high price, considering how bad Toll had been managing such an important New Zealand asset?

    Kiwis shouldn’t be paying hundreds of millions to help line the pockets of Australian executives, who must be very glad to be out of the New Zealand railway market.

    Labour’s cynical election year ploys aren’t going to be working for too much longer.

    Oliver Woods
    Auckland Central RAM Candidate

  34. Draco TB 34

    It’s economic sense to have public ownership of the cogs that make your economy work, a fact that mainstream economists across the world have realised following the failure of ‘more market’ solutions in the 80s and 90s.

    Then they obviously forgot to listen to their hero Milton Friedman who said back in the 1950s that such natural monopolies should be government owned.

    Why in election year and why for such a bloody high price,…

    When you take inflation into account the government actually bought it back for less than they sold it for. Of course, it wasn’t worth as much as they sold it for either.

  35. Lint Remover 35

    why aren’t you commenting on the fact that your poodle winston has been exposed as a corrupt fraud? scared of the truth?

    wait for my comment to get moderated like tony veitch

  36. outofbed 36

    I caught our train from Picton to ChCh last week $55.00
    Was one of the most spectacular train journeys I have ever been on
    Simply stunning
    The Train was 90% full and everyone I spoke to loved it
    I am so glad I know own a part of this amazing system we have

    In Kiakoura I think there is a monument to the workers who died pushing that railway through. They would have been turning in their graves when the railways were sold off to an overseas company.
    I urge everyone to book a trip on the coastal route and be proud that you now own such an amazing asset. Well done Labour

  37. Kevyn 37

    Janet, The simple answer to your question
    “This rail buy back costs only a fraction of what is being spent on roading this year. Why is it OK for roads to be a public good and OK to spend huge amounts of public money on, whereas rail should somehow be profitable?”
    is:
    a) in round numbers – 80,000 km of roads, 5,000 km of railways.
    b) it isn’t ok to spend huge amounts of public money on roads that’s why no public money has been spent on roads since 1924. The money being spent on roads is provided by road users and land owners, the former because they create some of the roading costs (one-third of maintenance costs, 100% of construction costs) and receive benefits in reduced travel costs, the latter because they recieve benefits from road access to their properties.

  38. Kevyn 38

    outofbed, It’s not altogether surprising that the train was 90% full last week. School holidays have that effect. $55 isn’t cheap, unless you are comparing it with travelling on your own in a car. On the positive side it probably is value for money when you consider the stress of taking a carful of kids on that travel sickness inducing killer highway. The last time any serious money was spent on that highway was when the foreshore sections were moved to make way for the railway tracks.

  39. Forget the train set and stuffed unit of rail – kiwi’ s do like their ale, and Winston is in the Pooh but dear leader, MADam speaker and H2 will derail the moronic sheep public and celebrate with all the political drunkards. DOH brains.

  40. outofbed 40

    Kevyn For that incredible scenic journey I would have gladly paid double.
    And surprisingly there were very few children on-board.
    Its a shame though that CH CH railway station was sold so you have to alight in the suburbs.. very forward thinking eh ?

  41. Vanilla Eis 41

    d4j: I’m actually struggling to make any sense out of your comment. Maybe if I run it through a few online foreign-language translators and then back to English?

  42. Phil 42

    “$55 isn’t cheap, unless you are comparing it with travelling on your own in a car.”

    $55 per person on the train, or the equivalent car journey using about 1/3 to 1/2 a tank in a ‘normal’ car – maybe $40 of 91-unleaded, max.
    You’re absolutely right. The train isn’t cheap, at all.

    “travel sickness inducing killer highway.”

    The road from Kaikoura to Picton – half of OOB’s trip – was recently rated the best road in the country (it was the AA run poll, where you could win a Mercedes…)
    It’s one of the few roads in NZ where I’ve stepped out of the car after driving it well, and felt like I’d achieved something. In a good car, that road makes you feel engaged and tactile like nothing else in NZ is capable of.

  43. lukas 43

    I love it how you guys trust polls when they suit you but claim they are rogue polls if they don’t

  44. lprent 44

    Phil: compare apples with apples

    Add
    1. depreciation/interest on the car finance. If you brought for cash use a discount rate instead to account for alternate uses (ie NPV it).
    2. maintenance on the car including part replacements like tyres.
    3. registration/wof
    4. insurance

    I think that is all. In my experience the petrol cost is roughly about half of the cost of owning a car.

    Throwaway comments like yours are just daft. You sound like a National Party policy document – more than a little vacant.

  45. outofbed 45

    no no no 55 bucks is great as against $40 bucks worth of petrol + wear and tear on car combined with a very stress free journey talking to people, making new acquaintances, hot food and drink, beer wine on demand and friendly informative staff.
    Try it

  46. Phil 46

    Lynn,

    … And you sound like a Labour party selective case spin machine.

    My own car usage suggests much more than 50% on petrol (i’ll let you decide for yourself if that means I’m lead-footed, poorly maintain the car, or both…)

    However, if OOB payed $55 PER PERSON, then a two person trip (after all, who would go by themselves?) suggests the car is still the cheaper journey by some $30.
    As OOB pointed out, the train station in Chch is not central, so there is the additional transport and time factor for him/her here too, once the destination city is reached.

    “very stress free journey talking to people, making new acquaintances, hot food and drink, beer wine on demand and friendly informative staff.”
    As with all transport-related consumables, you’re a captive audience on the train. I suspect you are going to be paying much more for the tasty sandwich than the equivalent from a roadside cafe.

    We’re starting to get into very esoteric and econometric measurement here, so I think we can agree to disagree on the relative cost.

    What we can agree on is that there is a non-financial benefit – a feel good factor – which will be different from person to person, that is going to ultimately be the deciding factor in long haul personal transport. I’m a ‘car guy’ so for me the choice is simple. Others may be ‘train people’ and will choose differently.

  47. outofbed 47

    Phil I am pretty sure that if you had the time or inclination to study the cars on State Highway 1 from Blenheim to CH Ch a goodly percentage would be single occupancy.
    Lots of people obviously have lots of reasons for travelling on their own . This applies to any form of transport.
    I travel to Ch ch fairly regularly If I have time limitations I fly
    if I travelling with family I drive (still the cheapest at the mo) and
    if time is not a biggie and I want to chill out I will “let the train take the strain”
    Incidently the food was good quality and I spent less on food then I would if I had been driving,,
    But I must confess this was cancelled out by those beers I had whilst in the viewing carriage.
    Drinking beer, as the Pacific Ocean just metres away roll by, is a pretty sublime experience.
    All this for just $55 plus beer, the deal of the century!!!

  48. Matthew Pilott 48

    Recently did the same journey in a car, from Wellington though. The car on the ferry wasn’t cheap, but the petrol was about $60 each for the return trip. We packed 5 in the car though, but it would have been cheaper to do the return journey without the car, with the ferry plus the train.

    We made the route a bit longer by taking route 71, inland to Kaikoura, on the return. Nice drive, but nothing on going over Arthurs to Haast!

  49. Blar 49

    “his broken promise not to use Crosby/Textor’

    I’m not going to call you a liar because I can’t categorically say this was never promised, but I am pretty no such promise exists. Could you please provide a reference for this?

  50. Kevyn 50

    outofbed, If you click on my name (above) you can see photos of some of the highlights of the Christchurch-Picton highway. One of the photos does allow a (unscientific) headcount.

  51. Kevyn 51

    Steve claimed that Kiwis overwhelmingly support the buyout of Toll’s Tranzrail “Despite a question that explicitly states the cost of Kiwirail”

    But the question doesn’t even come close to explicitly stating the cost of Kiwirail. The question was “given the final price tag will go well over the billion dollar mark would they support the buying back of rail and ferry services?”

    Would 68% have been in favour if the question had given the actual confirmed expenditure plans of 1.5 billion just in the Auckland and Wellington regions, plus Auckland regional ratepayers contribution of 800 million?
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=97&objectid=10521966&ref=rss
    That’s in addition to amounts already spent (in millions): 80 for the Auckland suburban tracks, 11 for double tracking, 23 to buy Wellington station, 50 towards Britomart (from Transfund). Realisticly, if Kiwirail is to have any chance of removing any trucks from state highways it will need at least 10 new locos at 3 million each, a thousand or more additional wagons at $100,000 each, the elimination of hundreds of weight or speed resticted bridges and hieght restricted tunnels. Half of Ontrack’s 1800 bridges are more than 80 years old. Transit is in a slightly better bridging position even though it’s 4000 bridges have a combined length of 140km. Work on the highway system only began 85 years ago so only 7km of highway bridges are more than 80 years old, although 60km were built before seismic standards were introduced.
    Working from the Transit figures Ontrack will need to replace 35km of bridges over the next decade at a cost of somewhere between 10 and 50 million per km. If track ballast renewal has been extended beyond a safe point to the same extent that that has happened to highway sub-bases then we could be looking at ground-up rebuilds of up to half the network before higher speeds will be safe. The situation could be much worse than that if the correlation between sober driver speed related crashes and and highway rehabilitation frequency holds true for railways as well, viz-a-viz derailment risk.

  52. Blar 52

    Repeat comment deleted

  53. Vanilla Eis 53

    Edit: sorry, scratch that.

  54. ghostwhowalks 54

    Kevyn every business needs large amounts of capital investment EVERY YEAR just to stand still. Most of it comes form the existing company . The railways is the same, but does require some more capital from the buyer since it was so run down

    Locos are leased these days, ditto for wagons. But it seems there will be some refurbisments and some leases with maybe some bought outright

  55. Kevyn 55

    Unfortunately the buyer couldn’t raise that sort of capital so they sold it back to the same outfit that ran it down in the first place.

    Unfortunately common sense went out the window in the Muldoon era. In the century before that central and local government had borrowed to build infrastructure of all sorts, bridges, tramways, railways, drainage schemes, etc. It made sense to get the users of the new infrastructure to pay for it rather than making their parents pay for it since it often takes a generation to build the infrastructure. Frequently interest was paid for solely from savings on future price increases for the land needed for the projects. It helped that interest rates were less than 5% and population growth was often more than that. Actually the introduction of the petrol tax may have signalled a shift in thinking about capital funding for infrastructure. Once that tax was introduced it became the sole source of capital for highway development and was frequently pilferred to provide capital to invest in the railways, notable in the decade after World War 2 and in the 1980s. We really need to rethink this widespread reliance on pay/go funding for infrastucture capital. It creates an undesireable incentive to sell the old to fund the new.

  56. John Key the Don Key 56

    The Labour party has invested wisely in buying back the assets that National sold when the going got tough (e.g. kiwirail) The national party has ever so kindly said that they won’t sell the assets in their FIRST term. Man, they really care about NZ owning NZ. They don’t care at ALL about getting rich quick.

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    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    4 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    4 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    4 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    5 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    6 days ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    7 days ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    7 days ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago

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