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Nats back to censoring the press

Written By: - Date published: 7:43 am, August 24th, 2012 - 102 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Media - Tags:

The Government has injuncted* RNZ from running a story based on a leaked Kiwirail document that shows National’s under-investment in Kiwirail will make the tracks more dangerous and less useable at a time when it is firing 200 maintenance staff. Brownlee’s excuse? “the media outlet that wanted to publish an opinion about that document was going to do so in a most irresponsible way”

It’s really reached that point now, where the Nats think they have the right to censor coverage that they don’t agree with. Key set the standard (assisted by the craven Police) by having media outlets raided during an election campaign to chill them into not running the details of what he said to a political ally in a public cafe in front of the nation’s media. Now, ministers obviously think its open season – they can bully, threaten, and take court action against any media outlet that is preparing to “publish an opinion …. in a most irresponsible way”.

The real worry is that the media will accept this. To their credit, the print media have reacted by publishing Phil Twyford’s account of the contents of the Kiwirail document in full but they haven’t yet stood up for their rights as a free press.

*(I’m not sure but I think the injunction must only be a temporary one while arguments are heard. I can’t imagine that a court would actually prevent the media covering a story just because they had gotten hold of a draft document that a government agency didn’t want them to have).

For the record and to spit in the face of government censorship, here’s Twyford’s account of what is in the document from Parliament yesterday:


Phil Twyford: Has the board of KiwiRail advised him that from 2014 onwards the rail asset will decline and disruption risk will grow, that when spending gets back to current levels it will take many years to pull back from the decline, that virtually all rail routes will run down in some way, and that by 2015 KiwiRail will be doing 50 percent less track renewal work; if so, how can he still have confidence in the board?


Phil Twyford: Has the board of KiwiRail advised him that the amount to be spent on timber bridges will be cut substantially, projects on the main trunk line will be cancelled or deferred, the overall condition of railway sleepers will decline, and KiwiRail will have to accept a higher level of unplanned disruptions such as slips and erosion?


Phil Twyford: Has the board of KiwiRail advised him that the coal routes between Lyttelton and the West Coast and the route known as the golden triangle of forestry, which runs between Hamilton, Murupara, and Kawerau, have been coded by KiwiRail as TM4, which means their track metrics are unacceptable and pose a safety risk and are prejudicial to the customer base; if so, how can he still have confidence in the board?


Phil Twyford: Will he ask the chair of the board to tell KiwiRail management to call off the cuts to network maintenance because of the risk they pose to the organisation?


Phil Twyford: Will he acknowledge not only that KiwiRail cannot meet the financial targets of the Turnaround Plan, as the Minister did in this House last week, but also that the Turnaround Plan is unrealistic and is driving KiwiRail to make decisions like sacking 181 workers and deferring $200 million of network maintenance?

102 comments on “Nats back to censoring the press”

  1. Tracey 1

    Can you clarify for me, are you encouraging leaking of documents or not, and by anyone no matter who is in power? Perhaps that’s the real discussion here? To leak or not to leak as a broad debate and non party specific?

    [ this post is about government trying to surpress stories it doesn’t like. As for leaks – if a government wants to avoid being hurt by leaks it should avoid doing things that would piss off the public if they knew about it. Eddie]

    • tc 1.1

      Long live the leakers, without them the people would be kept in the dark on what our so called ‘transparent and accountable’ elected representatives and their ‘higher standards’ are delivering for NZ.

      Twyford needs to keep this up, he let Rortney/Key/Ford etc off the hook on the supershity shambles so about time he nailed a few issues up for the public to see, however that info gets out there as long as it’s accurate.

      Remember the MSM are effectively self censoring already in their favourable treatment of the most corrupt and reckless government in memory so leak on people.

      • Carol 1.1.1

        Twyford needs to keep this up, he let Rortney/Key/Ford etc off the hook on the supershity shambles so about time he nailed a few issues up for the public to see, however that info gets out there as long as it’s accurate.

        Actually I thought Twyford did a very good job on the supercity issue, given that Rodney & NAct used their power to push the whole dodgy thing through…. and it resulted in the mayor NAct didn’t want being elected. Twyford was thorough and relentless in his opposition to Rodney’s shonkey system.

        • Dr Terry

          Twyford is showing the intelligence and guts much needed by Labour as a whole, so there is still hope!
          Brownlie considers an ethical position as “irresponsible”. Well, how irresponsible is that?

        • tc

          I thought he backed off pretty much once he got nominated for Chris Carters comfy te-atatu seat at a time when the IT and people side was obviously not thought through or budgeted correctly and the ship was leaking badly….the damage from that continues at ratepayers expense.

          Brown got up because Banks is a clown who can’t help putting his foot in his mouth (the dimpost interview being a classic) and has the stamp of born to rule snobbery all over him and Brown had alot of good hardcore streetwise support doing the hard yards.

          aklders didn’t need reminding how toxic banks was and his and his party’s comments about sth akl sealed his fate.

          • Tracey

            I am an admirer of Phil Twyford. I find it gallng that whee a government leaks something (whichever party is in power) there is no squeak but when someone else leaks they squeal long and loud.. it’s how I tell who leaked something.

            How does Brownlee know how the Radio station intended representing it?

          • Carol

            I didn’t get the impression that Twyford backed off, and a search of google shows continued press releases from and articles about Tywford on the supercity in 2009 through to 2012.

            There was a bit of a shift to focus on Auckland transport when he became spokesperson for transport. So that might have meant he gave less attention to Auckland Council IT issues. But Twyford has continued to be busy on Auckland Council & city issues.

        • lprent

          Yeah. As you’re probably aware I was rather active in writing super shitty posts when the legislation was going through.

          One of the main reasons (apart from that the idea was designed to make it so Act money could buy elections) was because Phil T was relentlessly tenacious and outright smart in pushing forward the campaign. That meant there was always a lot of momentum to work with. It also means that he is a bit irritating if you want to have a quieter life 😈

    • AmaKiwi 1.2

      What to leak?

      1. DO NOT LEAK: Private information about individuals required to be kept in confidence by professionals.

      2. ALWAYS LEAK: Reports about publicly owned companies. We are the shareholders. If a publicly owned company is required to release the information, we are entitled to know.

      3. ALWAYS LEAK: Information which affects health and safety.

      4. GRAY AREA: The often abused gray area is “commercially sensitive information.” “If our competitors knew, they would gain a commercial advantage over us.” Since KiwiRail is a monopoly, it’s virtually impossible to apply this argument here.

      Would anyone like to add to this? I am not a lawyer but to me these seem to me to be logical categories.

      • King Kong 1.2.1

        The only problem with leaking commercially sensitive information is that it opens the door for politically appointed SOE employees. This would lead to an untidy clean out every 3/6 years.

        If you say it is alright to leak then my reaction is to make damn sure that the guys in possesion of sensitive information are on my side.

        • BM

          What would have to happen is that the SIS would have to start trawling through a backgrounds of any public servant who is privy to any commercially sensitive information or controversial policy.

          If their political leanings weren’t in step with the government of the day they would have to be either let go or moved side ways into another position.

          Bit of a shame if it came to that, but if the public service cannot be politically neutral it’s only a matter of time.

          • McFlock

            From what I gather, the nats this time round have been quite consistent in political appointments: they love them, and not just one or two.
            As for the rest of it, frankly I disagree. There’s a major difference between “encouraging a politically neutral public service culture”, which we do already, and “assuming that the public servant in front of you is politically neutral”, which would be stupid. 
            If the decision is made that particular information is sensitive, for whatever reason (and I’d put “defense/security” onto Amakiwi’s list myself, but no worries), then only those people who need to know it should have access to it. And only those people who have been given relevant checks should be in a position where they need to know it. This limits the leak damage that is possible.
            E.g. the US has come in for a lot of criticism for putting Bradley Manning in a position where he could be suspected of leaking all that information to wikileaks. Yes, he might have had functional uses for all the Iraq-oriented data, but the fact a low-level analyst had carte-blanche access to the entire system, including all diplomatic cables, was bloody stupid.

    • tracey 1.3

      Eddie, thats trite. It is first about leaks and your point doesnt come up without the leak. So the two issues are entwined

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      It’s information about a public company – we should have access to that information by default. As we don’t then leaks are necessary vehicle to get that information out. The government should actually be assisting this instead it’s running interference.

  2. Gosman 2

    Funny, Radio NZ National makes no mention of the Government placing an injunction on them over this story. It has stated that KiwiRail has placed one on them though.

    [kiwirail is part of the government. The ministers will have been informed under no surprises. Brownlee endorsed the action. Eddie]

    • Fisiani 2.1

      Quite right Gosman.
      The motto here is “Never let the truth get in the way of a good smear.”

    • Gosman 2.2

      I’m sure the Government was informed at some level, perhaps even before a decision was taken to go for an injunction in the courts. That doesn’t mean it is the Government doing the censoring though.

      The senior managment of KiwiRail tend to make decisions based on commercial reasons and the analysis on Radio NZ National this morning is that this was likely the reason for the injunction application.

      If you have EVIDENCE that this is not the case it swould strengthen your case immensely. Currently it is just another unsubstantiated partisan attack on the National led Government which a number of people making comments on this blog specialise in,

      • vto 2.2.1

        Gosan, this government deserves every single attack it is subjected to. This government lies (Ecan dismissal reasons), is plain stupid (Key saying euthanasia goes on), has backwards economic ideas (selling assets and having it cost more than not selling) which uselessnesses are evidenced by the obscenely rapid increase in debt under this government. This government does not even follow its own ideologies (complete abandonment of free market approach to Chch rebuild), except when the negatives of its ideologies affect others (complete abandonment of Chch red zoners to the free market of housing and rent). It has even failed to follow its own ideology of reducing welfare and encouraging and relying on the expertise of private business (handouts for irrigation, grabbing electricity companies because private business is incapable of creating their own; propping up the useless and failed NZX).

        This lot are laughable. You seem to have a brain in your head gosman but for the life of me I cannot understand how you do not see these things. Though your habit of running away from difficult questions kind of points to the reason …

        • Gosman

          Amazing bit of logic. Because you don’t like the Government for whatever reason, (it may even be valid for all I know), this somehow justifies making all sorts of unsubstantiated and incorrect attacks against then. Goodo if you want politics to go down that route. Just don’t be surprised or shocked if something similar happens when a political party you support gets to control the Treasury benches.

          • vto

            Typcal gosman. In case you hadn’t noticed, I just oultined some reasons why this government is useless. The attacks are far from unsubstantiated, as I just pointed out.

            Further to the second of your couple of measly points, I similarly railed against the uselessnesses of the previous government as well. I support no particular party. I judge things as I see them, not on the basis of some dumb-arse unthinking ideology.

            Tell me gosman, do you try to assess things from an objective perspective? From what I have seen you don’t. Your words are reflective of an ideology, sort of like in Zimbabwe, and outright hollow.

            • lprent

              I similarly railed against the uselessnesses of the previous government as well.”

              You certainly did. Definitely a plague on all of your houses type of person… 😈

              But I think that with the Labour led government you focused more on the personalities (Peters in particular) and social policies. With this government I detect more of a dislike of outright incompetence in the government and their disdain for democratic institutions to enrich their affluent mates.

              I hesitate in asking which is worse?

              • vto

                Hee hee lprent, please keep those skeletons in that closet of yours…

                The two governments had / have different types of failures imo. Your assessment is pretty accurate. Which is worse? The former for the perception of that government and its deceiving ways in attending to policy, the latter for the reality of this government and its deceiving ways in not attending to policy it doesn’t even have and the very direct negative effects on the community and individual people.

      • Dr Terry 2.2.2

        Gosman, I think this Government (unfortunately) will manage to survive quite well without need of your protection.

    • Gosman 2.3

      BTW KiwiRail is not part of the Government. I’m amazed you would even make such a wrong headed statement.

      • Mr Burns 2.3.1

        Does Michael Fay still own it? Why did the Government pay all that money to Toll?

        • Gosman

          The State owns KiwiRail. If you think the State and the Government are one and the same thing then you perhaps share a similar view of politics to political party’s of a more totalitarian bent than most in NZ.

          • Mr Burns

            Silly me thinking that the Government controlled the state.  And I thought that Key fellow was in charge.

            • Gosman

              Once again you fail to comprehend the distinction. The Government has a certain amount of power over the State. It certainly doesn’t control it one hundred percent. Neither should people want them to if they want to live in a free society.

              • Mr Burns

                But you said Kiwirail was not part of the Government. Now you are saying that it is part of the state and the Government has some power over the State, including I presume, Kiwirail.
                Maybe your comprehension could use a bit of a tune up.

                • Gosman

                  It’s not part of the Government. That is an indisputable fact. The Government has some level of control over it but just as I don’t blame the Government if KiwiRail decides to cancel a ferry crossing I also don’t hold them responsible for this without evidence to suggest the Government instructed the management at the company to go for the injunction.

                  • lprent

                    With Brownlee being the minister. Don’e make me laugh. If there is a way to screw up he will find it. Since this is rapidly looking like a classic politically inept clusterfuck of his usual type, and he was doing the Corporal Shultz (Thanks Jane Clifton), then we can pretty well assume that he was involved in the decision until he proves he was not.

                    Incidentally, yes, I do tend to view ministers should be judged by the Napoleonic code. They are the state and in the pursuit of their portfolios shall be judged as being guilty until they show in transparent public view that they are not.

                    • Gosman

                      That’s nice you feel that way.

                      Just confirming you would be expecting the Minister of SOE’s to be held accountable for a commercial decision like scheduling of Cook strait ferry crossings would you?

                      This would fly in the face of the whole concept of SOE’s and be a good argument for removing commercial enterprises from State control.

                    • lprent

                      Please confirm that you like screwing plastic dolls more than beating your partner?

                      And that answer to your comment makes as much sense as your reply to my comment. Did you actually read my comment because there is no trace of what I said in your demand.

                      Please reread it and use your upper brain this time rather than massaging some extra testosterone as you try idiotic diversion tactics.. If you are incapable of understanding it, then please say so. I will try to write a spot and ball explanation.

                    • Gosman

                      I am simply taking your following comment at face value

                      “They are the state and in the pursuit of their portfolios shall be judged as being guilty until they show in transparent public view that they are not.”

                      Hence until such time a SOE Minister shows they are not directly responsible for a Cook Strait ferry time table decision I presume you would regard them as being responsible.

                      If that is not the case all you needed to state was no.

                  • Mr Burns

                    It’s not part of the Government. That is an indisputable fact
                    Why are you suggesting that Kiwirail has nothing to do with the Government when the Government appoints the directors, controls the shareholding and through the statement of corporate intent has effective control of the company?
                    And do you really believe that Kiwirail would not have briefed the Minister about the injunction?

                    • Gosman

                      You are having a little comprehension failure at the moment aren’t you Mr Burns.

                      Nowhere have I stated that the Government has nothing to do with KiwiRail. It still isn’t PART of Government though.

                      It would be like arguing Schools or the Judicary are part of Government. They might carry out Government policy but they are still separate from the Government.

                    • Mr Burns

                      Oooh this is such fun.
                      Gosman you tried to make out that the Government has nothing whatsoever to do with the injunction and then engage in increasingly bizarre semantic battles trying to prove that Kiwirail has no link whatsoever with the Government.
                      Your naievity is refreshing.

                    • Gosman

                      “…you tried to make out that the Government has nothing whatsoever to do with the injunction…”

                      No I didn’t. Show me where I stated categorically the Government had nothing at all to do with the injunction,

  3. Injunctions of this sort never work.  They draw attention to the story, raise interest, and make the eventual release of the information more newsworthy that what it would otherwise be.

    The increasing corporatising of everything public also has this effect that less and less information becomes publicly available.  The boards are more concerned with “commercial sensitivity” than the legitimate rights of the public to information about their country.

  4. vto 4

    Gerry Brownlee is parroting Bainimarama. Same words and reasons.

    Also, as to the matter at hand, why on earth should anybody be surprised. The last lot to rundown NZ Rail were Fay & Richwhite, money traders, and now its John Key, money trader.

    The money traders sholud stick to what they are good at it, trading money. And just like other dealers who get their clients hooked and then move in on their assets, their practice should be illegal. Money trading should be driven onto the black market and let Key and his big muscles deal with incoming newbies like the mongrel mob.

    • Gosman 4.1

      You mean kind of like what Zanu-PF did in Zimbabwe in the early 2000’s? Yeah, that worked a treat.

      • vto 4.1.1

        duh. simple is as simple does.

        • Gosman

          You realise that Zanu-PF made money trading illegal, just as you have advocated, don’t you?

          • vto

            You do realse that Zimbabwe’s situation is a result of far more than that don’t you?

            edit: I suspect you don’t actually, as you sound like John Key who has just been lambasted by the health sector over his “simpleton” approach to death in hospitals.

            • Gosman

              I never blamed the entire situation Zimbabwe got itself into just on the decision to make trading the Zimbabwe dollar largely illegal.

              I would hope though that someone like you setting out a particular course of action similar to what was followed in Zimbabwe would have some idea what actually happened in that country as a result of the decision to restrict trading in money.

              • vto

                Such a silly gosman. You see this is what happens when ideology and apology interferes with logical thinking patterns. Your second paragraph conflicts entirely with your first paragraph.

                • Gosman

                  No it desn’t. It is entirely consistent. I asked you whether you knew what happened as a result of the decision to restrict trading in Zimbabwe dollars. This doesn’t mean that the entire collapse of the Zimbabwe economy in the last decade was as a result of this. So do you know what happened or do you just advocate for courses of action without understanding consequences?

                  • vto

                    Do you know which factors influenced the situation there and to what extent? Do you understand the various cross-influences? Do you have any idea other than the simplistic original self-claimed statement of fact of yours? And how on earth is paragraph 1 consistent with paragraph 2? And why do you consistently concetrate os smaller issues like this one rather than the substantive ones outlined elsewhere in this thread? Is it because you have an ideology that guides you? Have you ever seriously considered other approaches?

                    • Gosman

                      “Do you know which factors influenced the situation there and to what extent? Do you understand the various cross-influences?”

                      Yes I do. I regard myself as knowing an awful lot about Zimbabwe.

                      Care to answer the question regarding the impact of restricting trading money that Zanu-PF imposed now?

                    • vto

                      But you have provided no evidence. All there is is one tiny wee pet subject of yours with a hollow claim, and dozens of more important substantial questions going unanswered by you. You’re an apologist and ideologue, as pointed out and questioned elsewhere, which have gone unanswered by you. Until you catch up in the answering and evidencing stakes the posts will be made in the same vein in response to you.

  5. Hilary 5

    This government just does not like rail. For only $4 million dollars the Government could fix the rail line to Gisborne which was washed out in floods earlier this year. They have just dismissed a 10,000 signature petition about it.

    • Gosman 5.1

      Or perhaps the people of the East Cape and Northern Hawkes Bay could pool their resources and repair and operate the rail line themselves instead of signing petitions to try and get other people to pay.

      • vto 5.1.1

        Oh, you mean like farmers irrigation, propping up the NZX, grabbing the taxpayers electricity companies for professional investors, mediworks loan, bailout guarantees for banks and SCF.

        ffs gosman, think

        • Gosman

          If you agree that those things are wrong, (and I have a large amount of sympathy for that view as well), then you should support my view on the financial support for the East Coast rail line then.

          • Lanthanide

            Quite clearly the government is only interested in helping it’s mates: farmers, media works, NZX, professional investors and banks.

            When it comes to helping a community, which would be a drop in the bucket compared to the above costs, they don’t help.

            That says a lot about the government.

            • vto

              You are 100% correct Lanthanide.

              Further evidence shown by the fact that Brownlee and Key abandoned the low income red zoners in homes in east Chch to the free market, yet piled in in a completely interventionist approach with complete and utter refusal to follow the free market when it came to their high income friends with central city property.

              Watch the apologist and ideologue Gosman either come out and apologise and excuse or run away from this fact.

              • Lanthanide

                Cut and run.

              • Gosman

                Why would I run away from this? They are acting in a way that is entirely consistent with what I expect politicians who enjoy exercising state authority to act. I have no great desire to excuse the government over any double standards they might employ.

      • AmaKiwi 5.1.2

        Because my investment would be subject to the whims of every parliamentary dictatorship that comes along. KiwiRail could crush my small company by making it uneconomic for me to have access to their nationwide rail network. It is done all the time to maintain monopolies from small, more efficient competitors.

      • Ben 5.1.3

        And maybe farmers in Southland could pay for their own irrigation.

        EDIT: Snap, vto. Apparently I read slowly…

      • AmaKiwi 5.1.4

        Because my investment would be subject to the whims of every parliamentary dictatorship that comes along. They could crush my small company by making it uneconomic for me to have access to their nationwide rail network. It is done all the time to maintain monopolies from small, more efficient competitors.

        • prism

          This is a comment that has been repeated. I did this the other day with quite a long comment.
          I had to go back and delete the second. But there used to be a window that would say, you’ve done this already and it would prevent you submitting the accidental copy.
          Can we have that set-up again?

          • Carol

            I got that duplicate notice this morning when I made a comment. So it is still there, prism.

          • lprent

            It is still meant to be there. I won’t test now as I have a Chorus tech trying to sort it out. I’m also “jiggling” because I’m deciding if I should just can the work day and make a ‘holiday’ to clean up my remaining boxes from the move. But I have some overlapping channel ALSA code that I want to test today…. Decisions decisions…

            Umm I can just cut n paste to test… Testing

            Ok it said “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!” at the bottom of my comment in the admin area. I’ll try it at the front-end. It is meant to use the same backend code for comment testing.

            It let the comment through at just over 2 minutes later. But I see Carol got the dup message on the frontend earlier.

            Looking at the code it looks like it has a time period. Not sure how long the time period is as I’d have to extract it out of the config or hardwired defaults. It is designed for people pressing repeated saves on slow connections – I’d expect it would be less than a minute..

            But being able to trash your own comments for a period is working – I see people are using it

          • lprent

            It is still meant to be there. I won’t test now as I have a Chorus tech trying to sort it out. I’m also “jiggling” because I’m deciding if I should just can the work day and make a ‘holiday’ to clean up my remaining boxes from the move. But I have some overlapping channel ALSA code that I want to test today…. Decisions decisions…

            Umm I can just cut n paste to test… Testing

            Ok it said “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!” at the bottom of my comment in the admin area. I’ll try it at the front-end. It is meant to use the same backend code for comment testing.

            [I think that this is the first time that I’ve had to release one of your comments from moderation! r0b]

            • lprent

              Heh. It was a test for duplicate comments…. I wondered why I couldn’t see it in the Pending.

              Oh well I’ll reply to it to test if the trash is visible.


      • Murray Olsen 5.1.5

        Part of those resources are pooled. It’s called taxation and is collected by the government to provide necessary goods and services as determined by the policies of the day. This government considers holiday highways and convention centres more important, so why don’t they give all those people not benefitting from these a refund? Or is Inland Revenue not part of government either?

    • Shaz 5.2

      I agree Hilary. Rail and roads are two forms of public infrastucture allowing movement of people and goods. It would be good to see roads – especially of the holiday highwary variety costed on a level playing field with railways – imagine them beging forced to make a profit for example while potholes and washouts and dangerous conditions are allowed to prevail. This for example from yesterdays parliamentary question response is astonishing

      Gerrt Browlee said ”
      Well, one of the ways in which you can measure the quality and condition of a rail track is by looking at the incidence of derailment. Derailment may be just one wheel or it may be a whole train. In New Zealand seldom is it a whole train. But what I can report to the House is that the incidence of derailment in the last couple of years has fallen dramatically—fallen dramatically”

      • Shaz 5.2.1

        To clarify -Why assess the safety of a system by its past performance rather than anticipating the impact of future low levels of maintenance. In any case the reduction would appear to be due due to progressive track and rolling stock improvements – policies put in place well before the reporting period. Its hardly a cause for applauding the current administration. It’s also selective use of statistics. Apparently over the same period the no. of signals passed at danger has increased and the no. of crossing accidents does not appear to have changed.

    • DH 5.3

      “This government just does not like rail. ”

      Most right-wing people seem to hate rail. It’s their Achilles heel if you ever want to make them blue-screen, they completely lose their rationality & go into a mental reboot loop.

      A typical rail argument goes like this…

      Rail is a dog because it always loses money..

      But roads don’t make money either, are you saying roads are dogs too?

      Roads serve a public good, they don’t need to make money

      But rail serves the same public good as roads so you must agree that economically rail should be treated similarly to roads

      No, rail is a dog because it always loses money…. (and they keep looping)

      I’d quite like to see that in a controlled experiment; see how long it takes before they start drooling.

      • lostinsuburbia 5.3.1

        Don’t forget the old line “rail is 19th century technology”, yes because we want to steam engines running on the lines (and they forget that the car was invented in the 19th century too)

      • Shaz 5.3.2

        +1 Vey funny and close to the bone!! I think the circuity problem for righties goes furhter. Roads represent freedom (as anyone who has sat in an Auckland jam knows) whereas trains are a socialised hell where you can only only move around, read, think, eat, look around, snooze and phone without endangering life amd limb to say nothing of the opportunity to engage enjoyably with fellow passangers.

  6. I agree, Hilary, there is no evidence that there is a need to spend as much as $12 billion on motorways, but heaps of evidence that there is growing demand for rail as a transport system.
    As you say, National just doesn’t like rail and will do as much as they can to run the service down just like they don’t like teachers and are doing as much as they can to attack one of the few high performing sectors in the country. The are the political equivalent of playground bullies who throw around their weight just because they can, and damn the consequences.

  7. vto 7

    Perhaps someone should ask Minister Bennett what she would do in this situation of private information.

    Bloody lying cheating dishonourable bastards.

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    Brownlee’s excuse? “the media outlet that wanted to publish an opinion about that document was going to do so in a most irresponsible way”

    Pre-publication censorship is unconstitutional in some countries. Brownlee has made an overwhelmingly convincing argument why it should be unconstitutional here. Of course we don’t have a constitution so at any time our parliamentary dictators can re-introduce pre-publication censorship!

    The people at the top are rotten because our system rewards them for being rotten. Direct democracy now!

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Of course we don’t have a constitution

      Yes we do. It’s just that it’s based in the laws and precedents rather than a fixed document that confuses people into thinking that we don’t have one.

      • The NZ ‘constitution’ is an amalgamation of documents and act as a kind of fluid constitution.

        I covered this in a paper I did last year so I am a little rusty on the details. 

        EDIT: Here ya go – this is a good explanation

        • AmaKiwi

          Thank you for that. I read your paper. Some of the documents are quite ancient (Magna Carter, etc.) and not subject to change, but many are recent NZ legislation which it seems to be can be changed by parliament at any time.

          More worrying is that this collection of documents is way beyond the comprehension of 99% of the population who are not lawyers.

          • TheContrarian

            “More worrying is that this collection of documents is way beyond the comprehension of 99% of the population who are not lawyers.”

            yes and no. All you need do is read them. They are all available to the public (at least as far as I am aware).  

            • Colonial Viper

              forum non conveniens

              availability to the lay person does not equate to comprehensibility to the lay person

              • There are plenty of easily accessible summaries and explanations of the various documents and the library has books explaining our laws and fluid constitution in detail.

                • Colonial Viper

                  In other words, it would be useful to have studied law in order to have a better understanding.

                  I agree. That is actually what AmaKiwi was saying you know.

                  • “In other words, it would be useful to have studied law in order to have a better understanding.”

                    As I said:

                    “There are plenty of easily accessible summaries and explanations of the various documents and the library has books explaining our laws and fluid constitution in detail.”

                    All available to the lay person. A law degree would be handy if you planned to work on policy and the constitution as a career but there is plenty of information out there that’ll give the lay person a full understanding of our laws, where they apply and where they come from

          • Draco T Bastard

            Some of the documents are quite ancient (Magna Carter, etc.) and not subject to change,…

            It’s that age and the prevailing conditions of the time that some were written that I think we need to redo all our laws from scratch. Set some principles/ethics that the laws need to adhere to and that everyone can agree on and then just start again.

      • AmaKiwi 8.1.2

        It would be nice if you are correct, but what part of our “constitution” cannot be changed by an act of parliament?

        This is not an attempt to refute what you’ve said. I would seriously like to know if there are ANY limits on parliamentary power.

        • TheContrarian

          Do you mean the executive power? The executive and parliament are slightly different. In that the executive or ruling party can lose the confidence of the house and it can stop bills from being passed.

          Admittedly I can’t recall a time that has ever happened 

        • Draco T Bastard

          It would be nice if you are correct, but what part of our “constitution” cannot be changed by an act of parliament?

          AFAIK, none except some unwritten rules and traditions* and the MPs seem to get upset when other people say that parliament needs limits.

          * One of which seems to be that the next government won’t unilaterally undo anything that the previous government did even when it’s obvious that what was done was against the wishes of the people and bad for the country. IMO, this is why Labour never got round to saying that they will undo state asset sales.

  9. deuto 9

    Morning Report on RNZ National ran extensive coverage of the background to the injunction this morning which is well worth listening to, as is Brent Edwards commentary which followed:



    It would appear that RNZ National obtained the document indirectly (wouldn’t reveal sources etc); rang Kiwiral late Weds night as they wanted to run the story on Morning Report on Thurs morning; Kiwirail sought a High Court judge injunction which was granted at 11pm, but was amended Thurs morning to allow discussion in Parliament yesterday as per Twyford’s questions in Question time.

    This morning’s report on Morning Report was very carefully worded etc presumably on legal advice, but also came out strongly, suggesting that they are continuing to challenge the injunction etc.

    Probably a case of watch this space.

  10. prism 10

    I did a long comment and wrongly put it on Open Mike 24/8 at 3.2.
    If there are people who want to remind themselves of the past happenings in NZ Rail I have gathered a few interesting facts from Wikipedia. It would make a change to view some facts rather than responses to Gosman etc. So much time is spent on personalities. More heat than light.

    [I moved your comment here it is 10.1 below. r0b]

    • prism 10.1

      Brownlee has promised that Kiwirail will have lots of money to spend. Sounds like a promise of pocket money for Jim Quinn being a good boy.
      Just to recap on some of the past of NZ Rail and its privatisation from wikipedia:

      In 1982, the same year the land transport sector was deregulated, the Railways Department was reconstituted as the New Zealand Railways Corporation, a state-owned enterprise.

      The opening up of competition with road led to difficulties for rail:
      The government wrote off NZ$1.3 billion in debt acquired by the company from the Railways Corporation, and injected a further $300 million in capital. Despite this capital injection the company remained only marginally profitable, reporting after-tax profits of $36.2 million in 1992 and $18 million in 1993.

      The Bolger National government privatised New Zealand Rail Limited in 1993. The company was sold for $328.3 million[5] to a consortium named Tranz Rail Limited, made up of merchant bankers Fay, Richwhite & Company (31.8% via the investment company Pacific Rail, later renamed Midavia Rail), the American railroad Wisconsin Central (27.3%), Berkshire Partners (27.3%), Alex van Heeren, the owner of Huka Lodge, 9.1% and Richwhite family interests, 4.5%. Tranz Rail borrowed $223.3, and its shareholders contributed $105 million to the acquisition price through the purchase of 105 million Tranz Rail shares at $1 each.

      (Berkshire Partners, the Boston-based private equity firm, has invested in over 100 middle market companies since 1986 through eight investment funds with aggregate capital commitments of $11 billion.)

      It’s interesting to see Wisconsin involved here. This state appeared to be a hard-line right wing slanted place and its methods used as a template for reducing social welfare in NZ. Business too must have buddied up. The reduction in government commitment to core services like reasonably-priced reliable transport for all and social welfare is evident in the methods adopted here.

      [lprent: Reparented it to 10. Must show r0b this trick at some point. That should fix the various comments. ]

      • prism 10.1.1

        Thanks for that.

      • Gosman 10.1.2

        The only interesting fact in that piece you got from Wikipedia is the information regarding the opening up of rail to competition with road transport. The rest is just largely irrelevant detail about a privatisation that has since been reversed. What relevance does that have to today’s situation?

        • McFlock

          None, if you don’t want to learn from the past. /sarc 

        • prism

          I suppose you are very old like me and try to remember the past, and fit the future into a frame of intelligent decision making. But the young ones don’t know all the details just brief references to privatisation and snippets of facts. Then perhaps you are not old, but young and cocky. You are one of these ones who know it all anyway. Very youthful of you.

  11. deuto 11

    Backdown time?

    Kiwirail are to hold a press conference at 1.30pm and the injunction preventing Radio NZ from publishing details of the document is to lifted, according to Radio NZ news at 1pm.


    Just an hour or so earlier, Radio NZ were reporting that Labour and others had received an email from Kiwirail telling them that they were also subject to the injunction; and that RNZ were seeking a court lifting of the injunction.

    Edit – strange! This came up as 11 and pushed Prism’s earlier 11 to 11.1.

    [lprent: Reparented it. Should be fixed now and yep – you are now 11 ]

    • deuto 11.1

      Lol. lprent, wish I was 11! Felt more like 111 recently; milestone birthdays are very depressing. And no, I am not telling which one.

  12. AmaKiwi 12

    I am sick to death of this autocratic government behavior! I asked a leading Labour MP about placing limits on Government. He replied, “Elect a Labour government.” B.S. Labour has pulled similar stunts. Not as frequently as this crowd, but they’ve done it before and will do it again.

    “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton, 1887

  13. fnjckg 13

    now theres some trainwrecks derailing in slow motion

    by the way, the posts from the I AM Right are pretty lame at this present juncture

    Are the ‘A’ team busy predating some where else

  14. xtasy 14

    Are you blody serious? How often have I written comments to NZ Herald, TVNZ, TV3, their subsidiaries and other media, and NeVER was my comment published. It was in cases, but they “reserve” their rights to publish or not. So we talk about censoring? It happens in 99 per cent of the times in this manipulated country, I am bloody afraid! It happens so much, nobody even cares, as nobody is truly independently and solidly informed. Nobody would know the bloody difference, I’d say. I am furious about the msm in this country, it is THE WORST I have seen anywhere in the world, full of wannabe slimy and in line jumping grads from what is called “journalism courses”. Where the hell elsewhere in the world do you have such indoctrinating, privately “subsidised” and dumbind down “media training”?

    This is a bloody msm media dictatorship, I’d say! Commerce, consumerism and NO information!

  15. xtasy 15

    In all honesty I have given up on the NZ media, just being a crap bastard outfit of wannaby cheap scate and low paid journo careerists, groomed by corporte companies dominating the show (APN and Fairfax, Sky TV), and having NO brain allowed to function to do truly independent journalistic work here!

    If I was a journo, I would REFUSE to work in NZ, as it is a crap media environment, not enhancing or encouraging true reporting, not offering investigative journalism or similar. Just look at the crap and deteriorating weekly shows on TV.

    But the internet leaves to be desired too, as users are pre-occupied with social media idocy, flocking to dumb fakebook, controlling every click, google gangstermania, other silly venues and t aking blog sites for fair value informative sites. Excuse me, the Standard, you are above the rest in NZ, at least.

    So what the hell is going on, it is NOT information, and hence the NATS know their venues and have an easy game. Time to take the bastards on even more!

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