Running between rack and ruin

July 13, 2008

Not content with buying the trains, Labour is now talking about building them. 

The Government will consider assembling new KiwiRail locomotives in New Zealand instead of overseas, State Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Trevor Mallard said.

 But the National Party says the plan is “an idea from the 1950s” and would waste taxpayer money.

Make that waste more money.

The Government bought rail operator Toll this month for $690 million. The purchase also included $140 million in debt. Finance Minister Michael Cullen has said an $80 million injection will be needed over the next five years to keep rail running. He has also signalled a “reinvestment package” of about $380 million which will include new locomotives.

Mr Mallard today said although the components of those locomotives would be bought overseas the Government was investigating the possibility of assembling them in New Zealand.

“There is no doubt there is a possibility of assembling locomotives in New Zealand,” he said on TVNZ’s Agenda programme.

“It’s probably a very logical thing to do from a currency perspective, from a value for money perspective.”

I don’t think logic has anything to do with this suggestion.

But National’s SOE spokesman Gerry Brownlee said the plan was “daft”.

“New Zealand’s economic well-being will not be served by returning to the glory days of NZ Railways, which everyone knew was a huge waste of taxpayer resources,” he said.

“New Zealanders still don’t know what the final bill for the railways buy-up is, let alone the cost of something like this.”

He said the fact the locomotives would be assembled in Mr Mallard’s Lower Hutt electorate suggested it was little more than a “save-my-seat campaign”.  

My first flat at Otago entered a float in the annual University capping parade. We built a railcar and one of the slogans we painted on its side was : NZR – running between rack and ruin. The more I hear about Kiwirail the more I think that slogan would apply to it too.

Update: No Minister   shows what going back to the 50s would mean and Inquiring Mind  says Labour’s indulging in time travel.


Brain Explosion

July 13, 2008

From Federated Farmers weekly email newsletter, Friday Flash, which is always interesting reading, comes this warning:

Brain explosion – Employers must consider the new phrase ‘brain explosion’ before dismissing employees for serious misconduct. Several recent cases have seen the phrase used as a defence and what’s more it has worked with employees being reinstated. Employers confronted with anything that might be referred to as a ‘brain explosion’ should call Federated Farmers for advice on procedural process before taking action.

A brain explosion sounds messy, but this warning suggests mishandling an employee who has one could be even messier.


Governmentium

July 13, 2008

Cameron Bagrie’s  report on unproductive Government spending has been labelled a nonsense by Jim Anderton – perhaps that indicates he’s been poisoned by governmentium:

 

A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the

heaviest element yet known to science.

 

The new element has been named “Governmentium (Gv).” Governmentium (Gv) has 1 neutron (PM), 29 assistant neutrons (MPs), 19 deputy neutrons (List MPs), another 3 acting assistant deputy neutrons and 6 Green assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 63.

 

These 63 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are

surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

 

Governmentium is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes

every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of

Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a

second, to take more than four days to complete.

 

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 18 months; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant

neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

 

Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, which then form isodopes.

 

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration.

 

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.

 

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (Am) — an element which radiates just as much heat but less energy than Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons all controlled by isodopes.

A reader sent me an email with this, I have seen several versions of it before but do not to whom credit for the original is due.


Front Page Dogs

July 13, 2008

You know you’re in the provinces when the front page of the local paper has a report on the annual sheep and cattle dog sale.

Friday’s Ashburton Guardian story, headlinedTop dogs bring the big bucks, noted that dairy conversions have taken their toll on the number of stock dogs for sale: 122 in 2006, 94 last year and just 51 this year.

A five year old heading bitch, Queen, sold by Amberley farmer Neil Evans gained the the top price of $5600. The top huntaway made $2000.

The report finished with an explanation for the uninitiated:

A heading dog has a natural instinct to circle silently and widely around stock to bring them back to the handler, whereas huntaways are trained to drive sheep away and are characterised by their loud bark.

There are some of both breeds in politics 🙂


15 years, 32 resource consents

July 13, 2008

Lake Hood a few kilometes from Ashburton is an amazing tribute to a big dream and community effort.

The 80 hectare man-made lake has an eight lane international rowing course, an international water ski course and several kilometers of canals with residential sub divisions. It is surrounded by the 173 hectare Huntingdon Park.

It took fifteen years and a lot of volunteer labour to create – but the statistic on the menu at the Lake House Restaurant which hit me was that it also required 32 resource consents.


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