We like playing with trains

A One News Colmar Brunton  poll shows 68% of people support the Government using our money to buy back the railways.

One thousand voters were polled, and asked that given the final price tag will go well over the billion dollar mark would they support the buying back of rail and ferry services?

The results:

  • Yes – 68%
  • No – 24%
  • Don’t know – 8%

I wonder what the result would have been had the question asked: would you prefer taxpayers’ money was spent on health and education or buying back the railways?

5 Responses to We like playing with trains

  1. adamsmith1922 says:

    A number of years ago a polling company ran a poll in the UK which asked do you support the government spending more money on the National health Service? Predictably, the responses had a majority ‘Yes ‘ answer.

    Then people were asked a second question, something along the lines of “would you pay an extra 5 pounds a week to enable that to happen”, equally predictably the answers were very different.

    The problem is that a billion dollars is such an abstract sum that I doubt any of us see the question as relating to ourselves. In that sense it is the scenario of ‘gummint’ spending, yet many in NZ, and elsewhere do not seem to grasp that ‘gummint’ spends their money, it is not the ‘gummint’s’ from some strange money tree.

    Therefore, I suggest that if the question was say – The Government will need to reduce the promised tax cuts by $20 per week to pay for investment in KiwiRail, then the answer may well be different. The sums are no longer abstract and are related to a reality we can all grasp.

    Partly that is why governments of whatever political colour like polls based around ‘big picture’ generalities.

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  2. adamsmith1922 says:

    Sorry in above it should be

    ‘an extra 5 pounds a week tax to enable that to happen’

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  3. JC says:

    If you ask such a question at a time when petrol has basically doubled in price, and the Govt suggests that Rail will be beneficial to the problem, then you may well get a positive response.. after all, we own the bloody thing now and have to make the best of it.

    But if you asked whether those 1000 people will now start commuting by rail because the Govt bought it, I bet you get a different answer.

    Buying rail back is a feel good thing in a time of high fuel costs and Global Warming.. something that people will vaguely appreciate as “doing something”.

    JC

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  4. Truthseeker says:

    Buying rail allows the government to build rail infrastructure for freight or passengers where it is a good idea to build it.

    Private business ran rail for 18 years and did everything it could to shut down passenger services and allowed the rails to degrade to the point where they were dangerous.

    The simple reality is that rail will provide a more efficient alternative to trucks. One train crew can pull the freight it takes 100 truckies to haul…and get some of the trucks off the road meaning less traffic and less need to spend money on more roading.

    I can see many ways that trains will be better for NZ as a whole…..and that private business was never going to do by itself.

    Governments do infrastructure better than private business. I’m amazed anyone needs more proof of this.

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  5. Womble says:

    Yep Truthseeker, but how the hell will the goods get off the trains and to the shops, you simpleton? Oh, that’s right, Toll was allowed to keep its profitable trucking business…

    Governments do infrastructure better than private business? What colour is the sky on your planet?

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