Cracker by Damian Christie

47

All Aboard!

So it doesn't matter if we own our own power network, electricity is so Twentieth Century anyway… nothing says "progress" like locomotives.

And why is it Michael Cullen keeps saying we have no money for this, no money for that (and by that I mean 'tax cuts'), we've got to tighten our belts and so on, then he forks out 2/3 of a billion dollars for some trains? I guess it's no fun having the tracks if you can't play with the engines.

(And it's not surprising so many in the media have used the 'train set' analogy. Can't you just picture Dr C sitting on the ground in one of those train driver caps? Awww)

It was interesting to hear one member of the public on the telly, being asked what she thought, and saying "I think it's a good idea, because I don't think the tracks have been looked after well at all". Yes, well unfortunately the tracks are owned by the Government, have been since 2004.

Much has been made of the fact that John Key has now said he won't sell any state owned assets in the first term, and that Cullen has now somehow tricked him into including the railways (which English had previously said he'd re-sell). I guess it's fair enough that Key might not have thought that in these tough times the Government would actually be acquiring new assets. But it'll teach Key not to make open ended promises in future.

I know rail is generally regarded as one of the more environmentally-friendly methods of transportation, but I wish that if the Government was going to ease the pressure on households, it wouldn't do it by backing out on its commitments to the environment. Yes people are hurting, but if we’re going to chuck away anything, can it not be the Planet please? We kinda need that one. Fast forward to this blog in 2050:

Cheese on Toast | May 06, 2008 13:25
Damian Christie – Cracker with Attitude
So, I notice that due to the Positive Feedback effect of greenhouse gases, much of our planet has now been reduced to molten lava. Not surprisingly, the rapid increase in temperature has played havoc with the train tracks, which fortunately, we still own, and seem increasingly relevant in this day and age of instant teleportation. Oh well, at least a block of Tasty Cheddar is still within reach of the ordinary family.

I’ve been wondering about this for a while, but can someone please tell me, aside from 900 jobs (which is no small fry, but still), what exactly do we get out of Comalco? Overseas owned, I'd be interested to know how much tax they pay here, but whatever, they use 15% of the country’s power! That's more than everyone else put together, or something. Well maybe not, but they're definitely the single biggest consumer of power.

So do we really need them? Unemployment’s low at the moment, life in Bluff can’t be that great anyway, are you sure these 900 people can’t take one for the (hot-water-using, long-shower-loving) team?

Finally, after about 9 months of planning, travelling the world and writing, my piece for North & South on sustainable energy and going "off the grid" (set in Timaru, Afghanistan and Pakistan) is out late this week. Please check it out if you can, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. (And thanks again to the Asia NZ Foundation for getting me there.)

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