Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Auckland Airport debacle should be celebrated by the Greens

As Peter Cresswell has rightly pointed out  little is more hypocritical and sanctimonious than the Green Party joining in the criticism of the Government for the accidental disruption to the pipeline from Marsden Point refinery to Auckland.

The accident, which is essentially a grand scale version of the sort of minor accident that contractors cause on water, gas, electricity, telecommunications utilities from time of time, is the first time this has happened for the over thirty years that the pipeline has been in operation.  The pipeline is privately owned, having been privatised by the fourth Labour Government (and is owned by a consortium of all of the major oil companies), and was built for sound reasons.  It is cheaper and much more energy efficient (and has much more capacity) than the coastal oil tankers, railway and road tankers used previously.  Note that much of the rest of the country is served by coastal oil tankers that then get fuel distributed by road.  

Yet consider how the Greens treat fossil fuels now or indeed the entire environmental movement?  Imagine if NZ Refining Company was seeking to build that pipeline today under the RMA.  It would take years to gain consents, and the Greens would oppose it, claiming it "intensifies Auckland's dependence on fossil fuels, which are killing the planet" etc.   I bet there would even be murmurs had Auckland Airport sought to expand its storage facilities for jet fuel, after all no transport mode is more fossil fuel dependent than aviation.

So the widespread cancellation of domestic and shortfall international flights should be celebrated by James Shaw and his band of serial underachievers in the Green Party list.  Think of the CO2 emissions cut, as serial planet killers (airline passengers) are shepherded onto fewer flights.  Think of the hurricanes stopped, think of the oceans that stop rising, think of the glaciers saved.

The Greens want no more oil exploration in New Zealand, no more oil extraction,  they along with their sister outfits like Greenpeace, and the analysis free virtue signalling zone called Generation Zero, cry foul anytime there are any steps to increase production, reduce the cost or provide new ways to use fossil fuels.  

You can be sure the Greens will one day campaign for Marsden Point to be closed, and that they will oppose Auckland Airport's proposed second runway when it seeks resource consents for it to be built (on its land) after 2020.   You see this is the same Green Party once led by Jeanette Fitzsimons, who some years ago wondered why there couldn't be less international trade, as she talked about ships that went between countries carrying the same goods ("why couldn't we just make more of what we need at home"), this is the same Green Party that wants you to pay more for energy and transport (whether directly or through taxes) so that there can be a zero carbon future.

Well you sure are now, these are Air NZ airfares from Auckland to Christchurch tomorrow.  Stay home peasants, save the planet:

So it's like this.   If you really want to boot out National and annoy me with a Labour Government, then vote Labour.  Leave the Greens alone, let the simpering, hypocritical, virtue signalling haters of science, individual freedom and Western civilisation drop below the 5% threshold.   They lie openly about the impact of their policies on climate change, for it is like telling a child to stop peeing in Lake Taupo because it will save the lake from pollution, they conceal the impacts on energy prices, taxes, transport and the effect on the economy.   Let's be VERY clear, if the philosophy of the Green Party was applied across the world today, New Zealand would be a much much poorer place, because many of our exports would be shut out of overseas market (with the inane "food miles" idea), tourism would drop dramatically because air fares would be much higher, and imports would be much more expensive as import substitution is attempted - again.

Make the Greens history this Saturday. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

New Zealand General Election 2017: The choices for freedom

Well as many think the election is interesting, I find it mind numbing.  It has become the Bill vs. Jacinta show.  Bill, who is not media savvy, not very good at tough decisions (especially around cutting loose liabilities in his party, who keep stacking up in every growing numbers) vs. the shallow, empty headed Jacinta, who has ridden on the back of the same vacuous enthusiasm that brought Macron and Trudeau to power (and is partially responsible for both Obama and Trump).

The bigger picture is there is a fairly simple choice between two governments.  A National-led one almost certainly needing support from NZ First, and as usual ACT, possibly the Maori Party (although that looks difficult).  A Labour-led one with the Greens hand in fist, possibly with the Maori Party, and maybe even needing NZ First.

Frankly, either look grim.  National is looking tired, and the McCully nonsense smells, Steven Joyce is fast and loose with figures and Simon O'Connor is appalling.   After three terms, most governments run out of ideas, and the Nats are overrun with kneejerk, reactive politics.  It is difficult to know what it stands for, except staying in power and keeping Labour out.  Reminiscent of how the National Party has governed almost always, and even campaigned, except perhaps from 1987-1993 when it believed in the government doing less, or 2005 when it stood for tackling the growth of identity politics in New Zealand.   Now it is a party of "we wont tax you as much as Labour".  It is a party of corporatism, the status quo and of being in government.  It has had nine years to fix the housing bubble and is only now starting to appreciate that the fundamental problem is in the planning system, that it defended, and the obsession of local authorities to restrict the supply of land for housing.  Does it tackle the narrative about child poverty by noting that absolute poverty is low, that the solutions of the left of more welfare wont work, that the fundamental problems of poverty are poverty of aspiration and attention from parents, insufficient use of birth control and the shocking incidence of intergenerational welfarism?  No, it wont point out the size of the welfare state, the urgent need for education, stable and safe family structures, and to address cost of living issues that are due to state intervention (e.g. housing, cost of local government).  It embraced the middle class welfare Labour put in place.  It only looks good for one reason.

Look at Labour.  It has a manifesto filled to the brim of ideas that are as if nobody learned from the 1980s, with the law of unintended consequences devoid from its policy.  Its policies on housing are xenophobic and based on hundreds of thousands living in state owned ghettos, but at least it would abolish Auckland's urban growth boundaries.  It will constrain the rental homes market, presumably so the state can be landlord, with all of the success that has brought in recent decades.  It will tax water (but daren't think of commercialising and privatising water or rivers).  It wants everyone to pay for tertiary education and is committed to not raising the age of National Superannuation.  Nothing like bribing both ends of the age spectrum with borrowed money is it?  It wants more welfare.  Yet it's what else Labour embraces that concerns me.  It wants net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, regardless of cost (and certainly regardless of benefit, which is zero).  It's the warm embrace of identity politics, there needing to be special programmes for every group, and topped off with the application of the Human Rights Commission against discrimination based on gender identity - which raises the prospects of trans-women having access to women's facilities (and even questioning this is treated as an act of "hate", rather than establishing boundaries between the objective and the subjective).   It is the Labour Party that continues to see nuclear weapons as bad generally, putting our allies in the same camp as North Korea, Iran, China and Russia.  It wants to grow media by making you pay for media that will suit its perspectives on the world.  State media rarely provides an outlet for the views of those who want less government, in part because its very existence depends on left wing politics. 

So I'd prefer National over Labour, simply because the changes Labour wants to bring all involve more spending, more taxation, more regualtion, more government and less treatment of people as individuals before the law, and more as "categories".   There would be less economic freedom, less prosperity, less individual freedom and more rent-seeking from the public sector, Labour's preferred groups (media, unions, local government) and less accountability to consumers and taxpayers.

The Greens are beyond the pale, demanding vast amounts be spent (or taxed) to pursue high cost virtue signalling around climate change, despite it having no net impact on climate change.  The Greens resist treating people as individuals, as they promote structuralist identity politics on a grand scale.  Everyone is judged on sex, race and other victim/oppressor identity classifications.  Labour in power has a high chance of bringing the Greens on board.  The Greens want to gut the private rental market by making it almost unviable for small scale landlords to operate.  The only element of Green Policy that is worth supporting is on drugs, but that is small in the scheme of things.  This is the party that wants to wage war on gambling,   It has policies on umpteen minor matters, it wants people to be able to get leave from work as victims of domestic violence, but proven by whom?  It perpetuates the radical feminist myth that raw stats on pay mean women are being actively discriminated against in pay.  It wants Treaty of Waitangi claims to be perpetual and maintains the Maori nationalist myth that Maori and non-Maori are two nations who are working separately, with the Maori nation in a form of separate development, with race based democracy entrenched and expanded.  It doesn't think of Maori participation as Maori people participating, but in Maori organisations being treated as having a special interest on all public policy matters.  The Greens would impoverish New Zealand, reward poor behaviour and parenting, tax success and restrict who you can trade with, what you can do with the money you have left, and treat everyone as belonging to an identity group.

The Maori Party, of course, is primarily about identity.

So what's left?  Legalise Cannabis? Well yes, but it has no chance of any influence and it wont confront any other issues.  TOP?  Well the party led by the man who wanted to sue me because I confronted him on his idiocy on North Korea could be dismissed by me on that alone, but on policy as well it is dire.  It wants to tax wealth, so that anyone who has saved gets their savings taxed, as well as the income on it.   There is no fairness in widening the tax base, and it is claimed to be a way of addressing issues that are largely unrelated to tax (such as housing supply).  Beyond legalisation of cannabis, TOP would take a decidedly nannying view on healthcare with new taxes on food that it doesn't like to subsidise food that it does like.  

So what about NZ First?  NZ First I have always written off, because the economic nationalism and populism is largely nonsensical.  However, there is one element of NZ First worth supporting, which is the rejection of Maori nationalism and identity politics.  No other party is prepared to argue for all New Zealanders being treated equal under the law and abolishing separate political representation for Maori.  This is toxic in itself, and is one reason I am less concerned about NZ First than I used to be, but beyond that it is a party of economic lunacy and more state control.

So I am left with ACT.  ACT is weak on dealing with identity politics, but strong on reducing the size of the state on economic issues, and in reducing the state's power on education (which is very important).  ACT largely gets what is needed on housing as well.  It takes a more pragmatic evidence based view on environmental policy (unlike almost all of the others).  On immigration it strongly supports migrants embracing liberal democracy.  I'm not keen on David Seymour's views on abortion, and ACT is silent on drugs (except for reducing police efforts on personal consumption) but that isn't enough to dissuade me.   It is the only party seeking to constrain the welfare state, lower tax and has a strong tendency to support less rather than more solutions from government.  It is welfarism, mediocre education, the sclerotic planning system and the culture of dependency and identity politics that is holding New Zealand back.  It is a shame ACT wont confront the latter as strongly as it once did.

So I party voted ACT and electorate voted National (my candidate in Wellington Central seemed ok, although her chances are poor).   I'm hoping that it will mean National needs ACT to govern and so will be positively influence further in education and hopefully in other ways.   However, I'm far from enthused, I'm more motivated by avoiding the Jacinda and James show. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

UK General Election: A choice between uninspiring statism and barely concealed evil

There is nothing to inspire me to vote Conservative in the UK General Election.  Theresa May is an unreconstructed statist big-government conservative.  She is instinctively authoritarian.  She advocated for the security and police wet-dream on surveillance as Home Secretary, so that UK ISPs and telcos now keep a record of every single website visited in the UK over the past 12 months - because somehow what you read should be able to be accessed by the state when it sees fit.  She is pushing further, driven by concern over terrorism, but wanting to sanitise the internet to make it "safe" - the state working with parents, parenting us all.

Yet, it was all known that she takes a "trust me with your private information" approach to surveillance, rather than focus on the real issue, which is Islamism.  She explicitly says that we should remember "the good that government can do" and then outlines plenty of areas the government intervenes extensively in, such as energy, but instead of blaming virtue signalling policies like the Climate Change Act (which has seen the UK Government guaranteeing to a French led consortium that it will ensure it gets paid a price for electricity generated at its forthcoming nuclear power plant double what is the current market price for electricity).  She thinks libertarians are atomistic and people who seek to take advantage of others and thinks she is as distant from that as she is from Jeremy Corbyn.

That may well be true.  She said this:

We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality. We believe not just in society but in the good that government can do. Paying your fair share of tax is the price of living in a civilised society.

Tom Harris in the Daily Mail said she was a real socialist offering left wing policies.

I couldn't vote for her if she was my Conservative candidate, like I couldn't vote for Amber Rudd (who thinks a solution to terrorism is to "make" WhatsApp end encryption, yet stands on a platform with a known Islamist because the UK Government is too ignorant to call them out.  Fortunately I have a tolerable choice and it is a safe Conservative seat.  The Conservatives have pledged not to increase VAT, unlike the previous election when there was a pledge to not increase income tax and National Insurance (another form of income tax), because the Chancellor of the Exchequer wants "more freedom" but pledges the Conservatives are still the "low tax party".

It's nonsense.  The Conservative manifesto could almost be one from any of the Labour leaders since 1997, except the current one.  It's a cynical move to move to the centre-left to try to hoover up votes from the middle and to destroy the Labour Party, but there is one problem.  It has backfired due to ineptness, a lack of enthusiasm from the rank and file of many Conservatives and the simple fact that May does not ooze authenticity.  That doesn't mean Labour will win, thankfully, because it isn't just led by an inept naive idiot, but a nasty hater of capitalism, individual freedom and even Western liberal democracy.

I disagree with most of what the Labour Party advocates, and accept that it holds a fundamentally different view as to the role of the state from me, but Jeremy Corbyn and his closes allies are not like that.  Jeremy Corbyn has never, repeat never held any office of significance in Parliament under any Labour Government.  He was never an under-secretary, nor Chair of a select committee, although he has been on select committees.  He was never trusted with power by his colleagues, he was no Michael Foot

Corbyn invited senior members of the IRA to Parliament three weeks after the Grand Hotel bombing in Brighton which targeted the Conservative Party conference, both killing and maiming people.  His history in supporting the IRA and campaigning for those who had killed for the IRA, is brushed aside as saying he wanted to talk to "all sides", but no one can recall him ever meeting Unionists. Corbyn opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement (which set out between the UK and Ireland how devolved government would work in Northern Ireland) and his right hand man John McDonnell opposed the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 (which ended the terror campaigns from both sides).  

Corbyn opposed the UK ejecting the fascist military dictatorship of Argentina from its invasion of the Falkland Islands.  He has called Hamas and Hezbollah "his friends" (although has apologised for his use of words), but spoke on a platform with Islamists who were calling for war with Israel.

His Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called Lenin and Trotsky his greatest influences and stands on a platform alongside Stalinists.  Indeed Andrew Murray, a Stalinist open supporter of north Korea (which he calls "People's Korea"), is now helping Corbyn with his campaign.  The same man who after the Paris terrorist attacks said:

“The barbarism we condemn in Paris is minute compared to the barbarism wrought by imperialism across the planet in the last 13 years and we must condemn that… It is a sad lesson we have to re-learn from the attacks in Paris, it needs bringing home again and again.”

Of course Corbyn blames the US for "escalating tensions" with north Korea, not the totalitarian police state that has developed nuclear weapons and keeps testing missiles whilst uttering bombastic rhetoric about attacking the United States.  You see Corbyn was Chair of the ironically named Stop the War Coalition.  An organisation that has never once campaigned for any anti-Western regimes or militant groups to stop waging war.  It never took on Russia, Hamas, the Assad regime, Al Qaeda, ISIS, north Korea et al.  Stop the War is only too much in favour of war, as long as it is waged against any Western liberal democracy including Israel.

Corbyn claimed that 9/11 was "manipulated" into blaming Al Qaeda.  He has been paid by Iran's international propaganda TV channel, Press TV, to appear, but not, of course, to criticise human rights in Iran, but to criticise the West.  

Corbyn has admitted that he would never use nuclear weapons, effectively making the UK's nuclear deterrent worthless.  He has long campaigned for unilateral Western nuclear disarmament, including during the Cold War.  Was he a pacifist who just believed the USSR would follow, or was he not too fussed if the Red Army had rolled its way across Europe to "liberate" it from capitalism and "US imperialism"?  In any case the British Communist Party wont be fielding candidates in this election, but is uncharacteristically supporting Labour.

Corbyn is a strong supporter of the Chavez/Maduro authoritarian socialist disaster in Venezuela, but you can't be surprised at that.  After all, he says Castro was a champion of social justice, what with all those opponents he got murdered.  Corbyn also seems to attract anti-semites, not just Ken Livingstone's obsession that the Nazis were in cahoots with Zionists and Jews, but supporters.

These people appear again and again.  However he does join in on Quds Day rallies organised by the Islamic Republic of Iran (yes that bastion of peace, diversity and human rights) to criticise Israel and call for it to be pushed into the sea.

Corbyn is a sympathiser of Russia's position on Ukraine and Georgia, presumably because it is the opposite of the US and European position.  He blamed the Russian insurgency in Ukraine on "NATO belligerence".  After all, how dare Ukraine dump mother Russia led by such a nice liberal democratic regime to embrace the evil West right?

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said on balance Chairman Mao did more good than harm, which will be news to the tens of millions murdered or starved by his policies, with the bizarre justification is that he left China on the verge of a great economic boom (even though China's economic success has been because the Chinese Communist Party abandoned socialist economics).

So as awful as Theresa May is, and corporatist and centre-left as they may be, it is not a party led by IRA sympathisers, appeasers of Islamism and sympathisers of Stalin. 

The moral turpitude of these entities is utterly beyond contempt.  Corbyn refused to condemn the killing of Osama Bin Laden (much better to put him on trial, give him the benefit of the doubt), he has linked terrorism to British foreign policy (but doesn't explain, of course, why neutral Sweden and non-interventionist France get attacked).  

He and his ilk have spent decades on the backbenches campaigning for "understanding" for just about every group that sought to wage war with the UK, whether the IRA, fascist Argentina or Islamists.   He has campaigned for the UK to be disarmed, to withdraw from NATO and to distance itself from the US.  He allies himself with political leaders that torture and murder people, and who use violence.

Of course many Labour MPs know and hope he loses, just that they don't lose their seats.  It is because of them that Labour remains committed to NATO and the nuclear deterrent, both positions Corbyn opposes.

He isn't a nice guy, despite his softly spoken manner.  

He is an advocate of political violence who has appeased and turned a blind eye to brutal murderers, because he shares their political ambitions.  He supported the IRA because he believed in a united Ireland by all means necessary, and to hell with the opinions and concerns of Unionists (whose views he never courted and sought, presumably for a Marxist they were the hated bourgeoisie).  He supported the Galtieri military dictatorship, the same one that imprisoned and tortured socialists in Argentina, because it dared take on the bigger evil - Thatcher's government (hence why he didn't care less than the IRA tried to murder her and did kill several Conservatives) over the Falklands.  He is warm towards Hamas and Iran because he supports the Palestinians and supports just about any regime that dares take on the hated United States and its ally Israel.   I understand concern for the plight of the Palestinians (although keeping Hamas in power is shooting yourself in the foot), but to treat Iran as a partner is morally bankrupt.

He is without doubt the worst candidate for Prime Minister put up by any major UK political party in modern times.  Those who stand with him should be ashamed of him, and the ONLY reason to vote Conservative is to send the strong message that Corbyn and his group of violence touters have no place in government.


Sunday, May 07, 2017

France wont reform, wont improve, for now

Regardless of the result of the French Presidential election the outcome will, at best, see little difference to the structural sclerosis that contains the French economy, nor will it see a reform in terms of support for basic freedoms and individual liberty that France also needs.

As appealing as anti-Islamism of Marine Le Pen is, the bottom-line is that she is not from a tradition of liberty, but one of collaborationist fascism.  The facade slipped when she went into denial over the actions of the Vichy regime, which not only appeased, but collaborated and worked hand in glove with the Nazis to terrorise France, deport and execute Jews.  The fight against Islamism is not won by handing power to one who channels fascists, even though she had made significant efforts to distance herself from it (including, to be fair, rejecting the explicit anti-semitism of her vile father).

Some conservatives and even some libertarians regard her as a hero, and are cheering her on.  I'm not and I cannot see how anyone, ANYONE, with a critical mind and appreciation of individual liberty can give her support.  Even if you accept that France needs to contain and confront Islamism (and it does), to then hand it over to a fascist, nationalist, protectionist movement is figuratively cutting off your nose etc, but is more counterproductive.

Nothing will play more into the hands of France's Islamists than Marine Le Pen making it difficult for  non-Islamist and moderate Muslims to go about their daily lives, for it will recruit thousands to the Islamist cause.  Similarly, whilst she would admirably likely defend the likes of Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons lampooning Mohammed, she is adamantly opposed to Charlie Hebdo depicting her the same way or depicting Christianity in an offensive manner. 

Notwithstanding that her economic policies would be as ruinous to France as similar policies have been to Venezuela.  She is, very much, a national socialist.  Having said that, it is likely that if she were elected, the UK would be better off, at least in respect of the Brexit negotiations, because she would be friendlier to the UK.

Macron on the other hand, is pablum.  He may deliver some modest tax cuts and a "sinking lid" civil service (not replacing those who retire or leave, in net terms), but will not address France's sclerotic attitude to free enterprise and new business.  France needs the level of reforms Fillon was advocating, as a bare minimum, but his own corruption ruined his campaign.   Macron wont seriously confront Islamism, he will embrace the EU and move too little too late.  Worse, he will seek to punish the UK for leaving the EU, and will continue the main stream dirigiste economics of glacial reform that France has experienced for years (in part because the EU pushed it along).

France's fundamental problem lies in its civil service and the closed system by which the only people who advise the French government, by and large, are those qualified by a school that teaches one philosophy of government.   Until a President is elected that takes that system on, that breaks out of the single ideological domination of French domestic policy, France will remain unable to confront the primary causes of unemployment, regional stagnation and relative decline compared to northern Europe.  

I expect Macron to win, and France to continue to muddle through, but unless he has a secret agenda of serious reform, he will make little difference.  Le Pen at best will provide a distraction and a shock, but she not only would stagnate France, she would chase away private enterprise, reduce individual freedom and make her supporters poorer.

Neither is worth voting for, but I think the majority of French voters, who dislike Macron, would rather not have a President who is an apologist for Vichy.  They would be right to make that choice, to vote against opportunist blood and soil nationalist socialism.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Main trunk electrification was always a dud

The usual howls and wails of emotive knee-jerk reaction have come from Kiwirail's announcement to stop operating electric locomotives on the Main Trunk line.

It would cost NZ$1b to extend electrification to the Auckland network, and to Wellington.  However, Wellington's network is electrified to a different voltage and on DC not AC, so dual-voltage locomotives would need to be bought.  Even then, many of the trains on the line, going to and from branch lines (such as to the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Hawke's Bay) would still be operated by diesel.

However, the North Island Main Trunk electrification has always been a dud project since Rob Muldoon made the NZ Railways Department (NZR) embark on it as part of his Think Big central planning programme.

Main Trunk electrification was considered in the 1950s, after the line north of Wellington was electrified when it was deviated from what is now the Johnsonville line and placed in two double-track tunnels, so that trains were already operating electric from Wellington to Paekakariki (as steam locomotives couldn't run through the over 4km long Tawa Flat Number Two tunnel).  A set of electric locomotives were bought that could have served on the main trunk (and were the most powerful locomotives in NZ until 1972), but spent their lives almost entirely dedicated to operating the Wellington to Paekakariki trains (until tunnels on the line north of Pukerua Bay were lowered to enable diesel to run all the way through).

However it was rejected and the decision was made to go diesel, not least because the government owned railways was conservative technically, and was not keen to adopt what it thought then was the "risky" AC electrification system (being widely rolled out in Europe, but not yet used in New Zealand).  The DC system used in Wellington, Christchurch and Arthurs Pass was going to be too expensive, so diesel locomotives were bought to phase out steam.

The Think Big project came from an age when NZR had a general statutory monopoly on moving freight further than 150km.   NZR was facing delays on the main trunk line because of growing export traffic.  The problem, as it saw it, was a lack of capacity.  Its solution was to upgrade the line, bypassing several bottlenecks with shorter deviations, new viaducts able to take heavier trains and some steep winding sections avoided, but also to electrify the line between Palmerston North and Hamilton.  Why not to Auckland and Wellington?  Because the bottleneck was in the middle, and the way NZR operated meant that many trains were broken up and shunted along the route at Hamilton and Palmerston North.  

This was also an age with guards vans, with lots of small stations and sidings, as NZR's monopoly on long haul freight meant it handled small consignments of single wagons or even box loads.  Towns like Paraparaumu, Otaki, Hunterville, Otorohanga and Huntly had shunting locomotives to handle freight, like they always had.

In short, NZR ran an old fashioned, inefficient railway, handling consignments better suited to trucks, and its solution to its congestion was not to propose competition (naturally), but an expensive grandiose engineering based solution.   

Yet the Muldoon Government wasn't completely economically illiterate.  Main trunk electrification was committed, and would end up costing $350m in 1990 prices, but in 1982 NZR was converted into a corporation, effectively becoming the first SOE.  It would be required to make a profit, was no longer subject to political direction (except a Ministerial veto on closing lines) and would be subsidised directly for services that were unprofitable that the government required it to operate.

In 1983, Minister of Transport George Gair opened up domestic freight transport to competition, abolishing the 150km limit on road freight competition.  In 1984, a major consultancy report by Booz Allen Hamilton for the Railways Corporation made major recommendations for it to be competitive and profitable with competition from road freight.  This included closing two workshops, removing guards vans, closing small stations, moving from handling small lots of freight to trying to handle multiple wagon and train loads of freight.  

The Railways Corporation reformed, but it still lost freight to road competitors over many years.  In 1987, it commissioned Coopers & Lybrand to assess whether the main trunk electrification (that it was required to complete) could be an asset.  The report concluded that even if electricity were free it would still be a net loss to the Railways Corporation annually.  The only part of the project that made sense were all of the deviations.

As a result, when the Railways Corporation was restructured into a full SOE, it received $350m from taxpayers to bail it out of its Think Big project (after all the others were).  Officially, the Main Trunk Electrification had no net value that could ever be recovered from users of the line.

In short, the main trunk electrification has ALWAYS been a dud.  

After 30 years, the locomotives have become unreliable, many of the trains that now operate on the line have little operational need to be stopped at Hamilton and Palmerston North to change locomotives, wasting time, labour and fuel.  

A project that was inspired by technocrats running a monopoly, decided by politicians engaging in Soviet style central planning, has come to its natural conclusion.

It's not worth spending NZ$1b to incrementally reduce CO2 emissions, which will make no more difference to climate change than stopping a child urinating in a lake will stop it being toxic.  

Yet that wont stop the hyper-emotive railevangelist central planners making every hyperbole about this being some giant leap backward.   The Otira-Arthurs Pass electrification was closed in 1997 once technology enabled diesel locomotives to run all the way through from the West Coast to Canterbury, the Christchurch-Lyttelton electrification was closed in 1970, as equipment was due for replacement and with the age of steam coming to an end, it could be dieselised.  

Is it a shame that such a large project has proven to be not worthwhile? Absolutely, but it wasn't Kiwirail's fault, but the fault of the central planners of the Muldoon era - those the Labour Party and the Greens now ache to emulate, who chose to waste hundreds of millions of taxpayers money solving a problem that existed because of their regulation and archaic business practices it protected.

Kiwirail is a marginal operation at best, it doesn't need to have around its neck the vanity proposals of politicians who think they know best, and who think that saving every tonne of CO2 is worth unlimited amounts of taxpayers money.   

Note though how odd it is, that the Greens, who all claim to care about CO2 emissions, continue to oppose foreign ships on international trips carrying domestic cargo as they travel between NZ ports. This has next to no impact on CO2 emissions, as the ships are sailing anyway, by using spare capacity on the ships to carry freight within New Zealand.

Why?  Because the Seafarers Union doesn't like the competition.  The bottomline is that the Greens prefer even socialism to reducing CO2 emissions.