Sunday, April 27, 2008

Joyless bureaucrats regulating fun

Picture the scene. It is the sunny Kapiti Coast. Families have taken a break for the day or the weekend from their working week or school, to enjoy themselves. Some choose to go to the great family experience of the local miniature railway. The kids like the ride, it's good clean fun. Anzac Day after all is a day when, for the morning, shops are required to close to pay respects for those whose lives were lost at war. However, the work doesn't stop for the eager Labour Department bureaucrat. With the clipboard, cellphone and the eager enthusiasm of someone whose sole purpose is to stop people doing things, one was working that day - yes on Anzac Day - and found the Kapiti Miniature Railway operating, allegedly against the law!
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Half a dozen people were on one of these trains. Trains mind you that don't get a dollar of government subsidy, they are operated by volunteers, people ride it for the purpose of fun, but no... Mr Bureaucrat ordered the railway to shut down.
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Was it unsafe? No, there was no evidence that it was. Given the railway reportedly carries hundreds of people every weekend, the public seem to be satisfied. The joyless petty little man, who produces nothing, shut it down because "the club had not paid its registration under the Fairground and Amusement Devices Regulation Act".
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He couldn't wait could he? He couldn't hand the notice to the club President and threaten its closure. No, far more self satisfying to shut down an outfit run and funded by volunteers, and enjoyed by the public. Having got himself off in the only way such bureaucrats can, he can go home wipe himself off, and think about what a good little cog in the wheel of Nanny State he is.
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The Labour Department spokesman (somehow it's always petty little men who are inadequately endowed who seem most comfortable acting like former East German bureaucrats) said "Amusements are required to be registered and, as part of that, they have to be able to prove it can be operated safely."
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Of course the law does say that. Heaven help you engage in unregistered amusements!
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I can hear it now. "What if something happened"? Like what? The train derailed? Some kid ran in front of a train? A kid ran out onto the road? Yes that's what. The purpose of this law is to deal with fairground attractions, to avoid dodgy little men who make a living from driving around the country with rusty equipment throwing kids around with their dated rides (and frankly most look like they've been around since i was a kid). There may be better ways of doing this, but I wont go into it much here (think private property rights, rights to sue, strict liability for accidents attributable to equipment failure)
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Some of the greatest dangers today are in areas that the state doesn't get too involved in. Kids cross roads all the time, and they are unfenced and their activities are not supervised. Most accidents happen in the home, and there are no home safety inspectors checking if nothing will burn, hit you on the head, trip you up or the like. I don't doubt that poorly endowed Labour Department inspectors will have thought of the merits of this idea. Of course it doesn't help that ACC does away with civil liability for personal injury by accident, or even grant higher or lower premiums for bad or good behaviour.
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However nothing better exemplifies the joyless bullshit of Nanny State that this little man, on Anzac Day, shutting down a miniature railway while little kids are having fun. No MP betters represents him that Sue Kedgley - the high priestess of Nanny State.
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Of course Nanny State can't work without the vile little humourless onanists who haven't the ounce of humanity to let kids enjoy a miniature railway ride on a nice day. I bet he thought he was doing them good, I bet he thought the (largely) elderly men who proudly built and maintained the railway were themselves beneath him. Nothing like ruining a day for kids and the elderly is there?

1 comment:

Anita said...

Can you all keep a secret? I've just been involved in a wanton exhibition of unregistered amusement, stomping in puddles with the children. I'm so relieved no Labour Department placard-bearing officials stopped us - I don't know how I would have handled the boys' tantrums. I might have had to resort to an illegal show of force to shut them up. But the guilt is great - I doubt I will get any sleep tonight knowing that I exposed my children to such irresponsible health and safety risks. They could have drowned in those unfenced puddles!