Kiwi Rail Round II

Todd has done a blog post responding to some of the comments made here yesterday:

Yesterday, I fired a link to my /Hillside treatise through to prominent blogger David Farrar at KiwiBlog (my Brother In-Law’s, Brother and a very nice chap) in the hope of generating some discussion on this issue. Well I sure was successful in that regard. Check it out here:

Until this afternoon, I would have considered myself a fairly ‘right wing’ kind of guy when it comes to economic matters. Apparently not.

Judging from the comment stream I am actually a flag-waving neo-socialist, protectionist, pushing a thinly veiled Hugo Chavez/ Castro agenda. Crikey!

Welcome to Kiwiblog comments 🙂

Todd covers a number of points:

1. SOE’s should be run like businesses.

I agree entirely. The question is – what kind of business?

 Sarah & I have been in business for 10 years and we make purchasing decisions based on a raft of considerations outside of pure cost. We print hundreds of thousands of our postcards annually and we do so in Dunedin. We are acutely aware that we are paying about 15-20% more in Dunedin than from an Auckland printer – and at least 50% more than printing via Hong Kong. This is all money that would drop directly into our family’s coffers.

 The reason we choose to pay this premium is that we lived in Dunedin for 9 years (we no longer do). The printing industry in Dunedin has been through the wringer over the past 5 years and I have glimpsed the personal wreckage – marriages destroyed, houses lost and much worse, that ensued as business after business went under. Dunedin is a small city – ‘working class’ live next door to management – this all happened in my community.

 I don’t drink beer with anyone from our printers, we don’t have barbecues – and they don’t take us out on boozy lunches. They do a fantastic job, they look after us if things go wrong and we know that our money pays a few days wages every year.

And yes, we pass those costs on to the end user (some years more successfully than others 🙂

 This kind of fuzzy, emotive thinking may well be part of the reason that we don’t drive a Bentley Continental. Sarah & I would undoubtedly be better off if I could divorce myself from my desire to contribute to my community and do my printing offshore via an online tendering process. We are not wired that way – if that makes us Castro & Bride-incarnate so be it.

The rest of Todd’s response is on his blog (linked above). Keep the debate going until Xmas!

Also, while it is too late for Xmas presents, if you are looking for nice gifts for any occassions, Todd and Sarah have a wonderful range of photo cards, prints, blocks bookmarks, notepads, magnets and postcards.

I love this photo of the yellow-eyed penguins. They have a good range of wildlife photos, with a bias towards penguins.

And I adore this shot from Lake Tekapo. It is so hard to beat the South Island scenery.

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