I doubt anybody else is going to give a shit, but I am thoroughly delighted to learn that today (well, yesterday now), the New Zealand government has bought back the national railway operations and the system will be a state asset again. This is some of the best news I have heard in a long time. The sale of New Zealand Rail in 1993 has proved to be one of the biggest disasters in New Zealand infrastructural and political history. It was vivid proof that privatisation does not work. The best operator of a sustainable railway network is always going to be a body that is politically accountable to the general population, rather than one accountable solely to shareholders and other private financial interests that care solely about growing their bank balance. The government-run NZR was never perfect, and it committed some spectacular failures (funnily enough, typically under National governments; I have a hard time thinking of Labour fucking up, while every significant anti-rail step has been taken by National). But a private company is going to focus solely on the routes offering greatest short-term profits and has no obligation to serve the community, and for that reason it simply cannot compare to a state-run railway. Unless you conceptualise profit solely in financial terms, this is brilliant news.
Richard Prebble, of course, is blowing uninformed smoke out of his arse. Anybody who bothers to listen to him and his spin is an idiot. No scientist on the planet is going to support his assertion that the environmental friendliness of rail is a "myth". What a fool. I wonder which trucking company is bankrolling his political career?
Anyway, I'm off to bed as I'm extremely tired - but I'm happy. Let's hope we'll now get some new motive power. It's incomprehensible that the last brand new class of mainline locomotives was the DF class back in 1979.
Oh, but before I go, I love Good News Week. From tonight's episode: