Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bureaucratic bull crap!




"Light no fires." When I was a boy we would go on a family picnic mostly on a Sunday afternoon. We would arrive at the picnic spot. (Often Warrington Beach - north of Dunedin.) Dad would get the picnic gear out. A couple of old blankets on the grass to sit on. A ball, bat and two boxes to play cricket with. At one stage dad and mum had folding deck chairs, but after one collapsed and injured mum's finger badly these were left behind. But the most exciting thing was the Thermette. Pictured above these gadgets could boil water for a cup of tea in very quick time. Us kids would be sent out to gather twigs, bark and anything that would burn and fit down the hole. We would bring these back and Dad would set the thermette up and time how long it took to boil the water. As we got older we were allowed to set it up, light it and boil the water. After the cup of tea Dad would send us to get water and he would soak the burnt wood to ensure it was really extinguished and cold, then scrape dirt or sand over it. They were amazing gadgets. Dad told of the Kiwi troops carrying them during the war and boiling them in the desert with an old tin lid full of petrol.  I still have one. But everywhere you go there are now signs banning fires! The simple fun of heating water in this primitive way is not a joy my grandkids will experience. In wet green NZ the PC bureaucrats have put "Light no fires" at every possible picnic spot.
"Volunteers cannot build." I have coffee regularly with a friend I met through Habitat for Humanity. We began our regular coffee meetings because we led Habitat for Humanity builds every Saturday. We would meet in my office on a Friday morning and plan the next day's build.  He was a carpenter and most often was the only qualified carpenter on site. We built thirteen houses together using volunteers. Men, women, children, old and young - we had amazing fun days doing great things building houses. Recently he attended the local Habitat for Humanity Annual General meeting. He told me that now, because of recent more stringent building regulations, the local Habitat for Humanity does not use volunteers. The rules have got too challenging and many jobs can only be done by registered, qualified people. Again - bureaucratic bullshit! 
"We cannot give out spare food." For 25 years we ran a Community Christmas Dinner in our Church at St Andrew Street. We used volunteers to peel and prepare the vegetables, carve the meat, dish up the food, cream the pavlovas and prepare deserts. At the end of the meal we handed out ice cream containers with all the spare food in them to our guests to take home. To my knowledge nobody got food poisoning in 25 years! This year another group is doing it and they are using the town hall facilities. The leader of this group phoned me last night to pick my brain about stuff. They are using volunteer staff from the facility's caterers to do the cooking. They can only use volunteers with food handling certificates to plate up and serve the food! They are not allowed to give excess food away unless it can be guaranteed to be consumed on the same day! It is the rules of the facility. The spirit and giving fun of Christmas is beaten down by bureaucratic bullshit!
I could go on. Charities are having to pay big bucks to get the correct person to audit their accounts. Rules are stifling enterprises. Rules stop people caring for others in naturally compassionate ways. It is, in my view, one of the evils of our society. We end up with limited lives because we depend on "specialists" to do everything. The poor cannot fend for themselves. The "do it yourself" mentality is being squeezed out of us because of this sort of bureaucratic garbage. I proudly break the rules!

1 comment:

Keith Harris said...

Salvation Army bandsmen no longer play Christmas carols from the trays of trucks for the same reasons.

During the 1980s while we were living in Australia, someone came up with this amazing new Australian invention called a "camp kettle", receiving wide publicity. It was nothing more or less than the good old kiwi Thermette!