Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bureaucracy Rubbish.... five examples.

"Big Norm" - Norman Kirk clever popular politician.

Freedom Camping..
We have a problem in NZ. We have people in vans like mine with no toilet facility (we carry a portable loo) camping in spots for free. Locals in various tourist areas have kicked up a fuss and the practice has been banned in lots of locations. The given reason has been the mess left behind by these freedom campers, but I suspect there is a little bit of protecting the incomes of local motor camps. Bureaucracy has stepped in and stopped freedom camping.
"Camp in our driveway..."
A lady has come up with an idea to help the whole situation. She wants to build a data base of people who would be happy to have freedom campers camp in their driveway for a small fee. A great idea. People can go online and make contact with people in areas they want to holiday in. But.... Bureaucracy has stepped in. The bureaucrats say they would have to register their drive way as a camp-ground. That would be free, but it would mean that their rates will go up 25%. And there might be inspections of the facilities available ...etc. etc. yawn... etc etc  Another great idea about to be squashed by bureaucrats.
My Mum vrs bureaucrats...
When my dad died in 1964 we were left poorer than we already were. My mother worked at a Rest Home to earn money to pay for the family home, and the food and clothing to continue to raise her five children. ... all teenagers or nearing teenagers. At night she set up her sewing machine and took in sewing to make extra money. The Labour Department heard about it. The place had to be inspected to see if it was safe. She had to have a separate room, she could not do it in the lounge. (family might prick their finger on a needle!)  Did it conformed to the regulations of a sewing factory?  There would be extra tax, different rates etc etc. I remember coming home from school when the Labour Department inspector was there. My mum was in tears saying, "Its only one machine sewing clothing to make a bit of extra cash to feed my family?" "It is a commercial operation." he said as he filled out his forms.  A couple of us boys suggested to the man it was time for him to go and we opened the door for him, guiding him down the hall....... Bureaucrats!!!
Night shelter classed as a Motel
When we were first setting up a night shelter we suggested that to stop unhealthy dependence we could charge residents a little fee, and this could be deducted out of their benefit. It would help the finances a little bit, it would be healthier all around though a minuscule part of the actual costs. I went in to talk with City Council staff. It would drastically change what part of the city we could set up in. There would be a very different more difficult standard of building regulations applied. It would change our whole status, we would be classed as a "Motel". Bureaucrats and bureaucracy gone silly. I kept reading of Churches in America taking turns to have their halls set up with temporary beds to house the homeless... bureaucrats here would have a field day with that!
Christmas dinner...
At the latest Christmas Dinner the people putting the food on the plates had to have food safety qualifications. Spare food could not be given out for the poor to take home.  (we did this for 25 years!)  The bureaucratic mind set stifles volunteerism and even the Christmas spirit.
If Norman lived today...
I am reading a biography of Norman Kirk, the fourth Labour Prime Minister of NZ (1972 - 74... He died in office) He grew up poor, left school early and did a great variety of jobs.  He mainly worked as a boiler man, but as his family grew he took other jobs to help make ends meet and save money. He got old post-accident cars, and repaired them and sold them. (I once helped a mate do this - We would not be allowed to do it today!) There is a photo of him hanging on the side of a big chimney painting it as a spare time job. (Health & Safety would have him crucified today.)  When he moved to Kiapoi near Christchurch he built his own home, designing it, making his own concrete blocks, and building everything, except he received expert help with plumbing and electrical. (He would not get past first base in today's bureaucratic Nanny-state climate.) He went on and with his energetic, creative, independent thinking work ethic he became a powerful mayor, then a politician in opposition and even though his reign as Prime Minister was cut short, he brought in some innovative and creative far reaching changes. I wonder if he would have developed that streak of personality if he had to cope with the bureaucrats of today?   Of course people would say that we need the protection of bureaucracy! Rubbish... people can learn to protect themselves. The bureaucracy kills the opportunity to advance, to be independent and make a real life for yourself and yours. In my view it has gone too far! The damage it is doing far outweighs any perceived advantages.

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