Monday, June 15, 2009


"Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible"

There are days where I despair of ever achieving the simplest things in life. 2 years of fighting (successfully) the Auckland DHB and the Ministry of Health over $6,000 (oh and my rights as a NZ citizen] convinced me that we are the most overregulated and least sensible country on this earth.

Today this was confirmed in a myriad of small ways.


4 years ago a small triangular window in a rear car door was smashed by car thieves. I patched it up with duct tape and its been sweet ever since. Passed 7-8 warrants. Until today. The conversation went something like this:

"It's failed the warrant on the small window"
"Well, it doesn't meet the standard"
"What does the standard require?"
"That it has the approved glassmark on it"
"Well, yes, thats if it has glass in it. Why does it have to have glass?"
"Its a safety issue"
"So, whats the safety issue?"
"Well its like if your bumper is hanging off someone could catch themselves on it, so it needs to be fixed"
"But this is a window, not a bumper, whats the safety issue?"
"Its the law"
"So why did you and every other WOF place give me a warrant these past years?"
"I don't know why they would do that. Who gave you your last warrant?"
"You did"
"I'll check our records"
"So what does it say?"
"We gave you the last WOF"

At this point a former version of me offered a next sentence:

"So you have a choice: either you give me the WOF or I report you for giving me the last one."

Unfortunately the comment was censored before it got from brain to lips and I left without my warrant.

WOF #2

Hours later with car #2 now going through its paces.

"It failed the WOF"
"On what?"
"The SRS light won't go off"
"Is that a problem?"
"Its a safety issue"
"Whats the safety issue?"
"Its to do with the airbag"
"Is there something wrong with the airbag?"
"It doesn't seem to have deployed does it?"
"How much?"
"To turn a light off?"

So we have 2 cars, no WOFs. For $780 thats 4 fines. I'm thinking of having WOF's every 6 months, failing it on the light but having everything else fixed so at least I can say, "its a safe care, but for this very dangerous light!"

IRD #1

Finally, I went to get an IRD number for Ryleigh. I carefully checked the requirements. One piece of ID from list A. One from list B. Birth Certificate and Drivers License. I even have photocopies as well. I head into the Post Shop.

"Here we go - Birth Certificate and Drivers License"
"You'll need a second ID for yourself?"
"Hang on, its one from List A and one from List B right?"
"Yes, sir"
"And I have one from list A and one from List B correct?"
"And thats whats required right?"
"You need 2 from List A."
"But it doesn't say that does it?"
"You need 2 from list A" [translation: you are right but I am being perverse today]

I left without the IRD number because like an idiot I don't carry my passport around with me in my own country.

Anyways, I settled for going home and spanking my children...oh crap, I forgot.


Rhett said...

Oh man, bad day.

I think you are mostly right. I have to admit though, when I drove my beat down old Toyota, I appreciated the WOF in that I used it as a kind of barometer as to what was wrong with my car. I'd hear all kinds of strange noises in the intevening 6 months but I'd simply say to myself, "Well, they'll pick it up at my next WOF."

Also, fun fact: the most search term on my blog is "bureaucracy". It is because of a post I once did on the size of goverment staffing. It annoyed me so much that I deleted the post last week.

Nige said...


Steve Goble said...

I so sympathise.

Flendolyn said...

I got a letter today from my dentist, after the 'former version of myself' did say what it wanted to say (often does!). The letter states he did nothing wrong, that I will agree to make no complaint - oh, and here's a refund of what you paid me & the person I sent you to 'cause I actually did stuff up. Hilarious.
Bummer about the cars. I can come draw a safety sticker on your 'window' if you want.