The HBRC $80 million decision & Marge Simpson

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the TV programme the Simpsons. I was a regular watchers for years and one of my favorite episodes was called ‘Marge vs. the monorail‘.

A quick synopsis of the story line is as follows:

Mr Burns is fined $3m for an evironmental disaster at the nuclear power plant and Springfield city council has to decide what to do with the windfall. A fast-talking charmer sells Springfield a monorail of dubious necessity and, Marge learns, highly dubious quality.


If it sounds familiar it should. It’s a take on the Emperors New Clothes parable. It could also be an analogy of the story around the dam. But I digress.

One of the best bits of this episode goes like this:

Lyle Lanely: You know, a town with money is a little like the mule with the spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it.

[crowd laughs]

Homer: He heh… mule.

Lyle Lanely: The name’s Lanely! Lyle Lanely. And I come before you good people tonight with an idea. Probably the greatest… Aw, it’s not for you. It’s more of a Shelbyville idea.

[starts to walk out of the room]

Mayor Quimby: [at the podium] Now wait just a minute! We’re twice as smart as the people of Shelbyville. You just tell us your idea and we’ll vote for it!

Lyle Lanely: All right. I’ll tell you what I’ll do! I’ll show you my idea.

[runs over to a display covered by a sheet, and he whips it off, revealing a diorama of Springfield with a monorail model going through it]

Lyle Lanely: I give you the Springfield Monorail!

[crowd gasps]

Lyle Lanely: I’ve sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and by gum I’ve put them on the map!

[holds up a map of the U.S. with those towns’ names drawn on with pen]

It doesn’t take much imagination to see that the writers of the Simpsons are great observers of human nature. This type of story has been repeated over and over in history and I think it is unfortunate that it has happened right here in Hawkes Bay.

What will stymie the dam is the conditions, so long as the Board of Inquiry holds it’s ground. But I have more faith in the BOI than I do with HBRIC so watch this space.

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