Labour still don’t do maths

Labour party researchers looking for another cause

I don’t know if you’ve ever come across the mathematical proof that Santa isn’t real.  It calculates the distance he has to travel, the tonnage of presents and the number of households he has to get to.  And if you include him drinking the milk, cookies or even whiskey that’s left out for him, he’ll be in an alcoholic coma before the first 20 minutes of the delivery has taken place.

100 million trees a year is actually a sizeable number.  Let’s assume that all of us plant some trees every weekday.  We have weekends off.  Let’s also assume trees can’t be planted effectively by kids under 12 and people over 80.  That leaves us with 3.5 million people to plant a tree every weekday.

Assuming nobody takes any time off for stats or main  holidays and nobody gets sick, that 1,923,076 trees per week.   But we have to allow for people to be sick, or going to a funeral, or going to see the kids at sport and so on.  So on average, let’s set aside a day a week for that.   That leaves us 2,403,846 trees a week to get into the ground – as long as we all do our bit.  That’s a little less than a tree a person per day, allowing for weekends off and one day to go do something else.

Problem is, we can’t just stop the economy.  People need to be in shops.  Service stations need to have staff.  Teachers have to be in school.  Lawyers have to be in court.  Media people have to run around looking important.  Some are overseas.  Others are looking after tourists making their beds and cooking their food.

We also have a housing crisis, so we must exempt any and all builders.  Oh, and the people that transport their raw materials.  And the people that warehouse it, order it from overseas, etc.  We must not hold things up by having building inspectors out planting trees either.

We have a transport crisis, so we need people on the roads driving stuff from A to B.  And when they get there, the other people need to make sure goods are ready to go or to be accepted.

Let’s look at it from a people angle.  Let’s say a tree planter gets in 2 a minute and is productive for 6 hours a day, allowing for toilet stops, meetings and walking to get the next tray of seedlings.  That’s probably still high.  That means this best-case-scenario planter will do about 720 trees a day.   At a need of 273,972 per day (not having weekends off either), we need about 1017 “people” planting trees, every day of the year.

When you factor in weekends, holidays, sick leave and other inefficiencies, that number will need to be a lot higher.  And these people still need to be paid, managed, there is paperwork and a need for infrastructure to be built and maintained.

And all along, we assume that none of these people involved in planting trees are needed in transport or to build houses.  Otherwise, we would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Let’s say these 1017 people are all paid, on average, $50,000 a year.   And that their overhead costs in terms of needing people to repair their gear, run their computer systems, provide payroll, HR, training, accounts and do on is roughly another $50,000 a year.

Just the operations cost in salaries and wages to get 100,000,000 trees into the ground would be north of 1 billion dollars a year.  Which, at $10 a tree wouldn’t be that expensive really.  But that still ignores the cost of providing the baby trees or any of the capital and operating costs outside of wages and salaries.

But according to Jacinda, Let’s do it.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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