Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: No end of mileage

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  • Nobody Important,

    And this was due, largely, because they didn't ask me what I thought.

    I was under the impression the kids had been asked and their response was that they wanted free drag strips that operated at 2 in the morning? And by 'free' I think we're expected to throw in the diesel for burnouts too.

    Nobody, if you'd even bothered to read Russell's article before hitting the discuss button you'd notice the 'carnage' was worse 'back then'. Or, like they mayors, do you have a point to make, and you'll be damned if you pay attention to the facts?

    Of course I bothered to read RB's blog Rogerd, did you bother to read my comments properly? I said "...there didn't seem to be such carnage back then..." and then went on to recount how my sister flew out the back window of a rolling car and landed unscathed. And I prefaced that with a comment about a friend who wrote off 2 cars at aged 16. Now do you get it??
    Oh, and BTW ... if you're going to accept every word from RB as Gospell written by the hand of God himself, then I've got a Wikipedia entry you might like to look at

    The Government isn't assuming the risk. If you choose the wrong Kiwisaver vehicle and it breaks, you lose.

    A point worth remembering. So yes, I guess this is privatisation-by-stealth of Superannuation. But I'm wondering what the alternative is?

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    What's your message to kids in rural Taranaki who'd like to go to a movie or enjoy a social life?

    "People shouldn't live in Taranaki".

    But then, I'd say that to adults too.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Fox,

    If kids get succesfully stopped from hooning around in their own cars, what's going to happen? Chances are they might start stealing cars and racing those - cheaper than building one and risking getting it confiscated.

    Joy riding and hooning in your own car a two different levels of lawbreaking. Are the chavs that nick cars (in the UK)from the same kind of social demographic as the majority of boy racers in NZ? Car theft is a step beyond what most NZ boy racers would contemplate I reckon.

    there's enough evidence to support that it's simply not the right time in your life to be doing something so risky as driving a car, so the government should make it easy for parents and say, kids are not allowed to drive one.

    The paternalistic european in me agrees with this idea however in rural parts of NZ the car is the only form of transport kids have to get around and this is probably a major factor in the driving age remaing so low.

    Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Kirsten, you old hippie! I bet you don't cycle around Waiheke much, at least not when it's raining?

    Whilst I agree that Holland is one switched on place (went there a couple of years back), I really can't see any of their solutions apart from trains working here. I cycled everywhere in Amsterdam. Rediscovered muscles in my butt I forgot existed. But when I tried to do the same here, I quickly discovered why that particular form of transport doesn't work so well, at least in Auckland. For starters, everything is miles and miles away, over some pretty mean hills. Secondly, except in the heart of the city, when it starts to rain, which it does most days, especially on mega long cycling commutes, you get totally drenched. Most unpleasant. I'm currently completing a fairly intense "cycle survey" for the city council on my riding habits. They chose a bad week, it's been raining the whole time so my cycle diary is going to be empty.

    Until we can cram 16 million NZers into somewhere the size of Canterbury, the beautiful public transport options of most of Europe aren't going to happen. There aren't the volumes, so the buses and trains are infrequent and thus extremely inconvenient. The distances most people go to catch up with their lives are much greater so the bus rides will also be much longer.

    Carpooling is righteous, for sure. Especially on Waiheke, where everyone who commutes goes to the exact same location. Not so practical for people who don't work together anywhere else, though. And no use at all for anything but commuting.

    Cars are choice. Sorry to give an annoying kiwi perspective on it, but motoring is much loved for a reason. It's really fun and really convenient. Unfortunately some people die, but we are working on that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Darn right. If the kids can afford to 'modify' their vehicles then they can afford 3rd party insurance. No insurance = no rego or warrant, simple as that. I really don't understand why Labour has resisted this idea; their argument that it penalises low income drivers is ridiculous. They'll all be riding buses soon anyway ...

    I don't see how 3rd party insurance is going to dissuade dangerous driving.

    As for the 1980s, I didn't even bother to get a license the fines were inconsequential relative to the chances of getting sprung. The same was true of the warrant of fitness. (historical obsolete opinions of my own).

    boy racer cars are more likely over specked in safety terms. This due to the fact that they are race car enthusiasts. Just a shame the industrial zoned roads aren't actually real race tracks.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Do what I did. Ride a bike all over Auckland and ride the buses.

    I realise there are a number of Hard news readers who seem to have difficulty grasping this fact but: not every lives, or wishes to live, in Auckland. Horror!

    "People shouldn't live in Taranaki".

    But then, I'd say that to adults too.

    Yes, well, that'll get you mileage.

    Now do you get it??

    I get that ou have nothing meaningful to say beyond some rose-tinted ramblings.

    if you're going to accept every word from RB as Gospell written by the hand of God himsel

    I do when it's backed by reference to research and information that backs it up, as opposed to senile dementia.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Of course I bothered to read RB's blog Rogerd, did you bother to read my comments properly? I said "...there didn't seem to be such carnage back then..." and then went on to recount how my sister flew out the back window of a rolling car and landed unscathed. And I prefaced that with a comment about a friend who wrote off 2 cars at aged 16. Now do you get it??
    Oh, and BTW ... if you're going to accept every word from RB as Gospell written by the hand of God himself, then I've got a Wikipedia entry you might like to look at

    Steady on - I was just quoting the official statistics. It's actually something of a bugbear of mine: the assumption, which generally goes unchallenged in the media, that there was some golden age when everything was better and not all nasty like it is now. It's surprising how often the reverse is the case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Darel Hall,

    Long time reader, first time contributor here.

    It seems to me there are strategies from the drink driving campaign to apply to antisocial driving. By antisocial driving I mean people that treat the roads as their own personal drag strips, rally courses or cross country challenges.

    Firstly it needs to be about the behaviour not the age. There are plenty of antisocial drivers above any arbitrary age people could care to name.

    Secondly, turning to younger people, the behaviour modelling of parents is important. If they treat the roads as if they own them then a) its antisocial and b) don’t their kids get the idea that this is OK behaviour?

    With the drink driving campaign friends, family and work mates are invited to believe that drunk/drink driving is wrong and to say so. If these influencers don’t believe and don’t behave like it with regards to antisocial driving then behaviour change isn’t going to happen any time soon. “Friends don’t let friends drive like idiots” or something more catchy perhaps?

    Fourthly, in the drink driving area where there is an accident where alcohol is indicated authorities target the last licensed premise. Many flaws in this approach, but with enough data it gives a fair indication of problem places, at least so far as licensed premises go. So what about the “host responsibility” of those that sell the car parts that help create antisocial driving (thinking more speed and noise here, not sure how this could apply to 4WD urban cross country drivers). In the drink driving area the targeting is of course linked to an alleged illegal behaviour (eg serving an intoxicated person). The key point is that the environment matters.

    I tend to think more enforcement rather than more rules would be helpful. It appears the Police believe they have the powers needed, but do they have the resources (people in particular)? Perhaps a test for Councils would be to shift some enforcement resource from less important (parking enforcement?) to more important areas (antisocial driving)? Sharing enforcement should be part of the mix in the discussion.

    Some thoughts.

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Unfortunately some people die, but we are working on that.

    We could be doing a lot better, though. Compare us to the US, which generally has lower per-capita fatality rats in most states, and yet has many of the problems we do (sprawl, poor public transport).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    Here's what you do: You don't give kids drivers licences until they're at least 19. Their brains are not fully grown, cars are simply too dangerous for them. (In netherlands) the drinking age is 16 but you don't get behind the wheel until your 19...... Aren't we trying to get people out of cars anyway? And to carpool and use public transport?.....The risks we take with cars in New Zealand are ridiculous and the cost to society too high for any demographic. Cars have no place in the life of a teenager, and we don't trust them to make rational decisions regarding alcohol so why do we trust them to make rational decisions regarding the deadly things that cars are. Cars are too cheap here and it's too easy to get them at a too young age.

    NZ driver laws are predicated on the idea that a 15 year old farm hand need a liscence to be able to drive a tractor down a rural road. That's why our driving age is so low, and over the years no politician has been game to change that (aside from minor tinkering with graduated liscences) NB - the drinking age in Holland might be 16, but I don't think that's the age to go in to a bottle store. Unlike here where its open slather at 18.

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Secondly, turning to younger people, the behaviour modelling of parents is important. If they treat the roads as if they own them then a) its antisocial and b) don’t their kids get the idea that this is OK behaviour?

    Certainly when Dad owns a V8 Commodore and complains that enforcement of speeding laws is creeping Communism I doubt it helps inculcate his kids with something resembling sensible behaviour. Or when Uncle thinks drink-driving rules should only apply to the under 25s, not him.

    By way of reference, I simply refuse to ride around the Wellington CBD around 2:30 - 4:00. The school runs are too dangerous, and I don't mean teenage hoons; likewise, despite living on Mount Vic, my street is bothered less by young idiots driving like nutters and more by rat-racers tearing through at ridiculous speed on the morning commute. Anecdotes are not data and all, but as with the problems of yoof and booze I agree that there may be a broader problem, where duumb young 'uns are the most visible part.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Drinking alcohol and driving automobiles are actually two very different things. Its not healthy to get confused about that.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    Steady on...

    Sorry to drag you into that RB, my point wasn't to slag you (or upset you) .... I was merely bemused/annoyed that Rogerd seemed to think I had commited some sort of PA herecy by i] failing to read your post, and ii] failing to accept/understand what you'd said was irrefutable fact.
    He was wrong on both counts; but I'm sure even you would agree that we all shouldn't accept something as fact just because RB said it was so. (Notwithstanding the efforts you make to check your facts before asserting them).

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Span .,

    What Haydn said. I've been really stunned at the total absence of actual young people from any of the media coverage of these Big Wig Pow Wows in the last week. If we don't find out from young people what they think might work then we are just going to end up coming up with unworkable plans. Change needs to involve those who we are seeking the change for - something that happens with them not to them. Surely?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sorry to drag you into that RB, my point wasn't to slag you (or upset you).

    I am not easily upset in such situations ;-)

    Notwithstanding the efforts you make to check your facts before asserting them).

    I try and find them out first, and then assert them. Takes longer but saves a lot of grief.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What Haydn said. I've been really stunned at the total absence of actual young people from any of the media coverage of these Big Wig Pow Wows in the last week.

    Have you ever seen boy racers interviewed on TV? They really don't tend to come across well. I remember when Holmes had a couple on when John Banks was fuming and farting about the issue. They appeared so stupid as to make me fear for our future as a nation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    As for the kids perspective, I have one. I have a 16 year old cousin. He's getting his license as fast as he can because he actually is acquainted with public transport, unlike the bulk of oldies pontificating about it. Like most kids, he's already well acquainted with bicycles, skateboards, walking, buses, carpooling etc. And that's EXACTLY why he wants a driver's license. It's incredibly practical. Getting wet riding or waiting hours for a bus, or falling off your board, or walking for hours are things you get over fast.

    That he can probably get a muscle car, even with his meagre income, is a peculiarity of NZ. That he wants to is partly my fault, since he got wood every time he got into any of my sportscars. For all the same reasons they gave me wood - it's a really nice feeling to drive something powerful with superb handling, and a throaty roar.

    Perhaps he is too young for it. I sort of shudder to think what could have happened to me if I had 200hp under me at the age of 16, rather than a clapped out Vauxhall Victor. But I managed to have some nasty crashes even in shit cars. Even the old Victor could do 120 if you pushed it hard enough long enough. I shouldn't have but I did.

    The way I see it, learning not to kill yourself is a part of growing up and you can do it so many more ways than driving a fast car that it's pointless to try to filter out that side of it. Hell, riding a pushbike isn't exactly safe. NZ's road fatalities are just a function of our geography, demographics and level of development.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Rogerd, the US has the 'Ozzie solution' I referred to earlier. You have to be insured, cars cost heaps, they mostly drive tanks and their roads are much bigger and better. I think the insurance idea is not a bad one. As for driving expensive tanks, not my bag at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Anne M,

    I've been really stunned at the total absence of actual young people from any of the media coverage of these Big Wig Pow Wows in the last week. If we don't find out from young people what they think might work then we are just going to end up coming up with unworkable plans. Change needs to involve those who we are seeking the change for - something that happens with them not to them. Surely?

    But they don't want change. They're pretty sure death/permanent injury won't happen to them (and mostly they're lucky enough to be right) and they don't care what others outside their group think. Well, no, maybe they do, they like pissing old farts like me off with donuts at 2 am. So why should they join in, they don't have much to add beyond "go away and leave us alone".

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    "Have you ever seen boy racers interviewed on TV? They really don't tend to come across well."

    I seem to remember in the Old Days that Helen Clark didn't come across well either. TV reporting can definitely pick the worst in people, if they want to.

    The problem is that their are no real spokespeople for boy racers. Just grabbing some kid with a fast car and putting them on the spot is hardly fair.

    I've long thought there's a potential political party in standing up for car enthusiasts, from boy racers right through to 4WDing granddaddies. It could campaign on keeping the cost of cars and petrol down, improving the roads, and keeping the nanny-state out from under my bonnet. I bet it would be super popular. Way more than ACT, anyway. I reckon it would have Green levels of support, and would of course be diametrically opposed to them. Surprised no conservatives have thought of it, but they are famous for lacking ideas.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Common,

    Hat Tip : Kirsten

    I agree that 16 is too young for people to be in sole charge of a vehicle. It's something I've always been uncomfortable about - even when I was a teenager (was why I didn't go for my license until I was in my 20's - that plus I live in Wellington and as such don't need a car).

    The other issue I have is that many people these days see driving as a right and not a privledge - this attitude needs to change IMHO.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The Government isn't assuming the risk. If you choose the wrong Kiwisaver vehicle and it breaks, you lose.

    I keep asking this and keep not getting an answer: how is this different from right now?

    Right now, if my investment tanks, and the Cullen fund tanks, I can rely on the Government raising enough money in taxes to fund my pension.

    If Kiwisaver is the privatisation of superannuation, which will lead to the eventual abolition of Muldoon's National Super, then this is a major difference.

    And if the property market tanks, I still have a house (or two). If my elected kiwisaver fund folds, I have nothing.

    I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but it is a difference from the status quo.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    That he wants to is partly my fault, since he got wood every time he got into any of my sportscars.

    My first thought was "Eww - I hope he's not that kind of uncle" but I know what you're saying Ben! :)
    When I took my 8y.o. nephew for a ride in my new name-of-sports-car-withheld with the top down I was horrified when he immediately egged me on to drive faster faster! And he was deadly serious, and geniunely pissed off with me for not 'racing', and I found it all quite disturbing. Is it in their DNA? I resolved he would be getting no PS2 Driving Games from me for Xmas any longer.
    Your points on why your cousin wants a car are spot on too, Ben. Catching the Tube in London (or Sydney) is a far cry from walking 4km to catch a bus from Birkenhead to Penrose.

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    The real crux of the matter - LOCAL BODY ELECTIONS are coming up and youth don't vote.
    Hell Mikey Havoc is still a youth in local body politics.

    Kia kaha to any who have lost loved ones.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Nobody Important, yup, people talking about using more public transport after being abroad are not basing that on the New Zealand experience of public transport, something I opted out of just as fast as I could pass a written and oral test. Commuting for 3 hours per day to and from school gave me the shits, as did shithead busdrivers insisting on seeing my 'proof of being a schoolie', which a school uniform didn't seem to satisfy. Having them drive past without stopping, come early or late, standing shoulder to shoulder with a press of sweating commuters, walking for miles to the bus stop with a full bag of books, getting caught in the rain, being late for school and getting detention...all these were directly experienced at a young age as fuxored. The only nice thing about public transport to school was hanging out with mates for hours on end, and occasionally getting to sit next to a hot chick. But more often it was some fat wanker who wouldn't move over.

    Re: my *cousin* (not nephew!), yeah he definitely wanted me to let it rip (and again I don't mean...). Most of the time the car trip was his idea, and totally frivolous. I notice since I sold my FULLY WORKED TURBO MR2 (note the lack of shame), he's asked me to take him out a lot less often....
    Perhaps it's Playstation. But I was no different. I think it's youthful exuberance and the celebration of life. Part of the reason I like kids, and NZ for that matter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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