Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: No end of mileage

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  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    I keep waiting for Reverend Lovejoy's wife (from the Simpsons) to pop up on Close Up or Campbell Live with her signature "won't somebody think of the children ??". Did anyone else think it was hilarious to see Clayton Cosgrove side-by-side with the 'yoof' from Tauranga last night? The kid could hardly stop himself from breaking out with a sh*t-eating grin...he was obviously taking it very seriously.

    I also find it bemusing that NZ can't go more than a couple of weeks without finding some way of putting major social concerns squarely on the younger shoulders of the country. Like you point out RB, none of these problems are particularly new...they're just driving flasher cars.

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    Thanks for the clear analysis here Russell.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Reeves,

    Well said, Russell. I was sitting there listening to the coverage on Morning Report thinking much the same---this has turned into a band-wagon for various people to hitch onto.

    I was also wondering how the people pontificating around this issue felt about the child violence debate, which seemed to be the last forum for logorrhea we had to go through: all those mayors and people are telling parents how to interact with their kids---surely some of them thought that wrong when it came to violence against kids, so why is it so importnant that we do it on this issue, suddenly?

    Near Donny Park, Hamilton… • Since Apr 2007 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Chaos Buddha,

    and quite willing to conflate the Edgeware Road vehicle homicide and last weekend's drag racing accident

    . . . impressive word mofo.

    con·flate (kən-flāt')
    tr.v. con·flat·ed, con·flat·ing, con·flates

    1. To bring together; meld or fuse: "The problems [with the biopic] include . . . dates moved around, lovers deleted, many characters conflated into one" (Ty Burr).
    2. To combine (two variant texts, for example) into one whole.

    Nirvana • Since May 2007 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Hah, I said to my flatmate this morning as we watched all the hand wringing on breakfast TV that the only solution for boy racers is to wait for them to grow up and keep improving the highways in the meantime. And as for the relative benefits of National's proposed tax cuts vs. Kiwisaver, I'd like to see Working For Families added to that graph.

    National's (and the right in general) response to the budget has been confused and muted and they were very slow in developing any sort of coherent criticism. The government got a week of positive media before the Nat's came up with anything beyond sycophantic praise of Key's response in the house. What they have come back with now is shrill sophistry (typified by DPF) and a tired half-hearted beating on the tax cut drum. Not very inspiring.

    Oh, and how long is the media going to persist with allowing John Key to continually contradict himself depending on the question? Its driving me nuts.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Fox,

    Classic moral panic stuff here I reckon, but that doesnt stop me getting pissed off when dickheads in a suped up motors with fuck off exhausts go haring past our house at 3am. Generally though the worse drivers on the road here are the baby boomers in suv's trying to deal with the fact that there's a whole lot more traffic on the roads than 20 years ago by driving their Tanks down the middle of the road and expecting the traffic to part before them like the red sea. As a Londoner I find the whole boy racer sub culture very provincial, uncreative and boring and my sympathy is subsequent diminshed as a result. Either that or middle age is just turning me into mean spirited old git.

    Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    I have some sympathy for Celia Lashlie's "parents need to learn to say no" position - if parents required from their teenagers a bit more information, and set some clear guidelines (yes, you can go to a party this weekend, as long as you have an invitation, you know the person who is holding the party, we have contact numbers including landlines to get hold of you, if you're 16 or under then parents or supervising adults have to be in attendance) a lot of the "teen" problem may well disappear.

    But to say it's a lot worse now than it was 20 years ago is a little disingenuous - I think back to the sorts of things I was doing at 18-19 and just hope than none of my children get up to the same sorts of things.

    And it's important to stay out of ordinary people's lives when smacking is the issue, but equally important to get involved in their lives when boy racers or child deaths is the issue? Cab't have it both ways, people....

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Chaos Buddha,

    Did anyone else think it was hilarious to see Clayton Cosgrove side-by-side with the 'yoof' from Tauranga last night?

    I can't take Cosgrove seriously at all.

    I mean, the man is the spitting image of Sam the Eagle from The Muppets, and you're always expecting him to tangent off into a 'this is serious' rant . . .

    Nirvana • Since May 2007 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Another scene from the War on Youth, a distraction away from the feckless, self-centred, short-sighted complacency of our elders...

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I have some sympathy for Celia Lashlie's "parents need to learn to say no" position - if parents required from their teenagers a bit more information, and set some clear guidelines ...

    Yeah, and I do think there are parents - including wealthy, middle-class people in Auckland's inner 'burbs - who simply don't take sufficient interest in where their kids are at night.

    But I'm not sure a bunch of hick mayors on a "Jobs Taskforce" are the right people to be assuming "leadership" in decreeing parenting practice to the nation.

    And it's important to stay out of ordinary people's lives when smacking is the issue, but equally important to get involved in their lives when boy racers or child deaths is the issue? Cab't have it both ways, people....

    Quite. It would be interesting to know how the mayors dispensing parenting tips yesterday felt about the Child Discipline Bill. But the perpetrator in Christchurch was 22, and the victim in Tauranga was 20. They're both accountable adults.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It shows the age of these anti-boy-racers that they still think engine capacity is the only factor in power. Never heard of a turbo? Big bore exhausts? DOHC? VTEC? NOS? It's not just for kids to inhale u know..

    I love those quotes:

    "this is a society not braying for blood"

    I guess that's because we're not donkeys.

    and

    "who's going to grab hold of this broad issue and try and bring this village of four million people back online again?"

    I didn't know we ever had 4 million online. I like the imagery of grabbing hold of a broad issue, though. I see some councillor manfully struggling with a pilates ball.

    The Sawyer stuff is the best though, he really needs to get his village back online so he can log into Kiwiblog.


    As for the boy racer problem, the ozzies have an interesting solution. Firstly, cars are ridiculously expensive thanks to protection of Holden and Ford plants. So any kid who actually can afford a fast car has more to lose from dinging it. Secondly, insurance is compulsory over there, and the car can be confiscated if you don't have it. The insurance companies pretty much charge any boy racer a massive premium. A powerful car is an instant premium tripler. Any aftermarket mods up the premiums too. So basically kids are priced out of fast cars.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    National's (and the right in general) response to the budget has been confused and muted and they were very slow in developing any sort of coherent criticism.

    That's because if your political position is grounded in the Protestant work ethic (something I have about as much time for as I do Christianity in general), its awfully difficult to criticise saving. It's also difficult to criticise when that policy may be central to a large number of kiwis home-ownership aspirations - not something any party would sensibly want to get on the wrong side of.

    As for adding Working For Families to the graph, it depends on how many kids you have, and I'm not up on where all the thresholds are. But the fact that people are better off with Kiwi Saver alone is a powerful point for the government.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Oh, and how long is the media going to persist with allowing John Key to continually contradict himself depending on the question? Its driving me nuts

    About as long as the media's going to keep running editorial puff pieces on KiwiSaver that any other financial institution would have to have to pay for - and have clearly marked as advertising? This isn't pure partisan bitchery, because I've not been impressed by the media coverage of the budget full stop -- especially when it's centrepiece is going to have profound long-term effects.

    As for the moral panic de jour, I wonder when anyone will ask these concerned mayors how well the laws we already have on the books concerning the sale of alcohol are being enforced -- fines, repeal of licences etc.? Piss-poorly would be the answer, I suspect.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    It's the fact that nothing much happens in New Zealand. So the media has to focus on that little which does go on.

    Go and look at www.guardian.co.uk or www.nytimes.com.

    How many road accident stories do you see - almost none? (For today the Guardian has none and the New York Times has a bus crash with two fatalities. Dumb kids rolling cars? I'm sure it happened, but it's not newsworthy in a city with real stuff going on.

    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. Could end up in something like the Blackbird Leys riots.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But the fact that people are better off with Kiwi Saver alone is a powerful point for the government.

    I never thought I'd say this, but I thought Lila Harre actually made an interesting point on Nine to Noon's politics segment yesterday. (And so did Matthew Hooten, just to add insult to injury.) Have we seen, in effect, the privatisation of superannuation - and the nationalisation od any risk, which should be a real concern given the rather *cough* uneven history of returns on such schemes - through massive transfers of public money to the affluent? Sounds OK to me, on a purely ideological tip, but it's rather ironic that you can argue Cullen has done without a peep from the left what George Bush couldn't over the last six, even with his own party in control of Capitol Hill.

    Discuss. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    OTOH, I don't understand why we don't have compulsory insurance. And a no-claims system on ACC so your rego goes up if you have injury accidents.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Look, Russell, mate, doing this research thing and finding facts to support your argument may win you a Quantas Award for best blog, but real journalism is about getting the opinions of an ex-All Black. Everyone knows that ex-All Blacks have experience and wisdom; after all, they are Role Models.

    Norm Hewitt has experience of drinking binges and ranch-slider management issues, so obviously he is qualified to talk about boy racers. You can't argue with that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Ben: But you forget that people doing the sorts of jobs that young people do earn 50% more per hour in Australia.

    As far as I can tell there are as many boy racers in Australia - however due to the tarriffs they drive Holdens and Fords instead of Japanese imports - and are thus seen as young patriots instead of young threats to all that is Good.

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Craig, no we have not seen the privatisation yet. It may come. Kiwisaver may have even made it more likely. Some time in the future when there's heaps of money saved, and the problem of poor old folks is less, I'd think. But not now. So it's not really ironic.

    I'm more interested in the economic effects. It's potentially quite a big change to the way NZers use their money, and that has to have effects. Will they be inflationary? Or growth inhibiting? Or the opposite of both fears? I find both scenarios plausible, so I guess we'll have to wait and see. But either way, I'm personally going to save, since that's one thing all money managers are unanimous about - saving for retirement is a sensible plan for some of your money.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Jonty,

    That twat Clarkson has a bloody great race track at The Mount which lies empty most of every week. Why doesn't he open the gates wide and let the youngsters charge around in there?

    Katikati • Since Mar 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Ackroyd,

    Can't find it on radionz audio but I swear I heard Harry Duynhoven on Morning Report calling young people stupid - in the most general way. Not boy racers, not drunk teens; young people.
    Way to go, Harry. Youth vote, anyone?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 159 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    this is a society not braying for blood

    Not that it matters I suppose, haven't looked it up, but isn't it baying for blood? (Or the full moon, whichever is more convenient at the time).

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Craig: Using Esping-Anderson's famous typology of welfare states it would seem that retirement insurances is becoming an artefact of a "Conservative" state model (in the vein of Germany or Austria), where certain minimums of provision are set (i.e NZ Super) supplemented by programs that reflect existing inequalities in income (ie. the Kiwisaver).

    These welfare state practices are seen as products of political compromises between socialists and the middle-classes (ie. standing between Swedish-style models, and US residualistic models), in allowing redistribution but also supporting higher levels of benefits for the monied classes.

    In the NZ context, with a lack of a large historic socialist constituency and a generally Anglo- liberal political culture, it makes a lot of political sense.

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Anne M,

    I have some sympathy for Celia Lashlie's "parents need to learn to say no" position - if parents required from their teenagers a bit more information, and set some clear guidelines

    Yes, that's fair enough when we're talking about the 16 year-olds killed at the Ccch party. But how many boy racers are 16? And how does a parent tell a 19 year-old with a job and income that he's not going to buy a V8 or drive it at 2 am?

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    the perpetrator in Christchurch was 22, and the victim in Tauranga was 20. They're both accountable adults.

    Darn right. A male friend of mine wrote off two cars when he was 16, one after the other. His parents wouldn't let him buy a third. But those were $600 cars back then (yes, I'm reverting to the "back when I was kid" argument) and there didn't seem to be such carnage back then. When my sisters BF rolled his car she went flying out the back window, landing safely, because they didn't wear seatbelts in those days.

    I don't understand why we don't have compulsory insurance. And a no-claims system on ACC so your rego goes up if you have injury accidents.

    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 ...

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

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