Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Policy, finally

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  • BenWilson,

    Actually, I'm reliably told that the Foundation for the Blind is really quite anti them for this reason. (cue image of blind person stepping out on a quiet street and taking a Prius in the side at 40kmh)

    Yup, it's something I noticed about driving a loud muscle car. I never had even the slightest whiff of anyone stepping/cycling in front of me. Children would look up from the ball they were chasing. Dogs would veer back to the footpath. Cyclists would pull over.

    As for getting a Prius, I've had my eye on the second hand market for about 5 years and they've never even looked like entering the price range I find acceptable. If it's about saving money, the Prius won't, unless you're the kind of person who wastes a lot of money on cars in the first place. Good on you, I'll buy it from you in 5 years for a reasonable price. Or not.

    I can't get into the carbon guilt thing. There is no such thing as a reasonable footprint, just an affordable one. I have no problem with the true costs being passed on by way of various carbon taxes, but I'm still going to rip around in a muscle car, until it becomes prohibitively expensive. Because I like to. It's something I enjoy doing. Sitting on a stink bus or waiting 50 years for a train line to be built is cool. I wish everyone else would, so that I can use the roads we already have, which we always had as long as I've been alive, using the incredible invention known as the automobile.

    Until gas costs $10 a litre it's going to be heaps cheaper to use the car for most things I do, and it will always be more convenient for them. There never will be any kind of public transport that can get me from Avondale to Downtown Auckland in 10 minutes without walking or getting wet, carrying a big load, including an infant child, listening to my music and in a comfortable and spacious seat, eating something, smoking something, farting with impunity, changing my mind with impunity about where I'm going, talking on the cellphone as loud as I like, dropping patches, fishtails and donuts, and all for a few grand. Never, never, ever. You'd have to talk yourself into how cool being in a bus is with an incredibly persuasive voice, because the simple evidence of your senses is ample argument against. They suck. I used to have to catch 2 to get to school for years and years and it fucken sucked balls. I got a car as soon as I could and I've never looked back.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    So you could have your Prius sitting at the lights thudding like it was a suped up Skyline

    Why think small. If you're going to geek up your car, make it sound like the Jetson's spacecar, or an X-Wing fighter, or Darth Vader's TIE fighter... If I wanted a car that sounded like a skyline, I'd buy a skyline. I think Honda here in town have a second-hand one...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Infrastructure is where it's at, parrallel Infrastructure.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I/S - just wanted to say thanks - you make it comprehensible, and I'm sure it takes you a fair bit of work to master all the setail and the digest out for lazy ones like me ;-)

    Much appreciated.

    Me too.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    You'd have to talk yourself into how cool being in a bus is with an incredibly persuasive voice . . .

    Which reminds me - why do those people who sit up front and talk out loud to the driver always have such chronic speech impediments?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3386 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    The government has taken a gradualist/consensus-building approach to this issue which to me seems to be the best long term approach.

    For example, they've reached a compromise position with the foresters.

    Getting interest groups and the public on side rather than shouting at them is always going to get actual results, although it may not serve the emotional needs of some.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Which reminds me - why do those people who sit up front and talk out loud to the driver always have such chronic speech impediments?

    Cause if they sat further back the driver either wouldn't hear or understand them?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Which reminds me - why do those people who sit up front and talk out loud to the driver always have such chronic speech impediments?

    Avoid the front and the back of the bus, cos that's where the trouble is.

    The front of the bus is for the crazy people who want to talk to the driver, eldery who want a short walk to the door, and tourists who are paranoid of missing their stop.

    The back of the bus is for gangsta school children who want to scratch their name on the glass, and crazy-arse people who huff paint.

    Although, the middle of the bus has produced an old guy who tried to pick me up with his awesome seduction techniques ("Soooo, having a quiet one tonight?") and the seat some kids had covered with glue stick, that I didn't realise until I stood up and my jeans stuck to the seat.

    The bus is a huge source of creative inspiration for me.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1851 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The bus is a huge source of creative inspiration for me.

    I feel that way about the car. The fear of death stills the mind from the irrelevances of life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Cause if they sat further back the driver either wouldn't hear or understand them?

    I can hear them up the back, right there amongst the ganstas & the kids who like to suck face & watch their reflection in the window while they're doing it. Doesn't explain the speech impediments.
    I wonder, why is it always people who talk like Elmer Fudd who fancy themselves as bus orators? It's like the village cripple doing Saturday Night Fever.
    Robyn's right, though - on a good day you overhear some marvelously bizarre stuff, even if you can't make it all out because of someone's congenital cleft palate or badly fitting dentures.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3386 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Yup, it's something I noticed about driving a loud muscle car. I never had even the slightest whiff of anyone stepping/cycling in front of me. Children would look up from the ball they were chasing. Dogs would veer back to the footpath. Cyclists would pull over.

    And the foxy ladies would pull their skirts up just a little bit higher ...

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    And the foxy ladies would pull their skirts up just a little bit higher ...

    ...where they belong. Praise be the mighty auto.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    One time four years or so ago I got on the bus at Mt Cook. I was late for work, as usual, so the bus wasn't completely full.

    There was some bastard stinking of meths haranguing anyone who made eye contact. He had that creamy yellow spittle that you only get on the serious madman. I started to talk to him, because I'm like that. He didn't make much sense, but what does it hurt to give a loon a little attention?

    As we got into town a young guy next to his wife and child told Mr Meths to back off, with fists. Mr Meths was all "I'm gonna kill im. I'm gonna kill you". He didn't look like he could do much beyond staying upright, but he was lurching and gesturing and who knew what he might do?

    A stop or two later, somewhere just before Dixon St, young guy got off. And he turned to me and said: "I have to got to work. Take care of my missus, will you?"

    So I did. I talked to Mr Meths. He said he was going to see his doctor. He said They killed his son. I asked where his doctor was. I asked after his boy. And so on, all the way to the end of Lambton Quay. Then Mr Meths and I got off together, and bubs and the missus went wherever safely. The driver, who I could see was watching in his mirror the whole time, never did a damned thing.

    Meths guy wandered off somewhere, and I got to work. I realised I was soaking sweaty.

    And that's what we call Care In The Community.

    Oh yeah.

    Whisky. Active ingredient: ethanol 45%. Interesting ingredients: insufficient space.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    I heard David Parker speak at Otago today. He's obviously stoked that most people like their plan, and he still loves his electric cars. Every time I've seen a presentation by him he's had a slide of a different one.

    One (at least) excellent thing though, $3.7 million ear-marked for biochar (terra preta) research.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    "And that's what we call Care In The Community"

    Come now Stephen, this was a single event, thus proving Care in the Community works (even if a few in the community don't).

    Just maybe a man capable of making it to his Docs by bus doesn't need a wrap around jacket and fortnightly cattle prod to the brain?

    Most the people on Christchurch buses seem pretty normal.

    Radio Ron is still riding the buses but some buggar taught him to swear a few years back.

    Someone should video the Late Buses, on the hour after midnight they depart the strip to the 12 cnrs of Christchurch, best entertainment $5 will get you all night.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Eeeeeeeeeeeee…….pop…..burst….explosion of expletives….<sound of drunken head exploding badly>

    F**k me

    Am I the only person who finds this thread offensive ?

    Let me get this right

    Much of this thread revolves around the idea that the answer to our problems is to buy nicer cars:

    Lets ignore the fact that such conspicuous consumption is unsustainable (no, we really can’t keep buying such large amounts of personal stuff)…lets look at the pathetic string of anecdotes that reflect the prevailing consumerist philosophy of, I will pay, expend and exploit what is necessary in order not to share my space with others (which includes the poor and mentally ill).

    If public transport doesn’t work, then figure out how to make it work ! Don’t trot out the same string of rubbish supporting the belief that it can’t ‘cos it’s Auckland.

    Sorry guys; my wife catches a bus, I walk most of the time. The car never does less than one job per trip. People like us wait for the day Auckland invests and legislates for public transport in the same way that is does for roads. We still walk from the Veg shop to home, it can be done.

    I guess I’m disappointed that a group of people who are largely smarter and better informed than me can’t see beyond their own dashboard. It’s really kind of sad and self serving.

    BTW. My wife is a PITA, she also talks to bus drivers…she doesn’t have a speech impediment in fact she has just won a prize for presenting at a medical conference. Are your communication skills that good ? Shove your stereotypes, this ain’t the time, it smacks of people who have heard a lot but not actually seen that much.

    Sorry, I lost my sense of humour over this a long time ago.

    No, I’m not trolling just passionate and personal on this one.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 723 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    By the way, it's World Carfree Day today. The slogan is "Go carfree and don't stop". So there's a challenge to work towards.

    http://www.worldcarfree.net/wcfd/

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    :

    We still walk from the Veg shop to home, it can be done.

    Bloody obvous that you never get out much, otherwise you'd have noticed the phenomenon of the vanishing vege shop.

    It's Saturday AM, and I'm off on my non-self-righteous beat-up Chinese bike to buy my veges at the goddam market, rather than contribute to the supermarket monopoly that has brought about the extinction of the local vege shop - something that largely persists in the imagination of inner-city tossers.

    As for your lovely wife, one doesn't 'present' at medical conferences while pulling a Stagecoach income. Nice of her to condescend to adressing the lumpenpoles.

    Shove your passionate and personal stereotypes.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3386 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    lets look at the pathetic string of anecdotes that reflect the prevailing consumerist philosophy of, I will pay, expend and exploit what is necessary in order not to share my space with others (which includes the poor and mentally ill).

    81st, as far as I can tell, at least one of the people you're lecturing doesn't own a car and actually takes the bus, rather than just preaching about it.

    My darling takes the bus. I don't commute; I'm in the CBD no more than once a week. Now that the weather's getting nicer I daresay I'll nip up to the shops on my bike more often.

    But if I were to take the bus (three buses, actually) to Newmarket on a Thursday, that would be at least another hour my boy was at home on his own. His tutor's only in Grey Lynn, but if we bused there and back that'd be the morning buggered, and I do need to earn money. And when you're shopping for a family, walking back from the supermarket isn't very practical. The fact is, we couldn't get by without a car. And I suspect that, for all the righteousness of your post, neither could you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18726 posts Report Reply

  • Aaron Skelton,

    living in California for 20 years drives the 'dirty car bad' meme into you quite firmly - I wish WOFs tested emissions the amount of crap spewing on NZ streets is really sad

    I really think a policy such as this implemented in NZ would further see the flow of money from poor to rich. In general poor people own older and less 'clean' cars, emissions testing for the public would only penalise people with no money already, while richer people with newer cleaner cars will most likely not have to pay anything to pass an emissions test.

    I would prefer it if the onus was put on to car manufacturers to meet certain emissions standards which are raised every 3-5 years or so, increasing the amount of clean cars from the top. It would take longer to get emissions under control, but at least it would protect those on the margins who need a car for work, but can barely keep it running as it is.

    I'm not quite sure how you would tackle the problem of imports though.. Maybe anyone importing a car has to pass an emissions test, although maybe not as strict as the one for new cars.. *shrug* I dunno.

    West Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Technolodgy is the problem, either too polluting or too pricy. We need to look at why & how we use it.

    There really is no need to drop kids off at the school gate, if we had school buses. These could then be used on smaller route or tours etc. before returning the cherised ones home again.
    Of course school buses wouldn't be needed with parralel infrastructer for cycles so a nine yr old would be safe to cycle to school.

    Tech got us to this point, has taken us to the moon, & can take us to Mars. Why do we want to go to Mars again? Why can't your kids bike to school?

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    merc, I think you've misread some of us - those bus tales are (at least in my case) from regular bus commuters, and should be read as rueful observations from people who are already bus users, not as disparaging reasons to stay in your car from drivers.

    I must admit that I was taken aback by Russell's claim that you can breath by the LA freeway. The first thing I noticed in LA was the oddly dull light on a sunny day and the orange haze on the horizon everywhere. The air there may be better than it was but it's still horrible.

    Re Auckland: for the last three years while I lived there, people would look at me as though I were crazy when I told them I biked or bussed to work (from Greenlane). It is a very car-orientated culture, and that feeds on itself.

    The success of the North Shore park and ride service shows that there are good things that can be done though.

    I'd like to see a community strategy to get kids walking and biking to school. We all know that morning traffic is largely parents doing to school run, dropping their darlings off because the traffic's too dangerous!

    And I have to admit that it was easy for me to bus because I lived within a couple of blocks of Great South Road, where the buses are frequent at times. Outside a few arterial routes Auckland is a complete pain by bus. The best bus transport is in the suburbs where the rich people live and walking is possible - it's no wonder usage isn't going up. A Perth style North-South rail line, maybe with one E-W branch, and with bus feeders would totally change the proposition.

    MF: that guy I wrote about wasn't really on his way to the doctor, believe me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I’m disappointed that a group of people who are largely smarter and better informed than me can’t see beyond their own dashboard. It’s really kind of sad and self serving.

    Er, but surely if we're "largely smarter and better informed than [you]" then --by definition-- it must be you that is wrong. We have looked so far ahead that we have come back to a position just behind the dashboard.

    Why do we want to go to Mars again?

    yes, there's a conspiracy there somewhere. Why are the rich taking space flights? Why is the US spending so much money on space exploration? Do they know something about this planet's future that we don't?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    <squelching sound of hungover head still oooozing>

    I’m happy to appear a self righteous prick over this, if it does encourage a second or third extra thought.

    Joe-

    something that largely persists in the imagination of inner-city tossers

    Wrong on two counts: My veg shop is about 1.5 km away, I live on the shore. I concede however, that it probably wouldn’t exist were it not for the parking spaces around it. Which is as you rightly imply is my concern.

    As for your lovely wife, one doesn't 'present' at medical conferences while pulling a Stagecoach income. Nice of her to condescend to adressing the lumpenpoles.

    Correct, my wife actually does this on less than a stagecoach wage. In order to present she applied for grants and stayed in a hostel. If canvassing the opinion of others is regarded as condescending then I do apologise. I always thought it was worse to regard people as invisible. BTW – she is only lovely some of the time.

    Russ-

    I do hear what you have said. But I stand by the sentiment if not the words here. Talking about how nice (or strange, ugly etc.) eco cars are and stereotyping people who use public transport is IMHO a nasty distraction. We all remember and report the loon on the bus which I would argue is an infrequent instance amongst many trips. The risk is that such tales make PT appear even more unpleasant than it really is and doesn’t develop ideas to make it better. The debate is about why you (and I at times) still find it easier/cheaper to go by car and whether current policy is in any probability likely to change that. This is a debate that needs revisiting and reinforcing regularly. I am looking at my council election forms trying to figure out which councillors would actually not vote car, which is really difficult, worryingly so. It is really easy to get sidetracked into a debate about what we might buy rather than what we should do in the broader sense.

    Er, but surely if we're "largely smarter and better informed than [you]" then --by definition-- it must be you that is wrong. We have looked so far ahead that we have come back to a position just behind the dashboard.

    <Giggles> No answer to that, other than to qualify now as people I thought were smarter than me. Perhaps I am getting really stupid really quick…..hmmm starts arguing with self….

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 723 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    81st column, i mixed you up with merc, sorry.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

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