Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Staying Alive

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  • nzlemming, in reply to Sacha,

    Naturally you heard all about that at the time. Transparency only works when the rest of the political system is functioning properly.

    I think I just cut myself on your tongue...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2818 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Most people, though, have options to walk, bicycle, catch a bus, etc.

    Well I don't intend to spend hours with a GIS proving this, but suspect that a large proportion of NZ has no bus service and is beyond reasonable walking or cycling distance from anywhere that does.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5543 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    a large proportion of NZ

    In terms of land area, sure. In terms of population? NZ is very highly urbanised.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2384 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Yes, anyone living in Piha is either stuck in Piha, or uses a car. It is physically possible to ride or walk it, but don't, if you value your life, without substantial preparation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to BenWilson,

    Or anyone who needs to visit somebody in a rural (or semi-rural - places like Piha and numerous Wellington suburbs are off the grid as far as public transport is concerned) area.

    We could have a Postbus service that goes everywhere, as in Europe, but we don't.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5543 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    excellent

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19428 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    We could have a Postbus service that goes everywhere, as in Europe, but we don’t.

    We did used to have (the old RNZ bus network – but even back in the early 1970s, it didnt come into Big O (or many other tiny off -main-road Coast communities.))

    A car has been essential for everyone who lived or lives in the area: it’s a 13k walk out to the main road (people with buggered knees, like myself, cant do that- or ride bikes out, for that matter) and the road used to be unsealed and prone to slipping…right up until the mid-1980s.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Or anyone who needs to visit somebody in a rural (or semi-rural – places like Piha and numerous Wellington suburbs are off the grid as far as public transport is concerned) area.

    Indeed. People often wring hands about what the post-oil city is going to look like, and how we can plan for it etc. But the post-oil countryside is a much bleaker prospect.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to James Butler,

    Our ancestors managed quite alright in a pre-car countryside, and that wasn't all that long ago. I'm sure we'll think of something, either going back to old tech horse and cart or finding replacement fuels.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2384 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Islander,

    But the post-oil countryside is a much bleaker prospect.

    I doubt there will ever be a post-fuel countryside. They can make fuel themselves. In the long run, it will be one of the only things that would justify ICEs continuing to exist. And they will get all the fuel at the end of the oil supply, when rationing demands it. Maybe construction will still have a heavy need, for remote works.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    A car has been essential for everyone who lived or lives in the area:

    Or the vehicle with four legs? I imagine it's how all got by out your way before the oil-age.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    That we have shit public transport still doesn't give you a right to be in control of a lethal weapon, IMO. You could argue that farmers have a right to destroy vermin that threaten their livelihoods, too, but we wouldn't accept it as a justification for giving out firearms licences.

    When you are being given the power to kill people, affirmative controls on your freedom to use that power are justified by the need to protect others.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4091 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to George Darroch,

    Kia ora George -originally most people got here by walking &/or waka, but when a corduroy track was put in in the gold rush 1860s, horses - especially packhorses- became a favourite method of transport. There still were 3 horses around the
    settlement when I arrived in 1974 (used for rounding up semi-wild cattle mainly) but there hasnt been any more for decades.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to George Darroch,

    Or the vehicle with four legs? I imagine it's how all got by out your way before the oil-age.

    Does seem like a bit of an unnecessary step backwards. Farms have so many options for fuel generation, and such a justifiable need, as part of the human food supply chain, that I can't see horses taking a realistic part in it again. Riding them will still be something that only country people regularly enjoy, though.

    Biofuel. Electric industrial vehicles. These things already exist. Horses don't have to be worked to death any more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to BenWilson,

    Horses don’t have to be worked to death any more.

    Ben, there are still farms where afficionados of heavy horses largely work their farms by horse-power (mainly in Otago/Southland.) They go places where the machines cant, and they learn from their jobs.

    Even in the bad old days, the majority of horses were *not* worked to death: they were reguarded as work companions and a good horseman/woman's first
    job was to to the care (food, water, wellbeing) of their horse/s before their own-

    not trying to romanticise the past, or the horsey presence then or today* but I think they and other draft animals (mules, donkeys, llama) will continue to have a place - and rurally, maybe a major place in the future.

    *I am not a horse nut. I admire their power & speed and beauty, but have never had any inclination to get involved with them.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    One does still see donkeys and mules working even in downtown Beijing. I've also seen water buffalo at work in rice paddies in south China.

    I'm inclined to think a good horseperson will take care of their horses the way any good farmer will maintain their machinery, the difference being that the horses have personality and can and do learn (as you point out) and interact with the people around them.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2384 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I’m inclined to think a good horseperson will take care of their horses the way any good farmer will maintain their machinery

    Indeed Chris- because there times, past & present (and putting aside any notions of
    appreciation/love for the animal itself) when your life would depend on the animal's wellbeing...

    Just incidentally, & creeping offthread, when I was a teenager, I talked to quite a few of my Nana's surviving friends (who were majorly farming folk around Oamaru/Waianakarua& Waikouaiti.) Time & again they remembered old long-dead horses (and dogs, and sometimes cats) as standouts in their experience of life...yep, the people they grieved over were very important also, but
    the animals seemed to be...more present? in their recollections...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    when your life would depend on the animal’s wellbeing…

    Oh, of course, but I was actually thinking, and poorly expressing, of the relationship and emotional bond formed, just like your Nana's friends.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2384 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to BenWilson,

    Horses don’t have to be worked to death any more.

    What Islander said. No-one but an arsehole works a horse to death. Sometimes, Ben, your arguments smack more of wanting an argument than of making a logical point.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2818 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Quite a lot of people kill each other with cooking fires. Maybe one shouldn't be allowed lethal weapons such as cookers without passing a regular and comprehensive test of competence and concentration. After all you can survive perfectly well on sandwiches and salad.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5543 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I was thinking along similar lines regarding hammers and knives, but one most draw the line somewhere. It is reasonable to expect any adult to be able to teach any child to use hammers, knives and cooking fires responsibly without endangering others (yes, I know, there's a lot of irresponsible adults out there, but... ) but everyday use of a motor vehicle involves a much higher level of risk. One can learn to hammer a nail or cook a basic meal fairly quickly and easily, but learning to drive requires much more practice over a much longer period of time.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2384 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    One can learn to hammer a nail or cook a basic meal fairly quickly and easily, but learning to drive requires much more practice over a much longer period of time.

    Also, one moment of distraction while using a hammer is likely to cause only a sore thumb, rather than wipe out a family coming the other way.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2818 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to BenWilson,

    And they [=internal combustion engines] will get all the fuel at the end of the oil supply, when rationing demands it.

    Really? Fuel is the most wasteful possible use of petrochemicals. By any logical measure, oil’s use as a chemical feedstock for plastics should have much higher priority at a stage when rationing becomes necessary. There are other possible sources of energy .

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1765 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to nzlemming,

    your arguments smack more of wanting an argument than of making a logical point.

    I am sorry about that, really. I didn't mean much more by that throwaway than that all the work all the horses in the world could produce wouldn't be enough to maintain the level of production that we currently have. It's a nice thought in some ways, that humanity could require horses for working farms again one day, but short of an apocalypse, I don't see it being necessary. Also, I don't think an apocalypse is likely. But you're right, there's no need for an argumentative tone on such wild speculations, which are also way off topic.

    By any logical measure, oil’s use as a chemical feedstock for plastics should have much higher priority at a stage when rationing becomes necessary.

    Could be. If farming could use entirely renewable energy. I hope.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10504 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to linger,

    Our roads are also made of oil. Keeping them repaired might prove interesting. Can always dig up extra lanes to keep some open, I guess. Considerate of Steven Joyce to lay in a supply.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19428 posts Report Reply

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