Tyre marks​

In Newsletter Editorial3 MinutesBy Dave McCoidJuly 16, 2021

Butterflies and artwork on roads, streets, or carriageways was too much for me last week. Gav did a fantastic job of conveying the angst that permeated the office.

What’s in a name? Everything apparently. Roads, streets, motorways, expressways. For me, they’re all names for getting people or their crap from one place to another. Yes, there are some carriageways we’d prefer HPMVs only entered when they absolutely needed to, and we all know push bikes and hitch-hiking are prohibited from motorways. I’m sure the latter will come under pressure at some point on the grounds of discriminating against people wanting to undertake personal mobility in an environmentally considerate way. Once upon a time, we enforced all these restrictions with signs, rules, and fines.

And let’s face it. Watch the SUVs – and RUVs – that turn up at any school for pick-up and drop-off, and see how many kids get in and out, and you’ll understand what people really think about minimising vehicular impact on urban ‘ecosystems’.

The NZTA believes spending more than $600,000 on absurd art and decorations to keep cars off Nelson’s Tipahi Street is seen as a better spend than, say, the same amount to help keep vehicles ‘on’ the Lewis Pass or Takaka Hill. I had a Northland carrier contact me saying that less than two weeks after Transport Minister Woods told a meeting in the Whangarei Council Chambers that the government was committed to the Whangarei-to-Ruakaka four-lane project, it was binned. Shortly after, we had the Auckland Harbour cycle bridge, and now the oh-so-2021 ladybirds-for-rules initiative above.

Human behaviour is an interesting thing. There’s been increased commentary from several quarters recently decoding how this government works. I’ve commented on it before; it’s simply stonewall everyone and treat them with contempt until cornered, then do something. It comes back to my old chestnut of each party having respect for each other’s potential sway. Many less powerful petitioners turn to mainstream media at its sensationalist best to garner an artificial level of influence. That seems to work.

We don’t need to do that, yet currently, the government has no respect for us at all. In fact, our relationship with the government is akin to the police and gangs currently. The gangs flood the streets and do whatever they like if there’s a funeral or something on, and the police response is to tell the public to keep out of their way. That only has one long-term outcome.

Likewise, we lobby with no hint of inherent clout to a platitude-infused administration, fundamentally hostile to our cause or needs based on the lunacy of an ill-informed ideology. Consequently, they ‘ride their Harleys’ all over us, often, with impunity.

Go the farmers today.

All the best

Dave McCoid