web analytics

LocalBodies: Transport Poverty, Bicycles Needed.

Written By: - Date published: 4:51 pm, April 1st, 2014 - 20 comments
Categories: transport - Tags:

The original of this post is here.

I spent last Saturday helping out with a cycling promotion in an Invercargill community market. The market occurs monthly and has been largely driven by a community minded, and recently elected city councillor, Rebecca Amundsen to revitalize a less affluent part of the city and generate a sense of community. Through her leadership the market has become an established event and the car park where the market is held has received extra funding for landscaping and public toilets have been built.

The idea of the cycling promotion was that children could bring their bikes, grab a ‘bike licence’ and collect stickers for completing a quiz, an obstacle course, a skill test and have their bike checked for safety. If all were completed satisfactorily then they got a bag of bike related goodies (bike bell, puncture repair kit etc). I was managing the skill test or ‘Turtle Race’ which involved taking the longest possible time to get between two points in a straight line without feet touching the ground. It was a lot of fun.

Sadly there were a number of children who wanted to take part, and could ride a bike, but they didn’t own one. The fact that quite a number of children didn’t have bikes shook my middle class perception that all New Zealand kids must have access to a bike. A quick phone call to my wife enabled the delivery of my folding bike that I could adjust for a range of ages and bikeless children could use.

The ‘Bike Doctor’ (who was doing the safety checks) bases himself at the nearby Invercargill Environment Centre and, for a donation, repairs bikes and fixes up donated bikes to be given away. I was told that he can’t get enough bikes to meet the demand. Apparently there are even people approaching him for transport to get to work as they no longer have a car or can’t afford to repair one. I have also noticed a growing number of people cycling in Invercargill on older bikes and whose appearance suggests they are struggling financially. While cycling is obviously a healthy and practical choice of transport many are obviously doing it because they have no choice.

This Government’s obsession with roads and cars, and their lack of investment in safe cycling and reliable public transport, ignores the fact that while high income families may own several cars, at the other end of the spectrum there are a growing number of families that not only can’t afford a house or a car, but struggle to own bicycles as well.

20 comments on “LocalBodies: Transport Poverty, Bicycles Needed.”

  1. Ad 1

    Excellent regional regional reality.
    Transport in cities can get to $150 a week with parking factored in.
    In Auckland it’s calculated as 15% of weekly spend as a household average.

    You are the first here to describe transport as a marker of class. Transport poverty is not only about daily stress, and ones defined spatial and mental realm, it’s also a threshold of personal freedom. Very real. Well cashed black economy workers in Kaitaia roll their v8 hemis through town as a grand signifier. Year 8s say it with a freestyle dirtbike with trick accessories.

    You ain’t moving into upper working or lower middle class without wheels – without them on many levels you are stuck.

    By the way, even Gerry gets this. Watch this space when his next govt policy statement comes out.

    • weka 1.1

      “Excellent regional regional reality.”

      Yep, very good post.

      Is there a recyle centre in Invers? What’s happening to the bikes no-one wants?

      • Dave kennedy 1.1.1

        Yes there is, but the bikes at the recycle centre are generally in poor condition and would need attention to get properly roadworthy again. Our Environment Centre bike doctor has bikes donated and he ensures that they are functional and safe before passing them on.

  2. In Wellington, check out the Mechanical Tempest (Abel Smith St) and the Aro Valley Wunderbike programme:

    http://wunderbike.blogspot.co.nz/

    In Christchurch, get in touch with Icecycles:

    http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/bike-maintenance/

  3. karol 3

    Here out in West Auckland, I also see young people using other modes of transportation: scooters (of the engineless type where you paddle along with one foot), skateboards.

    Sometimes I see youngest getting up a bit of speed with wheels on the bottom of their shoes.

  4. Overcache 4

    While well meaning, there are couple of logical flaws in the way this article is structured.

    Firstly, why build bike lanes if the poorest of the poor cannot afford bikes? I think you are inferring that the government should subsidise bikes, as a means of granting greater access to the poor. If so, doesn’t that prejudice people like young mothers and the elderly, for whom a bike is not a viable option? How should this be balanced out? Consider is a country like New Zealand, particularly down South, weather is a huge determinant of cycle use.

    Secondly, you make the assumption that the poor cannot afford bikes. A quick scan on Trade Me shows you can buy functioning bikes for as little as $30 (buy now) on the South Island. This may be out of reach for some of the most disaffected, but these people are at the extreme margin (best served by targeted solutions not blanket subsidies). I would suggest that a targeted (as opposed to blanket) approach is needed, which is where organisations like the Bike Doctor come in. As for funding, the government is by far the biggest contributor to charities in this country, and I would suggest this is the route to go, or perhaps a wider community appeal.

    If you want an example of people living in extreme poverty, please check out this documentary (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/dont-panic-truth-about-population/), and fast forward to the 38 minute mark. Here is a family of 10 living on less than US$10 a day, for whom a bike represents a transformative investment, which they have made at great personal sacrifice. We in New Zealand do not suffer from nearly the same deprivation.

    • Overcache, we need to follow Europe in their approach to providing real choice in transport options, we are lagging behind in this regard. Weather shouldn’t be a limiting factor, our climate is actually a moderate one and many more people in Invercargill used bicycles in the past. In cities with much more challenging Winters (like Zurich) bicycles are common.

      When motorways are constructed the volume of traffic increases and it generally doesn’t reduce congestion. If safe cycle lanes are provided, people will use them and the cost benefit ratio of cycle lanes are hugely positive. People will use cars less, there will be a reduction in road congestion and there are savings in health costs.

      I definitely didn’t infer that the Government should subsidise bikes, if anything I was pointing out how inadequate many incomes are. I would rather see the adoption of a living wage. I am sure that for many of the children who didn’t have bikes it was priorities not price that was the determining factor. If children couldn’t use their bikes as transport to get to and from school safely then they would become purely recreational in their use and therefore a luxury. If children could cycle to their school safely it would free up parents and save on the petrol used to drop them off each day.

  5. shorts 5

    new bikes seem very expensive – so many aimed at the very well heeled and a growing number of bike shops seem to focus on only these customers

    It seems there is very little in NZ these days that isn’t slowly but surely being denied those with less

    Where we are out west (akld) its very hilly and our youngsters would rather walk than bike as they spend a lot of time when biking pushing them up hills

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      new bikes seem very expensive – so many aimed at the very well heeled and a growing number of bike shops seem to focus on only these customers

      That’s the NZ market. It’s very small and so the stores have to go for the things that they can make a large profit on as they’re not going to get the turnover necessary to support a low profit per item model.

      Where we are out west (akld) its very hilly and our youngsters would rather walk than bike as they spend a lot of time when biking pushing them up hills

      I’m pretty much the same.

    • Saccharomyces 5.2

      Bikes have never been cheaper. Yes there are some extreme high-end models out there at specialist stores for many thousands, but there are really cheap options out there too. Under $100 at the likes of The Warehouse and KMart.

      Contrast that to the early ’80s when even the most basic Healing Cruiser would set you back $216! Inflation adjusted that’s near $600!

      I think one thing that has happened is our disposable culture has people chucking older bikes out when they could probably be repaired and on-sold. I hate to think how many bikes with perfectly serviceable frames, rims and hubs get sent for scrap just because the brakes are work/our of alignment or the gears need servicing.

      • shorts 5.2.1

        no disrespect to the warehouse and cheaper retail focused outlets but I have little faith their bikes would last long which is something I want in a childs bike – I got a new bike when I was 13… and was still riding it daily when I was in my early 30s

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          Yes, but we can’t have it both ways. It costs to build product that will last. We could demand cheaper, better bikes, but I’d hazzard a guess that the people making the bikes are facing their own set of poverty problems so how is that fair or reasonable? I like Draco’s and Sacc’s ideas – let’s make things here again, pay the real costs for them, and then instead of throwing things out, focus on building a re-use culture. There is plenty to go around, we are just pretty shit at doing it.

          I noticed this recently with clothing opshops that are packed with far too many clothes. When I commented on this, I was told that they get more than they can sell. FFS, set up a system where the people with no money get given clothes. And educate the rest of NZ that their clothing that is so cheap they can throw it away faster than it can be reused, is being made with slave labour.

          • shorts 5.2.1.1.1

            “let’s make things here again, pay the real costs for them, and then instead of throwing things out, focus on building a re-use culture. There is plenty to go around, we are just pretty shit at doing it.”

            In total agreement with this, I just wish kiwi wages were such that the real costs didn’t make things unaffordable to so many of us

            • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1.1.1

              I just wish kiwi wages were such that the real costs didn’t make things unaffordable to so many of us

              That’s not actually the problem. The main problem is that most of the money is going to the bludging shareholders while wages are kept down. Then there’s the rather expensive idea of competition which is aggravated by the large foreign factories that use cheap manual labour where economies of scale apply (an automated factory removes economies of scale but happen to be expensive).

              What I’d like is for the government to build such an automated factory that could produce any design from any material. Such a factory could be built to provide solely for the NZ market with the resources used by it also supplied directly from NZ.

              • Saccharomyces

                “for the government to build such an automated factory that could produce any design from any material”

                Do you mean specifically for bikes, or literally ANYTHING? Because if it’s the latter, there’s no way that I can see that would be possible.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  ATM I’d say specifically anything that had similar construction to bikes. So, anything made out of metal tubes.

                  Actually, it’d be a complex I suppose with each main component being specialised for a part and then brought together in an automated assembly line.

  6. Tracey 6

    children dont vote.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    2 days ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    2 days ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    2 days ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    2 days ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    3 days ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    3 days ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    3 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    4 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    4 days ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    4 days ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    4 days ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    4 days ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    5 days ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    6 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    6 days ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    6 days ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    6 days ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    1 week ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    1 week ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    1 week ago
  • Massey East houses a start but Nick Smith should think bigger
    The Massey East 196-home development is a start but the Government must think bigger if it is to end the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “It is great the Government is finally realising it needs to build ...
    1 week ago
  • More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s
    Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Labour sends condolences to UK
    The New Zealand Labour Party is sickened and saddened by the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Ms Cox was killed in cold blood while simply doing her job as a constituent MP. She ...
    1 week ago
  • Shameful refugee quota increase still leaves NZ at the bottom of the list
    Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota by 1000 places until 2018.  It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Paula Bennett as a victim hard to swallow
    The National Party spin machine has gone into overdrive to try and present Paula Bennett as the victim in the Te Puea Marae smear saga, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Bill English in Parliament today tried valiantly to paint ...
    1 week ago
  • Voters to have the final veto on paid parental leave
    New Zealanders will have the final right of veto on a Government that has ignored democracy and is out of touch with the pressures and demands on families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Today’s decision by National to veto 26 ...
    1 week ago
  • Collins should put Kiwis’ money where her mouth is
    Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash is calling on anyone who has received a speeding ticket for going up to 5km/h over the 100km/hr open road speed limit to write to him and he will take it up on their behalf ...
    1 week ago
  • Where is the leadership on equal pay for work of equal value?
    The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis’ real disposable income goes nowhere for the year
    New Zealanders’ hard work for the last year resulted in no increase in real disposable income, showing Kiwis aren’t getting ahead under National, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Today’s GDP figures reveal that real gross national disposable income per ...
    1 week ago
  • Pora case a case to learn from
    Conformation that Teina Pora will receive $2.5million from the Crown for more than 20 years of wrongful imprisonment does not fix the flaws in our system that led to this miscarriage of justice, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to start again with RMA changes
    The National Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act have attracted more than 800 submissions, many of them critical of key aspects of the Resource Legislation Bill. There has been much criticism of the new regulation making powers given ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • Bennett’s briefing completely unacceptable
    It is completely unacceptable that Paula Bennett briefed her political staff on the police investigation into Hurimoana Dennis after her meeting with him, despite it having nothing to do with her social housing portfolio, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to Green Building Council
    Building smarter, greener cities It will be clear to anyone who has been watching the public debate on the housing crisis that housing in New Zealand is sadly far from being economically sustainable when Auckland has the fourth most unaffordable ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paula Bennett has more questions to answer
    It is unthinkable that Paula Bennett’s press secretary went rogue and tried to smear the reputation of someone involved in helping the homeless, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Political staff would not take such serious unilateral action without the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech on Notice of Motion on Orlando
    Mr Speaker, The Labour Party joins with the government in expressing our horror at this atrocity and our love and sympathy are with the victims and their families. Our thoughts are with the people of Orlando and of the United ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiakina Ngā Wai – Swimmable Rivers Report June 2016
    The campaign to clean up our rivers was launched at the Green Conference at Queens Birthday weekend. However, the work prior to the launch goes back a number of years. Russel Norman and Eugenie Sage deserve full credit for the ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • We can do more: Refugee quota should be doubled
    New Zealand is a better country than National’s miserable increase in the refugee quota that ignores our obligations to the international community and people in need, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. “It is a sad day when the Government can’t ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere