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Doofus of the week – March 17, 2018

Written By: - Date published: 12:48 pm, March 17th, 2018 - 37 comments
Categories: doofus of the week, making shit up, public transport, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, transport, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

And this week has a new winner. And not a National politician or someone with links to one of the major political parties but someone who has really been making a doofus of themselves lately.

I was thinking of awarding it to Mike Hosking for his strange claim that planners are taking his right to own a car away but there was someone who said and did something even more idiotic than this.

There is this retrograde campaign in Auckland that opposes the construction of bike lanes.  Apparently bike lanes are evil things, designed to drive local businesses into ruin, uproot trees and destroy neighbourhoods. And the proponents of these devil spawn infrastructure projects are adherents to Agenda 21 which is according to some a United Nations Communist inspired campaign to take over the world and take our liberties from us.

If you want to comprehend the full extent of the craziness check this website out.  The picture below and text show how strange things are in agenda 21 land.

The trouble is Agenda 21 is actually something quite benign, something really positive, a movement hoping to create a more sustainable world. It had a major influence on Waitakere City’s Eco City concept. Of course we should look after the environment and build communities. What could possibly be wrong with this?  And shouldn’t we be building cycleways everywhere in preparation for a post carbon world?

Things became particularly crazy this week when Doofus of the week winner Lisa Prager decided to attack a half finished bicycle lane with a hammer.  From Stuff:

Police have arrested an anti-cycleway protester who attacked an Auckland traffic island using a crowbar and sledgehammer.

Point Chevalier resident Lisa Prager was arrested about 2.30pm on Thursday for wilful damage after she started demolishing the traffic island on Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn.

The island, installed by Auckland Transport (AT) last year as part of a new cycleway, was unsafe, she said.

“Auckland Transport have done nothing so I have taken matters into my own hands,” Prager said.

And she is not reluctant to express her views.  Again from the article:

Prager believes transport and roading changes being made by AT are “designed to assist multinational corporations to transfer public money into private hands via confidential contracts”.

Alternative transport lobby groups like Bike Auckland and Generation Zero along with blogs like Greater Auckland were a part of a global conspiracy called Agenda 21, she said.

The whole incident was recorded by David Farrier for posterity in a series of tweets:

The Spinoff analysed her sledge hammering technique and concluded that it was not as good as Farrier thought it was.

Some of the twitter responses were very funny:

37 comments on “Doofus of the week – March 17, 2018 ”

  1. Ad 1

    Aucklad Council submissions are trending pretty well.

    People are hungry for change.

  2. Carolyn_Nth 2

    There is a confused logic coming from Prager and her supporters/associates. It seems to pretty much incorporate a Tea Party, Trump supporters kind of logic.

    It borrows from the left and the right in a muddled mix. So Prager has been “occupying” a cycle way development in an attempt to halt it. This uses the language of the left, where those with relatively little power collectively protest against big corporate power.

    However, claiming cycleways are in the interest of corporate power ignores that the car and roads lobby is more in the interests of big oil and automobile corporations.

    A few days ago, I followed a link in my Twitter feed to a 2012 article by an ex-ACT Deputy Leader, arguing that Agenda 21 was a socialist, sustainable development conspiracy to undermine New Zealand identity. She claimed NZ identity was all about private property.

    And from Micky’s WakeUpKiwi link:

    This contract binds governments around the world to the United Nation’s plan for controlling the way we live, eat, learn, move and communicate – all under the noble banner of saving the earth. If fully implemented, Agenda 21 would have the government involved in every aspect of life of every human on earth.

    Edit: ah, here’s that ex ACT deputy leader link. Muriel Newman said,

    A case in point is Agenda 21, a United Nations political agenda that is designed to control resources and people. It has been embedded in New Zealand’s institutional framework for over 20 years, manifesting itself through such buzz words as ‘sustainable development’, ‘biodiversity’, ‘smart growth’, ‘waste minimisation’, and ‘population control’.

    what it signals is an expansion of global governance controls on New Zealanders that will further undermine our culture and private property rights that have traditionally underpinned our economic growth and our identity in the world.

    the public are now recognising the failings of the global socialist agenda that has been imposed on us and they are waking up to the negative consequences on their quality of life.

    • weka 2.1

      good grief, the irony of those statements from an ACT person. That might help explain the Agenda 21 conspiracy though, if it is based in libertarianism. I see it from people who aren’t RW and who are trying to be activists on environmental issues too.

      • Carolyn_Nth 2.1.1

        Also, it’s using a rhetoric and movement coming out of the US, based in US culture and history, while claiming it’s about traditional NZ identity.

    • Graeme 2.2

      Hmmm, inhabits the nether regions of the political spectrum somewhere to the left of the Green Party and right of ACT….

      • weka 2.2.1

        I’m to the left of the GP and that stuff give me the shits. I don’t know what axis (or planet) they are on.

  3. weka 3

    Anyone know what the genesis of the Agenda 21 conspiracy is?

    • weka 3.1

      Wiki is saying it is the Tea Party. This is interesting given there are people who would otherwise be left who believe this.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21#Opposition

    • Carolyn_Nth 3.3

      It seems to come from the US (unsurprisingly).

      From the Southern Poverty Law Centre website:

      The demonization of Agenda 21 began among extremist groups like the John Birch Society, the same outfit that was effectively ejected from the conservative movement after accusing President Dwight D. Eisenhower of being a communist agent. The Birch Society and an array of other radical-right groups see Agenda 21 and virtually all other global efforts as part of a nefarious plan on the part of global elites to form a socialistic one-world government, or “New World Order.”

      And City Lab 2012:

      The Agenda 21-related conspiracies are only the most recent incarnation of this country’s property rights movement, which has long used disruptive techniques to foment dissent against environmentalists and land regulations. Often associated with groups like the John Birch Society and the Heartland Institute, and seen most prominently in the 1990s as the Wise Use movement, property rights groups oppose any government interference in land rights.

      Rational Wiki on Agenda 21:

      Agenda 21 was frequently cited by conspiracy theorists, such as the John Birch Society, during the 1990s as a purported blueprint for implementing the New World Order and population control, then forgotten by them too.

      In 2012, however, an “exposé” by former Fox News host Glenn Beck seized upon Agenda 21 as an attempt by radical Nazi communist internationalist homosexuals[3] to “put their fangs into our communities and suck all the blood out of it, we will not be able to survive.”

      • weka 3.3.1

        thanks, that’s clearer and I can see where the lefties are fitting into that (esp the hate the govt stuff).

        • adam 3.3.1.1

          Agenda 21 has some posts on reddit which are just downright frightening. I really don’t want to link to any. Most get odd, quickly. Some are just bat crazy. Others get racist fast, and many deteriorate to full on anti-semitism.

          The whole world of conspiracy theories get my back up. With the worst of it, making it hard to talk about real conspiracies. A good example is the Lavon Affair or Iran–Contra affair – we hardly talk about these, and we should. Both were attempts to destabilise a foreign government, with varying levels of success.

  4. savenz 4

    Not sure what’s going on with that incident, but certainly things like cycle lanes seem to be conduits for a lot of public money being spent without much to show for it, a lot of re work of paving that the councils like to dig up and re pave religiously in Auckland and seem the destruction of trees and local business.

    Yes I agree with cycle lanes in principal but not the undemocratic way that Auckland council and AT uses, (a time consuming, expensive process that is already decided by a couple of planners before hand, hence most residents just shrug and ignore it, unless your house, business etc is directly impacted).

    Bizarrely I’m constantly seeing 2 car parks and garaging being put in for houses next to the cycle way, (if they wanted less cars in city then obviously consenting 2 car parks is NOT a good idea, one or none, might be better!). Then when practically every single house backs out or turns into their drive or garage they cross the cycle lanes creating a lot of danger in areas full of little kids on bikes.

    It’s not cycle ways or nothing. It’s intelligent planning that’s been lacking. Partly this is due to the stupidity and arrogance of the Auckland planners who consent everything as being of minor impact and the constant collusion between Auckland Council and it’s COO’s who pretend have come to the same conclusions but in reality it’s all orchestrated by a couple of not very worldy or intelligent people’s ideas being rammed through a process that’s already decided.

    Any person who comes to Auckland notices the lack of intelligent planning and it’s not just cars, it’s trucks everywhere in under 2 minutes.

    • Anon 4.1

      Come to Christchurch, where they don’t have to consult on resource consent extenstions because they literally threw your objection to the original consent away instead of filing it as legally required.

    • Molly 4.2

      We had traffic modifier installed here in our community that was a dog of a design- especially for cyclists. It was part of a region-wide rollout for all rural schools with a roll of over 200.

      Every community in Franklin got this work done, and despite concerns it was implemented by AT, and was a brain-child of our Local Board chairman at the time, who used to work for AT, so any criticism of the design was received as a personal attack.

      The design was islands created at the side of the road, to narrow traffic and slow it down as it approached the community. The problem was, with no road shoulders and deep drainage ditches, any cyclist was forced into the traffic lane, including schoolchildren who cycled to school. In rural production areas, this includes large produce and stock trucks and heaving machinery. On further research it was discovered that this particular mechanism had been installed in Europe and subsequently taken out because of the number of cyclist accidents.

      Lisa Prager, appears to have the conviction of a fanatic. But anyone who has tried to get AT to provide reasonable feedback, or answer unexpected questions will understand her frustrations – if not her perspective. AT has failures of design and implementation, and quite tellingly, when I asked an AT engineer whether it was harder to design since they had been separated from Auckland Council his response was. “No, this is so much better. We don’t have to consider planning at all”.

      • savenz 4.2.1

        @Molly – thanks says it all! +100

        “AT has failures of design and implementation, and quite tellingly, when I asked an AT engineer whether it was harder to design since they had been separated from Auckland Council his response was. “No, this is so much better. We don’t have to consider planning at all”.

    • Lloyd 4.3

      It was right wing politicians that got very upset at any attempt to put maximum parking space controls into the Unitary Plan.
      If you want the history on this dig into early “Auckland Transport Blog”.
      In fact this story really belongs in “Greater Auckland” – the new name for the Auckland Transport Blog.

      • savenz 4.3.1

        The unitary plan was the ‘brain child’ of the National government who rushed it through to make money out of thin air to keep their land Ponzi housing scheme going. Wasn’t that for the poor too?

        Ask renters in Auckland if all the ‘planning’ worked. Are they flooded with these ‘affordable houses’ post unitary plan and SHA’s? Do we have this world class public transport system with buses and rail and cycling?

        It’s not even about left or right wing politics. It’s the stupidity and abuse of power of Auckland council and COO’s and their planning which is diabolical. They are a joke!

        Even Auckland councils evidence was not able to be submitted by the unitary plan because they couldn’t even submit anything compliant.

        If that was not a wake up call for the executives and councillors of Auckland council something horribly wrong is afoot in that department, what is!

        Auckland council’s and their COO’s have become a rout for private environmental law firms, planners, concrete and road maintenance firms and others in the public trough gouging money while destroying Auckland and people’s livelihoods with their idiotic decisions.

        They put it all under the guise of a ‘cycle lane’ or ‘public transport’ or ‘housing affordability’ or some such thing to rout the money because most people are for that, it’s how they do it and the cost and slow pace and extreme amount of fees to consultants and side areas, that is the rout.

        The effect is, we have dysfunctional transport and housing and less democracy because we are supposed to blindly follow these idiots when they even stuff up a paper submission to the unitary plan.

        When you are that dysfunctional then there is no point continuing. You can’t make Shakespeare out of monkey’s, and we are never getting anything decent with those people still at the helm.

        It’s the management at the top and shielding some very ugly people in those departments and the private sector, until that changes then forget getting anything that resembles good public policy and results out of them.

        • savenz 4.3.1.1

          Also with regard to parking, most of the new parks infringe the permitted plan as villa’s and bungalows were never designed to have double garages. The planners just push everything through as minor. It doesn’t matter how major the issue is going to be. They have continually set poor precedents and used their lawyers and RMA to actually get much of the poor planning through the courts to set precedents. The fact that it is completely against their so called goals of less transport in the city seems to escape them.

          The RMA itself needs to be changed to protect the environment and people’s rights more – not less as they are doing. Expecting Auckland and other council’s to get it right will never happen.

          This is a classic case. Approving decades of 60 per week truck and trailers from Kaukapakapa to South Auckland, destroying a community and lowering safety and quality of life for residents. For what! A dubious corporation that escaped its Asbesto’s liabilities with tax planning. It’s disgusting.

          Is this approval increasing or decreasing congestion and pollution in Auckland? A classic example of increasing inequality in this country as well, giving to the rich and taking from a poor community filled with children.

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/nor-west-news/99727284/fears-a-child-will-be-hit-by-one-of-proposed-auckland-sand-mines-100000-trucks

  5. Siobhan 5

    I know this isn’t addressing the points raised, but as a committed cyclist i must point out that cycle lanes are a bit of a mixed bag…I shall do a little cut and paste as this is probably a more succinct presentation of the arguments about the false security of cycle lanes..points 2 and 3 being the most important..

    “Bike lanes are a flawed concept, based more on illusion of comfort than actual safety.
    Bike lanes do nothing to change the cultural behaviors and attitudes which make cycling less appealing. If anything, they reinforce them.
    The focus on bike lanes diverts attention and funding from effective solutions to improve cyclist comfort and safety.
    Educated cyclists don’t need bike lanes and novice cyclists don’t understand their limitations. Misleading a timid or inexperienced rider into a complex and hazardous environment with the illusion of safety is dishonest and unethical.”

    http://commuteorlando.com/advocacy/facilities.html

    covers in detail the actual risks.

    that being said I am in favour of John Keys national cycle way through the country side…thanks John.

    • Groundedkiwi 5.1

      Yes, such a brilliant idea of John Key to place cycle ways on our railway tracks.

    • Grafton Gully 5.2

      The truth is we evolved to walk not cycle but Key and the like fight this hard and are winning.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        So, you’re saying that we should also get rid of cars as well? After all – we didn’t evolve in them either.

    • Bearded Git 5.3

      Dedicated cycle lanes (physically separated from vehicles) are the go.

    • Anon 5.4

      “If anything, they reinforce them.” – quoted for emphasis and truth.

  6. Ms Prager needn’t bother. The ghost-planet “Nebiru” will destroy us all on 12 December 2012.

    Oh… Hang on…

    Bugger.

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    The C-way attack seems unnecessary.
    Everyone knows Jaffa’s and cars go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. Agenda 21 doesn’t stand a chance.

    I hope she is as passionate about 5G.

  8. Obtrectator 8

    As well as her faulty technique with the hammer, she’s failed to wear proper safety glasses or goggles. Flying chips can do a lot of damage.

  9. Sparky 9

    LOL……

  10. Philg 10

    Has this woman considered running for National office…

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