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New road user laws

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, November 2nd, 2009 - 20 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags:

Remember John Key’s Nanny State rant?:

I’ve had nine years of being told what lightbulb I can screw into the house, what shower I can take, what food I can eat, what things I can do, what thoughts I am allowed to have.

Ahh, those were the days! Footloose and fancy free in opposition, he could spout any kind of nonsense he liked and get away with it. It can’t be nearly so much fun in Government where he actually has to operate within the constraints of reality.

In reality of course, Key’s government is racking up an impressive range of Nanny State policies itself. National stuck to their guns on Section 59 reform (Bravo!), are planning revisions to alcohol limits, are regulating cold medication and other products, are banning certain kinds of chainsaws. Nanny is even reminding us to brush our teeth at night. Eventually even The Herald had to ask “Is National also guilty of ‘nanny-state’ policies?“. The “interesting” range of comments in the Herald blog show that the Nanny State hysteria so carefully cultivated by National in opposition is now turning on them with a vengeance.

Anyway, as a public service announcement, be reminded that yesterday the NACT government’s new laws relating restrictions on the use of cellphones while driving came in to force. You can now be pulled over by police if you’re seen texting or using a phone while driving (copping an $80 fine and 20 demerits on your licence).

This useful piece at Stuff sets out in detail exactly what is and isn’t allowed, and options for legal hands free setups. It’s well worth a read if you are one of those affected by the new law. There are also 23 other changes to road rules! You should have a read (especially if you’re a motorcyclist) here and here.

20 comments on “New road user laws ”

  1. gitmo 1

    The new rules look pretty sensible although I’d like to see a complete ban on using phones in cars mobile or handsfree (with exceptions for Police, ambulance etc)

    • Tigger 1.1

      I don’t think it’s a sensible law at all – it doesn’t tackle the real problem of distractions during driving and, as studies show, hands-free kits make only a tiny difference to safe use of mobiles in cars.

      It’s another example of National spitting out a poorly thought out, rushed piece of legislation.

      • gitmo 1.1.1

        Ummm ….. did you read my comment ?

        The law is a step in the right direction ……. and I believe was supported by all sides in parliament, unlike lowering the drinking age which was a step in the wrong direction ….but still supported by all sides in parliament, with a few notable exceptions.

  2. 1. Yep – an element of politics of perception which is exactly what Labour has been trying to do with Bill etc.

    2. I think you’re fighting a losing battle to try and compare regulating a lightbulb and regulating the use of cell phones.

    3. Labour’s problem was that it was perceived to care more about nanny state initiatives than more pressing or popular issues.

    • snoozer 2.1

      “Labour’s problem was that it was perceived to care more about nanny state initiatives than more pressing or popular issues.”

      yeah, whereas the most pressing concerns in the country right now are clearly cellphones and chainsaws

      “Yep an element of politics of perception which is exactly what Labour has been trying to do with Bill etc.”

      You don’t pay thirty odd grand back because of perception, you pay it back because you weren’t entitled to it, like the auditor-general’s report concluded.

      • gitmo 2.1.1

        “You don’t pay thirty odd grand back because of perception, you pay it back because you weren’t entitled to it, like the auditor-general’s report concluded.”

        Eh..I thought it was just the opposite ?

  3. Valid comments as are my original one.

    However a broader comment is that your comments and to an extent r0b’s approach shows a fixation with complaining about the referee rather than accepting any need to change the game plan (to use the rugby analogy).

    I think the majority of people will think there’s more public good in regulating the use of chainsaws and cell phones that light bulbs which was where Labour choose to go.

    For all the issues raised by the double-dipping issues, i’d suggest the public has largely turned off and as recent events show all parties are equally self serving even the perk busters.

    Perhaps the National honeymoon is continuing because Labour is still moaning about the referee rather than adjusting its game plan?

    • Eddie 3.1

      Daveski, I’d have thought as a regular reader you’d be aware by now that you’re reading the opinions of a variety of left activists on The Standard, not the official line of the Labour Party.

      People write about what interests them, and their criticisms are their own. There’s no point telling them it’s “not working” and that Labour needs to adjust its game plan. If that’s what you believe then tell it to Labour. And we’ll continue making criticisms of the government as we see fit.

  4. Sam 4

    I’ve had eleven months of being told what cold medicine I can take, when I can talk on my cellphone, what food I can eat, what things I can do, what thoughts I am allowed to have.

    I don’t need another two years of John Key telling me what to do. I don’t need another two years of Rodney Hide telling me what to do, I don’t need another two years of Anne Tolley telling me she needs a God damn helicopter.

    • Armchair Critic 4.1

      Not to mention where you can not drive your car more than twice, and the brilliant “What not to Wear” Act. I can’t wait to see a picture of Trinny and Susannah with Rodney and John’s heads pasted on, if any lawyer has the wherewithal to successfully challenge the law.

    • gitmo 4.2

      Who’s telling you what foods/thoughts you can or can’t have ?

      Do you think the law banning cellphones from cars is good/bad ? Why ?

      • Sam 4.2.1

        I’m making a point that pissing on about so-called nanny state policies is utterly retarded and entirely out of the realm of meaningful political discussion. The term means _nothing_. It never has, it never will, and John Key and his National Party made such a big song and dance about it in the buildup to the last election and since then they continued with more or less the same philosophy.

        If you read the article linked I simply took what John Key said prior to the election but made it more relevant. And more amusing with the Chopper reference. In my humble opinion :P.

  5. randal 5

    What I want to know is why if the parliament can pass laws about drug testing drivers and using cellphones in cars but they cant/wont do anything about noise from the legions of drongos on the roads.
    Why is this?

  6. Zorr 6

    The funniest thing to me about this whole debate over “no cellphones while driving” is that I have a friend who did the research in to how mobile phone use affects drivers. The truth, at the end of the day, is that even with hands free sets, drivers shouldn’t be using cellphones because it noticeably impairs their ability to drive.

  7. Josh 7

    politics of perception indeed. I love how under this government i can continue to use my 200 year old Edison lightbulb, but i may not keep my DNA, I may not keep my assets if I haven’t been charged with anything, and my car will be childishly vindictively and irrationally crushed if i’ve misbehaved in it.

    perhaps, over time, “bully state” will gather similar traction to the “nanny” one…

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