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Open mike 07/06/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 7th, 2021 - 193 comments
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193 comments on “Open mike 07/06/2021 ”

  1. Andre 1

    I'm coming to the suspicion that Waka Kotahi really really don't want anything other than cars, trucks and buses going over the Harbour Bridge, for institutional culture and ideology reasons. So as support grows for providing some kind of walking and cycling access, it appears to me they are resorting to blowing out the projected cost by ever increasing the size and cost of the proposal in hopes of killing the idea.

    Consider the original proposed Skypath, pushed mostly by Bevan Woodward. This was to be a lightweight composite tube underneath the clip-on lanes on the east side. IIRC the east side is preferred because on average trucks travelling south are less loaded, so the structure has a bit more reserve capacity. Projected costs were well under $100 million, even with generous allowance for the cost increases that inevitably happen on infrastructure projects.

    The engineering and costings were done by entirely credible people and organisations. Including Gurit (link to Google's cached html version of a pdf found by searching Skypath costing), a major international supplier of materials and engineering expertise for composites infrastructure, and Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, who started out as Oracle's America's Cup boatbuilder and diversified into a wide range of complex innovative composites projects.

    Then, once it appeared that Auckland Council and the government were on board with the idea and Waka Kotahi were given somewhat more of a ‘make it happen’ directive, the design radically changed with a new estimated cost of $240 million.

    Evidently, that didn't result in killing the project, so there's been another round of revisions resulting in what we now have, a proposal resulting in the best part of a billion dollars to be spent, or dedicating an existing lane to cyclists and walkers (with the resulting massive increase in traffic problems).

    Looks to me like Waka Kotahi are desperately trying to refine their shit sandwich recipe to try to get to a 'uhh, we guess that's a no' from government and council.

    Anyone want to try to allay my suspicions?

    It also seems time to go back to the original concept. And if road traffic changes are needed to make it work for structural load reasons, then simply restrict heavy vehicles from using the left lane(s) southbound, perhaps coupled with more speed restrictions between the bridge and Fanshawe St, to ease the lane changes that heavy vehicles might need to make in that short distance.

    • bwaghorn 1.1

      Have you missed the bit about cyclists getting their own bridge?

      The old bridge is rapidly approaching its use by I suspect.

      By doing a pedestrian/cycle bridge it clears the way for a multi use tunnel for cars and trains apparently .

      • Andre 1.1.1

        Yeah, I'm aware of the separate bridge proposal.

        It looks to me like that's just another step in the effort to increase the political unpalatability of the proposals by ever increasing the cost, in hopes of killing the idea of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the harbour at the bridge location.

        edit: if you want to see the thoughts of a bunch of other people with apparently similar suspicions, have a rummage around on the http://www.getacross.org.nz website.

        • Ad

          All the transport interventions needed to provide transport choice away from cars are huge.

          Witness the damage to local businesses of City Rail Link.

          Light rail beyond the Ak SH20corridor will be even more disruptive.

          At 46% of our greenhouse gases, we are just glimpsing the scale of our addiction and the costs of withdrawal.

      • Andre 1.1.2

        Oh, and as far as the existing bridge approaching its use by date, well it appears it is and it isn't.

        It seems whenever there's a bit of a push on for something like a new crossing, or there's a proposal Waka Kotahi doesn't want, the bridge is on its last legs.

        But whenever the issue is something like expanding the network that 50 tonne trucks are allowed to use, it seems the bridge has plenty of life and capacity.

        • Muttonbird

          It's a dog. It is subject to stress fatigue, needs continuous re-painting, the road needs relaying every two years, the gradient is too steep and wastes fuel, it is vulnerable to damage by users.

          Build a new one for the 22nd century next to it, then knock it down for scrap.

          Inability to fund the Auckland Harbour bridge resulted in a very poor product. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

          • woodart

            every major road bridge close to salt water suffers these same problems. building a new bridge wont stop these.

          • Bearded Git

            "Build a new one for the 22nd century next to it, then knock it down for scrap"

            The old bridge in Frankton works splendidly as a walking/biking bridge now.

            • Phillip ure

              @ b.g..

              that is a reasonable idea..

            • Sabine


            • alwyn

              I don't know hold old this fact sheet is but it says.

              "NZTA spends up to $4m on maintenance and resealing each year."

              That would still have to paid if you keep the bridge there, whatever it might be used for.


              • Incognito

                Date of document is 21 Dec 2009.

                Why would you need to fork the same amount of money for R & M if the use changes majorly?

                • Sacha

                  Salt air is pretty unforgiving, but there's no way the road reseal or engineering load-related work would be needed as frequently.

                • alwyn

                  I think that the painting of the bridge would have to go on pretty well continuously. As Sacha says, salt air is going to make a mess of it whether it is used or not.

                  I did some work on road surfaces many years ago for the old MOW. Not engineering but trying to find ways of predicting when roads would need repair. If I remember correctly the life of a bitumen surface depended mostly upon its age, rather than the loads the road carried, unless the substrate was very inadequate for the axle loads. Cracks and holes in the bitumen are probably going to have more effect on bicycles than on car or truck tires. Specialised off-road bikes may not be affected but they aren't that common among commuter cyclists are they? I don't know many cyclists who are happy to ride a normal road bike on an unsealed surface and there are always comments about stones and rubbish on the existing cycle lane to Petone making it unusable. I'm not a cyclist these days so I might be quite wrong of course. Any Tour de France competitors out there to comment?

                  That document was from 2009 was it?. The amount of money quoted didn't seem very much and I did wonder how old it was.

                  • Incognito

                    Thanks, but that didn’t really answer the question. You seem to have a tendency to wander off topic and lose focus easily. I tend to do this too in verbal convos, which is why I prefer written communication.

        • Ad

          Not an unreasonable suspicion.

          The CycleAuckland engineers have a lot of back-and-forh on this.

          Waka Kotahi are always going to be hit, since the stream of commuters taken off by cycling will be replaced over double with more cars imported.

          So car traffic will never improve even with light rail, cycling, heavy rail combined.

          It will make it less worse than it could have been.

          Thst means NZTA exist in a melancholic counterfactual.

          Which the left should understand well.

    • woodart 1.2

      unfortunatley this often happens. a simple, relatively cheap idea is taken over by high priced consultants and costs blow out. sometimes these consultants get a percentage of the final cost so are very keen to push price up. sometimes, these consultants have very little real world engineering expertise , so have no idea of how to save money. and as you say, sometimes there are dirty deeds done to kill off entire projects. in this case??? pity the politician who has to wade through screeds of bullshit to find the truth.

      • Andre 1.2.1

        I've seen it happen even entirely within a company.

        It's really easy to do, just tweak an assumption here and an estimate there. A lot of times, people doing it aren't even aware they're doing it. They're just responding to their internal confirmation biases. With that last sentence in mind, hell, I've probably done it myself while being blithely unaware of it.

        It’s a particularly powerful effect when the end result conforms with institutional biases and culture.

        • greywarshark

          What about citizens putting forward fully engineered projects after agreement with the government, and guidelines, with some funding for the initial plans and specs, and if feasible then more funding, and bypassing the consultants. Just getting the technical aspects checked? Participatory government not this top-down bullshit.

  2. Phillip ure 2

    (should-have-been headline..)

    'the middle-class flex their lycra-clad muscles..and get all hot and sweaty..'

    • Treetop 2.1

      ‘The poor take to using cycles due to the cost of rent.’

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        and they do so without needing lycra too.

        It is the old adage of wants vs needs.

        And the sad thing is, we have so many many needs.

        • Sacha

          Please go and look at photos of the actual people riding bikes on the bridge. Then stop throwing 'lycra' around as a cheap shot.

          • Herodotus

            Yes a lot of diversity there unless you break it down into; the cream, the bone, the white, the off-white, the ivory or the beige than a Richie Benaud wardrope. I am sure all who live in Manukau will appreciate all this money being spent for those who can afford a $4m house ( and who have made a cool $1m profit since June 2019) to live in and take time for a wee bike ride across their vanity project.

          • Phillip ure

            @ sacha..

            Surely you can see that the use of 'lycra' in this case is as an all-encompasing potent middle-class descriptor..?

            (kinda like 'boomer'..and so many other examples of the genre..)

            and let's not forget that lycra is the crocs of clothing..dunno about you but the sight of trevor mallard in lycra is an image I for one can never erase..

            and yes..it is an accurate use of the english language/the word..

            'you say 'lycra'..we see middle-class..'

            • Sacha

              Say middle class then.

              • Phillip ure

                @ sacha..

                you are ignoring the beauty of the english language..and the potency of word-built images ..

                (have you heard that song by olivia newton john..?..you might like it ..

                it goes..

                'let's get literal..literal..'..)

                • Incognito

                  olivia newton john is the ugg boots of music..

                  • alwyn

                    That will be Dame Olivia Newton John to plebs like us.

                    After all, if the call has to be "Bring Back Sir Buck" in the future she should be entitled to her proper title as well.

                    • Incognito

                      You self-identify as “plebs?? Strike me down with a feather!

                      Anyway, Olive has enough titles already.

                      As a singer-actress, she’s a metaphorical ugg boot, IMO.

                    • alwyn

                      A "pleb"?

                      Reading the contributions to this blog I would say it is a fair descriptor for almost every one, including you and I.

                      The only exception would perhaps be Wayne Mapp, when he graces us with his presence.

                      Surely you don't consider yourself to be a patrician? Heaven forbid that you are really so conceited.

                    • Incognito []

                      Well, well, well, Alwyn reckons he and everybody else here on TS is a pleb with one notable exception: Dr Mapp QSO – you like titles, Alwyn? When it comes to noblesse oblige, I can think of several examples here on TS who would qualify. Sadly, you’re missing off my list. Surely, there are other blogs that are more, shall we say, suited to you?

                      You’re reading way too much into the contributions here unless you’re a mind reader, but even you wouldn’t be so conceited, would you?

                    • Phillip ure []

                      I am with alwyn on this..

                      we are a nation of plebs..

                      the country was colonised by plebs..

                      with a scattering of poor patricians..sent to rule over us..

                      little has changed..

                    • Incognito []

                      Alwyn and Phil Ure are like peas in a pod.

                    • Phillip ure []


                      no…more like plebs in a pod…

                    • alwyn

                      Oh dear. I have hurt Incognito's feelings. He clearly thinks he is one of the chosen Aristocrats who are here to rule us.

                      I suggest you remember what happened in 1793 when La Terreur began in France. Aristocrats like the class to which you aspire went to the guillotine.

                      In the meantime just remember that the great figures in the Labour movement such as Michael Savage and Peter Fraser in New Zealand would have gloried in being described as a working man.

                      The current lot not so much but of course they aren't as competent at their work as the early trade union pioneers are they?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      I suggest you remember what happened in 1793 when La Terreur began in France.

                      Just as well you can remember for us, alwyn – how old are you?!

                      I admire Savage and Fraser for their socialist principles.

                      Savage at first opposed the formation of the original New Zealand Labour Party as he viewed the grouping as insufficiently socialistic.

                      The current lot not so much but of course they aren't as competent at their work as the early trade union pioneers are they?

                      Some of the 'current lot' of NZ Government MPs seem at least moderately competent, if a little less principled than Savage and Fraser. Regarding NZ's 'loyal' opposition MPs, however, even ‘moderately competent‘ would be a bit of a stretch.

                      Opinion: Whether toxic or incompetent, National's latest scandals reveal the party has a major problem
                      The National Party has a major problem with standards, especially amongst its MPs and election candidates. The latest controversies involve the resignation of their longest-serving MP Nick Smith over an employment dispute, and allegations of abhorrent behaviour by election candidate Jake Bezzant.

                    • Phillip ure []

                      @ drowsy..

                      just 'cos national are going down the crapper..

                      galloping towards irrelevancy..

                      doesn't excuse labour for doing nowhere near enough..

                      to fix what ails us..

                      it is just incrementalism heaped upon incrementalism..

                      their recent drip-fed/gratification-delayed increases to the pittance that is welfare..is a potent example of not doing enough..

                      I mean..when you have the bosses spokesperson (hope) saying it wasn't enough..

                      it clearly shows that labour have jumped that particular shark..

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Imho our current Government is moving in a good direction more often than not. While their speed is pragmatically slow (and nowhere near fast enough for me), the overall result may be more sustainable than the “radical remedies” I’d prefer. What chance that the Green’s party vote will get get above 10% while they advocate the introduction of a wealth tax? It’s just one of the reasons that I party vote Green, and likely one of the reasons that many people don’t.

                      The Leveller
                      Inequality, in Piketty’s view, drives human history, and calls for radical remedies.

                      Of course, the people who are most likely to hear—and heed—Piketty’s call to action, whether or not they scythe their way through his book, are all of the Brahmin left. Throughout the book, Piketty heaps praise on Sanders, Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party. Corbyn recently campaigned on perhaps the most unabashedly redistributionist manifesto in the Party’s history (it called for transferring control of ten per cent of big companies to workers, nationalizing other companies, and instituting a four-day workweek) and then suffered catastrophic losses in working-class Labour strongholds. Perhaps that’s because Corbyn simply wasn’t bold enough. But if a candidate were to go the full Piketty—by proposing enormous taxes on the rich and taking steps toward surrendering sovereignty to a transnational socialistic union—do we really think that nativism and nationalism would retreat, rather than redouble? Would erstwhile supporters of Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, and Geert Wilders evolve beyond their fears of Muslim migration and accept the new utopia?

                      The challenge for the existing political order in affluent countries is to show that it can effectively address problems like poverty and precarity. In America, poverty is increasingly concentrated and thus more corrosive, while absolute economic mobility looks to be at a low point. So what might reform that falls short of revolution look like? Creating a universal child allowance of three hundred dollars a month may sound like a boring technocratic fix, and, at an annual cost of a hundred billion dollars (or less than half of what’s budgeted for Veterans Affairs), it certainly wouldn’t require expropriating the fortunes of the top one per cent. Yet it would halve child poverty all on its own. Tripling federal funding for poor schools—which would go a long way to improving mobility and reducing the inheritability of misfortune—would raise costs by a relatively paltry thirty billion a year. Reforming housing assistance so that adults who receive rent subsidies are no longer crammed into ghettos is another measure that’s very much within reach, and would substantially improve the lives of their children.

                      Imagine a congregation of economists a hundred years in the future. Maybe we’re on the moon; maybe we’re on Mars. Either way, the scene isn’t hard to sketch—it will probably still be in a large, windowless room. Inequality at the top end of the income distribution could very well look even more lopsided than it does now. But whether inequality is the topic of the keynote address may depend more on the progress against poverty and middle-class stagnation than on the number of newly minted trillionaires.

                  • Phillip ure

                    @ incognito..

                    is she also back in fashion again..?

                    • Incognito

                      For the cultists she never went out of fashion. Maybe you should mix up your social circle, you know, fewer Denver cultists and more Olive ones. It’ll do you good to broaden your horizons somewhat beyond that dull stereotypical thinking of yours.

                • The Al1en

                  you are ignoring the beauty of the english language

                  All further entries to today's irony contest are now closed lol

          • Sabine

            the ones in lycra are the funniest tho, honestly.

            personally i have biked all my life overseas in Europe – Germany and Holland – and i would go so far to say that i probably biked more in my life as a commuter then many here have done so in a leisurly way.
            I biked in Auckland 20 odd years ago, when no one did it. I biked because i never owned a car. I also use public transport such as busses, trams, trains, and yes the airplane, why ? Because i never saw the reason to have a car.

            And i have biked in winter gear, summer gear, bathing suits etc. And the lycra crowd are the funniest to observe. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about people in tight fluo colors and a fancy pair of bike shoes.

            • RedLogix

              And I cycle toured extensively in NZ and big bits of the ME in the late 70's. Also did club racing in my 20's. The great thing about cycling is that there are so many different ways people do it and they're all good. You get to dress however you like – or not at all.

              But honestly – for long distances and sports cycling, tight fitting 'lycra' (it wasn't called that back then) offers both a lower wind resistance and is lot more comfortable. Smirk all you want – lyrcra works for me if I'm doing anything more than a short commute or leisure ride.

              • Sabine

                The lycra brigade is notably different from any other rider that i have met anywhere.

                Be that Germany, Holland, Italy, France or NZ.

                They tend to be male for the most part (again this might be changing), they tend to ride peloton style – irrespective of the road, or size of the road, need honking horns or insults to go into single file to let people pass and as observed a few times, fall of their bikes when coming to a full stop cause the shoes got stuck.

                This of course is different if one is a solitary rider, but in groups that particular subgroup of riders generally is a pain in the proverbial.

                That is really quite particular to them. Just my 2 cnts.

                    • Incognito

                      The clue is in the first sentence:

                      There is an interesting difference between English and Dutch when it comes to cycling.

                      The 4-min video clip is for all those commenters here with lycra hang-ups – lycra is very common in the Netherlands – and gives a great snapshot of how cycling is fully integrated in Dutch culture and society – and infrastructure – and used by all walks of life; so many bridges, tunnels and cycle paths!

                      Just for your general edification, really.

                    • Phillip ure []

                      'lycra is very common in the Netherlands..'

                      I would submit it is 'very common' everywhere/anywhere….

                    • Incognito []

                      My mind is too small for that.

                    • Sabine

                      Yes Incognito, i know that the dutch are quite different. I lived in Holland for a few years, and i commuted by bike. Just to clarify my stand on Lycra and fietsen.

                    • Incognito []

                      Of course, clarify away.

                • RedLogix

                  Sports riders do quite frequently ride in peletons – in every country I've ever seen them in. It used to be largely confined to club events, often on controlled roads either closed or with limited traffic.

                  What's changed is the advent of the internet and the ability to organise weekend rides with 50 or more riders who have no club alliegence and have no alternative other than t use the open road. And on narrow sections of road they do indeed hold up traffic momentarily. Usually it incurs about a 30 – 90 sec delay at most, and if it happens to you more than once or twice a month you have to be a pretty unlucky motorist.

                  And all experienced cyclists quickly learn that at ”choke points’ it pays to ‘own the lane’ to prevent motorists from squeezing past at speed. As it happens in 2013 my sister-in-law was killed in exactly this circumstance on a group ride that was trying to do the right thing by riding single file and keeping well to the left. So there is that.


                  Being clipped in can take a bit of getting used to, but falling off at the lights is pretty rare – and I can't recall ever doing it or seeing anyone else for that matter.

                  That just leaves the fact that it's mostly men who enjoy group rides like this. Can't help you with that.

                  • Sabine

                    I am not talking about organised events.

                    I am talking about early morning sunday riders in their fifties / sixties on teh way to the coffee shop, riding in a group of 6 often next to each other.

                    But to be fair i expect them to drive their big fat mon – fri suv wit the same courtesy.

                    And that is the main issue imho in traffic in NZ (can't speak for OZ never really stopped there) is the lack of courtesy to all users of the traffic network.

                    • greywarshark

                      agree sabine – that word 'courtesy'. That would save a lot of stress.

            • Phillip ure

              I think male lycra-wearers are just men who harbour a secret desire to wear womens' underwear..

              why don't they just go ahead and do that..?

              and spare us all the sight of their crushed genitalia..?

      • bwaghorn 2.1.2

        In reply to treetop
        If they did itll solve the obesity epidemic!!!

        O fuck did I say that out loud?

        • Treetop

          Yes you did.

          • bwaghorn

            I'm fucking 50 soon and I've decided it's time to let it all hang out,take no shit and no prisoners.

            • Incognito

              Aaahhh, the midlife crisis cheeky

              • bwaghorn

                Property less, earning fuck all working for a had life handed to them on plate pair of cunts, and cant find a plan b, crisis what crisis, . 🥺🥺🤪

                • Incognito

                  Throw out a suggestion or two here and see whether it catches anything? It can be hard to see options and opportunities when you work your arse off each and every day and life feels like Groundhog Day.

            • Treetop

              Have a nice evening.

              • greywarshark

                Sometimes it is better to let someone have a rant and not come down from your tree. 'Better out than in' they say. Have a nice evening grey – there I've said it for you.

                I'm glad you're still with us bwaghorn. Do you have a caravan? Could you find a less self satisfied pair to work for? Trouble is there is a lot of it around. The fact that overseas or local rich people or ambitious anyway can buy houses, and don't do much physical work to earn it is part of our strangely different society. And people think they are so smart selling houses.

                I find that hardly anyone I know actually looks to the future and measures the present and finds it wanting. They are deep in their own existence and I am sort of hanging five on it. But try to find some others who enjoy old time or folk music and a beer for relaxation, search it out. Folk music generally is about people making good, better than heavy metal say which just blots out everything, or rap which is clever and cutting generally rather than enjoyable. Is there an Irish band around your area? Learn to play the guitar, switch your mind frequenttly to a different channel, it's the only way to survive.

                • Treetop

                  No need for you to say it for me Grey. I can manage it.

                • bwaghorn

                  Cheers .its not a complete disaster the main reason I'm trapped in the job I'm in is the positive things (people mainly ) have rooted me to the spot and job opportunities are slim here ,that's why I loath my employers because they know I'm going no where so chose to shaft me for it . No unions for farm boys.

                  • Treetop

                    I envy you if you are in the quiet country. My neighbour is driving me out of my home and there is no plan B which isn't ugly. I hate not having a good plan B. For now I will just go a day at a time.

                    • greywarshark

                      You and Swordfish could get together Treetop and make a complaint to ? perhaps both local and central government about the lack of ability for people to have a peaceful enjoyment of your homes. You could point out that many are prevented from a life worth living because of the mental condition of people in the community.

                      I see that Ruth Dyson got an accolade this year. I think she was driving the policy of emptying the buildings and land put aside for the mentally damaged saying they should be living a sweeter life in the community (though probably NIHBY). Then the buildings and land got sold and the money went into the government accounts.

                      What should have been done was improvement, change of staff and different methods for treating those who weren't in violent or destructive episodes. And special places for the criminals. But no, dump the problems back into the community that struggles to cope with the decimation of society through ill-conceived policy shafting by the Gang of Four?

                      And now with alzheimers increasing in leaps and bounds, you can have the problem of policing loony parents and other loved ones at home, with the neighbours regularly involved also. The person affected can be distressed when they are halfway gone and have lucid moments and realise their minds are going and be engulfed in sorrow. Next they leave a pot on the stove going at full bore or are out of their beds in the middle of the night, wandering off to where they used to go to play when they were young.

                      It's a great life if you don't weaken I think they used to say in the UK in the war. I am increasingly having this feeling in the midst of this country that has such good financial measures and is near the top in world standards of everything!

                    • Treetop []

                      It is going to blow up any day. I am considering a sleep out in the back yard.

                    • bwaghorn

                      I've pulled the nuclear option this morning,significant pay rise or else , meeting next week, have decided the stress of management needs proper wages or it's not worth it

                      Good luck with the neighbour.

                    • Treetop []

                      Resentment can build up. Eventually a decision is made because of being treated unfairly. I have a rule, when something is impacting on me due to a person's shitty behaviour it is my business.

  3. Sacha 3

    Considerate article by a Kainga Ora sustainability manager and on-the-ground cycling advocate:

    • Sabine 3.1

      Personally i agree, give them a lane for a few month and see how much the usage would actually be. Traffic in Auckland is already f'ed up beyond believe, so really why not?

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        Three months from Dec until March or June until Sep?

        • alwyn

          I suggest June until September 2023. Do you think the Government would dare to do that?

        • Sabine

          don't actually care. Give them the trial period, see how the usage is, run some reports on what a new bridge would need, and then go from there. IF they are serious about commuting they will do so wind, rain and shine, if they are Sunday cyclers or fair weather riders only it might shine a new light on the needs vs the wants theory.

          • Incognito


            • Sabine

              Seriously, the council could consider a bike Sunday for example. Free two lanes on Sundays – weather permitting – not when high winds etc . Auckland traffic should manage on a Sunday. Even if you do it just for a few hours. Why not?

              • Incognito

                Depends on what you want to measure. Even a commute trial as such over three months would give a limited representation of what could be if/when implemented on a more permanent basis, for fairly obvious reasons. For example, with Te Huia travellers/commuters only have to not use a car for the journey and just buy a ticket. It is on a five-year trial! How does that compare to a measly few hours on a sunny not-too-windy Sunday?

              • Treetop

                Might be entertaining if a race and sponsorship for a good cause.

                The prize could be an original cycle lycra.

          • greywarshark

            Yes let's start trialling some things.

  4. Herodotus 4

    On such a crap day weather wise all round, reasons to be Cheerful part 3. For those who appreciate greatness and to celebrate the Queens best

  5. Koff 5

    Good opinion piece on TDB by Christine Rose on the cycling issue. I agree with what she says which is basically pro bike user and pro more safe cycling infrastructure. I have used bikes most of my life, for commuting, fun, travel, to do the shopping, never worn lycra and think cycling is cheap and healthy but becoming bloody dangerous anywhere on the public highway system (especially in NZ). Unfortunately, NZ, Oz, the U.S., Canada etc. have been built around the ownership and use of cars and now the serious prospect of changing all that around because of the need to combat climate change is really hard. Dont blame bike riders for the pain!

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Koff I would imagine that your bike riding has been mostly done on the road. Now it has been pushed on to the footpath for safety, it endangers the simple basic transport option that is natural to us – walking. Plus all the other man-made contraptions that are too fast for comfort to walkers who want to relieve stress, get somewhere at their own pace, and enjoy the neighbourhood and perhaps stroll and chat with a friend.

      And you are right the transport system is around vehicles. Dealers have made much money out of selling vehicles. The lots are full of hummer type vehicles that signal in metal, make way for me coming through, move over for my fat-bottomed wide vehicle encroaching on every space.

      Yet our local council runs buses which often have one or two people in them. They could set up an arrangement with a taxi service for less cost, and help to use resources effectively and provide a better income for the often retired men and new citizens who drive them.

      Ways to reduce vehicle purchase, such as extra tax on people movers, and encouragement for the smaller vehicle, for moving to EVs, for hybrids etc. would be helpful. But public transport that is tailored to what people need and that regular travellers can buy into with season tickets that bring the price down to what allows suppliers to make a good living, would be a good way of PPP.

      \A set route of local season ticket holders could be picked up and dropped off each morning and night after work connecting to the bus route is one idea I have found. Also taxis that will serve an area within a set time once two people have called and who share the price. A person might call hopefully early in the morning, and if no-one else calls, then use other transport, but once the system got going enough people would be using and finding the system beneficial.

    • Foreign waka 5.2

      I like to point out that it is unlawful in any other country to ride a bicycle on a motorway/highway. It should be quite logical as to why.

      Here in NZ it seems that there is an understanding that riding a bike is a free for all but this is not true. There are also rules that equally apply to motorized and non motorized cycling. I see many riders who completely ignore just basics: lighting – see and be seen (200 meters min), high vis clothing, using hand signs and speeding, crossing red lights, cutting across other vehicles, completely obliviend of the way a truck driver can or not see you when overtaking etc. etc. etc. There are bicycle riders that endanger others road users of all stripes and colors and I for one are for one would advocate for a driver licence to be compulsory.


      • woodart 5.2.1

        so, you have just forced all under 15 yr old off bicycles. not a good idea.

        • Sabine

          A lisence could be simply a free but mandatory road rules test at the AA. In fact, you could start teaching basic road rules from kindergarten on so as to ease children in to using bikes, mopeds, scooters, car.

          sadly this page is only in german, but it is done there, https://www.adac.de/verkehr/verkehrssicherheit/kindersicherheit/verkehrserziehung/mobil-sicher-radfahrer/

          Even we as kids had a 'test' with a police man during school hours. They set up a low skill test area and you ride around, stop and go, red /green light etc. We got a batch. 🙂

          Just make it free and begin in kindergarten. By the time the kid is 10 – 12 they can navigate the traffic in their area fairly well. And this will make passing the drivers test easier in the future.

          • woodart

            that used to happen. we had visits from ?? with pedal cars and layout streets with ped x and roundabouts etc. there is film from then at national film unit.

            • Brigid

              I remember that happening once at my primary school. There were not enough bikes and pedal cars for all the kids so those who missed out performed pedestrian duties.

              I was mightily pissed off at the pathetic tokenism of the whole charade and I was only 9.

        • Foreign waka

          woodart – You are kidding right? I mean do you want to get a point across regardless of any risk to the kids? Really?

          • woodart

            perhaps I have a closer relationship with reality. you are the one who wanted ALL pushbike riders to be licensed. I dont have a problem with increased junior road education, but licenses for 6 yr olds!?. talk to yr local cop about that idea and watch for the eyeroll.

  6. greywarshark 6

    A sweet song from John Denver with thoughts that most of us will have as we are older. Unfortunately for some of us who are older we cannot relax and play our fiddles while Rome burns.
    Poems Prayers and Promises

    • Phillip ure 6.1

      john denver is the crocs of music..

      • Sacha 6.1.1

        a rocky mountain high

      • Phillip ure 6.1.2

        as in reviled by most…loved by a few..

        and essentially soft and comfortable..

        • greywarshark

          Some soft and comfortable is good, unlike much of your comment PU.

          • Phillip ure


            • Phillip ure

              and denver-cultists are quite prickly..I've noticed..if their guru is slighted in any way..

              and funny story..they self-identity as 'johns'..

              and tend towards overstuffed/fussy furnishings in their home environment..(think doilies..and the like..)

              is this you grey..?

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                and denver-cultists are quite prickly…

                "Quite prickly" but mostly harmless as cultists go; fairly ‘soft‘ targets even.

                Denver had his flaws, but who doesn't, eh Phil? Each to their own, imho.

                In the mid-1970s, Denver became outspoken in politics. He expressed his ecologic interests in the epic 1975 song "Calypso", an ode to the eponymous exploration ship used by environmental activist Jacques Cousteau. In 1976, he campaigned for Carter, who became a close friend and ally. Denver was a supporter of the Democratic Party and of a number of charitable causes for the environmental movement, the homeless, the poor, the hungry, and the African AIDS crisis. He founded the charitable Windstar Foundation in 1976 to promote sustainable living. His dismay at the Chernobyl disaster led to precedent-setting concerts in parts of communist Asia and Europe.

              • gsays

                Say what you like about his music, his stance against Tipper Gore and her ilk was brave and influential.

                I seem to recall an interview with Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys, who had been battling the PMRC over their album art, saying John Denver's testimony was game-changing.

                • Phillip ure

                  yes..his politics were good..

                  especially when compared with 'cool' musos..like morrissy..van morrison..and that notorious racist..eric clapton..

                  I like the music from all of those three..(some of that music examples of transcendental-beauty…c.f…astral weeks..)

                  but as human beings/ their personal politics..they all really are pieces of shit..

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        Laughable they can't find landscapers – have they tried their local Polytech? They usually have courses turning out entry level folk. Mind, I've replied to a few rural ads over the last while – happy enough to move but the accommodation is the clincher – got to live somewhere, and if the wage won't let you save there's not much point.

        • Sacha

          I can understand them wanting people with enough experience to hit the ground running. Whole wage/price structure needs to adjust to our post-migrant-topup mentality.

          • Stuart Munro

            The biggest impact has not been wages, in my view, but employment culture. The low wage migrant is obliged to endure some pretty nasty crap, and may not even get a legal wage. Kiwi workers won't get out of bed for ratbag employers like that – nor should they.

            Offer decent pay and conditions and you'll have to fight off workers with a stick – the way big projects like the Clyde dam had to. We're not seeing any of that.

            • Foreign waka

              I just shake my head… many kiwis wont last longer than a week when it dawns on them that they actually have to work consistently and keep focus for more than a computer game time slot. Every day, not just once. There is a belief that they are owed a living because they have been hard done by, by the world, the parents, the school, the neighbor, the whatever. And the ones who have gone to high school, maybe sat a paper or two at Uni think that the work is beneath them. And then you have youngsters who are willing but their skill base is so low that they need 24/7 supervision that no one can provide. This is the reality out there, on the ground where no one is willing to look and ask the hard questions.

              • Incognito

                Spoken like a true Kiwi!

              • Stuart Munro

                Forty years of slave workers and union busting in the fishing industry – and they wonder what happened to the work ethic.

                When you're scum like that, anyone with any get up and go, will.

                Cry me no boss tears – they made this bed – best they lie on it.

              • McFlock

                To me, it looks more like 30 years of trades training policy and shite wages has come to bite us in the arse.

                • bwaghorn

                  What it really is is that there will always be a minority of mallingerers, and grumpy old fuckers ,usually right wingers like to latch on to those few so they can run down all youngins.

                  • McFlock

                    Saw a funny thing a while back which suggested that the reason right wingers are so worried about malingerers on a humane dole is because they'd do it given half the chance, when actually most people want to actually work or contribute to society in some way.

                    It's the politics of envy, lol. The only motive tories can comprehend to do anything is money – if you gave them enough money to be happy, they'd do nothing.

                    But then (like all true addicts) the problem for some tories is that no amount is ever enough.

              • AB

                Even if this is true, it's still a case of chickens and eggs. If as SM suggested above, you offer decent pay and conditions so that workers really want these jobs, they'll know that a decent performance is needed to get and keep them.

                But this is just a bit too hard. It's easier to politically capture governments and get them to break labour markets in ways that advantage you – such as easy access to foreign labour.

              • greywarshark

                Foreign Waka

                I think that many kids should spend time doing work and then do block courses at school. And all should have experience of doing physical work. The education system is training students to suit the tech people with heads filled with equations. But the old problem exists, they make very thin soup. A spell in the fields and workshop would break the spell of the screen; it trains many to be voyeurs of real life, has anyone thought of that. No wonder people are always going on overseas holidays – they have never realised that there is a different world out there away from the city or their small town.

              • Phillip ure


                socrates had similar thoughts on the perfidies/failings of the young.

                they have always been a problem for the old..the young..

                little changes..over time..eh..?

        • Sabine

          That is the biggest issue is it not, that if you wanted to move and work there, without housing that is a no go. And it has been like that for ever. I doubt that many who work and live in the big city are saving that much of their wages. Kiwi safer maybe.

          • Stuart Munro

            When I moved to Korea I took about a 40% pay cut on paper – but cost of living was so low I could save 60% of my pay without scrimping.

            A few baselines need to be worked out here really – the neolib economy presently rewards the crook, the speculator, and the chair-polishing bureaucrat, not the worker.

            • Sabine

              unless there is some sort of rental cap, or a reform on how rent – i.e. the usage of a space is charged, nothing will change. At the moment people are paying the mortgage, rates and the boat in their rents. And the government could not increase the min. wage enough and fast enough to change that. Rent control, a rental mirror etc is what is needed.

        • woodart

          live in your car , thats the nat party solution to non existant housing crisis.

          • Sabine

            Plenty a people are living in their cars and motels under Labour too. Heck, most of Rotorua Moteliers are earning themselves a golden toilet seat by renting to homeless at full prices cause the government has a big purse and is happy spending the money.

            So you could say the issue is bipartisan.

          • Foreign waka

            Well, not much has changed. They are now in substandard motels costing the taxpayer 1 Mill a week.

          • Stuart Munro

            I've been looking at a variation on it – but Nash's laws on campervans are a bit discouraging – push that option mostly out of reach. Not that I'm being offered any work anyway – the worker drought is rhetorical from where I'm sitting.

        • Cricklewood

          Thats because although somewhat lowly regarded it actually requires a very diverse skill set, read plans, set out, carpentry, concrete, paving, drainlaying, horticulture etc etc and then you need to be happy working in all weathers.

          Not many stick at it….

          As an aside the polytech courses are garbage can get the same certification (in name) in a 1 year polytech course that took me 8000 hours of apprenticeship.

          • Foreign waka

            Polytech short courses are the band aid for the semi illiterate. Employers know it.

        • Jenny How to get there

          I know a small landscape business owner who couldn't compete with the bigger landscaping companies that were able to bring in migrant workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.
          To save his business he started hiring beneficiaries and paying them under the table. That is, until the tax department caught up with him.

      • mac1 7.1.2

        The article cited refers to the situation in Blenheim, a town I know a little of. 🙂 The employment rate in Marlborough is 2.5% against the national average of 4,7%. So, it is harder to find workers.

        Marlborough has 1% of the country's population, with no unversity, and a small campus of the NMIT in Blenheim.

        Housing is hard to find in Blenheim. Houses sell fast and there is a shortage of social housing. Anecdotally, we hear of jobs not taken as accommodation was not accessible.

        Food prices are high here. The average wage is the second lowest in the country. The median age is one of the highest in the country, with a much larger 65+ age group, which has one corollary of fewer workers available per head of population. That demographic anomaly also determines in part the average wage/income in Marlborough, and also the amount of money available for circulation.

        One of the business owners mentioned is decent as I know him and I know that he is determined to do his bit for training apprentices.

        I don't know what wages are being offered, so I can't offer advice on that. But small town NZ as typified in Blenheim can struggle with the advent of large shopping chains.

        Marlborough also suffers from what I call 'third world' status. 80% of Mrlborough wineries/vineyards are owned outside the province. Profits therefore go out of the province as do some of the highest paid jobs in the industry go outside Marlborough to the head offices etc.

        So, knowing some of the local circumstances does help to understand some of the local difficulties; but also remembering we have our share of worker-unfriendly enterprises in timber, fishing and farming as well.

        • Sacha

          The commitment to apprenticing was admirable, yes, but it should not really fall on the shoulders of individual businesses or customers. Prices need to increase but so do incomes.

          Those broader processes will take some effort to sort out – including somehow resourcing provincial economies enough to counteract extractive arrangements like you describe.

          • KJT

            Why shouldn't businesses pay for training? Otherwise they are just passing their business costs onto employees and tax payers.

            What happened to Capitalism. A business which cannot pay all its costs, etc.

            • Cricklewood

              Plenty of trades do hire and train their own apprentices and are very happy to do so….

              A good apprentice is hard to find these days usually they're someone that proactively approaches tbh also of course need suitably qualified staff to train them and have the time, very small sub contractor based business do struggle in this regard.

              Its actually a problem with neoliberalism and that so many tradies are now sub contractors…

            • Sacha

              Businesses should train and pay their people but they are not in a position to engineer social acceptance of higher prices. That takes broader leadership and a just transition to a high-wage economy.

        • woodart

          very good post mac1 those same conditions happen in a few rural locations around nz . as you say ,often outside owners who take the cream away from the locals. but propped up by local hardarses.

        • Patricia Bremner

          Getting social housing providers, employers and government to work together is also difficult in some areas. The politics got in the way.

          We rented real hovels in Blenheim when young and hubby was a "manager" of a store belonging to a chain. We paid upfront to move our belongings by rail, from one appointment to the next. Eleven homes, always looking for better, in 4 moves before we threw out the anchor and built with a 30 year Housing Corporation Loan, in Rotorua.

          For the first time in years, we see general building and social building happening, not just in the top end of the town.

          As for these "Slum motels" we have driven around on different days looking for those??? The quality of homes here is poorer than those of some areas of Europe and until recently, Australia, motels follow a pattern world wide, built for short stays, but slums?? I question that?

          We lived in a motel in Blenheim paid for by the employer as we had a child and no suitable housing. Not many employers do that now, and Councils do not see that as part of their brief, and until this Government social Housing was touted as short term accommodation!! Remember?

          • greywarshark

            TBH I think local gummint got directive from central g in Douglas or RRichardsons time to heave ho a lot of things that they did in housing and other things. (Thanks you old people -haters in central gummint. You would be more use being fed to the lions, except they probably wouldn't like the taste and spit you out.)

            • greywarshark

              Talking about lions eating – great piece from Stanley Holloway sending up the common people in the lion that ate Albert.

          • mac1

            Marlborough has some 180 Council units. They are still in favour as we in Grey Power told them to keep them and they were so willing they invited GP participation in their Housing Committee. Govt is building another 100+ units in Nelson/Marlborough. Grape workers accommodation is vastly improved with purpose-built complexes. There is real hope and cooperation here but not enough builders, tradies, and some blockage by local developers to release enough land for new housing. Some but never enough, to keep the prices up?

            Meanwhile, 10% of Marlborough housing is not occupied…..

            • Patricia Bremner

              Mac1 that is really a complete change then. Why are 10% empty?

              • mac1

                Mostly holiday homes, of course. The census gives the information….. but in the midst of the homeless we have this rather stark anomaly.

        • Foreign waka

          What about the provincial growth fund, is there no access to establish apprenticeships and support accommodation. Or shall I say, provide living support to those who sign up? If you can get support for doing nothing, surely there must be some for doing something. Provided our employment minister is proactive…

  7. greywarshark 8

    Sir Grahame Sydney about how and why he started and kept drawing and painting from the age of 5. Following the lead of his words could well be the means by which a generation of NZs could positively turn around and pull together.

    "I've got an infamous blue suitcase which is full with stuff Mum kept from every sort of waking day of my life. I used to draw as a young child and always loved it and always thought it was magical and I just kept going … mainly because people used to praise me and it was a wonderful way of thinking you were okay."


    By the way praise for weka and incognito and other mods for keeping on, keeping us reasonably seemly and effectively managed.

    • Foreign waka 8.1

      Grahame Sydney one of the best artists I have seen who are active in modern times. His paintings are breath taking and he deserves the honor.

  8. Incognito 9

    The race is on in US Intelligence between finding ET and the Killer Bat that escaped from the lab cave – I can feel it in my big toe that we’re close – and they’ll know it when they see it, as they did with WMDs, because it is in their job title. My money is on Emo Musk meeting Ewoks on Mars. The modern day version of bread & circuses AKA dead cat bounce on the table. I’ll be ready to take selfies next time an oblong object flies past Earth at great speed in the opposite direction to where it came from.


    • Andre 9.1

      As always, xkcd is relevant:




      … and my first reaction whenever there's any UFO news is to see what's being said on Metabunk.


      • Incognito 9.1.1

        Luckily, the US Intelligence is much more forthcoming than the NZ one; even NZ Government is shrouded in secrecy behind the OIA security wall. Put all DHB IT systems behind the OIA wall and no hacker will ever get in, let alone out, unredacted. That said, I thought I saw an UFO the other night, but it turned out to be the Emo Musk Satellite Express, no bells or flashing lights !

        FWIW, I believe in alien life, but not life as we know it. It would be such a cosmic waste of resources if we were the only bugs in the Universe; it goes against my utilitarian values and beliefs.

        • Andre

          I'm kinda meh on whether there are aliens or not. Unless they're orbiting one of the dozen or so closest stars, there isn't going to be any kind of back-and-forth communication within any human lifetime.

          Then from a simple physics viewpoint, just contemplating the sheer amount of energy that would be needed for any kind of interstellar travel means I reckon I've got a better chance of winning Powerball than of earth ever getting visited by aliens in flying saucers.

          • Sacha

            Why would they go to all the trouble and then just buzz a few locals?

            • Incognito

              For shits and giggles. They only buzz believers, which is why I refuse to believe this nonsense. Usians are more gullible, I believe.

              • Sacha

                You reminded me of a wonderful bbc one-off from 1980 that agreed with you – the buzzing was just bored rich kids from the future.

          • Incognito

            Don’t let inconvenient traditional physics get in the way of good-old imagination.

            We already struggle with migrants, can’t even get on top of a pandemic, make a real mess of online communication and free speech, and shit in our own nest, so the alien invasion visiting hour will have to wait for a little bit longer and I’m sure they’ll understand.

            • Andre

              Every time I've tried to imagine my way outside of traditional physics it's ended in a lot of pain, sometimes tears, sometimes a visit to the doctor …

              • Incognito

                When you’re trying too hard you put strain on the brain. Sit back, relax and don’t fall asleep. Even better, go for a bike ride or walk across the bridge.

                • Poission

                  Or ski in your togs,which has shown great success.

                  Vladimir Igorevich had an unusual creative method which he inherited from his teacher Andrey Kolmogorov. Whenever he got stuck on a problem, he would grabbed his skis and ski 40 kilometers or more wearing nothing but his swim-trunks. His colleagues often met him dressed like this in the piercing wind. According to him, this practice would always lead him to a new idea. He also made it a rule for himself to go swimming whenever he encountered open water. A frequent bather in wintertime, he has convinced many of his students to do the same


                  [link added]

                  • Andre

                    I once biked thirty km in -20 weather. It did not lead to any insight beyond what would have been blindingly obvious before the exercise. Maybe I should have joined my colleague that did the ride a couple of weeks later at -38, setting a new company record.

                  • Incognito

                    Brilliant! What is normal anyway?

                    I’ve added the link, because it’s worth reading the whole story.

                • Andre

                  Errm, riding a bike, and bridges have featured prominently in episodes of me trying to imagine outside of traditional physics that did not end well.

            • woodart

              if aliens visit nz will they have to do the two week quarantine, and will they be allowed to sleep in their spaceships and freedom camp? are they already here and members of the national party and living on the nth shore?. will an alien be worth two chinese(on the s bridges scale)?. will they qualify for nz benefits, and if they turn out to be bad eggs, where and how do we deport them?

        • greywarshark

          There may be a joke of some kind in the future around the smell of minute living organisms from space that have come on one of his space fleet. We'll look at anything smelly and unwanted and say 'It has the Smell of Musk'. We already cart death dealing bugs and microbes round the world and deposit them to destroy crops and people in other earth countries, so next we will be doing it from space. We who have nothing better to do than wreck the physical and dream up fun and nirvanas for our pleasure and all without taking drugs. The mind is amazing.

  9. weston 10

    All those dirty secrets and another pile of shit laid before the feet of the catholic church .215 kids or their remains found in a secret grave in the grounds of a so called Residential School in BC.Just like many of us here in nz were unaware of abuses in state care were as bad or as prevalent as our recent enquiry revealed them to be most people in canada had no idea of the damage done to native children forcibly "educated "in special schools run by state funded churches from 1876 to 1996.Sounds like beatings rape and sodomy were common and a daily reality for many .In canada when i guess enough of the dirty secrets had made it to the surface authorities took six years to investigate the claims of abuse and finally had a fully blown truth and reconciliation hearing and this is old news now but they found the bodies last week .Now i guess they,ll have to search the grounds of all these schools .Seems incredible that so called "christians"could treat children in such a cruel manner could it be that rather than man supposedly being" made in the image of his maker "that its the other way around ?

  10. Macro 11

    Creation of First Human-Monkey Embryos Sparks Concern

    Called chimeras, these lab-grown creations have been hailed as a major scientific breakthrough. But some ethics experts see reason for worry

    Creation of First Human-Monkey Embryos Sparks Concern

    • greywarshark 11.1

      I think they should just let things happen naturally! The series of images of us developing from knuckle dragging apes is already in reverse anyway.

    • Incognito 11.2

      It is a hugely complex ethical issue where to draw a line; chimeric antibodies have been in use as highly effective anti-cancer drugs for years.

  11. greywarshark 12

    Redline has produced this amazing article that recounts various happenings and statements that have aroused so much attention that it is stating that the contents of the article are the basis of all the wokeness that is going on about racism. It is about a woman who was born on Cloud 9 and without coming down from there considers she speaks for and understands the vast majority of women and men who are at the lower income levels of society.

    She came, she saw, she conquered saying, 'I'm going to buy that theory and make it mine'!


  12. KJT 13

    Like the "Boomer" Millennial divide. Another way of distracting all of us from the real culprits, the wealthy and powerful, while they run off with our wealth.

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