Motorway funding is bleeding the rest of transport funding dry

30 09 2011

About upcoming NZTA road funding from the latest Cycling Action Network email bulletin:

Transport funding is poured into seven big road projects, starving local councils. The GPS on transport substituted Roads of National Significance (RoNS) for many sustainable transport and road safety programmes, including cycling. A draft GPS for 2012-22 has been released for consultation and CAN has submitted on it. The final version, now released, proposes that over the next 10 years, 51 cents of every transport dollar will go to new road construction (mostly RoNS), with worryingly less for road maintenance and safety, public transport, walking, cycling and travel demand management (TDM). At most, only one cent in the transport dollar will go to walking/cycling and TDM, the most cost-effective investments possible.

Where there has been a little bit of cycling funding, such as in Hastings, it is making a huge difference. Checkout the cycleway map of Hastings. Instead of pissing billions up the wall on duplicate highways of dubious significance, spending millions having iWay like schemes in towns and cities all over the country seems like a completely more sane way of funding transport projects. Human scaled, not scaled for trucks. Human scaled, not scaled for megalomaniacs.

Let your friends know what a vote for National really is, and it isn’t a brighter future. It’s impoverishment economically and ecologically. It is a reduction in the quality of our urban places. The rest of the world (in the form of Ratings Agencies) is waking up to just how bad managers National really are. We hope the rest of the country gets there in time.





If Political Parties came on Freeview…

26 09 2011

First up a pertinent question after all the visual pollution has gone up in paddocks all over the country – Wouldn’t it require bright people to deliver a brighter future?

Next… What if political parties came on Freeview. (Yeah I know it is a moot point, since National would want you to pay for Sky and poor people could go without television, but let’s pretend for a while. It was a passing thought on a solo tramp, and here it is come to life)

Labor and National would be like the ones that are stuck at the front of the dial:

They’re seemingly dependable, they’re seemingly comfortable, they’ve been around for ages, they’re what you get by default and they’re largely crap. If you turn on the telly and couldn’t be bothered changing the channel, or only bother to press the button once, they’re the noise in the background.

Then there are the Greens. They’re slightly intellectual. Full of documentaries. And they’re the only channel that once broadcast the e squared transport series. And National want to shut them down lest any New Zealander have a thought for themselves.  So the Greens are obviously:

The Maori Party and the Mana Party are either:

or:

but they’re not sure who represents who.

Then there is the Act Party. They’re like one of those 30 minute long Sunday morning infomercials for a Flab-blaster on Prime. They’re useless, only for the extremely thick and obese (or these days the serious stoned) and if someone embarrassingly buys one they use it once, find it doesn’t work, try to sell it on trade-me and have it at the back of a cupboard until the inevitable dumping in a landfill.

So who deserves to be on:


Well here is what I think. I think you should Party Vote Green.

If you look at the Green Party candidate list you’ll notice that with the vagaries of MMP and current polling of about 10% the Greens are going to get their first 12 candidates in. But if they get 11% they get their 13th member in and that is Julie Anne Genter. And who do you want in parliament, another lawyer, another accountant, another foreign currency speculator who takes glee in sacking people, or would you prefer we get a modern 21st century transport planner? Someone who understands modern urban planning, transport and land use, or someone who is a megalomaniacal motorway builder with a careless driving causing injury record to boot stuck in the 1950s?

A party vote for National means you couldn’t be bothered thinking about anything. You’re happy about pissing billions of dollars up the wall on unnecessary road projects. You’re happy about living in polluted towns and cities. You’re happy about having state-owned assets sold off for a song (only to rich New Zealanders – no foreigners to make the price too high) and then when you’re not looking they’ll change the rules (the price goes up in a different market) and sell at a profit to those foreigners. That sounds so much like what happened after the fall of the Soviet Union, when state-assets were “sold” for a song below their market value. Change the bloody channel. Maybe to TVN7. Tonight they had e squared Design. That’s cool.

We really do need brighter people in parliament to have a brighter future as a nation, but somehow they don’t come with a blue ribbon on their lapels. Remember my adage – never trust someone who wears a suit. Russel, Kevin, Gareth, David, lose the bloody ties. You look like wallies wearing ties.

Here’s Julie Anne explaining parking regulations: (There’s more on her site)

Minimum levels of bicycle parking and secure bicycle parking at every commercial site instead of mandatory car parking – now there’s a good idea.





Ohakune Old Coach Road

15 09 2011

As well as the Mangapurua Cycle Trail another part of the Mountains to the Sea Cycle Route is the Ohakune Old Coach Road. It starts at the train station at Ohakune and heads west of town on a dirt road to a small carpark. On a sunny day there’ll be lots of walkers, and the track can seem a bit crowded.


There is a short grassy uphill section where some cyclists will get off and walk.

Through some scrub on a well formed track.

The train line originally went through the Hapuawhenua Tunnel, but it’s been rerouted when they built the new viaduct. You can ride your bike through the tunnel, but the far end is gated off.

The section sidling around the hill through the forest is wonderful to ride through if there aren’t too many walkers around.

The trail goes under the train line and then you can ride onto the old Hapuawhenua Viaduct. The somewhat muddy track to Horopito goes up the hill near the start of the viaduct.

After Horopito 40 odd kilometres of quiet rural roads leads on to the start of the Mangapurua Track.

On a busy day you’ll probably question the decision to allow cyclists on the short walk to the viaducts, so enjoy it while you can. On foot or on bike it is a pleasant, shortish ride out from Ohakune to the viaducts and back. Slow down for walkers.





Six Disks Track

14 09 2011

Here’s another suggestion for something to do when the rugby is on; The Six Disks Tramp near Levin. Yes a tramp, not a bike ride, but hey I’m branching out.  This post is sponsored by Mountain View Motel, Levin. A Great Place to Stay.

If you thought that any of the tramps near Levin were too short (like Lake Papaitonga), or required way too much commitment (like the giant 3 or 4 day tramps through the Northern Tararuas), and the tramp to Burn Hut from behind Shannon although a nice length is a bit hard to get to with the log trucks messing up the road, then fear not. Try the Six Disks Track. It is a 9.9km loop from Poads Road (off Gladstone Road) in the hinterland behind Levin. Strictly speaking the Six Disks Track is the short connecting track between the Ohau River track and the Waiopehu Track, but I’ll describe it as a clockwise loop.

Admittedly it doesn’t look much on the map, but it is one of those curly, lovely, tree root and mud tramps that the Tararuas is great for. It’ll take about 4 hours or so, so it is worth a stop if travelling through Levin (and worth an overnight stop according to my sponsor).

From the carpark at Poads Road the walk crosses a private farm over some old terraces of the Ohau River.

When it enters the Forest Park there’s a fork in the track, follow the Ohau River one on the left, as later on the Six Disks track is steep and you’d want to be climbing up it, rather than coming down. The track above the river is mostly flat, and quite a nice track, albeit a bit muddy.

The Six Disks track is signposted going straight up a hill shortly before you reach a swingbridge over a small stream after which the Ohau River track climbs the Gable End Ridge. Climb the Six Disks Track. This is the fun bit. It is as rough as guts, and steep as. It’s a whole lot of fun being a 3D tramp which brings out the gibbon in all of us. The track is often at eye level a few feet ahead. At the top where it hits the Waiopehu Track there is this sign. Notice it is only an hour back to the carpark, which is twice the speed that the walk to this point took. This is a function of how easy the tracks are to walk. The walk down isn’t anywhere as hard.

Most of the walk is within forest, but there are a couple of vistas here or there, and the higher peaks still have their snow cover.

A 4 hour muddy steep tramp in the Northern Tararuas sure beats watching men put their heads up each others’ bottoms or whatever rugby is all about.





Rugby World Cup is a good reason to go cycling or tramping

12 09 2011

 

Update No.2 Maurice Williamson was a ‘little boisterous’ during the game. Closed ranks. Nothing to see here. Move on everybody.

 

Update: It was one of Maurice Williamson, Jonathan Coleman and Wayne Mapp. They’re denying it ever happened. In the article PM Key said he expected his ministers to act appropriately. “I always expect my ministers to act in line with the responsibility and authority they hold.” Hopefully the truth will out, and we’ll hold the PM to that.


Who was the dickhead government minister
, who was such a bad sport on Sunday at North Harbour Stadium?

The public has a right to know who the buffoon is. Someone must know. Add a comment saying where different government ministers were on Sunday and we’ll find the boorish culprit by deduction.

Should that be another government minister called to resign? Or there is this one?

And another National list MP that has done nothing and is just a waste of space – Katrina Shanks’ electorate office is about 50 metres from the absent pedestrian crossing detailed in Pedestrians count for nothing in Johnsonville. You’d think having an electorate office just metres from an obvious debacle and being an MP for nearly 3 years means she could have helped put it right by now, or is she really there to just make up the numbers? If there was a crossing there then the half dozen fat, obviously drunk Welsh rugby supporters wouldn’t have been walking through oncoming traffic as I was dropping a friend off after a lovely day tramping in the Catchpool Valley.

A day’s tramp (or ride) is my answer to everything, especially if the question is “What game of rugby is on?”





Steven Joyce should resign

8 09 2011

Update : It’s been explained to me that careless driving and dangerous driving are not the same thing, and careless driving is the less serious of the two. His convictions are for careless driving (one causing injury) and not dangerous driving, as I originally stated. I offer my apologies to the minister for that, but I still stand by the rest of this. I’d like to know how trivial the offences were and I still ask the question is a person convicted of somewhat serious driving offences fit to hold the office of Transport Minister? The parliamentary chambers aren’t in the Beehive either apparently. There are probably other errors too, and I’ll correct anything that is factually wrong as it is pointed out to me. And yes I do think that parliamentarians should be upstanding citizens without criminal records, and if they do have a criminal record then full detailed disclosure of the crimes should be public knowledge. 

This is hilarious over at AKT – Steven Moans about Transport Blogs

Well I’m not a left wing blogger either (I blog about bicycles and public transport), although I am stridently anti-National because they are rubbish, but I am not going to call for Steven Joyce to resign because he is incompetent, or clueless about Transport Policy, or backing some giant white elephant road projects. I am calling on Steven Joyce to resign because a man with two criminal convictions for careless driving is not fit to be New Zealand’s Transport Minister.

When Act list MP David Garrett – (unbelievably the party’s law and order spokesman) – admitted that he had stolen a dead baby’s identity in 1984 and used it to get a passport, NZ parliamentarians had to get up in the Beehive and admit to their criminal pasts. Steven Joyce conveniently forgot one of his two convictions and misled the parliament by doing so. The next day he had to admit that he actually had two criminal convictions. Let’s have a look at what they were:

  • The 1988 conviction was for careless driving and he was fined.
  • The 1989 one was for careless driving causing injury, for which he was fined and lost his licence.

At the time (September 2010) that Steven Joyce was ‘misremembering’ I can’t recall any questions being asked by the media about those convictions. (I could be wrong as I don’t watch any NZ TV or listen to much NZ radio). There were no questions being asked about whether someone with two criminal convictions for careless driving was fit to be Transport Minister (or any kind of parliamentarian). I am asking that question now.

And it is not like the New Zealand public gets a chance to vote him out if they perceive he has done wrong. He is 13th on the National Party List for the November election. He doesn’t front up to an electorate, and being so high on the National Party List is an appointment, not a nomination. So he is not accountable to the New Zealand public. Who is he accountable to? Who decides that those criminal convictions can just be swept under the carpet? The public doesn’t really get a say.

Is it really okay for criminals to be cabinet ministers?

What does the motorcyclist injured in 1989 by Steven Joyce’s dangerous driving think of the man who injured him being Transport Minister?

What do all my readers think about it?

How serious were the offences? The magistrate obviously didn’t let him off both times, so they were serious enough to register a conviction. And he was banned from driving.

Is that motorcyclist still around in NZ? Get in touch, and you can tell your story here.

Maybe it is valid for Mr Joyce to be a minister, but we need more disclosure. At the moment the perception is that he isn’t fit and proper for the job. He has some explaining to do, and if unwilling to explain or resign then PM John Key should sack him.

And don’t give me some excuse that it was a long time ago. David Garret resigned and his crime was committed in 1984, and Charlie Manson isn’t about to be the next Governor of California either.

Unfit for public office?