Wanted: road safety suggestions


Transport Minister Steven Joyce is seeking suggestions for improving road safety.

Five road safety features we noticed in Spain might help:

* Rumble bars a few metres before intersections of main and minor roads.

* Painted islands in the middle of main roads at intersections with major side roads. These enabled drivers of vehicles turning left (the same as making a right turn here) to give way to traffic on their side of the road, move to the painted island in the centre of the road and give way to traffic on the rights side of the road from there. That is safer than having to give way to traffic coming from both directions as we do here when we make a right turn from a side road.

* islands with round-abouts at either end, separating main road traffic from entrances to, and parking for, groups of businesses on the side of the road.

* More motorways.

* A requirement to keep to the right hand lane (left hand lane here) unless passing.

The discussion document is here.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Which are New Zealand’s second and third highest mountains?

2. Who wrote The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency?

3. Who said: Thinking Men Cannot Be Ruled”?

4. What is a grampus?

5. Since it’s International Languages Week:  which languages do the following greetings come from:

a) haai

b) bula vinaka

c) namaste

d) fakalofa

e) talofa

Paul Tremewan who must be reigning champion, gets the electronic bouquet – is it too early for a sprig of daphne? – for getting 4 4/5 correct; Gravedodger gets 2 2/5 for honesty, Paul L can have a bonus for amusing me ( when work avoiding as I am because of an essay due tomorrow I’m very easily amused) and Paul Corrigan gets a bonus for additional information.

Anyone who finds a link between the name Paul and ability to answer quiz questions can have a bonus too.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Night follows day


Yesterday we learned that some people on benefits receive more than the average wage. Today we discover that Labour’s tax increase and welfare for working families has also resulted in rorts.

The only surprising thing about this is that it has taken so long to make headlines when it is the logical outcome of policies based on political ideology and a desire to retain power rather than an understanding of economics and human nature.

Night follows day and people offered incentives take them.

When National reduced the tax rate on higher incomes in the early 1990s the tax take went up. One of the reasons for that was that people stopped wasting time rejigging their finances to reduce their tax burden and concentrated on making money.

Labour’s increasing the tax on incomes over $60,000 had the reverse effect of encouraging people to arrange their finances to reduce their liability, especially when there was the added incentive of qualifying for a benefit.

The advertisements for Working for Families were clearly targeted at people who already earned enough to afford luxuries.

National swallowed a very big dead rat before the last election in agreeing to keep WFF. But that was before the full extent of the recession and forecast deficits was obvious.

When the government’s aim is to take the sharp edges off the recession it is unlikely to dismantle the scheme in the short term. But this report gives it the ammunition it needs to torpedo it in the long term.

All but the rabid right wing accept that welfare has a place for helping those in genuine need but these rorts show only to clearly the stupidity of extending it to those in want.

ETS defacto tax on food


Australian retailers are warning that the Emissions Trading Scheme is a defacto tax on food which will push prices up by four to seven percent.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the ETS would lead to a sharp increase in grocery shelf prices as costs increased at every stage of the production and distribution process.

“It’s going to be a high cost to the consumer – the food manufacturer gets an ETS charge, then there’s delivery, and the retailers use refrigeration and lighting, and the cost of that is all going to be handed on,” Mr Zimmerman said. “Retail is a very competitive business. There’s not a lot of margin in grocery retailing, so these costs can’t be absorbed.”

That’s in a country which isn’t planning to include agriculture in its ETS. The increase in the price of food will be even greater here because agriculture is included in our Kyoto commitment.

The figure mentioned is for the direct costs. There is no mention of the indirect costs involved in, for example, the negotiations about such inane matters as to where trees are planted.

One of the very silly things agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol was that harvesting trees won’t attract a carbon tax if the land from which they were taken is replanted in trees but it will if the replacement trees are planted anywhere else.

New Zealand is now trying to get agreement that the tax exempt status will be granted for replanting whether or not it is on the same land from which the original trees were harvested.

You’d think someone with a little common sense could run an eye over the agreement, highlight clauses like this and get the matter sorted without having to waste time – not to mention expend all the carbon on travel – on negotiations.

August 18 in history


On August 18:

1587 Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America, was born.

US postage stamp issued in 1937, the 350th anniversary of Virginia Dare’s birth

1935 Sir Howard Morrison was born.

1936 Robert Redford was born.

1971 Prime Minister Keith Holyoake announced that New Zealand’s combat force would be withdrawn from Vietnam.

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History Online.

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