Too young to drive?

August 19, 2009

When you live in the country you know your children will almost certainly leave home for further education or work when they finish school.

Ensuring they get a driver’s licence and get practice driving when we have a fair bit of control over them is one of the ways we prepare our teens for life in the big, wide world.

Most farm kids learn to ride motorbikes and drive cars, utes and even tractors in paddocks before they are old enough to get the licence which allows them to start learning to drive on the road.

Most are keen to get their licence as soon as they can and parents are generally supportive of that because it gives the adolescents some independence and frees the parents from playing taxi driver.

If the suggestion that the age at which people can get a licence be raised to 17 is acted on then rural people will be disadvantaged. We don’t have public transport and do have bigger distances to take our offspring to school, sports, cultural and social activities.

However, rural roads are dangerous and the evidence that adolescents don’t have the intellectual capacity required for safe driving is compelling.

However, inconvenience is better than tragedy. Taxiing  teenagers for longer is preferable to dealing with incapacity or death as the result of a vehicle accident.

Feds’ wish-list pt 5

November 4, 2008

I’m coming to the end of Federated Farmers’  42 page election wish list which continues with transport:

* The driving age to remain at 15 but with an increased learner licensing period.

* An amendment to the Driver Licensing Rule allowing tractors and harvesters to be operated on a Class 1 License.

* An amendment to the Mass and Dimension Rule to remove the requirement for permits for agricultural vehicles to be used on roads at certain times.

* Councils be required to ensure that their stock movement bylaws do not impose unreasonable restrictions, impositions or costs on farmers.

* The use of education, rather than regulation, to encourage farmers to stand their stock with more investment in stock effluent disposal facilities by councils and the NZ Transport Agency.


 Keeping the driving age at 15 but increasing the learner licence period takes account of the impact raising the age would have on rural families while recognising there is a safety issue with young drivers.

From driving to walking:

* Public access to private land to remain subject to negotiation with, and agreement by, the landowner.

* A simplified and lower cost method to ‘stop’ unformed roads not required by councils, and that such ‘stopped roads’ may only be offered to the adjacent landowner.

Both of these recognise property rights.


Then on to water:


 * Water policies based on sound scientific information.


* Simple and cost-effective policies for both the regulator and the user.


* Security of tenure and clear specifications for water use.


* Flexibility to suit local needs and circumstances.


* Water harvesting and storage to be prioritised.


* Recognition that efficient use of water is best determined by water users.


* Accommodation for the voluntary transfer or exchange of water permits.


Science-based policies are to be encouraged.


Investments are made and businesses built around water so security of tenure is important.


Recognising that local needs and circumstances differ is sensible.


Water rights transfer with land so allowing the voluntary transfer isn’t a great leap to make.

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