School buses need seatbelts

29/04/2021

Phillipa Cameron is driving many extra kilometres to keep her children safe:

Philippa Cameron will continue driving a 64km round trip to Kurow twice a day until she can be assured her young daughters will be safely belted in on their school bus ride.

The Otematata mother, who has more than 16,900 followers on her Instagram page What’s for Smoko, has launched a petition to get seatbelts on school buses and has managed to collect about 3000 signatures so far.

The issue made its way on to Mrs Cameron’s radar about a year ago, when her eldest daughter Flora was about to turn 5.

“I was that new mum who was looking at how my daughter was going to get to school,” she said.

It was unacceptable to Mrs Cameron that her small child, who was legally required to be in a carseat when travelling by car, could climb on to a school bus and travel along country roads at high speeds, without any type of restraint.

It is risky enough in town at speeds up to 50kph, it’s much more dangerous on country roads and highways at much higher speeds.

She was not the only mother concerned about the issue, but she was one of the lucky ones who had the time to drive her children to their Kurow School, from Otematata Station, where her and husband Joe live.

“Then you’ve got the mothers who are in a position that they can’t take their children. And then they’ve got this terrible mum guilt, you know.

“They have to put their kids on the bus and put their faith and trust in a driver, who gets to have a seatbelt, by the way.

“I feel their pain, because I understand why they have to put their children on the bus.”

In August last year, then Minister of Transport Phil Twyford had told her there was no change in sight for the laws, Mrs Cameron said.

Now new Transport Minister Michael Wood was saying the same thing, citing cost as the biggest hurdle. . . 

What cost do you put on a child’s safety?

Given the law that puts so much responsibility on a person operating a business or enterprise to ensure all workers and customers are safe, how can it be legal to not have seatbelts on school buses – or any bus, come to that?

The petition has the support of Rural Women and Federated Farmers:

Federated Farmers transport and health & safety spokesperson Karen Williams is asking rural residents to sign a petition calling for a law change requiring seat belts in school buses. . . 

Karen also believes the current situation is unacceptable.

“When our children are babies we invest in baby capsules, then car seats with 5 point harnesses, both rear facing and then forward facing as the baby’s neck gets stronger, and then lastly booster seats until they are tall enough to safely fit in the seat belt.”   

“But when they turn five and get on a school bus, suddenly having a restraint doesn’t matter?  

“School bus routes can include narrow, windy gravel roads, often busy with heavy trucks.  The bus driver will be secured in a seatbelt, but one row back there’s nothing to buckle in the child passenger,” Karen said.

Radio NZ reported that two children were seriously injured and six others suffered minor injuries after a school bus crashed near Murchison last month.   A week earlier four school students were injured after two buses crashed in Christchurch.  In 2018, St John urged the government to make wearing seatbelts compulsory on some bus services after two people died and many others were injured in a spate of accidents. . . 

The petition closes tomorrow.

You can sign it here.

 

 


Following not making history

05/12/2016

A strong candidate and well-ordered campaign weren’t enough to make history on Saturday.

A sitting government has never won a by-election in a seat held by the Opposition and Mt Roskill voters weren’t going to change that.

That National won the party vote in the general election two years ago was irrelevant. It’s a red seat and voting reflected that.

Labour’s Michael Wood, helped by the absence of Green and New Zealand First candidates, won the with 11,170 votes, well ahead of National’s Parmjeet Parmar who got 4,652. The counting of special votes isn’t going to make much difference.

The result brought a good end to a bad week for Labour with two polls giving them at best 28% support and at worst 23%.

But they shouldn’t get too excited.

Maurice McTigue won Timaru for National in the 1985 by-election but Labour increased its support in the 1987 election. More recently, the Labour candidate won Christchurch East in 2013 but National won the party vote in that seat a year later.

Roshan Nauhria, leader of the newly formed NZ People’s Party, got 709 votes on Saturday.

He too should learn from history which shows how difficult it is for a new party to win seats unless it has the advantage of a sitting MP who has changed allegiance.

 

 

 


Optional hypocrisy

29/09/2016

The Green Party has announced it won’t be contesting the Mt Roskill by-election, should there be one.

Not wasting time and resources on a contest they can’t win isn’t stupid but it shows up both the Greens and Labour as hypocrites.

Both have been highly critical of National for not trying to win Epsom and Ohariu to help Act’s and United Future’s candidates.

The hypocrisy is particularly bad for Labour’s candidate who stood in Epsom at the last election.

The Opposition’s hypocrisy over ‘dirty deals’ is brazen, says ACT Leader David Seymour as the Green Party confirms that they won’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill as part of an arrangement with Labour.

“Michael Wood’s campaign in Mt Roskill is set to be a brazen display of hypocrisy,” says Mr Seymour. “Two years ago he was bemoaning John Key’s endorsement of a vote for me in Epsom as a ‘dodgy deal’. Now look at him.

The Greens ought to be just as embarrassed, with Julie-Anne Genter having called John Key’s Epsom endorsement ‘undemocratic’. Clearly, this was nothing more than faux-outrage.

Strategic voting is a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy is optional. Labour and the Greens have shown how cheap their words are by participating in a deal that far eclipses the electoral arrangements they criticise every election.”

Labour and the Greens claimed the principled high ground in their criticism of what they called ‘dirty deals’.

Neither can claim to be so principled and both are guilty of making the wrong choice when faced with otional hypocrisy.


‘Woodn’t’ it be loverly

31/08/2016

All I want is a seat somewhere/ I don’t care if it’s there or here/ Epsom, Roskill/I could if voters will/ ‘Woodn’t’ it be loverly?

Michael Wood stood for Labour in Epsom at the last election with no hope of winning the seat.

A lot of would-be MPs do that. It shows the party they’re committed and is good practice for if or when they’re given a chance in a seat they could win.

He’s now been selected as the Labour candidate for Mt Roskill to succeed Phil Goff  either if he wins the Auckland Mayoralty or when he retires at the next election.

It is expected to be a tight race. National won the party vote in the electorate at the last election and will have a strong candidate in list MP Parmjeet Parmar.

Enter the Green Party stage left.

The party could be prepared to do a deal with Labour and not stand a candidate.

That’s were it gets a bit whiffy because both those parties have lost no opportunity to criticise what they call ‘dirty deals’ in other seats, including Epsom about which Wood said in 2014:

“We are calling for a straight contest and an end to the dodgy deals.”

. . . In fact he went as far as bringing a bag of flour along to debates to replace National candidate Paul Goldsmith who stepped aside to make way for ACT’s David Seymour.

“Every time that Paul Goldsmith fails to front in this campaign, we’re going to remind people about the dirty deal with this bag of wholemeal flour,” Wood said on The Nation’s Epsom debate. . .

He told The Nation that voters were sick of dirty deals. . . .

It won’t be easy for Wood – he needs the “dirty deal” he once supposedly despised.

My question is who is bringing the bag of Quinoa to debates to stand in for the Greens?

The Green candidate got 1682 votes at the last election. Even some of those could make the difference in a tight race.

Wood could well find himself falling off his high horse on what he used to think were ‘dirty deals’ if it’s going to give him a leg-up to the seat.


Spot the fresh faces

11/04/2011

The Labour Party has used its list for the 2011 election to introduce an element of play to the political scene.

They’ve come up with a game called Spot the Fresh Faces.

If you look really hard at the list you’ll find the odd one but Kiwiblog’s worked out the vote needed before they enter parliament.

Former president Andrew Little at 15 on the list would enter parliament if Labour gets 22% of the vote and Deborah Mahuta-Coyle at 26 would become an MP if the party gains 30% of the vote.

Six places further down is Michael Wood who would gain a list seat if the party gets 32% of the vote which is around where its been polling for months.

That is assuming Labour holds the electorates it has and doesn’t win any more.

The various factions which hold sway in Labour make ranking the list a bit more complicated than with other parties. But part of the blame for the stale look to the list rests with some of the longer serving MPs who haven’t recognised they’ve passed their best-by dates.

Unless the party manages to do a lot better than it has in the polls (even last night’s  One News Culmar Brunton poll which showed a small gain) there won’t be many fresh faces to spot in caucus after the election.


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