I am currently back to using the Wonderful Public Transport System. Tobermory is, of course, no longer working in the City, so we don’t have his subsidised parking, and depending on the shift I work, I can’t get cheap earlybird parks. Buzby is missing a headlight, and as I’m working late this week (ie, going home in the dark) I don’t want to drive her.
New Zealand is supposed to be horribly green and conservation-focussed. Why do I drive at all? Because the public transport system sucks. It sucks, a huge amount.
First, the cost component. To get from my home to the City Centre is a three-stage journey. This costs, on either bus line, $4.30. (The trains aren’t any use to me.) Providing I only use Stagecoach buses, I can get a bus pass which reduces the cost to $3.85. If I wish to use Ritchies buses instead, I cannot use this bus pass, and must have cash. Presumably Ritchies offer their own passes; I don’t use them often enough to know, plus I don’t want to keep track of two bus passes. At least cash is always cash.
If I drive, the trip is between 10 and 15 kilometers, depending on the route I choose. This costs me approximately 1 litre of gas, as I drive a reasonably economical vehicle. Gas is currently $2.16 a litre, as far as I’m aware.
Driving is currently exactly half the cost of catching the bus, for the transportation only. For the purposes of this argument, I am excluding parking from my transportation costs.
Second, there is the time component. In rush hour, the drive may take 30 to 45 minutes. (And my fuel economy, of course, goes down, especially if using the air conditioning – even so, the most I’d use is a litre and a half on a REALLY BAD day. Still only $3.50 or thereabouts.) By the time I walk to the bus stop, wait for the bus, sit on the bus, and walk from the bus stop to my workplace, I have spent approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.
Tomorrow, I begin work at 11am. If I drove, I could leave home at 10:15 or 10:30 am. It would cost me $2.13 in gas (purely for the transportation; not the parking).
To catch a bus, I will have to leave home at 9:40am. I will have to walk a kilometre (this is no problem; I like walking, and I am not unfit), which will take five to ten minutes. I also wear sensible boots, as the route involves a fairly steep hill. I will arrive at the bus stop at approximately 9:50am. The bus will turn up anytime in the subsequent fifteen minutes. It will arrive near my workplace at 10:55am. It will cost me $4.30, as there are currently no rides on my bus pass to drop the cost to $3.85.
There is also the argument that my time is worth money. Assuming that I am paid $20 an hour, the extra 30 minutes involved has ‘cost’ me $10. A full day’s parking costs me less than $10.
It’s a pretty good argument in favour of driving my car, rather than catching the bus. I haven’t even included the equations that swing into effect the second Tobermory is carpooling with me.
Simply by existing, the public transport system is it’s own disincentive. It is more expensive, less convenient, and a giant pain in my arse.
You’d think I’d be inured to political stupidity by now. It appears I am not.
In a wonderful piece of self-gratulation, Tariana Turia (Maori Party) blamed Christianity and colonisation for the introduction of smacking to the Maori people as a form of discipline.
I’m no fan of Sue Bradford’s bill, I freely admit. But neither am I a fan of someone who appears to be placing the blame for a problem in the here and now – child abuse in some Maori families[*] – on the actions of colonising Europeans over two hundred years ago!
First, Sue Bradford’s intention was to make the use of violence unacceptable against children. A goal I applaud. She’s chosen to do it by attempting to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows reasonable force as a defense when under charges of ‘over-disciplining’ your children. Unfortunately, politics has got in the way, and we’re left with a big ugly mess, given incredibly bad press, very little public support, and very little public understanding.
Second, it’s true that statistically speaking, Maori families have higher reported rates of family violence. I agree that that’s a situation which needs change. I agree that the colonisation of New Zealand changed the Maori people irrevocably. It introduced the concept of Christianity. Shall we examine some Christian principles?
The Bible says that children should be disciplined. We all know “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. But child abuse was never, never, what Christianity preached. I’m not even Christian, and I have better understanding than that! Jesus himself loved children. He taught peace, taught respect for one’s fellow man. Taught that a husband and wife should love and respect each other, and in turn teach and care for their children in a loving way.
Shall we also look at historically provable things the Maori, as a people, did prior to European colonisation of them?
- Wiped out the Moriori (historically debatable, I admit)
- Had bloody wars between tribes
- Drove the moa into extinction
Hardly the record of a peaceful people whose whanau were only corrupted by the heinous introduction of the European settlers.
Further, has it escaped Tariana Turia’s notice that many European families, both now and in the past, also had parents who were perfectly capable of disciplining their children without physical violence?
Think about how society has changed, too. Remember the time where it took a village to bring up a child? Where parents had support from the surrounding community, were near their parents, their siblings, in constant communication with their friends and families, had support networks to rely on? How many parents today bring up their children as best they can, with parents and families many miles away, both having to work each day, without their whanau surrounding them?
So, here’s my advice, Tariana. Think about what you can do to support the people you represent, here and now. Instead of trying to foist away the blame for today on people two hundred years ago, look for ways to make it better tomorrow.
Of course, my voice means nothing. I’m only one of the bloody Pakeha who corrupted your people. Shall I make sure the door doesn’t slap me on the arse on the way out?
(* I specify Maori abuse as Tariana Turia is representative of the Maori party. I am thoroughly aware that Europeans and other racial groups are represented in the statistics about child abuse. Thanks.)
I decided today that I’m a racist. Not in the typical sense.
For those who don’t know, New Zealand has two main racial groups. The native people (the Maori) and everyone else, imported some centuries later. New Zealand was colonised by Europeans – I shouldn’t need to elaborate on the atrocities that were committed to the Maori people, it’s a story that played out all over the globe as the world empires of the day overran the native people who happened to reside on the land they wanted.
Nor do I deny that, as a nation, they deserve at the very least recognition for those crimes. And some form of recompense.
So why do I say I’m a racist?
I was reading the newspaper today. (Online, natch.) And I tripped over a link that made me angry. Furiously, coldly, white-hot, angry. And I note, I have Maori friends. I have friends from most areas of the colour spectrum – not because I try, but because I pick my friends for their personalities, not their colours. However, Maori is the topic at hand, so. I’ve been on maraes, attended more powhiris than I can remember. A few tangis, too. Back in school, I had a pretty decent command of the language. Never had to use it since, so I’ve forgotten most of what I knew. I have no problems with any of the individual Maori I’ve ever known (barring the usual interpersonal disagreements also known as life). Half my relatives and cousins are Maori. I’ve spent a lot of time with their extended whanau. No problems there.
I have a hell of a lot of problems with some so-called Maori Policy, though; the policy that apparently represents the Maori people in the political arena.
I don’t argue that people of different ethnic origins often have different needs. For instance, the medical world. My genes predispose me to heart issues. Pacific Islanders have higher incidences of diabetes. If you’re Irish, you don’t tan. Asians tend to be of shorter stature than Europeans. Some racially-based policies are necessary, in any government of a multi-cultural society. Which, correct me if I’m wrong, is what New Zealand is supposed to be.
I was born in New Zealand. That grants me full citizenship here. Once I turned 18, I had the right to vote. The same legal rights as any other citizen of my country. So, why do I feel like I’m being relegated to the second class?
I went through school the only child of a widow. We were broke. And I was one of the lucky ones – when I went to uni, I managed to acquire a scholarship that was based purely on academic merit. I worked damned hard for my education. (And don’t get me started on the mess that is NCEA.) Simply by the trick of my birth, however, I was ineligible for well over half the available scholarships in my school year. Half of the ones I was eligible for were only due to my sex.
In the last few years, New Zealand has seen many, many legal battles over the Treaty of Waitangi. Again, I stress, I do not deny the claims to recompense that the Maori, as a people, have. They were foully treated by the European colonists. It’s the more extreme claims that get my goat. The seabed and foreshore claims, where the Maori people claimed exclusive rights over the seabed and foreshore areas of NZ. Remember where we’re an island nation, with a lot of business invested in fisheries, tourism, and similar water-related ventures? The commentary from a leading politician, who was thrilled that the Maori have such high rates of teen pregnancy, because that way they’re ‘browning up the nation’. The cases which are just starting to trickle into court, where the Maori claim control rights over our fresh water sources. The concept that Maori should have a special say in our immigration policies, because they’re the tangata whenua.
Why is my opinion somehow viewed as being worth less than that of a Kiwi of mixed Maori-and-other background (there is statistically no such thing as a pure-blooded Maori, as far as I’m aware)? I don’t care if your ancestors are brown, white, red, yellow, purple or green. Were you born here? Alternatively, do you have legal citizenship? Great! We’re equal then.
I was born in New Zealand. I have worked hard to get where I am, and will continue to do so. I pay my taxes, I don’t break the law, I’m a good citizen. In every census I’ve been old enough to legally complete myself, I’ve put my ethnicity as “New Zealander”. I was born here. I don’t want my inherited skin colour to make any difference to the way I’m treated by the Government that I help to elect.
It doesn’t work that way, of course.