Kapi-Mana News : March 20th 2012
10 KAPI-MANA NEWS, MARCH 20, 2012 OPINION Prices based on payment by direct deposit / POLi or voucher for bookings through jetstar.com. For all other bookings, a Booking and Service Fee of $4 per passenger, per fare applies. Flights depart Wellington airport. Fares are one-way and non-refundable. Limited changes are permitted, charges apply. Availability is limited (not available on all flights or days). ^Carry-on baggage limits, including size restrictions, will be strictly applied. Passengers with more than the applicable carry-on baggage allowance will need to check in baggage, and charges will apply. See jetstar.com for more details. Jetstar Air ways Pty Ltd ABN 33 069 720 243. JNZ1091/W12 Join us! facebook.com/jetstarnz Fares are one-way, carry-on baggage only^ . You can choose from 15kg to 40kg checked baggage for an additional $9.50--$35 per passenger, per fare. Fares may not be available for travel during school and public holidays, or for bookings close to the date of departure. Best availability from 27 March 2012. ...and Wellington direct to: Fly Jetstar from Wellington direct to: jetstar.com Queenstown from$79 Auckland from$69 New rules good for us It feels like the nation is collectively holding its breath in anticipation of this Sunday when the changes to the give-way rules come into play. Going by some of the media coverage it s hard to know whether to expect minor confusion or Armageddon. In the meantime, we have been able to sit back and watch the NZ Transport Agency burn $1.2 million in 10 days advertising the law change -- television, radio, online and print advertising, a leaflet door drop to 1.73 million homes. You name it, all bases are being covered. I would go so far as to say anyone who hasn t grasped the new -- and very logical -- changes by March 25 probably shouldn t be on the road to begin with, but I have to confess the status quo has stumped me once or twice, where I ve found myself at an intersection wondering, Who does what now? And I m relieved to learn from Porirua Road Safety co-ordinator Mark Kairua I wasn t the only one who already thought it law that traffic turning from the bottom of a T intersection gives way to right-turning traffic from the top of the T . Still, I was dumbfounded by the woeful scores of people asked to take the NZTA online quiz by Campbell Live last week. At least until I remembered how many times on my way to and from work each day I strike motorists in Porirua who haven t seemed to have grasped the concepts of indicating before turning, merging with other traffic or navigating a roundabout. Perhaps March 25 will be a day of reckoning after all? I have an optimistic hunch the law change will give New Zealand motorists a much-needed wake- up call, and improve our driving generally. Most bad driving isn t caused by motorists being too stupid to know the rules, or recklessly disobeying them. It comes from us getting complacent and lazy behind the wheel. Experience is a double-edged sword. The more we drive (without incident), the more our awareness is dulled, the more bad habits we adopt. The new rules should sharpen us up, spark motorists to take to the roads with renewed diligence and focus. Should the predicted boon time for panelbeaters not transpire and the accidents actually reduce, I won t be surprised. I may even petition the govern- ment to keep the changes coming -- maybe one every six months -- just to keep us honest. LETTERS TO EDITOR EKERS' WEEK Well done councillors Editor, I never thought that I would ever congratulate councillor Ken Douglas, but I must compliment him and Brian Collins for their commonsense in opposing Porirua City Council s gift of $600,000 for an artificial turf for Ascot Park. Based on the information in the article on the front page [KMN, February 28] I do believe that the council has no more than a snowball s chance in hell of ever being repaid the interest-free loan of $397,384. Council, in today s economic situation, a mere four weeks ago, advised that they had to make the hard decisions on future expenditure -- they have already broken their word! In fact it would appear that councillors have little concern when it is other people s money that they can flush down the toilet. ALLAN BLOOMFIELD, Pauatahanui. Reining-in spending Editor, It s nice to know our local council is continuing to rein-in on their unnecessary spending. Each of our 14 councillors has just been issued an Apple iPad 2 which until the price drop overnight, retailed at $799 each. That s over $11,000 that could have been spent on something much more appropriate. I am very much a fan of the benefits of new technology, but strongly feel that our councillors could have managed just fine without the iPads. Where is this transparency, accountability and common sense approach to decision-making that we were promised? It must be in the iCloud! T HOLLOWAY, Titahi Bay. PCC chief executive Gary Simpson responds: The council is trialling supplying councillors with information in an electronic form as a way to reduce the number and cost of printed documents that it is required to produce. The use of iPads to receive this information is the most cost effective way of conducting this trial. It is part of an ongoing process of finding more efficient ways of conducting our business. A number of councils across New Zealand have either trialled or have switched to electronic information and Porirua City is the latest to evaluate making that change. It will not be possible to completely do away with paper versions of council documents, but savings should be possible by reducing the amount required and from the early results of the trial service improvements are already being commented upon by some of the councillors taking part. Privatisation worry Editor, I was distressed to read that Porirua s only council estate, the Moana Court, may be privatised (KMN, March 6). Porirua already faces a grave housing shortage -- a national trend -- leading to a rise in homelessness, sub- standard housing, overcrowding and financial hardship. This will worsen as Housing NZ deals with funding cuts. The suggested solution of private providers offering social housing is a nonsense -- private companies have to make a profit to survive. Even non- profits can t lose money and stay afloat. House building is in crisis because only expensive houses can be profitably built by the private sector. Worse, this has led to slum landlords charging excessive rents for dilapidated properties. The reason government housing projects exist is to remove these social ills of inequality and poverty which the free market creates. Councillor Douglas comment that it is unacceptable for public housing to run at a short-term loss is ridiculous: this is the very reason governments run such schemes. If it were possible to make profit on affordable housing, the market wouldn t have created a housing crisis. Hard economic times are when public infrastructure must be built. This investment creates jobs and gets money back in people s pockets to spend, reviving demand for goods and services. If the council is serious about improving Porirua s dire statistics around poverty and inequality, they should be building more social housing, instead of putting the boot into the poor by selling it off. JOSH EIKLEN, executive committee (Wellington), Workers' Educational Association. (Letter abridged) Councillor Ken Douglas responds: The council is not satisfied that the current standard of housing provided to the Moana Court tenants will meet future needs without significant capital investment. There is funding available to other housing providers that the council can t access to support this work. It s important to note the council has no plans to sell Moana Court at this stage. The council has put the proposal out to the public to hear their views before it makes a decision about future ownership and I would encourage Mr Eiklen to make a submission. Self check-outs Editor, Porirua s three supermarkets now encourage customers to checkout their own shopping, presumably to reduce the number of checkout operators they employ. I think this is something we should all resist. The supermarkets, while useful, take a lot of money out of the community.
March 13th 2012
March 27th 2012