Mythbusting: Cyclists don’t Pay

Cyclists don’t pay! But they do.

Cycling in Christchurch

Cycling has been in the media a bit lately and once again a familiar chorus has sprung up. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking funding for cycleways, whether to wear hi-vis clothing, or a high-profile cycle crash, inevitably someone in the blogosphere, Facebook, or letters to the editor pipes up and claims that “cyclists don’t pay”.

More specifically, the complaints usually boil down to two things:

  1. Cyclists don’t pay petrol taxes, registration, or road user charges; therefore they have no legitimate right to use the road, nor to claim any special provision for cycling (in fact they should be grateful for what they do get given gratis)
  2. Cyclists also don’t pay ACC levies like motorists; thus they get free medical treatment too when they crash (and if they dare to do something like choose not to wear a helmet they shouldn’t even get that)

View original post 928 more words

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My Predictions for Election 2014

I predict the party vote share to Labour at 32%, Greens 15% and Internet/Mana 4%. Labour to form government with the Greens and InternetMana.

National will garner 45% and electorate seats x 1 to Maori, Act & United Future. NZFirst will gain 4% but with no electorate seat will be out of government.

What this will mean for NZ is a strong left government which will start to eliminate child poverty, protect our environment and start to fix our economy.

What this will mean for the NZ Herald editors and right wing opinion columnists is endless columns opining that the largest political party didn’t form government and how MMP is a rort and all sorts of rubbish.

More importantly the hashtags for the New Zealand 2014 General Election are #nzpol #nzvotes and the various party hashtags, #TeamKey etc etc.

7 reasons why online voting is part of a solution and why Martyn Bradbury is horribly wrong

Blogger Martyn Bradbury just posted this up this article over on the Daily Blog of which he is the editor. I’ll go through and rip apart his lack of understanding and highlight where we agree. 

Online voting is being (waved around again) *put forward as part of a package* as a means to increase participation. Here are the 7 reasons why I think online voting is a (bad) *great* idea.

1 – 21% of those asked why they didn’t vote in 2011 gave ‘didn’t get round to it, forgot or were not interested’ as their reason. Online voting (hardly seems to be the solution to that statistic) *is a great solution to that statistic*. “The 20% who weren’t enrolled is where we should be speeding up the online process” I agree, and would add *as well as the actual voting!.*

2 – Martyn argues that there is a certain type of bonding that occurs when people are forced into standing beside someone, thats true, and a lot of people don’t want to do that, nor should they be forced to.  He says proximity is an important part of the process, I counter this is rubbish and I don’t think it is at all. The statement ‘more respect than the click of a keyboard’ is pretty bad coming from someone who routinely spends his time, as do most youth, clicking at a keyboard.

This is a very interesting point because it brings up the much larger issue of online participation in society in a variety of things. Often media will report that there were 100 protesters at an event, and sometimes they’ll mention ‘but 1000 had clicked attending on Facebook’. I have seen this used to justify an opinion piece stating the lack of real interest in whatever the protest is about. Older people and some more ‘politically affluent’ youngsters might harp on about this and believe it but its far from the truth, many people (old and young) prefer to live a good section of their lives online and good on them. When they click attending on a protest they are already there in their mind, and not having to travel there expending carbon, or unable to be there due to other commitments mean they have put their hand up in solidarity to be counted and so they should.  

3 – Online voting is horrifically easy to hack.

^ This is hilarious! And shows just how little understanding Martyn Bradbury has of online voting. Check out what he links to – Srsly Bomber WTF. Noone is promoting voting machines, which to be clear, aren’t voting online, they’re known as a form of electronic voting, and with closed mashines, using proprietary software, they can indeed be easy to hack.

So without even talking about whats actually being put forward, we’ve seen how this entire article falls over. Online voting in NZ, tied to the NZ Govt’s RealMe system, which people currently use to do their taxes/studylink/winz/Companies office etc etc would be utilising an existing relatively secure system along with a well designed and easy to use website, its totally possible and using open source code, monitored in realtime by registered volunteers and/or paid scrutineers, any hacks would be quickly uncovered. No system is ever perfect, the current ballot system can be ‘hacked’, and anything online can eventually be hacked with time, but we’d know. 

4 – Our current regulation over the intelligence apparatus is woefully inadequate and the risk they would start tampering with results could never be ruled out.

^ The answer to this is covered in my previous answer. I personally don’t think even the habitually haphazard GCSB & SIS would be so silly to interfere, and if they were we could hopefully shut them down for all intents and purposes, so bring it on? But in all seriousness, we’d know. We’d make sure we did. We’re not rolling out a stupid system, hey it wouldn’t be Novopay, and you can bet your ass it’d be kiwi built, because we’ve got enough IT genius here to make something kick ass. And enough naysaying coders that would love to sit there and watch to see if people tried to hack it. 

5 – When NZ has 7 servers based here for a security hacking corporation and Australia only has 4, online voting is open to tampering.

Covered.

6 – The Snowden revelations tell us that the NSA ability to intercept and manipulate data means very few online systems are safe.

Covered.

7 – There are better ways of lifting participation rates: lowering voting age to 16, making the election a statutory holiday, allow prisoners to vote, allow easier enrolment onto the non-published roll.

Lets do this too. Theres absolutely no reason we can’t do all of them, apart from a lack of funding, and if democracy isn’t worth funding, we’re not in a democracy. 

So all up most of the ‘reason’s have the same answer, and they’re based on irrational fear. If we let our style of democracy be based on irrational fear then there’s something wrong. 

Martyn-Bomber-Bradbury-wintec-editor-in-residence

‘I didn’t have time to stop myself’

An unidentified male says a brutal rape against a woman yesterday was over in an instant.

The male was travelling along Morrinsville Rd in Hamilton yesterday about 6.30am when he and the female collided at the intersection of Morrinsville Rd and Matangi Rd.

The male, who is in his 30s, held the woman down and forced himself upon her. He estimated he was wearing appropriate clothing for a walk at the time.

“I didn’t have time to ask her permission. It was like one minute,” he told the Herald.

Afterwards he stayed where the woman was lying beside the road and tried talking to her. She blinked twice but was otherwise unresponsive.

A motorist pulled over and diverted traffic as they waited for police and St John to arrive.

It was the first time he had been a rapist. “Everyone is in shock when something happens like that … You can’t remember. Your mind is shut,” he said.

The mans employer, who stated he had been late for work, was carrying out its own investigation and assisting police.

“We are shocked and saddened by the accident.” It was rare for one of their employees to be involved in a brutal rape, he said.

Waikato rape policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said it would be inappropriate to comment about what happened at this stage in the investigation and called for any witnesses to contact police to help them piece together events. “It’s very early days. It’s just a tragedy really.”

She urged women to take care as the rape brought the Waikato’s rape toll to 23 so far this year. “Ensuring safety is paramount in your mind. You are wearing respectable modest clothing, your hair and makeup do not attract attention … you don’t appear over attractive when in public.”

The woman was wearing a long coat and had a rape whistle, but police were unclear whether she was wearing a burka. They expect to release her name today.

The recently defunded Hamilton Rape Crisis Centre representative Jill Hope said Morrinsville Rd was a popular walking route. She did not believe it was any more dangerous than any other in the city.

“There are a number of instances when males are feeling rapey and will risk a woman’s safety in their need for relief or reducing stress.”

>> UPDATE <<

Have been contacted by the Waikato Times about the blog post and been told that the police are not happy with the post. Perhaps they will or have started to see what they have done wrong in blaming and shaming the victims of crime, rather than prosecuting and blaming the perpetrators. Also preparing for a horde of crazed comments on Stuff once the article goes online, not to mention on the Waikato Times Facebook page when they post it. I am very glad that the issue has garnered the attention it deserves. The courier driver is guilty of manslaughter and this rewording of the NZ Herald article purposefully illustrates just how bad it is.