Tauranga driving antics
I have been driven to write this letter after watching the antics of Tauranga drivers. Firstly, cars are often not roadworthy. I estimate, after noting registrations while walking around the city, that between 10 and 20 per cent of cars are not registered, while more than 25 per cent are not warranted. Heaven only knows what percentage are insured. Last year we purchased a 3-year-old car in Northern Ireland and couldn't drive it away without registration, current MOT and insurance. Secondly, Tauranga drivers travel at speeds totally at odds with the limits. At least 60 per cent of traffic on the Waikareo expressway is travelling at least 90km/h. Chapel St traffic is closer to 60km/h, and the 110km/h limit on the TEL is a myth. Thirdly, orange lights seem a signal to speed up. Having driven on Irish roads barely two cars wide, with limits of 100km/h, I fail to see that the wide 90km/h road to Katikati is the cause of so many accidents. In eight months in Northern Ireland I have not heard of one fatal accident, and I think people recognise the roads there are not ideal and drive to the conditions. Surely there are better ways of addressing this problem without building bigger and better roads?
"Rent-a-beggars prey on Greerton streets" Such was April 6's leading story. There is nothing more likely to feed prejudice than such an emotive headline. It is the job of newspapers to provide provocative headlines and thus ensnare the readership, but I would rather there was considered and thoughtful comment. The story cited "anecdotal" evidence and another "unnamed" source. The perils of this sort of reporting ensure that a complex issue such as begging on the streets of Tauranga reinforces stereotyping and does little to answer the question of why begging has become a way of making money. People are often quick to judge by what they see. During the 1930s, a traveller on a train to Wellington noticed workmen leaning on their shovels as the train passed. He was incensed and reported this idleness to the authorities. He was told that the men were actually working on the line and had to move off it when the train came past. The moral of that story is that our prejudices and preconceptions often interfere with the reality. On the issue of begging, we should instead be asking what sort of society have we become that we have stopped asking why such behaviour is happening? (Abridged)
With the non-binding referendum being posted I have given this matter some serious thought. Firstly, I thought of all the leaky buildings at the Mount recently, costing owners very serious money to have their apartments repaired. I then thought of the council's own building being declared as unfit for human occupation, only good for demolition. The appalling situation of the unsafe homes at the Bella Vista Lakes building site, and the broken-hearted occupants. Next, I read of massive problems at the Tauranga Court House. My own observation is that the city's historical past is safer locked away in the packing cases that they now reside in.
The netball cartoon in April 16's paper is nothing short of vicious. Considering the magnificent job our girls have done over the last 50 years, one season gives someone the right to slam them in public with what can only be described as insulting. Shame on Hubbard and shame on you for publishing it.