Been disabled for life by a Lime e-scooter yet? There was a time when moral panics were inspired by the imaginatively intimidating likes of gangs and paedophile rings. Now an oversized children's form of transport will do the trick.

They're a danger to those who use them and everyone else, apparently.

If you believe what you hear radio callers and social media insisting at length, venturing out on the streets of Auckland currently is like taking a stroll in Pamplona in the busy season.

A raft of injury claims have reportedly been made to ACC, many of them no doubt genuine, for accidents caused by the vehicles. Fortunately, ACC doesn't cover people for loss of dignity, otherwise the levy would have to be increased.


I hope that the rest of the year brings us nothing more serious to complain about.

If you were worried your elected representatives might catch a case of the smarts over summer, rest easy.

Lovers of tradition and absurdity will have already noticed that 2019 is shaping up to be business as usual, starting with a fine example of meaningless, pointless, time wasting, money-squandering, attention-seeking grandstanding.

People say the media are dying, but there are clearly still votes to be had by piggybacking on scaremongering firestorms, such as the one about needles in strawberries.

Not for Nathan Guy a summer of backyard cricket and beach barbecues. National's spokesperson for food safety has been inside, hunched over his Commodore 64, lovingly honing and fine tuning his private members bill to address the deadly epidemic of food contamination that we have endured.

Yes, we have.

There was that time with the needle in a punnet of strawberries in a Tauranga Pak'nSave. Mr Guy wants the maximum penalty increased from 10 to 14 years. What a shame he isn't an MP in Australia where contamination actually happened.

The thing is already a crime, of course. That won't change. But in the unlikely event the bill is passed, a harsher penalty won't stop people contaminating food because harsher penalties don't stop people doing anything.

Federated Farmers is right behind the bill, which is a bit rich. If Mr Guy were to come up with a reform that included effective measures to stop people contaminating our rivers, lakes and atmosphere, that could be something worth getting behind.


He'd do better to have put energy into getting rid of the pathetic anomaly which lets NCEA qualifications be withheld from pupils who haven't paid the $76 - or in some cases less – they are charged to sit those exams.

Some of the children may have affluent middle-class parents who refuse to pay any money to schools on principle, because education is supposed to be an egalitarian right, free of charge.

People who care about that should work to change it, not embarrass their kids.

Others may be the children of those feckless parents who are rumoured to spend all their money on booze and fags. And then there are those for whom it is just not possible to find the $76 because if you live at a certain level of poverty, that is an unachievable sum.

But whatever the reason, children should not be punished for the sins of the parents in 2019.

As if the Lime e-scooter menace wasn't bad enough, we've got our panties in a bunch over some northern visitors. And this isn't the first time.

Not so long ago a family of British tourists went around the country getting people agitated wherever they went, not paying for their food and accommodation and getting other people to clean up after them.

But just because they were called the Duke and Duchess of Sussex nobody said a word.