June 01, 2007

Are you glad to be back home again?

Being on holiday for a longer period meant not having to keep up with the usual parochial issues that crop up almost daily in New Zealand. Mind you, being abroad meant being subjected to their parochial issues, such as a missing British 3 year old from a Portuguese resort. But hey, glad to be home again anyway.
So what have we missed? The abolition of the parental right to legally beat their children, the Budget and KiwiSaver. Oh, and the flap over boy racers and their proposed remedy: compulsory third party insurance.
Believe it or not but this kind of insurance, which covers you when you do damage to other vehicles, is not compulsory in New Zealand. This, alongside the importation of cheap second hand cars from Japan, is the reason why New Zealand is a car-mad culture: you basically can drive with impunity and it panders to those that prefer to be risk-takers - with your own life and that of others. I have long thought this sort of insurance cover is pretty essential in a car-driving culture. And thinking about it a bit more:
- it's a green policy: it would remove a substantial number of cars off the road, reducing carbon emissions, creating greater demand for public transport from the young and the poor. You wouldn't need a regional fuel tax to achieve the same result.
- it's sound financial policy: having your car wiped out by an uninsured driver is of no use to anybody.
- it's a preventative health policy: those young people will be spared a life of obesity when they get too young behind the wheel. Teenagers will look much better toned and firmed when they use bicycles as transport. They can never look fit enough, in my book.

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