Weaving around governments

We are a captious wee country, especially when it comes to politics. We might only host a population equal to a medium size, overseas city, administrated by local government, but you wouldn’t know it going by the clouds of argumentative bickering and drama that floats out of the Capital and our news media every day. Alan Titchall, Editorial Manager.

Just five million of us! How hard should it be to run a country our size?

 Painfully difficult, apparently, if you go by the contentious, national bitch-fest we go to bed listening to, and wake every morning to hear it all again.

Whether we like it or not, the rest of the world still has the last say on our welfare in terms of the global economy, interest rates, pandemics, trade and tourism, technology and even fashion.

However, on a local scale, successive, three-year-term governments can’t wait to shit on the previous ones, and turn everything upside down again, so the country zig-zags like a drunken student on St Patricks Day from one policy change to the next. This has happened since the 1970s, when Labour and National came in and out of power trashing each other’s legislation and changing the legislative landscape like a 1000 tonne excavator gone berserk, instead of leaving the sensible stuff alone. And, there’s been plenty of sensible political parties emerge during this time offering more stable administration, but Kiwis being opinionated Kiwis – we just love to take sides between left and right, although most of us are centre-centre and just want to get on with life. Go figure.

So, our industry waits again, for the current Government’s $20 billion investment in capital and maintenance works over the next three years to materialise into projects and jobs. Probably, just in time for the next lot to come in and plant its own wacky ideology on top of sensible civil contracting.

One thing I am looking forward to over the coming year is the demise of that PR-affected Road to Zero campaign launched with huge fanfare in 2019 with its interim target of a 40 percent reduction in deaths and serious injuries by 2030 against a 2018 baseline. Not only has it not worked in terms of road deaths and injuries, but our national roads, through a lack of investment, have become a ‘game’ of pothole-avoiding, and our urban roads a ‘bouncy castle’ of bad surfaces and speed humps.

Adding thousands of speed cameras to the network will simply collect revenue. As stats show – so many road fatalities and accidents occur with travel below speed limits and involve occupants not wearing seatbelts, unwarranted vehicles, distracted drivers, and driving too fast for the conditions. And we are, by nature, a gung-ho and reckless lot (go Kiwi!), and passive policing only incentivises us to be more reckless.

On a more positive note, my insurance company paid out on two new wheels to replace the ones bent by hitting a hole on SH1. Which makes me wonder – shouldn’t the Government be taking responsibility for such damages and have a compensation fund for all those stuffed wheels and tyres over the past year? And, they can’t blame that on the climate.

Meantime, hang on in there. Those promised projects have to be designed and built by experts – and that’s you.

Carry on shifting dirt for a more stable future.

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