Thursday, August 13, 2009

Government announces cellphone ban . . . [updated]

New bans, new taxes, spending like a drain (or is that, money down the drain?).

Does anyone remember a change of government last year?

Was there anyone who really expected a real change?

Come on now, 'fess up. There must be one or two of you?

UPDATE: Comments on the cellphone ban from TWR and Dave Mann are so good they deserve the front page. (I've paraphrased slightly and combined the two for clarity). The line to takeaway: "Its easier to herd the population into a (metaphorical) prison camp than it is to actually police and punish the behaviour."
Laws already exist to protect against dangerous driving, there's no need for new ones to ping drivers who are not driving dangerously. The correct way of approaching it would be for the police to publicise the fact that from that moment on they would be ticketing people who they see carelessly driving while on cellphones under the existing careless/dangerous driving laws. It's not hard to see someone driving erratically, and they often do end up being on the phone. Those people who are driving perfectly ok while on the phone would be left alone.
It's the careless driving which is the problem behaviour, and no amount of banning will never solve this.
In my view this whole cellphone ban thing is nothing more than yet another source of revenue gathering for the polizei. For every 1000 instances of a driver using a cellphone, probably only 5 to 10 of them are also being careless, so introducing a law which enables the cops to potentially collect revenue off all 1000 of them regardless of their level of care is, for them, the best way to go. It saves them from actually having to do any work.
The same goes for alcohol, fireworks, savage dogs and killing your own children. It's easier to herd the population into a (metaphorical) prison camp than it is to actually police and punish the behaviour.
Coincidentally, none of this police state environment has the slightest effect on real criminals and assholes. All it does is clamp down of the freedom of the ordinary citizens and gather revenue from them wherever possible in order to feed government's sense of power.

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58 Comments:

Blogger Stevew said...

Phones - hmmm - driving while using a cellphone IS dangerous and many people cannot be trusted not to do it. I think for once this is a justifiable ban - the govt. is fulfilling its role of preventing the reckless from harming others.

Capital Gains Tax - a tax on successful investment decisions - just what we need to lift us out of the recession.

8/13/2009 03:26:00 pm  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

Fucking idiot cunts.

When will people wake up in this country? Crashing your car is NOT related to whether or not you are using a cellphone. It is related to whether or not you are paying attention and, probably more than this, whether or not you give a shit about your or others' lives.

People who are stupid or don't give a shit will continue to have accidents and banning cellphone use in cars won't make a blind bit of difference.

All this law will do is to make it more inconvenient for ordinary people to go about their lives, while those who are determined to crash and kill themselves will simply continue to do so.

I can make a 3-point turn safely while speaking on my cellphone.... in fact, a better idea would be to make this a condition of one passing one's licence; the ability to drive and use a cellphone at the same time. That would make MORE sense.

Legislation. Rulz. Restrictions. Bylaws. Infringement notices. Bureaucrats. Officials. Nosey parkers. Guards. Prison camps. Interfering asssholes. Shoot the fuckers.

8/13/2009 03:32:00 pm  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

... actually no. Don't shoot the fuckers. Torture them to death by shoving red-hot steel pokers up their arses. That is more fitting as a way of dealing with these shits.

8/13/2009 03:35:00 pm  
Blogger Night City Trader said...

If you didn't vote Libertarianz - don't complain.

8/13/2009 03:38:00 pm  
Blogger Julian said...

The ban is another example of the further erosion of our liberties. There are already laws against dangerous driving. Just enfore them.

And a good point Night City Trader. I have little sympathy for victims of government policies when they vote for parties which promise to enslave them.

Julian

8/13/2009 03:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Thanks for the chuckle, Dave. I laughed out loud at *this* in particular:

" .. in fact, a better idea would be to make this a condition of one passing one's licence; the ability to drive and use a cellphone at the same time. That would make MORE sense."

:)

SteveW: We already have laws prohibiting dangerous driving. Surely that would have sufficed? *Never* give these bastards the proverbial inch. In their book, it is synonymous with 'mile'.

Chalk up another National ka-ching for the coffers. Did Cullen ever actually lose power, let alone leave the House?

8/13/2009 03:48:00 pm  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

Hey Sus... glad you appreciated it.

I have a real groundbreaking idea though, which would cut the road toll down to almost zero.

We tend to drive faster and more recklessly the more 'safe' and cossetted we feel. This is why making cars 'safer' with airbags etc has not reduced the accident rate at all and has not probably reduced the death rate either.

My road safety proposal is to immediately ban all airbags and make the use of seat belts illegal and remove them from all vehicles and instead install 120mm sharpened steel (or aluminium for performance cars) spikes on their steering columns pointed straight at the heart of the driver.

This would have an immediate and 100% positive effect on road safety. Speeds would slow radically and everybody would PAY ATTENTION.

The only thing that I see as a negative here is that it would involve banning and regulations..... but hey, for a government which sees no problem with regulating every single part of our lives anyway, surely this should not be an issue?

8/13/2009 04:04:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

CGT: The state promotes inflationary policies like restricting the supply of land through the RMA and fiddling with interest rates via the Reserve Bank and printing more money when they feel like a spendup, and then punishes any poor bastard who happens to own a certain type of asset by taxing the crap out of them when they try and sell it.

The problem is that far too much of the world is populated by people who can't understand the concept of cause and effect.

8/13/2009 04:11:00 pm  
Blogger Stevew said...

Haven't any of you people ever seen cellphone users driving?
Libertarianism does allow for the odd law or two you know. You don't have to oppose a ban simply on the grounds that it is a ban. (if you want an example of a law that really is idiotic, check out the new regulations on Military Style Semi Automatic weapons)

Dave Mann - I suggest anger management classes

Sus - fair point but dangerous driving is difficult to prove unless an accident actually takes place - and a conviction would be slim consolation if you've been rendered paraplegic by some half-wit texting "wot u up 2" to her boyfriend.

8/13/2009 04:13:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

SteveW: Regulation doesn't automatically mean a behaviour stops. It's illegal not to indicate, but only about 50% of people bother. Careless driving is much easier to prove than dangerous driving, and would easily cover the situation while still allowing someone who could safely operate a phone while paying attention to do so. Banning cellphones just means that once again everyone is punished for the foolish actions of a few. Other activities are just as dangerous as holding a phone, but they aren't specifically banned. And talking on handsfree takes almost as much attention as holding a phone, but that's ok too.

8/13/2009 04:25:00 pm  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

We can thank every mainstream NZ economist for the CGT: they're giving English all the fodder he needs to 'excuse' it. Thieving plonkers. I've not seen one state the answer is for the Government to pull itself out of the economy, reduce all the other taxes - because all taxes are distortions of the market - and to radically reduce the size of the State.

We have such a dearth of philosophy in NZ.

[And in the vein of disgusting snouts at the trough, beating even Chris Carter now, must be Douglas Graham's remark on justifying keeping his subsidised travel, that '"You better keep paying your taxes".

I'm sick of my effort paying these parasites their gold plated lives.]

8/13/2009 04:26:00 pm  
Blogger Stevew said...

twr: that's a seductive argument and I often find myself making it: "this speed limit is ridiculous, I should be allowed drive at a safe speed for the conditions, whether that be faster or slower than some bureaucrat's arbitrary limit".
And, after all, we all know we are better than average drivers who are more than capable of judging safe speeds, can drive safely while operating a cellphone and can even control a car perfectly well after several pints. Unfortunately, simple observation shows us that the roads are full of the stupid, the negligent and the reckless.
Whenever I find myself thinking how stupid traffic laws are, I try to think of a practical alternative - and usually conclude that, unfortunately, poorly targeted blunt instrument rules are least worst solution.
Were the consequences of dangerous driving less serious, or confined to the perpetrator, then we would not need such prescriptive and specific laws. Where the consequences are confined to the perpetrator we need not concern ourselves with regulation e.g. nobody aged 18 or over should be required to wear a seat belt - if they want to eliminate themselves from the gene pool then we all benefit.

8/13/2009 04:41:00 pm  
Blogger Barnsley Bill said...

Dave mann, you stole that idea from jeremy Clarkson.
I expected change. Needless to say I am bitterly disappointed.

8/13/2009 04:41:00 pm  
Anonymous Russell said...

Shame Steven Joyce's Dad didn't beat him more when he was a kid. His dad Peter is a friend of mine and a devoted libertarian. can't count on ya kids eh?

8/13/2009 04:46:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Stevew

But your arguments are bullshit. Who the fuck are you to tell the owners of the rod that they are poor drivers anyway?

The least blunt instrument would be for you not to use your cell phone when driving. And, if you are so frightened by other people's driving, stay off the road. Save yourself from your own fear.

LGM

8/13/2009 05:12:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

SteveW: Even if you were correct, which you're not, d'you really think this is the most pressing issue facing the country at the moment?

8/13/2009 05:15:00 pm  
Blogger Stevew said...

LGM - I am devastated by the intellectual force of your argument.

PC - I don't believe I expressed any views on the relative importance of the issue, though I do happen to think it's quite important (and since we have such an obscene surplus of bureaucrats, why not get some of them working on something useful for a change)
Care to tell me why my arguments are wrong? I'm open to having my mind changed.

8/13/2009 05:22:00 pm  
Blogger Julian said...

Barnsley Bill said

"Dave mann, you stole that idea from jeremy Clarkson."

Actually the idea was originated by
Armen Alchian of the University of California. It is an example of the Peltzman effect which was developed in the 1970s.

Julian

8/13/2009 05:23:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

* * The number of bureaucrats is one of those pressing issues that needs urgent attention.

Getting on with those sackings would be fare more important than petty nannying.

* * Why are you wrong? I think there's sufficient in the comments above to start with, don't you?

* * @Julian/Dave Mann/Barnsley: I think you should visit Eric Crampton's blog, and head for the post linked on the right-hand sidebar explaining why he calls it Offsetting Behaviour. :)

8/13/2009 05:29:00 pm  
Blogger Stevew said...

"" The number of bureaucrats is one of those pressing issues that needs urgent attention.

Getting on with those sackings would be fare more important than petty nannying."

- no argument there. It ain't happening though.


" Why are you wrong? I think there's sufficient in the comments above to start with, don't you?"

- not really no. I've learned that my arguments are incorrect, that they are "bullshit", that I shouldn't presume to "tell the owners of the rod that they are poor drivers" and I may have been lumped into the category of "Fucking idiot cunts", but I still await a cogently framed refutation of my arguments.

8/13/2009 05:42:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

If you use some people's bad behaviour as an excuse to control everyone's, then you're on a slippery slope that ends with all sorts of restrictions on freedom. If someone can drive their whole life and talk on the phone quite safely, then why should they not be allowed to just because some other people are bad drivers.

If the police weren't such pig-headed oafs, they might be less inclined to ticket absolutely everyone for minor infractions. Unfortunately they are, so there needs to be restrictions on their power.

8/13/2009 08:43:00 pm  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

Barnsley and Julian - Yes, I picked up the idea somewhere. I thought it might have been an amalgam of different stuff I had read.... but you are probably right Barnsley, I most likely got it off Top Gear or somewhere and it kinda fused into my subconscious, hehehe!

My apologies to whoever it was, for 'stealing' their intellectual property (and I admit is wasn't my original idea lol).

8/13/2009 09:07:00 pm  
Blogger Barnsley Bill said...

No apology required, I so rarely get to be the accuser rather than the accused I could not help myself.

8/13/2009 09:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have no sense of subtlety PC.

8/13/2009 09:17:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

Data I saw a few years ago indicated that more accidents are caused by people adjusting the car stereo than using cellphones. However, more importantly, English has shown just why he lost the election so grandly in 2002 - he is an unprincipled, philosophically empty fool.

National isn't just Labour lite, it's Labour Zero - same taste but no sugar, in a different coloured can.

8/13/2009 09:17:00 pm  
Blogger Stevew said...

twr: you said:

"If someone can drive their whole life and talk on the phone quite safely, then why should they not be allowed to just because some other people are bad drivers."

- I agree (though I doubt there are many people who can maintain full concentration while talking on a mobile phone, still less texting), but your first word "if" is the key. What if they can't? Should they still be able to go on their merry way risking other people's lives? What practical way is there of preventing them other than outlawing the practice? Granted, as you have said above, banning something does not automatically eliminate it as a problem, but it would reduce its prevalence. A reduction in dangerous driving practices means a reduction in deaths and injuries.
If you disagree, what would you do about the problem?

I'm not sure I agree with your characterisation of the police as pig headed oafs, though I'm sure there are some. I suspect the real problem is the bureaucratisation of the force and the general "rights" culture.

8/13/2009 09:26:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

install 120mm sharpened steel (or aluminium for performance cars) spikes on their steering columns pointed straight at the heart of the driver.

This would have an immediate and 100% positive effect on road safety.


Hell yeah

Speeds would slow radically and everybody would PAY ATTENTION.

No it wouldn't - but it will kill of the proportion of 20-year old males who can't drive - frankly an even better outcome.

8/13/2009 09:48:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Stevew - all your concerns were addressed earlier by Sus when she said We already have laws prohibiting dangerous driving. Surely that would have sufficed?

If you're driving dangerously, you're breaking the law, be it because you're talking on a phone, adjusting the radio, having an animated discussion with a passenger, or flipping off a passing MP in their ParasiteMobile. What good does banning cellphones do, other than make the bunch of think-of-the-children reactionary idiots who make up most of the voting population of this country feel like something has been done?

Sorry for the incivility you've been subjected to also. Understand that to those of us who value freedom, this is another nail in its coffin. Things like that make blood pressures run high. I imagine a member of the Greens would act similarly if you denied land rights to a gay whale in front of them. :)

8/13/2009 09:52:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

"If you disagree, what would you do about the problem?"

IMHO the correct way of approaching it would be for the police to publicise the fact that from that moment on they would be ticketing people who they see carelessly driving while on cellphones under the existing careless/dangerous driving laws. It's not hard to see someone driving erratically, and they often do end up being on the phone. Those people who are driving perfectly ok while on the phone would be left alone.

Pigheaded oafs: If you were there late the other Friday night when a bus I was on was stopped on an empty road and ticketed for doing 5km/hr over the limit you might change your mind. Or if you saw the herds of cops goosestepping in and out of pubs on Courtney Place every Friday night showing off how important and powerful they were.

8/13/2009 11:13:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Stevew

So you should be. We've discussed an issue similar to this before. You need to start remembering things. It would help some.

It is a bit rich for a nobody such as you to whinge on about how bad you think everybody else's driving is. I'd be safe in betting that you're a poor driver of low skills, lacking decent training or experience in vehicle dynamics or control (a "naive driver"). You simply do not have to have a serious understanding of the subject. Of course, lack of knowledge never stopped you blow arsing before...

The roads in NZ belong to who exactly? Think on that some. Try really, really hard and you might remember something from a previous debate. Come on now, you can do it.

Again, if you don't the idea of using a cellphone while driving, then YOU should not do that. If you are fearful of other drivers undertaking that practice then you should stay away from them, or better yet, YOU should stay off the road. Apply your arbitrary rules to yourself.

LGM

8/14/2009 12:11:00 am  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

twr, you are spot-on with your "...ticketing people who they see carelessly driving while on cellphones under the existing careless/dangerous driving laws".

Its the careless driving which is the problem behaviour, and no amount of banning will never solve this.

In my view this whole cellphone ban thing is nothing more than yet another source of revenue gathering for the polizei. For every 1000 instances of a driver using a cellphone, probably only 5 to 10 of them are also being careless, so introducing a law which enables the cops to potentially collect revenue off all 1000 of them regardless of their level of care is, for them, the best way to go.It saves them from actually having to do any work.

The same goes for alcohol, fireworks, savage dogs and killing your own children. Its easier to herd the population into a (metaphorical) prison camp than to actually police and punish the behaviour. Coincidentally, none of this police state environment has the slightest effect on real criminals and assholes. All it does is clamp down of the freedom of the ordinary citizens and gather revenue from them wherever possible in order to feed government's sense of power.

8/14/2009 07:58:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

Dave, that last paragraph of yours summarises the situation perfectly, for mine.

Well said.

8/14/2009 08:15:00 am  
Blogger Stevew said...

Hi Greig,
I too value freedom (and property rights), but I do not think we can do without such laws. A catch-all offence such as dangerous driving is great in principle but very difficult to apply in practice, particularly when we are dealing with behaviour which has the potential to cause harm. Where life rather than property is concerned we have to address dangerous behaviour itself rather than wait for the eventual outcome and punish/compensate.

Of course we can't legislate for every kind of distracting behaviour and nor should we but mobile phone use is dangerous, it's widespread and it's easy to detect - I say that makes it worth addressing. Just like drink driving.

8/14/2009 11:08:00 am  
Blogger Barnsley Bill said...

Lets try taking this ridiculous law change to its logical conclusion.
All cars with cupholders recalled as encouraging the consumption of a tasty beverage could be dangerous.

Random police roadblocks checking the drivers seat and footwell for crumbs. Instant fines issued for evidence of eating while driving.
CD players banned, smoking in the car banned (one of the few places left for the poor put upon puffers).

8/14/2009 11:11:00 am  
Blogger Stevew said...

Greig, twr, Dave, Sus
I maintain that the very act of using a cellphone while driving is dangerous, whether or not the driver happens to be crossing the centre line, running a red light, failing to stop at an intersection etc at the moment when they happen to be observed by a police officer.
All the new rules are really saying is this - every instance of cellphone use while driving constitutes dangerous driving.

BTW everybody here seems quite keen on the dangerous driving law. Can this be considered objective law?

How to control strutting and oafish police behaviour while maintaining an effective police force is a difficult and interesting top which I'd love to debate, but perhaps this thread isn't the place for it.

8/14/2009 11:17:00 am  
Blogger Stevew said...

Barnsley Bill - that's a straw man argument - except perhaps for the bit about people driving whilst holding burning sticks of dried vegetable matter in one hand!

8/14/2009 11:21:00 am  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Stevew: As Dave and BB have said, cellphones are not really a special case. They've just been hyped up by the media. There are a million distracting things in a car. Any and all of which will cause... dangerous driving. You can't possibly expect to ban every potential cause of this. Contrary to your opinion, mine is that cellphones are no more easily detectable than other forms of dangerous driving (think applying make-up, eating, smoking, etc.). It's just easier to whip up a public frenzy against them, and thus enact another freedom-removing reactionary ban.

You reference drink driving. Good example. The recidivist drink drivers will always do so, and will continue to drive dangerously while doing so, no matter what you set the alcohol limit to. They are generally caught BECAUSE they are driving dangerously. Consider the cellphone user as a similar case. I suspect that people who really must use cellphones while driving will continue to do so, and panic and fumble when they see a cop, thus increasing the danger to other road users.

I suggest we wait for the (lies, damn lies and) statistics in a years time. I predict zero impact of this ban.

I'm sorry, I am just having a very hard time reconciling the view of someone who loves freedom with a desire to ban anything.

8/14/2009 11:25:00 am  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Now the point on whether dangerous driving law is objective or not IS an interesting one... I'd need to give that one a lot of thought. This one seems a no-brainer though! ;)

8/14/2009 11:29:00 am  
Blogger Stevew said...

Hi Greig,
I have enjoyed this debate but I'm going to suggest that we bring it to an end here - I'm never going to be able to agree with your fundamental point because my own observations while driving lead me to believe otherwise.
I'm not sure if statistics will tell us much, especially as enforcement is likely to be poor. Nevertheless I anticipate live and limbs will be saved.
We cannot know how many lives have been saved by the drink driving laws and you are right that recidivists ignore the law, but it does serve to dissuade many other people from having that last one for the road.
Hopefully there will be another subject where I can demonstrate to you my support for freedom.

8/14/2009 11:36:00 am  
Blogger Stevew said...

Greig - our comments just crossed - please do let me know your thoughts on the objective law question - I would be very interested.

8/14/2009 11:37:00 am  
Anonymous twr said...

SteveW: All driving is dangerous. An alert, competent driver in a safe car on a nice day in low density traffic on a cellphone is objectively less dangerous than a poor or sleepy driver in an older car on legal but low quality tyres in heavy traffic in bad weather, however the first driver would get a ticket and the second one would be ignored under the new law. Blanket bans end up having undesirable consequences like this.

8/14/2009 11:39:00 am  
Anonymous Mo said...

bans are knee-jerk responses that don't solve anything and create more unintended consequences.

To some like Steve however, more bureaucracy is perfectly fine.

8/14/2009 12:12:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Stevew: Fair enough on the first debate. I've said all I can say on it, and I guess you have too.

On the other point: "Dangerous driving" as it currently stands is subjective. The above debate has demonstrated this 100%. Talking on a cellphone is not inherently dangerous. Some people are able to do so with little to no impact on their concentration. Others are not. I would argue that to make the law objective, demonstration that enforcement is preventing initiation of force (accidental or otherwise) would be required. Again, with the cellphone argument - a police officer witnesses a driver talking on a cellphone, and weaving over lane boundaries. The officer would then intervene to prevent the accidental initiation of force against other road users by this careless driver. There will be grey areas, of course, as there always is in enforcement. It's the same argument as "is a pre-emptive strike OK to prevent a highly likely attack?"

Tricky, and I'll leave the refinement of the argument to the more versed in the concepts of objective law.

8/14/2009 01:18:00 pm  
Blogger Stevew said...

"Tricky, and I'll leave the refinement of the argument to the more versed in the concepts of objective law."

- definitely not me, but hopefully some such person will be along soon!

I think what you describe as "accidental initiation of force" (paraphrasing) perfectly describes the problem in our prior cellphone debate. Nobody uses their cellphone with the deliberate intention of causing harm. They probably think they are good enough drivers not to have their concentration impaired. If they could be told that in the next ten seconds, their inattention would cause an accident and kill or maim somebody else in the next 10 seconds, they would drop the phone without hesitation. Nevertheless, they continue with their behaviour, which (IMHO and that is one point where where we disagreed earlier) stands a good chance of causing injury to themselves or others.

Generally, how can we (objectively?) prevent behaviours which, without malice or intent, carry a significant risk of causing harmful or lethal force to be initiated against others?

8/14/2009 01:38:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

For those of you wrestling with how driving laws and objective law fit together, let me give you some more grist for your thoughts:

A friend comments on this story:

"[He] made one mistake: he was speeding. So what?"
Umm, err, the fact that the took out five shops and put lives in danger.

8/14/2009 01:49:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Generally, how can we (objectively?) prevent behaviours which, without malice or intent, carry a significant risk of causing harmful or lethal force to be initiated against others?

I don't believe we can. All we can do is enforce responsibility for actions taken, and hope that will be good enough to deter most would-be lunatics. It's not perfect, but without clairvoyance, or a police state (ban everything), I don't believe there is any better method.

Of course, if all the roads were privately owned, you could ban whatever you liked on your road! :)

8/14/2009 02:01:00 pm  
Blogger Stevew said...

Well, I've banned cellphone use in my driveway!

8/14/2009 02:27:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

Well, I've banned cellphone use in my driveway! .. the irony being that when you're parked in your driveway it's completely safe to be on the phone.

8/14/2009 02:30:00 pm  
Anonymous PaulB said...

Steve,
Policing is a finite resource as has been recently highlighted in the Wairarpa:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/2750746/Backlog-sparks-fears-for-abused-children

Is it more important to catch speedsters than investigating crimes with actual victims? Try getting the police to respond after a burglary.

This will just be another distraction for police and revenue gathering.

8/14/2009 02:31:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

It's worth noting the Police are specifically contracted to do road safety enforcement distinctly from the crime enforcement side. The NZ Transport Agency pays the Police, from fuel tax, RUC and motor vehicle licensing/registration fees, to undertake patrols and enforce laws with specificity by location and what to target. So the Police deliver this, and get paid.

How they do it varies of course on preference. Whilst there is central direction, some Police regard this as not real cop work, others see it as easy wins.

The Police get nothing other than bravado for collecting revenue. NZTA gets none of the revenue, so the incentives are NOT strong for revenue collection at all. However neither are the ones for performance or improving road safety.

8/14/2009 09:52:00 pm  
Blogger Stevew said...

LOL, I just read an editorial in this morning's Press in which the author castigates "cellphone libertarians"!!
He then goes on to call for more regulations and endorses two existing laws which I DO consider intrusive and unnecessary, at least when applied to adults: seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.

8/15/2009 10:41:00 am  
Anonymous David said...

The ownership of the roads is the most important issue. If roads were privately owned, then the owner could set his own set of rules. These could include such rules as: speed limits, no cellphone use or obedience to road signs. The use of certain private roads could be dependent on passing some sort of difficult test?

As the roads are not privately owned, the rules will be arbitrarily set by a small group of people in parliament with no accountability to the people that voted them in.

8/15/2009 11:12:00 am  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Oh god Stevew, what have you done? You went and made me google for and read that pile of big government apologist drivel.

It gets my goat that the more the government sticks its fingers into our lives, the more most of NZ seems to like it, and even, in this case, cry for more.

Wearing seatbelts and crash helmets IS logical. I don't want to die, so I won't avoid it. That said, and as Stevew suggested, why does it need to be legislated for?

That does it. Only one thing can cheer me up now, and it's in Auckland. Galbraiths, here I come! I wonder if there's any Old Burton left?

8/15/2009 11:26:00 am  
Anonymous Spam said...

Just like the invisible hand requires consumers to behave rationally, I suspect that libertarianism requires the population to behave rationally.

The fact that I have nearly been run-over twice by dickheads on their cellphones (one while smoking with one hand, cellphone with the other, and somehow turning a corner, maybe with his penis?) while crossing the road at my work (I no longer cross at the lights anymore) makes me realise that people are just too stupid and self-absorbed in their own selves to actually give a shit about anyone else or do anything that might inconvenience themselves. Laws, in partciular bans like these ones, are aimed at the lowest common denominator, and it appears that this is getting lower and lower every year (probably something to do with our education system and perhaps our entire culture). The general population of New Zealand is simply too stupid to recognise dangerous behavior. Sure education is probably better, but a "ban" like this in my mind is actually an education program. Its a way of telling those people who simply don't believe that their behavior is dangerous to 'think again'. Or in many cases, for the first time.

8/16/2009 09:58:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

I dropped into Galbraith's yesterday avo for a Tuatara Ardennes, Greig. Very fruity. Didn't spot you, sadly.

8/16/2009 02:55:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

PC: Got there about 2:45, left about 4:30. Did you try the Twisted Hop RNA on gravity dispense at the bar? Delicious!

We were sitting in the back corner underneath where the TV used to be.

We hit Hallertau after that and had way too many pints of Maximus. Amazing beer. I think it's about gone.

8/16/2009 03:56:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Spam: Education is a fantastic thing, but do you think legislation is the best method of educating people?

Your statement implies that we should never hold anyone accountable for their actions, because they are too stupid, and therefore require the government to do all their thinking for them. If that's the case, shouldn't we all just give up on humanity now?

8/16/2009 04:01:00 pm  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

Third comment in a row, but I was just amused that the captcha for this is "IngSoc" - a chilling reminder of where we're heading maybe? ;)

8/16/2009 04:02:00 pm  

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