Friday, November 25, 2011

Public Idiocy

This is from a day or two ago. It demonstrates, quite well, the perils of opening your mouth in a public forum without thinking about what you are going to say. i.e. it's quite easy to come off looking like a complete tool. I'm not sure where to start on this piece of bollocks, I'm thinking I'll just pull a few of the gems out.
First out of the gate is the fact that billions (not one, many) has apparently been spent on maintaining and running the railways over the years. Which is just ... flat out wrong. No idea's where he's getting those figures from (though it barely warrants the term "figure", given how loose a number that is.
And given that it can't cope with hundreds of thousands of rugby fans in the space of a few hours, is obviously reason not to invest in it so that it can handle day to day commuter traffic <facepalm>.
Then apparently public transport is bad. See what happens in London when you have public transport - the unions get a hold of it and shut it down costing the city millions. Stop. Think about that for a moment. Think some more. Anyone else see where that goes wrong? If it's possible to cost the city millions by shutting it down for a couple of day - then it obviously enables those millions on the days when it's not shut down. 
The population density argument is an asinine one to make as well. If you take the total land area of Auckland and divide the size of the population into it, then yes, we're probably fairly low density. This assumes that we are evenly distributed though. Population natural accumulates around hubs, which is where public transport runs. We've got similar densities to other similar sized cities that actually have competent public transport.
Fair enough he likes his car's (apparently he's the heralds motoring journalist, feeling the need to dabble in politics) but I've never really got why the motorheads object to public transport. Surely the fact that public transport takes people off the roads would be a good thing for the people who actually like driving?


  1. That's the problem with the Herald's current commentariat methodology: rather than publishing the views of people who know about the topic they're writing about, they publish the views of half-wits who generate consternation and irritation, which in turn fuels page impressions. It might make their stats look good, but it sure as hell doesn't make for a sensible discussion of important issues.

    I considered stretching the point to argue that such news outlets were parasitical, in that they actually undermine rational debate and therefore make NZ a worse place to live in, but I guess we're not paying to read these pearls of wisdom, are we?

  2. It's a long long time since I considered the NZ Herald to be worth paying for. The point could be stretched though, whilst I may not be paying for it, there are plenty who are. For a rational debate, all parties need to be able to be in possession of relevant facts. If one half of the debate has inane tripe to back their position up, it's not going to be a very rational debate.

    Every so often I wander into a house that has a subscription to the Guardian Weekly. It's almost offensive how pleasant and refreshing it is to see that little piece of dense and interesting piece of paper floating around.

  3. Recommend the news-view service on the library website (both Auckland and Wellington) if you haven't used it. Full digital editions of global newspapers, including the Guardian, Observer & Independent. (But not the Times or NYT). I mainly use it to catch up with my favourite, the Guardian Guide on Saturday.