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25.1.06

Advance Australia under 100 km/h 

I’m blogging from the Park Hyatt in today, about to hit the tennis with a client. But as I drove here in my rent-a- Astra—a car which the Avis girl told me was , but I am very sure is —and re-learned how to use wind-up windows (first time I have encountered that in 16 years), I noted how many were all over the .
   Signs warned us about , red-light cameras, , road works, enforcement of the above, the number of days’ grace we had if we did not get the equivalent of the E-Z Pass—and it reminded me how different is from .
   I may criticize New Zealand through blog entries, but there is one thing the country should not change: its trusting nature, where people are presumed to be smart enough to watch themselves. It doesn’t always work, but it works more often than one thinks.
    is not being able to see a cop on every street corner, and is not about the number of laws being enforced—but the absence of both.
   A nation should, ideally, not need to remind its citizens at every turn that they are being watched, and that every act they commit might be under scrutiny.
   The Victorian is probably delighted that I was so seized with fear (and fatigue due to working 45 of the last 48 hours before I flew out) that I stuck to 100 km/h on the freeway—but I found that caused more problems for .
   I dislike the fact that the safety lobby conveniently ignores that around four per cent of accidents in Germany happen in places with no speed enforcement, on the famous . I recall taking an older but far better equipped to 205 km/h in Frankfurt, safely.
   And has New Zealand’s obsession with speed worked? While the are all too quick to point out the success of New Zealand Police with road-toll falls, they conveniently forget to make the same connection in one of the highest road-death periods in the 2005–6 holiday seasion. Yet Police continued to run a strong ? Dare we say it is a waste of money, or that money should be put in to ?
    is always the key to a civilized, functioning society—and perhaps this example, too, serves to show the futility of . Whether it’s signage threatening penalties here in Melbourne for , or blanket advertising in New Zealand with crashes galore, the fact is if you don’t get at the underlying behaviour, ads don’t work. No matter how gross these ads get, if 12-year-old kids are still being told that aggression is acceptable behaviour—and not leaving it on the rugby field—then it all becomes habitual.
   Still, I look a little jealously here: interest rates are low, with the country’s strong and able to weather a lot of crap—in dire contrast to the doom of that has been reported by the in New Zealand over the last few days.
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Note

Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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