Petrol tax? Let’s get this show on the road

If we’re go­ing to cre­ate a trans­port sys­tem our chil­dren can be proud of, we’re go­ing to have to pay for it now. Scheme to snatch mon­keys ends with

Sunday News - - NEWS - JARED NICOLL

Full dec­la­ra­tion, I like Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern’s vi­sion for what sort of coun­try New Zealand could be.

I like that she stated in one of her ear­li­est speeches that she wanted the gov­ern­ment to be kinder, be­cause I can’t help but think that this very im­por­tant qual­ity would help make the world a less stress­ful place if it was ap­plied more lib­er­ally to how the coun­try is run.

We’ve had nine years of be­ing run by a dif­fer­ent set of pri­or­i­ties and val­ues – and that’s a de­cent chunk of time for the Na­tional Party to re-cre­ate the coun­try in their image.

I’m pre­pared to give this new team of women and men a chance to see how they can do things and what the out­comes could be for New Zealan­ders. And, of course, the beauty of liv­ing in a sta­ble democ­racy is that if it works out ter­ri­bly, then in about two and a half years we’ll get to fire them.

In the mean­time, I sus­pect it’s go­ing to be a bit ex­cru­ci­at­ing putting up with all the hys­te­ria that seems to lance through the main­stream me­dia about what a ter­ri­ble job they are do­ing.

Each week there seems to be a run­ning com­men­tary of dire warn­ings that, thanks to the Gov­ern­ment, this coun­try is go­ing to hell in a hangi bas­ket. But, in my mind, the re­al­ity doesn’t re­ally seem to match up with the right­eous opin­ion – and for most of us, our opin­ion of how rosy life is, can de­pend on who’s opin­ion you read.

The lat­est warn­ings that this Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted a po­lit­i­cal act of rit­ual self­dis­em­bow­el­ment, came after it’s 10-year Na­tional Trans­port Plan.

It was heavy on in­vest­ment in rail and pub­lic trans­port, and in­cluded plans for a na­tional petrol tax to pay for ev­ery­thing. Auck­lan­ders will be hit twice given they’re al­ready fac­ing the prospect of a re­gional petrol tax.

Petrol is al­ready too ex­pen­sive so the col­lec­tive wail­ing and gnash­ing of teeth is un­der­stand­able. Maybe, to counter the ef­fect, the Gov­ern­ment could GST off fruit and veges, so at least that stuff is cheaper?

But maybe this is just some­thing our gen­er­a­tion has to wear for our coun­try so that we can pro­vide a trans­port in­fra­struc­ture that fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will thank us for.

I wish ear­lier gen­er­a­tions had footed the bill, but they didn’t.

Imag­ine if we had a rail sys­tem and pub­lic trans­port that Europe could envy. It would have to be pretty awe­some, be­cause the rail and pub­lic trans­port in some parts of Europe is out­stand­ing – and, no doubt, we’d have to shell out big money for it.

Other coun­tries have bit­ten the bul­let to en­sure they get what they need. For ex­am­ple, peo­ple in Scan­di­navia ac­cept high taxes as the nec­es­sary price for ev­ery­one be­ing able to have an equal shot at liv­ing their best life.

And hav­ing to frind the ex­tra money will hurt. It al­ways has done. I can still re­mem­ber the pal­pa­ble sense of shock na­tion­ally when the price of petrol went above a dol­lar per litre, and I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the joy and re­lief of even scrap­ing to­gether five dol­lars for gas.

But as much as a petrol tax would suck, we should suck it up. After all, it’s for some­thing that New Zealand needs.

If they were scared, which they would’ve been, they would have scream­ing and bit­ing.’ KAREN FI­FIELD

SEEN any­one wan­der­ing around Wellington this morn­ing cov­ered in tiny bite marks? Might just be that they were be­hind a das­tardly plot to steal mon­keys from the city’s zoo.

Po­lice are to­day still search­ing for the in­truder who broke into the squir­rel mon­key en­clo­sure on Fri­day night but it seems the lit­tle crit­ters were more than a match for the would-be thief.

The zoo’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Karen Fi­field said who­ever was in­volved would have ‘‘some mon­key bites, for sure’’ from what she called a ‘‘so­phis­ti­cated and pre-med­i­tated’’ crime.

At least two of the zoo’s 12 squir­rel mon­keys were bruised and bat­tered after some­one used bolt-cut­ters to break into their en­clo­sure after the zoo closed on Fri­day night.

Wellington Zoo team leader of pri­mates Har­mony Neale said the mon­keys, which weigh only around 750 grams, would have been tough to catch.

‘‘They’re very feisty,’’ Neale said.

‘‘Their best weapon is their teeth.

‘‘But they’re wrig­gly and can turn in on them­selves. They’re very quick.’’

Fi­field said the mon­keys were ‘‘price­less’’ to zoo staff – but would have posed a se­ri­ous prob­lem to the would-be thief if they had man­aged to snatch one.

We’ve had nine years of be­ing run by a dif­fer­ent set of val­ues – now it’s time to give Ardern and co a shot at their ‘‘kin­der’’ ver­sion of gov­ern­ment.

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