Johnny Moore has been a great addition to the Press’s opinion pages. For one, he’s less than about 60. He doesn’t get stuck into the usual middle-class privilege whinges that the other columnists do. But I don’t always agree, and today would be such an example. 

He argues that the speed limit should be increased on highways. Reasoning being that modern cars are safer and faster, and that they have higher limits in other countries. What if you don’t have a newer car?

Put the speed limit up and if your car can’t keep up with traffic then don’t drive on the motorway. Issue fines for driving too slow and holding up traffic. This would be a great remedy for the revenue that would be lost by issuing fewer speeding tickets.

So if your car is too slow (probably because you can’t afford a newer, faster car) then you shouldn’t be able to drive on the (taxpayer-funded) motorway. I know that Johnny comes from a family of old-school lefties, but this is about as in-egalitarian as you can get. Taxpayer builds motorways. People with fast cars get to drive on them, fast. People with slow cars get fined for driving too slowly if they drive on the motorway, or else they can drive on the shittier roads.

Like Johnny, I have also thought about whether we could have higher speed limits on our state highways. 

This is something I’ve thought over on many long car journeys and, judging by some of the speeds I see on the open road, plenty of people are voting on this issue with their right foot.

However, on long trips up and down State Highway 1, wishing I could go faster, I’ve come around the corner to a one-lane bridge. When New Zealand’s most important road network, SH1, doesn’t even have two lanes for it’s whole length, how can you advocate for people going more than 100km/h? If you could double-lane these roads, then maybe it would be worth considering changing the speed limits, but that would involve pouring more and more money into roads. If Johnny wants his bogan speed roads, then he can advocate for them being built as toll roads, but making public funded roads into places for the haves rather than the have-nots is something we can do without.

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