2016, random musings

Where has this year gone so quickly?

So, update on my world.

Ducati’s rooted, sent it to a workshop that was recommended to me, as I needed some work done on it ‘urgently’….67 days later got it back with more issues than it went in with! Suffice to say this is going to the disputes tribunal at the District Court and the bikes now in another workshop of someone I truly trust.

So I bought a new (second hand) bike, a 2007 GSX 1400 Special Edition with low miles and in great nick.  Awesome bike, a little point and shoot but I wont complain. (Emoticon BIG GRIN needed here) she pulls like a 14 year old at band camp.

two up

Our Suzuki two up

Been on a major charity ride, but missed the second one of the season due to a bank error stripping our wekeend’s budget…sad, had to stay at home and missed the fun with my brothers club  Wainui MC (sorry bro) so will have to ensure we show up on Vinyl Night if I get home in time from the track day at Manfeild.

facing some decisions regarding career direction, wont bore anyone with these, but decisions, decisions, decisions… have got these wrong before, need to tread carefully this time.

leading out the crowd

Leading out the crowd

So yeah 2016’s disappearing fast. track day next weekend, first time in years, keen to see what the BIG BUS can do, I know I have the back straight sussed, but can I get a knee down? Last time I had a knee down was to give Kelly a sparkly ring…. 😉

Onward, upwards and ever positive, 2016, you are MY year and we are going to make it a great one.

StoneY

 

 

Taken For A Ride Again (Project Chapter 2)

That’s the name we have ended up at for the title of our documentary.

You were

Our old battle cry

Here are a few wee clips from our trailer.

Shaun Teaser

And………

StoneY

Not to mention…..

Web

Facebook

This is happening, hopefully all NZ Bikers get behind us and make an effort with a few gold coin level donations to our givealittle.

The details on that will be published on our FB and Webpages, it is going live as soon as the verification process is done.

Thanks for reading and clicking the links.

StoneY

9000 views and counting

Our Fathers Flags

Been a lot of talk about flags lately.  Not just in good ol’ Aotearoa but the States as well, with attempts (some successful and some not) to ban the Confederate Flag as a symbol of hate and racism as it was the symbol of the ‘slave states’ (not true at all it was the Battle Colours of the Southern regiments, and Battle Colours are NOT a nations flag but a Unit Pride symbol)

Brothers in arms

Truly a symbol of commitment NOT hate

Lovely post here on Facebook from a Southern Biker, a guy who other than living in the South of the USA is, like me, a biker who has a beard, loves to ride…and has a heart.  When he himself felt under the gaze of racial profiling he stepped up to show ‘hey, I aint what I appear to be in your historically tainted point of view guys’

Travis’s Tale

So, lets consider why the uproar to ban public displays of the Confederate flag are flavour of the month on the other side of the Pacific.

Uproar

Many claim its the connection to the fight to retain slavery as an institution….technically that argument is invalid. The Confederate States had a variation of the Stars and Stripes as a Flag of State. The Confederate Battle Flag was exactly that, a BATTLE FLAG.  It was designed so the southern troops could distinguish their own lines in the smoky hell of the battle fields of the 1860’s as the Unions flag and their own were….. yes, the same! Civil war…who’da thunk it?????

The Confederate Battle Flag in itself is no more a symbol of hate and oppression than the Olympic flag when analysed at the root level of its reason for existence.  It was a symbol to state ‘our troops gather here, march here…kill here….die here’….. It was a Battle Flag, a battlefield location device in pre radio days and nothing more.  Those who had relatives die under that flag have every right to defend its existence and display it to say ‘hey, right or wrong we bled, fought, cried, lived, and died under this symbol’ just as any other units regimental standard or symbol would be cherished.  Its a coat of arms.

So now we have the New Zealand Flag Debate (debacle more accurately….)

heritage or hate

1/4 of this Flag is a racists symbol of oppression and hate

I have for years, and years, since long before John Key uttered a word about it wanted a new flag for New Zealand. The Union Jack, like it or not, has more reason to be hated and banned from public display than almost any other on the planet.  It was the English alongside Portuguese, Spanish, and the Dutch who created international slave trading as it was known in the 17-1800’s, FACT!  No need for me to print references, you all have google so go check my facts and you will find I am not bullshitting you.  Just like they (English) invented the Concentration Camps in South Africa long before Hitler was born. To the victor the spoils!

So we have, as all Historians know, a situation where the victor re-writes history to his own song.

The Union Jack on a New Zealand flag to me is a buy in to the false and twisted history of the myth of ‘England’s Imperial  good intentions to bring freedom and order to the world through its Empire’…. and that’s a bullshit line in and of itself.

It was pure greed behind that flag, from the privateers of Queen Elizabeth (the Spanish Armada was a result of England’s being the worlds largest pirate fleet ever seen) not some benevolent drive to free the world…after all they were the largest supplier of slaves to the Continental Unites States over 200+ years! Yet no ones burning the Jack are they?  (And nor should they, I am not trying to be an England hater, honest!  Just pointing out that you cant have it both ways)

Our flag, the State Flag of New Zealand, many claim can’t be changed because our men fought and died for it… well no…

They fought and died for the solders beside them in the trenches, foxholes and minefields around the world.  It was the flag they fought under which cannot be trivialized and I am not trying to.  I am attempting to point out its not a sole reason to not change with the coming future of our land and its people.

And the old flag can’t just be forgotten, hell no, never!  But the emotional knee jerk reasons for NOT changing it should be reconsidered without the emotion of ‘it was our flag’… but more ‘what does this flag represent?’  Not modern NZ in my opinion. The Union Jack represents the many poor decisions like sending our innocent youth of the early 20th century to invade and kill the sons of the fading Ottoman Empire (also a corrupt and evil entity of itself but why were we invading another country we had no direct quarrel with?  An invasion impossible to achieve? The bloody poms is why).

I am in complete agreement with those  socially aligned with fiscal irresponsibility of this referendum…. there is no need to waste so much money of referendums in these times of need…the cost of these arguments and processes is ridiculous. 26 million…pathetic. And the ‘smokescreen for TPPA’ …valid argument but only if we let it be. (Thank (insert personal deity) that has failed at the 9th hour….)

But I ask you, how many people in MY country applauded the banning of the Confederate flag because ‘it represents racism’ and then go on to cry foul at the suggestion we change our own? Without seeking specific posts I recall a few of my social media connections applauding the ban of the Rebel flag…. yet bemoaning the mere suggestion ‘NZ change its dear, treasured historic flag that is oh so relevant to us’….. hypocrisy or mere lack of historical knowledge?  Any flag with the Jack on it has ties to hundreds of years of murder, rape, enslavement and theft on a grand scale impossible to measure. That my friends is a FACT!!  The jolly old England of post WW2 is as alien to the pre-1939 Empire as modern South Africa is to its Apartheid past.

lest we forget the past

How easy to forget the sordid past

While it may be true that the Union Jack in the 21st century may not represent those factors currently, in relation to its history and colonial past, it sadly is a fact.  So by association you cannot tar one battle standard as a hate flag yet ignore the past of another National Flag of State and its history and look me in the eye.

FAR more racism, hate, torture, murder, evil, and atrocious treatment of tribal people worldwide happened under the Union Jack than ever occurred under the Confederate Battle Standard.  A simple truth you may not like to hear, but I am never shy of telling you a truth you may not like.

Consider this when I post on Bookface that I support a new flag.

I am not turning my back on my history, or the two grandfathers who fought under the current flag, the great uncle who died in the same conflict, the years my Grandpa spent in a German Stalag…. its still very relevant, absolutely!  But so is the Confederate Flag… and if your going to celebrate banning THAT flag, then bloody well be prepared to change OURS!

StoneY

PS I like this one myself.

My favourite

This ones sexy!

Life in the Lane Split Chapter 4

Just read a brilliant article on lanesplitting and why its safer, better for all, and some of the legality issues from a US POV.

Splittin all the way

Are we hooligans or heros?

In the spirit of sharing this great article for my fellow motorcyclists, I have simply linked it here for you to enjoy.

Great Article here, enjoy!

Don't be an ass let us pass

Doing it

Special shout to Oliver who brought this to my attention. Stay shiny side up fellah!

StoneY

An observation of political incompetency.

I am gobsmacked at a recent story on news site STUFF NZ.

 Nutty

Apparently the opposition’s team of young up and comers (on the left side of the coin) want the government to be willing to pay for gender re-assignments.  I can only think the recent story of a child aged 9 who has identified herself as a male trapped in a female body (poor kid) could have inspired such a bold move as to enter a ballot to the party to have this voted on as a potential policy for the campaign trail…..  and so it seems such a proposition was put forward by ‘Young Labour’ the party’s youth arm.

Mr Pitt

William Pitt The Younger

I see the intention…. and while it is somewhat admirable and humanitarian in the intent and spirit of the proposition… it is my opinion this will only force the gulf between what used to be the left voter and the middle class to open up even further.  What the hell are they thinking letting shoddy press sites like STUFF get a whiff of this sort of dribble?   Or is it a clever sneak attack by the Right?  That would make more sense.  This policy will be highly unpopular with the general public in a user pays their own way society.

I completely support a partially or even fully funded ‘gender issues’  clinic that encapsulates the core public services from the health sector that these individuals utilize the most, (counselling, subsidized hormone support, emotional support groups you name it throw it in there!)  BUT!  And a big BUT it is….I draw the line at paying the 50-60,000 NZ$ to change an individual’s gender whatever the driving factor for that individual is. I commented on the STUFf story and those supporting such a practice suggested I was ‘condemning people to death’ (a dramatic reference to suicide bought on by hopelessness I assume, no one ever died from being male or Female in the scientific context of gender)

I am not ignorant of the hard road these people face. As an individual I am sympathetic in fact, but as it affects such a small number of the population I do not see it as valid public spending.  Nor do I see the ‘choice’ to change your gender, whatever circumstances behind the drive to do so, as a valid public health issue.  It is a personal issue and therefore as such, is an elective surgery issue, whatever social, mental, or spiritual drive for each individual may be.

Stereotype

Stereotypes that do not help

So, Tory sabotage or just a stupid, nutty leak from within?  Both?

Did Labour learn nothing from the party vote swing last election?  They claim to return to core values, by appointing a union man to the top job, and wooing the working class (you have to remember todays ‘working class’ is not the working class of yore).  Yet here is a policy proposition I would have expected from the most rabid Green Hippie Vegans who worship Gaia under full moons in autumn fields.  Even then I mean Hippies that have no concept whatsoever of what the other 90% of New Zealanders would like to see happen with their tax money.  But hey I love my hippie friends…. I just don’t approve of spending BIG tax money on an issue for such a small number of affected persons.  That’s the same logic we are given for the massive ACC hikes we motorcyclists have had to live with after all.  Fairs fair for all minorities I say!

On Facebook, and the Twittersphere, many commentators are crying ‘smokescreen!!! They’re hiding something else…. just like Child Poverty, The Flag and don’t forget TPPA is coming…’ etc, etc…

But what gets me is while we DO have these very serious issues to address, the income gap, child poverty, hunger in lower decile schools, a growing homeless population (something we are seeing on the streets of the Capital daily) and the Labour party let slip something as potentially self-destructive as this?  Or did they?  Is it a Toryist conspiracy to discredit?  Are they that insane?  Whichever ‘They’ you might believe are behind this idea hitting the media, it’s a desperate measure considering either intention.  More dirty politics?  Is this for real?

Time to take my idea of the Freedom party to the next level and start looking for my 500 registered voting age members I think.  Time someone stood up for the middle man, the working class tax payer, and forced some sanity upon the benches of the House.

So is it a Political Observation?  Or a call to action?  You choose.

Watch this space!

StoneY

Life in the Lane Split Chapter 3

So sadly, this morning I witnessed a rider wiped out in the lane split.

 

Having given my report to the Police, and his insurer, sadly he gets a ticket for unsafe passing.

Hope the cagers are awake
Its just safer

I repeat the link to the reason Lane Splitting is safer than sitting in the lane with slow traffic, not to mention its reduction of congestion.

‘Safer here’

The rather shaken young lady that got out of the car (with smart phone in hand…one must wonder if it was before the collision as well) was very shaken, and at first seemed to be worried it was her fault.  IMO it was.
Now in NZ it is not yet legal to lane split, but there is a campaign and a online petition to the Minister of Transport to legalise the practice but since the survey closed I have lost the URL.

As in earlier blogs it has been legalized in Australia, is allowable under certain speeds in los Angeles, has always been legal on UK motorways (I think there is a speed limit to the practice though) and it really sucks that a rider who was being cautious and was not speeding, not swerving manically, just slow and steady at 50kmh on the ‘ghost lane’ is blamed for a bad lane change by a cager.

One blink of her indicator and she was off, right to left  and very sudden the manouver was indeed….to get in the gap and gain 2 car spaces….. into a lane that ultimately was moving slower than the one she was in!

Rider was ok, bike was bent, everyone shaken up, and justice served poorly (against the Police Officers better judgement but the letter of the law sadly).

Safe in the centre

Its nice and safe here, honest!

I was thanked for my honesty, and sadly had to acknowledge we were lane splitting. Slowly and with care still does not cut it in NZ.  As yet no ticket for the bad lane change, law states 3 seconds of indication, and a clear path to change lanes, both conditions were not met by the driver but as yet…no repercussion to any but the rider of the massive big Boulevard (no small bike had the driver actually had her eyes open it would be impossible to not see it)

Even on Facebook!

Peace, and safe splitting.

StoneY

Moronic Myths and Representation

Rego

I want to clear something up.

There is STILL this ridiculous misconception some people have that BRONZ sold them out in regards the ACC Levy Hikes of 2009 – 2010 and the creation of the MSAC and its 30 dollar levy.

Let me start with a disclaimer.  While I was President of BRONZ Wellington and Spokesperson for the Federation 2009 – 2012 and a committee member until 2013, I am in no way a representative or anyone who can speak on BRONZ’s behalf anymore.  I am merely a card carrying member, no S000001.

In 2008 the National Government took power off the ‘nanny state’ Labour govt.  In early 2009 they announced changes to ACC, they claimed Labour had run the country broke (20b overseas debt the lowest in decades and 3 surplus budgets in a row – Tui anyone?) and that ACC was BROKE, in DESPERATE FINANCIAL CRISIS.  That was utter horseshit.  ACC was in fine shape with 5 billion in operational funds but an overnight change from pay as you go to pre-funded meant with clever bookwork they manufactured a 3 million dollar shortfall.

When Nick Smith announced across the board levy hikes Bikers were singled out as the cause of all the financial distress in regards Motoring Account ‘shortfalls’.  Again this was manufactured and based on pre-funding with 15 years to achieve the operational balance to get to the ‘required target’ and those dirty leather clad Bikers were the ones who had to pay up.

Nick and the ACC chair at the time had a public press conference claiming each and every motorcyclist was being subsidized by Car owners, to the tune of 800$ per year for each biker.  Mike Noon of AA chimed in claiming the real figure was 1500$ per motorcyclist and that was unfair on AA’s members (never mind 30% of AA members also had Motorcycles the prick).  On an economy of scale, with 4 million cars and 200,000 or so registered bikes, it is true we the bikers were cross subsidized, but not by just car owners, but vans, trucks, all road vehicles included.  This is no issue in a no fault no blame assurance scheme, it was true but the actual figure was not clear, no matter what way you calculated it.  Noon and Smith and the ACC chair were throwing Bikers under a bus to get public opinion onside to rape us financially.

The initial press releases by Smith and Noon were used for Smith to try get the public onside with them and make Smith out to be ‘fair and reasonable’ by Smith claiming ‘oh we won’t make them pay all of that, but a hike of around 800$ per registered bike is expected’.  ACC levy’s on bikes had risen by 110$ only 15 months prior to this under the previous government, and they were now going to put 800$ more on the bill! And no discount if you had any other vehicles contributing, nor any consideration you can only ride ONE bike at a time!  This would have made bike registration about 1100$ per bike.

The outrage was immediate, and not just from bikers.  My best mate Byron (now BRONZ Wellington President) texted me ‘you arrange the protest, I will be there’.  Kiwibiker website forum lit up, and immediately the general biker public, almost none of them financial members of BRONZ (as I wasn’t at the time either) demanding action, wanting to know what BRONZ was going to do about it.

Les Mason, the President of BRONZ Auckland and nominally at the time, National President by proxy of this fact, was quick to start the wheels rolling.  The recent HIKOI over foreshore issues inspired the name BIKOI for a National Protest Ride was born.  To where … it had to be to Parliament.

I put my hand up to help in Wellington, and regional coordinators volunteered and convoy locations were arranged.  I requested access to parliament after a Kiwibiker Poll chose my 40th birthday as the date, and this all took months of planning.  Road action plans were made with the Police, parking plans and street actions with the Council, meetings with Parliament Security, arranging access and parking for thousands of bikes at Westpac Stadium (approx. 6000 rode in and out of Wellington that day).  I ended up being the main organiser, with press interviews, arranging speakers, setting schedules, getting toilets for the parking area, sponsorship from bike shops etc.  All the other coordinators, and BRONZ Auckland (the main organising body at the wider public’s request) asked me to MC the event as I had done so much work on it.  I was humbled, and on the day managed to step up and not fall over the mic cord thank god!

Les Mason led a coalition of 12 representatives from all the main bike clubs and groups like WIMA, Ulysses, HOG, admins from Kiwibiker who were well respected no shit Sherlock’s with knowledge of Motorcycle Safety and such,  and even a professional bike trainer and a representative from the Retail industry! THAT is who negotiated with the Minister of ACC folks, NOT JUST BRONZ.  12 carefully, evenly, openly selected representatives of your Biker Community, led by BRONZ only in name.

Les was the primary spokesperson to the crowd from the 12 disciples, backed by every single main group out there with large public memberships.  This was led by BRONZ but it was not totally a BRONZ event, it was 8 organisations, a public Biker Forum, and about 9000 attendees with approximately 6000 rolling bikes.  It was epic, and best of all we got in, and out, with no crashes, no events and no fatalities.  One poor bugger got wiped out near Wanganui hours after leaving Wellington, but that was not in the convoy event, I hope he recovered ok.

Ulysses National Secretary represented them but their National President of the time pissed off to Singapore, he had publicly stated ‘do not count on the BIKOI, we have to negotiate and work with the Government on this’ and he was adamant our National Ride was going to be a disaster with bikers down all over the place, he actually said there would be deaths, and it was a ‘stupid idea’ publicly to many people.  He was WRONG!  Didn’t stop him getting off the plane, bee-lining to parliament and claiming credit for ‘bringing 5000 bikes to Parliament, they better listen’ with a TV1 news crew, the hypocrite.  He had NOTHING to do with it he left it to other members like Ken Wilson and Howard the National Secretary…. Meantime he negotiated the 30$ ring-fenced fee in the background, one of the MOST unpopular additions to the ACC model there is to date, and he is now Deputy Chair of said council with a nice salary to attend half a dozen meetings per year.  BRONZ was present in the formation of that council and its initial members, in the form of me but I was soon kicked out for refusing to tow the party line and actually informing Bikers what was going on, refusing to be gagged but that’s a different story.

So now that is the history.  Here’s the point of my blog today.

BRONZ DID NOT SELL YOU OUT.

BRONZ initiated the protest action that resulted in the levy being raised by 178$, to reach what it is now. 527$ for 12 months Registration and ACC levy combined, which includes the very controversial 30$ ‘ring-fenced’ Safety Levy that feeds the pigs drinking at its trough for the last 5 years…delivering nothing of value.

BRONZ could actually claim to have saved you all over 500$ per year!  But instead of hollering from the rooftops has kept diligently working in the background with OIA’s, I was removed from the council (MSAC) by Gareth Morgan because I refused to be gagged (yet they allowed the AA rep to continue posting in public, my inclusion was merely to try GAG BRONZ, it failed, I refused to be gagged)

Today, a friend I hold very highly as an IT professional in the industry I work in, stated on Facebook that ‘BRONZ sold us down the river’…. I want to know HOW?

BRONZ had no say in what the levy got set to. In fact had they not initiated, led, and organised a National Protest ride it would have gone uncontested to well over 1000$ per bike, FACT!

Want to research that yourself? Search it out on Google, go back and read Nick Smiths press releases pre BIKOI.  Check the links on Kiwibiker to the TV One playbacks. For once I am not going to link the evidence and the TV soundbites, but you can find then all linked via Kiwibiker Forum.  You can find speeches on Youtube, you can see the crowd on the day sing me Happy Birthday proving what high spirits the 9000+ crowd were in on November 17 2009.

At the Backbencher pub 30 minutes after the event BRONZ asked myself, Byron Cummins, and Paul Ellen to re- open a branch in Wellington and keep pressure on Parliament, which we did.  I was nominated Branch President, and as a result got invited by Nick Smith to be on the MSAC Steering Committee and the Council (in hindsight a bad move it fed the BRONZ sold us out myth)

BRONZ sweated, bled, shed tears, and its leadership sacrificed at great lengths for the NZ Biker Public on this cause.  The levy’s were set by the Government, NOT BRONZ.  BRONZ’s actions resulted in a huge reduction of what was proposed.

I repeat, I am no longer in the organisation as any sort of representative, but will take my pride in that achievement to my grave knowing damn well we did all we could, we did it selflessly, at great personal expense, (in my case a marriage, and my career in public service for several years) and without having done what we did you, my fellow riders who keep bashing BRONZ as sellouts, would have sold your bike in disgust, which is what the gubbermint wanted to happen.

Now don’t start me on free parking in Wellington City…THAT campaign led to me stepping down as President after a reporter fucked us over but that’s a different story altogether, suffice to say we ended up with a guarantee of 500 free bike spaces…for now…and BRONZ meets the council every 6 months to ensure it stays that way…no one else does it.

So stop bashing the hard working BRONZ executive they give up time, energy, money and major portions of their private lives to represent you lot…and you whinging bastards abuse them, blame them, and claim they sold you out.  How about paying the 20$ per annum fee, joining up, and working WITH BRONZ to help them achieve more?  Think you can do better?  Think YOU can change the world in the face of a hostile anti biker government?

Go ahead.  MAG are trying as well, and doing a great job with what they are doing to.

Instead of abusing those who had the BALLS to stand up and do the work, how about fuckin supporting them?

Rant over.
StoneY