Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Jottings

1 Our first camellia flower opened yesterday

2 It’s 6 degrees outside and there are snow flurries. Dunedin has snow to the sea

3 Cousin Sally has been researching in the Akaroa Mail. She emailed me information about an interesting test case before the magistrate in the 6 June 1917 edition. It was about a breach of the Council’s by-law restricting the driving of a motor on the Council’s roads on any night except Wednesday.
The by-law had been passed after considerable discussion and had been supported by petitions. These were tabled despite the defendant’s lawyers objections. The magistrate said ‘local bodies often received unreasonable petitions and whether these were for or against they were rather worthless. Even if every ratepayer signed the petition it might be unreasonable because all the King’s subjects had a perfect right to use the King’s highway and it was a question of whether a local body could make such a restriction.’
It was pointed out that if a motorist were caught at sunset on their way to Le Bons Bay he would have to stop. People travelling to Little River on the evening train could not get home because of the by-law. A witness claimed the by-law was made by the knowledge of the roads and confirmed by the judgement of the ratepayers. When the defendant’s lawyer asked could the doctor travel at night the witness replied ‘ we thought it was just as well to save the life of the person on the road as the person the doctor was going to attend.’
There were 96 cars and cycles registered in Akaroa County. There was no similar night restriction in the neighbouring Waiwera County Council though it had one for speed – a limit of 15 miles per hour.
I’ve asked Sally did her research find out the result of the case.

4 Not often do I agree with columnist Richard Long but I did today. In all the hoo-hah about mortgage rates people forget about those of us who rely upon interest from our savings. Good one Richard.

5 Our super debate is hotting up. Demographers generalise statistically. Politicians legislate for the common good. Planners operate for the majority. But we should never forget that in any devised system plans can never be that water-tight that an unexpected iceberg cannot rip them apart and we all age individually. One person might anticipate a drop in life-style and spending power. Another may be delighted at the prospect of more leisure time. Some are caught in poverty. Others like me with ill-health. Every now and then I hear a horror story about someone losing a life-time’s savings by some means or another. The fortunate have wealth and health, while those with wealth can spend on health. In the USA approximately 1% of the population account for 22% of total health care expenditure. In trying to change this sitution Obama has a fight on his hands.

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