An NZTA hole-y road.

by Kay O’Lacey on via the BFD

Sharing my submission [on NZTA’s Maori+English roadsigns] as follows:

Dear Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency,

I am writing to express my thoughts on the ongoing consultation regarding bilingual road signs. Please consider this letter as my submission.

I strongly SUPPORT the proposal to use bilingual signs when replacing old signage.

While I anticipate that you will receive numerous submissions opposing this idea, it’s important to dismiss those driven by hidden agendas. Dear Leader Chips-for-Brains Hipkins has hit the nail on the head by referring to such people as dog-whistling racists (well he should know, as has personally newly-minted millions of racists just in the last three years!). Just be aware that these people can be cunning and that some may even own dogs so as to provide cover for dog-whistling (I’ve actually seen this).

It is crucial to ignore such individuals, although some may present seemingly well-thought-out arguments that genuinely reflect their concerns. Here are a few common areas they may seek to engage, and my suggestions as to how to counter these:

  • Some may argue that only around 4% of New Zealander’s can speak Maori, making bilingual signs confusing and potentially dangerous. This notion is utter nonsense! As a solution, I suggest mandating a driver’s license test entirely in Maori and requiring everyone to retake it. Problem solved!
  • Critics might bring up the significant funds allocated to the “Road to Zero” campaign and question the coherence of bilingual signs within the context of such lofty road safety goals. However, such people, seemingly obvious as they are to the widely-held view that the $196M campaign is just a means to launder money by channelling taxpayer funds to pro-government media outlets, clearly aren’t up with the programme, and therefore just don’t count!
  • (On a serious note, the “Road to Zero” campaign slogan does appear quite unrealistic, akin to selling unbreakable eggs. Perhaps remaking the campaign entirely in Maori would at least make it look less absurd, as no-one would understand it? Just a thought, and the media outlets would surely still be happy!)
  • Some individuals (even while patting their prop-dogs) will complain about the poor state of our roads, citing the existence of around 54,000 potholes on state highways and suggesting that resources should be directed toward fixing them instead. Potholes? What holes? More like craters, I’d say! However, I’d argue that counting potholes and identifying the washouts they cause can serve as an engaging way to keep children occupied during long trips while teaching them basic math skills missing in schools today. In the past, we used to have them search for yellow cars, which is far less exciting than observing their poor dad trying to choose between hitting a massive crater or veering onto the wrong side of the road. Luckily, despite their low societal status, dads quite often get this right!
  • People might express concerns about the cost, claiming that Waka Kotahi is deceiving the public by asserting that bilingual signs won’t be more expensive. Initially, I also worried that signs of double the size would require twice the funding. However, it occurred to me that the signs could simply be printed double-sided, with the English version on the back. Problem solved! You’d probably already thought of that – sorry!
  • Still others may criticize the significant government resources already dedicated to promoting the Maori language, such as funding two Maori TV channels and numerous Maori radio stations despite which, the language is still in decline. They may question whether Waka Kotahi has any hope of reversing this trend or even risk exacerbating it. These doubters and haters are clearly completely mad, and should simply be ignored!
  • Certain individuals might attack the language itself, claiming that the Maori Language Commission has transformed it over the past three decades from a learnable small dictionary-sized body of work into an incomprehensible and convoluted structure. They may also cite government departments adopting Maori names that bear no resemblance to their original English names, and whose performance has (coincidentally?) sharply declined ever since. Personally, I must admit that I struggled to connect “Waka Kotahi” with “NZ Transport Agency.” However, that’s probably my own lack of sharpness. By the way, I always thought waka referred to a type of dug-out canoe, which is perilous when navigated by a group of overweight individuals without life jackets in choppy waters. Maybe choppy waters represent potholed roads, and canoes represent cars? Just a guess. But again, let’s not pay attention to these haters!

At this point I’d like to pivot and highlight some risks to this endeavour, because every project has its risks, right? Here are some I’ve thought of, though please forgive me if you already have these covered:

  • It seems unlikely that doubters and haters will just go away, should Waka Kotahi press ahead with implementation of bilingual signs (as seems inevitable, especially with the good counter-arguments provided here!). What will they do? I’m thinking that, for those few that don’t emigrate to Australia, some may resort to inventing myriad ways to attack or deface the signs. Recall, for example, the harmless Taupo sign on SH1 that had a macron added and was repeatedly vandalized? But the mere spray-painting of macrons won’t suffice for an entire bi-lingual sign. Instead, I’m thinking that you should expect acts like gunfire (preferably in remote areas only!), regular fire, mechanical damage (perhaps involving Hilux’s and towropes? Ram raids?), using paintball guns, or most likely paint bombs (e.g. paint-filled dog-poo bags) thrown at the signs. Expression of such creativity will sadly impose significant extra cost to Waka Kotahi in the maintenance of said signs, and you may even eventually have to go back to regular signs! After the expenditure of hundreds of millions!
  • The bilingual sign issue seems to have become a focal point for a majority of New Zealander’s who rightly express concerns about the so-called Maorification of the country under the current government. These concerns extend to issues surrounding lies about the nature of the Treaty, undemocratic co-governance, and more. I firmly believe that this proposal (which some will see as a product of the woke-bloat created by the current government), if implemented, will lead to the downfall of said government in the upcoming election. Perhaps we will see from any new government a ‘draining the swamp’ (so as to speak) which will include the cancellation of this entire project. Stranger things have happened.
  • Finally; I have heard rumours that the 1800s recently called the Maori Language Commission asking for their alphabet back. Could that be true? Will they want the macrons too? Aside from the original colonialist dogs who sailed for months just to get here, seeming a bit thin-skinned about being referred to as house-fleas (pakeha) and acting a rather petulantly, if true, this also would pose a grave risk to this whole endeavour. Maybe you could verify this with a phone call or two?

Thank you for considering my submission.