Simon Bridges

Simon Bridges gets schooled in manners

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Typical behaviour from a young third-term buffoon:

Transport Minister Simon Bridges ignored official advice to consult with councils before announcing he would allow electric cars to use bus lanes.

He now faces a backlash with one council indicating it won’t implement the policy and another considering whether to enforce it.

Documents from the Ministry show he was told it would be “important to discuss” the measure before making any form of announcement on the Government’s high-profile, multimillion-dollar bid to get more New Zealanders into electric cars. Read more »

Hide mocks National for just one more little tax

The Government now wants to charge us to drive during peak times. Our fault, apparently.

We are not spreading our road use through the day and the new charge is designed to make us do that.

Minister of Transport Simon Bridges says building more roads won’t solve the problem. That’s because we would just fill them up.

It’s hard, though – they are such a good way to get about.

The new rationing policy is called Variable Network Pricing (VNP). Its purpose is to price some of us off the road. Those who use the roads must pay for each kilometre driven.

Those priced off will have to stay at home, drive off-peak or use some other form of transport.

The VNP will need to be high to make it work. Read more »

Has Simon Bridges killed his leadership chances?

Look Simon, I know you GPS tracking and tolls but it's a really bad look son

Look Simon, I know you GPS tracking and tolls but it’s a really bad look son

Elections are won and lost in Auckland, with the Auckland Party Vote being crucial to winning and losing an election.

This makes Simon Bridges’ attempt to make Aucklanders pay for their own roads a very interesting move.

It may be a good move from a funding perspective, or a necessary move because Auckland Council and Auckland Transport are so useless that they have wasted lots of money, but it is not a good move for National. It will hurt in the polls if Aucklanders blame the government for having to pay tolls on the roads they have already been taxed to pay for.   Read more »

GPS tracking not good enough to use in court, but good enough to pay tolls

You can’t use your GPS system log in court to defend against speed camera or Police speeding enforcement but it seems that GPS tracking might be the way the government will track you to charge you for tolls.

The Government says GPS tracking may be used to charge drivers for using Auckland’s roads – a move which experts say is the most advanced in the world but also raises concerns about “Big Brother” behaviour.

Road tolls are likely to be implemented in the next 10 years in the city and transport officials say the most effective system would cover all roads and charge motorists different rates depending on when and where they drive.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said this could be done by GPS satellite, as opposed to toll gantries or cameras.

“You’re talking about a system that crudely speaking runs from satellite and is able to, through electronic devices, tell where your car is and charge you on the time and place.  Read more »

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Simon Bridges has a bright idea for costing National the next election

Simon Bridges has come up with a brilliant way to cost the government the next election…start flying kites about tolls for Auckland.

The Government appears to have softened its stance on road tolls in Auckland, saying that direct charges for road use will be needed to fund the growing city’s infrastructure.

The Government and Auckland Council today released their second report on the Auckland Transport Alignment Project, which will decide how the city’s transport system will be developed over the next 30 years and how it will be funded.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the joint project had found that achieving a “step change” in Auckland’s transport system would require “a range of interventions”.

“[The report] concludes that while ongoing investment in new road and public transport projects will clearly be needed, greater use of technology and in the longer term, road pricing – or directly charging for road use, will also be part of the toolkit.”

Read more »

Biggest legal aid trough top-up in a decade: troughing lawyers want more

Legal aid lawyers do not believe the government’s biggest top-up to the courts in more than a decade will help the people who need it most.

Presumably they are talking about themselves.

They, and community law centres, have been crying out for more funding for years.

Promising a $96 million boost to legal aid over four years as part of last week’s Budget, Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges said he had listened.

The funding included $17.2 million to increase eligibility for civil and family legal aid.   Read more »

Outgreening the Greens

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced the Government’s plans to get more New Zealanders behind the wheel of electric cars.

The Government package includes:

  • a target to double the number of electric vehicles on the roads, to reach 64,000 by 2021
  • extending the electric cars’ Road User Charge exemption to light vehicles (until electric cars make up 2 percent of all light vehicles)
  • new Road User Charge exemptions to heavy electric vehicles (until electric cars make up 2 percent of all heavy vehicles) Read more »

Pork barrel politics: Bridges announces roads for Tauranga

Look Simon, I know you like cuddling unions but it's a really bad look son

“While I’m away, you get to run the country.  Don’t stuff it up”

The Government is pledging roading projects to ease congestion and improve freight links for Tauranga worth $520 million over the next decade.

The largest project, starting construction in 2018, will be the $286 million Tauranga Northern Link.

It will create a four-lane shortcut between State Highway 2 (SH2) to the Highway 29 toll road linking approaches to Tauranga with the main route from the coastal port city to Hamilton. Read more »

National to push for more electric rapid charging stations

God knows why the government is looking at this.

It is pretty pointless, apart from taking the wind from the Greens’ sails.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges is promising a range of incentives to encourage more Kiwis into electric cars (EVs).

Only 1000 of them are registered in New Zealand and a plummeting oil price is not helping the uptake.

Incentives? I think he means subsidies…how socialist of him.

One car is on a road trip from Russell to Taupo — a trip dictated by where and when its owner can top up the batteries.

Two more rapid charging stations were unveiled in Auckland, but a lack of them is a barrier to car owners going electric.

Yet Mr Bridges says it’s a no brainer.   Read more »

The questions we asked ‘Judge’ Paul Barber

THE MINISTRY of Justice is sticking to its guns over the legal standing of retired district court judge Paul Barber and his right to chair three Government-appointed judicial bodies.

The 78-year-old is already facing allegations he obtained the top job with the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal “by deceit” because he was not a barrister or solicitor at the time of his appointment – a requirement under legislation governing the Tribunal.

He’s also been accused of masquerading as a district court judge when he is not one.

Now there are questions over Barber and his chairmanship of the Taxation Review Authority.

Like the Tribunal, the chair of the Authority must either be a judge or a barrister or solicitor with at least seven years experience.

Since Barber’s warrant expired in March 2012, he has ruled on nearly two-dozen cases before the Taxation Review Authority involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. His last case was only last month and like every other decision on record since 2012, Barber is referred to as ‘Judge P F Barber’.

Ministry spokesman Matt Torbit said Barber was admitted to the Bar following his graduation in 1963. He was enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court and had more than seven years’ legal experience, he said.

It was not a requirement of the Taxation Review Authorities Act 1994 for a judicial office of the Authority to hold a practising certificate.

However, Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge said his understanding of the law was that the reference to “a barrister and solicitor of 7 years standing” meant current standing.

A barrister was defined under section six of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 as a person “enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court… and practicing as a barrister,” he said.    Read more »