Campaign to gather sympathy for Lycra-clad road maggots backfires

The truck has to cross the centre line putting every one in danger to avoid the road maggot.

The truck has to cross the centre line putting everyone in danger to avoid the road maggot.

Just who was it that had the brain injury to suggest that if a car and a bicycle are closer than 1.5m apart, it’s the car driver’s fault?  

How can you even determine that?

And where is the opposite law, where a bicycle isn’t allowed more than 1m from the left of the road, and definitely not allowed to ride side-by-side endangering themselves and others as cars have to pass.

Another media generated beat-up, and another one backfires.

Covert footage of motorists passing dangerously close to cyclists in Marlborough has highlighted the severity of the problem to police, a highway patrol officer says.

Members of the Marlborough Bunch Riders cycling group have been capturing some close calls with trucks and cars for the past six months using rear bike lights that double as cameras.    Read more »


A solution for Kiwirail

Durch die Möglichkeit des Lkw nahtlos vom Dieselbetrieb in der elektrischen Betrieb zu wechseln, sind alltägliche Fahrsituationen wie Einfädeln oder Überholen ebenso umzusetzen wie mit konventionellen Lkws. Auch Ausweichen, Schlingern und Vollbremsung funktionieren problemlos. Thanks to their ability to switch seamlessly from diesel to electric operation, eHighway trucks can perform everyday maneuvers, such as overtaking or changing lanes, just like conventional ones. Also swerving, nosing and full braking are all possible without difficulty.

Thanks to their ability to switch seamlessly from diesel to electric operation, eHighway trucks can perform everyday maneuvers, such as overtaking or changing lanes, just like conventional ones. Also swerving, nosing and full braking are all possible without difficulty.

I’m done with pouring billions into Kiwirail.

Even yesterday a transport company was moaning about how many more trucks would be needed in a rather poorly written article in Fairfax. The quoted number was 27,000 extra trucks which of course is complete rubbish.

Freight is already delivered to rail by trucks and removed from the other end by more trucks making the freight triple handled.

But there is a solution, one which won’t mean extra trucks on the roads, and one which makes sense.

  • Rip up the rail tracks;
  • Get rid of the rolling stock and staff but keep the overhead power lines;
  • Tar seal the rail corridor to form a two way dedicated road;
  • Charge trucks a toll to use them – because of the dedicated use, the trucks (and passenger versions) could be driverless or at least highly automated.

A hugely more flexible option that allows freight operators to bear the capital costs directly and takes the long-distance stuff off the current roads.  It uses proven technologies.

Fortune magazine has an article on just such a solution.  Read more »


That’s when they still built them properly

There is a story on 3News about a Toyota Hilux that has been to the moon and back…twice.

Kiwi Glenn Holmes has a vehicle that has almost done enough kilometres to travel to the moon and back twice.

Instead of going to into space, Mr Holmes has managed to rack up more than 1.2 million kilometres on the clock by doing his newspaper run – 300km a day around Manawatu.

He was doing that when it reached 1 million, a milestone he never planned to reach. In fact, when he bought the car 22 years ago he had never planned to hang onto it for that long.

“I thought I’d keep it two years and sell it to buy another one, but that didn’t happen so [I] just kept trucking along,” Mr Holmes says.

The ute takes more time and money to maintain than Mr Holmes has at the moment.

“I used to change the oil every 5000km,” he says, “which in this vehicle equated to an oil change every first Monday of the month.”   Read more »


Holden joins Ford in releasing a gay ute


I thought that Ford basically had the monopoly on gay utes in New Zealand with the Ranger Wildtrak.

But it seems Holden is trying to out-gay them with their new Colorado Z71. It even has a gay name.

Holden has taken aim at Ford’s popular Wildtrak Ranger variant with a rivalling flagship Colorado called the Z71.

Why would you do that? How many MPs named Craig Foss are there?

The new model will be available in Australian showrooms from early July in six-speed manual guise or six-speed automatic but there is no confirmation that the Z71 is coming to New Zealand. It seems highly likely the Z71 will make its way to NZ’s shores but Holden NZ has said it will not be making any announcement until next month.   Read more »


The Isuzu D-Max Maverick 13 travels to Goatistan


Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater

Queens Birthday weekend saw us take an Isuzu D-Max LS Maverick 13 from Southern Autos down to Goatistan in Taranaki for some chaos and mayhem.

This was a similar trip with a similar amount of kit to cart down as the last trip I did in a VW Amarok. I was keen to compare the two vehicles.

We had three burly men, 10 firearms (3 x Tikka .22-250, a Tikka .308, 2 x 6.5×55 Mauser, Remington Versamax 12ga, Savage B110 .338 Lapua Magnum, .22 Magnum, and an SKS). We also carried around 300 rounds of .22-250, plus reloading gear in case we run out of ammo. (There are a lot of goats, and Sunday night we did reload 200 rounds). We also had two 4×4 4 wheelers, 40 litres of diesel in jerry cans and 40 litres of petrol in cans as well. Plus personal gear, food and refreshments. It is a lot of gear.

Surprisingly we managed to get more in the back of the ute than in the Amarok and the hard top tray cover was brilliant. We could have tied down some gear on that if necessary, and with the deck tread aluminium and side rails would make carrying home animals a breeze without getting blood and guts inside the vehicle. The tray cover also can take 200kg of weight and so gives you true shoot-off-the-back capability.

We left late on Friday night, firstly to avoid the traffic and secondly because we had other commitments.

We drove down with all our gear in a surprisingly good time, the truck effortlessly pulling all our gear. We even gave it a nasty test by taking the turn off to Ohura off State Highway 3, along Okau Road and then up the nasty and narrow part of Kiwi Road in Taranaki. It was 1am by the time we started up Kiwi Road… and bloody freezing.

We went this way because it cuts about 20 minutes off the time to the hut if we go that way, despite the challenges, and saves going over Mt Messenger. Though it has to be said that driving Kiwi Road in the dark is a real challenge. It is narrow with nasty switch backs and sheer drops down the side. If you stuff up it will hurt, and towing a large and heavy tandem trailer makes it even more challenging.

But the Maverick 13 just ate up the road, never once getting into trouble.

The entire drive down was pleasant, and we even supplemented the radio with direct play from my iPad. For three burly men the cabin appointments were good, even for the back seat passenger.

Comparing the tow with the Amarok I have to say I believe the Isuzu was superior in both handling, set up and towing ability. It just never blinked and the engine never went over 2500 rpm the whole trip down.


The view down one of the valleys. Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater

On the farm it just went from strength to strength. It is steep goat territory, and typical Taranaki mountain land.

On all the farm tracks the truck just never stopped, through deep mud, steep papa tracks, muddy farm races and slippery grass… all eaten up by the sure-footed Isuzu D-Max.

I only slipped into low-range once, when through my own mistake I approached a slippery papa track with inadequate momentum. It was the only time I spun the wheels, progress was halted, so I back back down a bit, quickly flicked the dial into low-range and powered up no trouble at all.


At 204yds the effectiveness of the .22-250 is apparent. Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater

There are plenty of goats on this farm, all its boundaries are forest and so they just keep coming back. The Billy above was a good size and succumbed to my 40gr V-max bullet on the .22-250 with a good lung shot. At a muzzle velocity of 4100 fps this is a devastating round on small game like goats. Now before anyone gets upset at the location of the splatter, that is the exit wound and that is frothy lung blood. The actual entry wound was precisely where it was intended to go, at the base of the neck. The goat was facing front quarter on and the bullet entered and travelled through the lungs and exited out the side in a spray of red mist. We were shooting up hill hence the angle of bullet travel. This goat dropped instantly.


Another head for the collection at the hut. Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater


204yds with a Tikka .22-250 Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Cam Slater

We have perfected our load for the .22-250 now, and it is effective with devastating effect inside 300yds. We do take shots over that, and I dropped 5 goats at around 400-415yds. The best shot for the weekend was 455yds on a Billy that I tipped up.

The more you shoot with a rifle the better you get, and goat shooting is a great way to get familiar with your firearm simply because of the huge number of rounds you put away down range. We tipped up over 200 goats this weekend.


We packed up on Monday afternoon, following a bomb up in a gully not far from the hut. We caught a good herd sheltering from the wind on a face with little bush cover and cleaned them out.

We left the hut at 1640 to drive home. This time we head down the other part of Kiwi Road and then out onto State Highway 3 at Uruti. We were going to put the Isuzu through its paces over Mt Messenger going home.

Well, it coped superbly well up the wet and slippery Mt Messenger part of the drive, and again I believe it handled the tow much smoother and better than the Amarok. We were back and unpacking at 215 after being only troubled with a couple of slow pokes on the drive back.

The truck was perfect, even with road profile 20inch tyres. The set up by the boys at Southern Autos was flawless. I really like this truck. I’m not sure they will be able to get it back off me.

Sure it doesn’t have all the fancy fruit like an Amarok, but it is very, very capable and is a real truck not some fancy town tractor pretending to be one.

Go and see my mates at Southern Autos, they will look after you for a test drive and a good deal. If you want a real truck then this is the one for you.

Southern Autos



All photos and video taken with Spark Samsung S6 Edge, Isuzu D-Max LS Maverick 13 vehicle supplied by Southern Autos.


Fossy’s new non-gay ute?

Word on the street is Craig Foss is looking for a new ute…his gay one is a bit long in the tooth.

Given he is from the Tukutuki electorate something like this might be useful.



Road Test – VW Amarok 4Motion – Invading Goatistan

This past weekend I took a new VW Amarok 4Motion for a little bit of a road trip and test.

The weather forecast said there would be two fine days down in Taranaki and some goats were begging to be shot with my new .22-250 Tikka T3 Varmint.

Fortunately I was delivered a new VW Amarok to test and I borrowed a friend’s Canam Commander XT and his trailer.

Into this vehicle we poured the following:

Three burly men with the bodies of finely tuned athletes (if those athletes are Olympic shotputters), 6 rifles (3x Tikka T3 .22-250, 1 x Tikka T3 .308, 1 x 6.5×55 Shultz & Larsen, 1 x .338 Lapua Savage B110), two shotguns (1 x Remington Versamax and 1 X Beretta) reloading gear, 300 rounds of .22-250, 100rds .308, shotgun ammo, plus personal gear.

We had the Canam Commander XT and a Quad on the trailer. It was quite a load.

Supermarket carpark in Te Kuiti

Supermarket carpark in Te Kuiti

And, as you can see, quite long as well.

The 3 burly men travelled in comfort in a truck that is massive and comfortable in the cabin, even the rear seats, which in some utes are simply awful. Not on this truck. Read more »

Another Cunliffe numbers botch up. Again

Gerry Brownlee listened with some incredulity when David Cunliffe was touting his new Labour Cluster Truck Transport Policy yesterday.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Ministry of Transport analysis of Labour’s new policy for taxing motorhomes shows many motorhome owners would actually be charged higher Road User Charges under a Labour government than they are presently, not lower, as Labour’s leader claimed this morning.

“This is frankly remarkable – I’m not sure if David Cunliffe is being tricky or if Labour is simply a shambles,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This morning David Cunliffe announced a Labour government would charge motorhome and campervan owners for the wear and tear their vehicles do to the roads based on their vehicles’ actual weights.

“But analysis by the Ministry of Transport shows that based on the difference between average and maximum weights for trucks versus motorhomes, the owners of many motorhomes would end up paying more for Road User Charges than they do today.

Well, Cunliffe lost all the Truckie votes yesterday, and you can add the Gypsy demographic to that as well.   Read more »

Cunliffe’s daft truck policy

Cunliffe’s getting monstered on talkback for his nutty truck ban…

Trucks can only do 90K by law – so the chances of them being in a fast lane should be small – except if the cars in the other lanes are doing less than 90k. If that’s the case – Cunliffe is saying they’re not allowed to pass the slower traffic.

Just more stupid policy invented on the hoof (or to cover his no show on Campbell Live/Parliament)…

Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee has called proposals to ban trucks from the fast lane on motorways a joke.

“I think someone’s having us on. It can’t be real,” Mr Brownlee told media this morning.

Labour Leader David Cunliffe made the announcement on TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning saying his party would bring in a motoring policy banning trucks from the right lanes of multi-carriageway roads.

AA’s senior policy analyst Mark Stockdale says the proposal is “a red herring”   Read more »

An email from a truckie

Yesterday we wrote about immigrant drivers and a commenter expressed his view about the responsibility of the industry.

I have received this email from an industry insider:

Dear Mr Whale Oil,

I believe that the government has made an error in removing truck drivers from the skill shortage list.

In this case I agree with what the Herald journalist has written, and I know that a mistake has been made with this decision.

It was interesting to read your piece, and the comments.

Without doubt there is a shortage of drivers in New Zealand, and in most of the developed world. This is because these people (drivers) have special skills, and we aren’t making them fast enough.

Ken Shirley said it takes years to make a Class 5 driver, and one of your commenters said that it takes a much shorter time. Please understand that this is not about getting a licence. Any half-arsed dickhead can get a licence. I am talking about being a driver of a unit weighing 40 tonnes, driving head on towards you, and worth $500,000. Not anyone can drive one of those. Not anyone can get ability to drive a heavy vehicle in a short time. The guys we train take about 3 years to get to that level.  Read more »