Rudman calls out his fellow oldies for being self-serving selfish bastards

By the time Brian Rudman and I are on the same side of an argument, you know things are getting out of hand.

Sometimes it really is embarrassing to be a baby-boomer. We’re the generation that enjoyed free school milk, free university education and free healthcare, then, after sucking those teats dry, turned off the taps and told those following that the free ride was over.

Now, my fellow oldies sit back in their million dollar, debt-free homes, moaning about a piddling $15 for a transport swipe card which will give them free travel on Auckland’s buses, trains and ferries for the rest of their lives.

This, while homeless young families have to park up in their cars overnight and student debtors get arrested at airports.

All I can do is cringe and say, sorry, they’re not with me.

On Monday, it was a chap complaining that because you have to go in person to an Auckland Transport service centre to get one of the new cards, oldies without a car would “have to pay a taxi fare there and back”.

That would only be true if they were too idle to go to the closest train or bus stop, flash their existing SuperGold card, and make a free trip to a service centre to collect a new card instead.

The whining has been weapons-grade and unbecoming. 

There’s no doubt, the rebirth of Auckland public transport over the past decade or so has been a troubled affair, and I’ve been a regular critic. The convoluted introduction of the passenger swipe card has been just one chapter in this drawn out exercise. The embarrassing false start with the Snapper card created many headlines. So did the final eye-watering bill for Hop, which, after assorted cost overruns, came in around $100 million. And even now that it’s been up and running for a couple of years, I agree the GoldCard integration process seems to have been designed by Heath Robinson.

After all, I can replace my credit card and my passport by mail, in one simple process. Both the banks and the Government seem confident that the fraudsters won’t have a field day if I don’t present myself in person. If it’s good enough for them, I’m not sure why obtaining a transport fare card requires a personal trip to a public counter so a clerk can check your identity against your passport or driver’s licence mugshot.Having said that, more than 55,000 of us have gone through this rigmarole and emerged with a card granting us free travel for life ” or at least until Winston Peters, its instigator and protector, disappears from the scene.

In such circumstances, it’s hardly seems the time to kick a gift horse in the mouth ” or to remind younger taxpayers how we baby boomers have managed to organise ourselves one last free ride into the sunset.

Another 20 years and those at the controls of politics will be the people who have had to do it the hard way, with student loans and nothing handed to them for free. Don’t be surprised when you’re in your last decade of life and find that the new wave of politicians turn off the fun ride.


– Brian Rudman, NZ Herald

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