Ministry of Transport Chief Science Advisor doesn’t own a car!

Simon Kingham, Chief science advisor to the MoT. Photo credit: Joseph Johnson, Stuff

Good grief, what is it with this government? Why must they put rabid greenies into every position?

Meet Simon Kingham, your new Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Transport.

A man who hasn’t owned a personal car since the 1990’s!

You would think that someone who is tasked with supplying scientific advice to the Ministry of Transport might have even the slightest interest in the biggest mode of transport that New Zealanders use, namely road transport; you know, cars and trucks and stuff like that.

Stuff recently had an article on Mr Kingham that highlighted for me exactly what direction your Socialist, Labour-led, minority government is heading in.

To employ someone like Kingham for what can only be described as an influential role within the governmental transport sector really is taking the mickey. So let’s see what your taxpayer funded ‘scientist’ thinks about things. Quote.

“Ultimately you’re trying to get to the point where there are no carbon-based cars at all,” End quote.

Right, so only cars made out of wind perhaps? Quote.

“If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.” End quote.

Umm, but what if the city is already there and was already designed around the efficient flow of motor vehicles? How does stuffing that up make a better city? Quote.

“I’m passionate about cycles being part of our transport and it’s based on good scientific evidence,” End quote.

Good scientific evidence like Vision Zero? Written by other one-eyed green cyclists like yourself? Quote.

“I’ve never seen a piece of research that shows, overall, businesses do worse.”

“Most of the evidence says businesses do better once cycle ways are put in. But not all of them, and that’s the key.” End quote.

Try telling that to the dairy owners that have had to close down due to loss of customers because people won’t park hundreds of metres away and walk back just to grab the milk on the way home.

So what else does Mr Kingham work on? Quote.

He works on safety, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, public transport, accessibility, and linking research to policy.

He spends “very little” time on cycling issues. He meets monthly with the minister.

That elevation means he can’t publicly criticise the current Government but is happy to identify a previous policy that lacked scientific robustness – those $12 billion Roads of National Significance (Rons) implemented by the previous government.

“With Rons, I would say it’s hard to find evidence that backs up the amount of spending they were fitting into them,” he says.

​”Not all decisions by governments are based on scientific evidence. There are lots of other drivers – politics, funding and all these other things.” End quote.

Sorry, what? I thought the whole thing about Vision Zero was that it was the safety that mattered, not the cost!  He spends very little time on cycling? That’s funny, a quick look at his Sookbook page would seem to show that cycling is pretty much all that he posts about; oh, and rising sea levels!

What about speed limits Simon? Quote.

Lower speed limits? Absolutely.

“There is clear evidence that speed causes accidents and there’s loads of evidence saying we should reduce speeds,” he says. end quote.

Speed causes accidents? Seriously? Don’t you mean that higher speeds have a correlation in regard to impacts, or perhaps that the likelihood of a crash happening increases with speed? Speed itself doesn’t cause accidents. Simon, you’re a scientist, you should know that.

What else has Simon done in the big wide world that might have brought him to the attention of Cindy and her green cohorts?

Perhaps they have read his paper into what must surely be one of the most pressing issues for any Transport Scientist, simply titled; Gender equity in health and the influence of intrapersonal factors on adolescent girls’ decisions to bicycle to school! 

I shall save you all the expense of purchasing the pdf of this most important report by giving you the highlights.

  • Increased cycling will improve the health and opportunities available to girls.
  • Girls are influenced by image, norms (parents/friends) and a desire to be social.
  • Girls often lack confidence cycling and personal security can be an issue.
  • Bicycle helmets are a major deterrent to adolescent girls cycling to school.

Or maybe it’s just that girls don’t like falling off.

She’ll be right love, walk it off.

I think I need to figure out how to get one of these science advisory jobs for myself. Apparently, there are about eighteen of them. The MBIE have three for goodness sake, there must be something for a washed-up ex-cop who’s too fat to ride!

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