Those of you who know me will know that back in my deep, seedy past there was a bit of a petrol-head phase. When it came to motor-racing, I wasn't the most die-hard fan, but I knew enough to know that Holden kicked Ford's ass any day of the week.
These days, I'm slightly more educated in my knowledge of the ways of the motor vehicle and I'm not such the fan I once was. Call me selfish, but I would like to save some planet for my grandkids to enjoy. And the recreational abuse of fossil fuels is quite high up my list of behaviours that I would like to see abolished.
But I'm pragmatic – or maybe fearful of angry petrol-heads – and I know that opposing things like V8 supercar races can only be done in the right situation and circumstances. The decision to hold it in Hamilton is not one of these circumstances.
Unlike Wellington, most people in Hamilton want the race to happen. It's further proof that stuff does actually happen in Hamilton. And it's just bloody good fun drinking shit loads of beer and watching tens of thousands of dollars smash into each other.
But the other thing Hamilton's got going for it – aside from the obvious fun outlined above – is an inbred ability to innovate. Heaps of great people with great ideas come from Hamilton; they just usually have to leave Hamilton for anyone to take any notice.
So when I saw Nandor's proposal to 'Green' the V8 race, I thought "choice, Hamilton will so get off on this". And it looks like I was right. The Waikato Times are reporting that not only does Michael Redman think this is a cool idea, they were already on to it.
Read the proposal (below) and read the response and just smile in the joy of knowing just how easy that was for all those people to be a bit cleverer, just by thinking about it all for a couple of minutes.
Ah sanity, I miss it.
Greening the Frankton V8 Race
A proposal to Mayor Michael Redman and Hamilton City Council.
From Nandor Tanczos MP, Green Party Environment Spokesperson.
Monday, 24 April, 2006
With the onset of climate change and Peak Oil, the Green Party does not believe that current motoring patterns will be sustainable in the long term. Consequently, Green policy calls for priority to be given to the development of public transport and cycling infrastructure so that transport can remain affordable, and possible, for everyone.
It should not be surprising then that the Greens are not huge fans of motorsport such as V8 racing because it, usually, encourages behaviour we see as ultimately unsustainable and has a not-insignificant direct environmental impact. However, we recognise that many New Zealanders are fans and want a V8 Supercar street race to happen somewhere in the country. Furthermore we recognise that, in terms of traffic and cultural impact, Frankton is a far more suitable place for such an event than central Wellington or Auckland and that support for the race is very high in Hamilton.
With that all in mind, as Environment Spokesperson of the Green Party I call on the Hamilton City Council, as the key instigator of the Frankton V8 Supercar Race, to facilitate everything that can be done to mitigate the race weekend’s environment and social impact.
I ask you to “green” the Frankton V8 Supercar Race through the following three strands of effort.
1 – Carbon neutrality: firstly for the races themselves and then for the entire transport load caused by the event.
The Green Party calls for HCC to plant trees, over and above those it already has planned for city beautification, in numbers sufficient to soak up the race weekend’s total carbon emissions.
2 – Exceeding resource consents: in the immediate sense this means adopting higher-level noise, oil and gas pollution and waste controls than are required to gain resource consent. Ultimately it should go much further, taking in measures such as permanent improvements to Hamilton’s public transport infrastructure, waste water systems etc.
The Green Party calls for HCC to facilitate processes that allow the race weekend to exceed the environmental standards required by the resource consent process and to review the event’s ecological footprint and find as many ways as possible to reduce it.
3 – Consciousness raising: if motorsport still wants to continue after motoring itself becomes less common, it has to start experimenting with bio-diesel and other fuels (one such example, at sea, can be seen at www.earthrace.net). Showcasing sustainable motoring technology at the V8 Race is a major opportunity to educate committed motorists about the challenges their preferred transport faces in future.
The Green Party calls on HCC to tender for an alternative fuel race on the Frankton track before the main event and to take every opportunity to promote alternative fuels and hybrid technology over the race weekend.
Overall, I believe that the hosting of the V8 Supercar Race places a duty of care and fairness upon Hamilton City Council to counterbalance the event’s promotion of fossil fuel-based motoring with some determined facilitation and promotion of sustainable transport.
Thanks for your consideration
Nandor Tanczos MP