My alarm went off with a shrill and I followed with a grunt and pulled myself out of bed, it was 6am on a Saturday, but all for a good cause. I was soon on my bike and headed off, with my girlfriend to follow half an hour later in her car.

 

I arrived at Caltex Fanshaw Street and was pleasantly surprised to see 25+ bikes lined up and waiting to go. More joined on Ponsonby Road. We held a quick briefing, bikers were requested to purchase a parking ticket and to make use of the shops in the area so that their trade would not be adversely affected. We left in two groups lead by Kimbo and myself with Cherie as tail-end. Phil and Brendan had already headed to Ponsonby to start directing bikes when they arrived.

 

We started pulling into Ponsonby Road, taking angle parks as they become available, we had waiting bikes in parallel parks and as more angle parks became available we took them, spacing out the parallel parked bikes.

 

People started to disburse predominately between Sierra and Salta cafes for an early morning coffee and breakfast for some. The fun began, the view of all the bikes taking up the parking seriously upset some of the general public. Some asked why we were doing this, some didn't care why we were there but were vocal in letting us know they didn't approve. We also witnessed cars trying to angle park in a parallel space between two bikes, cars parking in disabled spots without relevant badges and bikes being blocked in by people in cars parking illegally. Some took great offence to having the MAGNZ flier inserted under their wiper blades after abusing some bikers and then proceeded to block in more bikes with yet more illegal parking. One gentleman in particular moved his car and came back to talk in a semi civilised manor to express that he really didn't think we were going the right way about trying to get our point across, but when asked couldn't tell us a better way or how he would do it – we are going to carry on with this strategy as its getting attention and people are starting to complain to their local MPs (or so they say).

 

We also came across people who wanted to make a point that all the bikes were damaging their revenue for the day by taking up ‘their’ parks. They were council provided public parks, we had paid for parking and we were patrons of their business. When questioned if they would have had an issue if we were in cars the answer was obvious, they wouldn't have had an issue at all.

 

One of the local residents and a business owner phoned police to complain about all the bikes in car parks. An officer duly arrived and spoke to me about what we were doing there. He concurred that we had done nothing illegal and there was nothing he could do, so the bikes were left where they were. The officer also agreed that there is a lot of public discriminating against motorcyclists in general.

 

All in all it was a good day for MAGNZ, enjoying our bacon breakfasts watching cars trying to park and not being able to.

- Colin

It started with a late-ish night, eating Chinese, talking bikes (and watching bad tv) with one of our supporters who had ridden up from Paeroa that afternoon. Many laughs were had, and a new friendship started with our visitor and my girlfriend.

 

The alarm went at 6am, and I slugglishly got out of bed (under the complaints of too much noise from my still snoring girlfriend). We were up before the birds to get our bikes ready (we had to fly the MAG flags) and slice up the fliers.

 

The MAG committee convened at the BP in Newmarket waiting for the team of protestors to arrive. By 7.45am it was a great feeling to see bikes of various shapes and sizes starting to roll in, but still a sense of trepidation as to whether we would get enough to be effective. But yet, they still kept coming, it was reassuring to see bikes pulling in every 5 minutes. Not only were there new faces, but new bike groups that some of the MAG committee had never heard of, it was nice to see that we had support from far and wide.

 

We had our pre event briefing at 8.20am and everyone was happy with what they were doing and where they were doing it. Everyone got onto their bikes to head out and we had a few late comers show up, it was great to see them though. The group was divided into two so that they could go opposing ways around the block and take both East and Western sides of Broadway in Newmarket, Auckland. Everyone parked their bikes, one per park and paid their designated $2 to ensure they were legally parked until 10am (paid parking started at 9am).

 

After everyone had parked up, a few of the team went and had a (big) breakfast, while the MAG committee and a few volunteers hung around to keep an eye on the bikes, and hand out fliers to anyone who was interested in what we were doing there. We had mixed reactions from the public, many of whom didn’t realise what a bike rego cost, and how wide the gap was between that and a car, we also had those who objected to what we were doing and what we stood for, we continued to be polite to them, but still tried to get our point across.

 

I am quite amazed by the support we received from the new riders who attended, and the new bike groups who supported our event.

 

I would like to thank all the riders that attended and supported MAG in their protest and we hope to see you all again at our next event, with your friends on two wheels and any others who support our cause.

 

Photo's from the event can be viewed here

-Colin

Meet the Candidate Meetings 

September 2014

Heading towards the general election the MAG team were just starting to get off the ground again and the first idea was to visit as many of the candidate meetings as possible.  Under the banner of “Riders Are Voters” the aim was to establish a presence.  With parliament closed and no Minister of ACC there is no one to protest at or challenge so talking to as many potential politicians as possible while they are trying to win votes was the plan.

Parking one bike per car park is to become standard practice and as close to the entrance as possible so we would be fully visible with flags flying.

 

 

Northcote - Beachaven

First up was the Northcote candidates meeting at the Beach Haven hall.  This was the most entertaining of the meetings we attended as it was pretty much open to the public to ask questions.

MAG parked up by the entrance next to NZ First mobile music box on the back of a truck.  We watched as many cars came in to the narrow dead end car park then had to reverse out again.

Jonathan Coleman (National) gave us a nod and acknowledged us as he strode into the meeting with his “Young Nats” support groupies.   We were noticed.  After a brief introduction from each of the candidates the Q&A began.  More entertainment than watching the main leaders debate on TV.  Richard Hills (Labour) was impressive for a young man starting out in his career versus the sly old fox of Coleman who came across as a bully.  

We left before the end due to getting bored with the bun fighting.  The starting up of the bikes caused the door to be closed to drown us out....Harleys... noisy things they are...should be banned.  WIN!

 

 

Glen Eden

Next was Glen Eden Baptist Church for the Kelston meeting.  Kelston is a new electorate so this was wide open to a candidate to make a statement and ring in change.  Previous correspondence with the fresh faced and full of enthusiasm Christopher Penk from National had him acknowledge excessive ACC levies for motorcyclists in his response to issues. WIN!

Carmel Sepuloni the Labour candidate was an impressive speaker but the most entertaining for us was Paul Sommer from the Conservative party.  This time we stayed to the end as the Q&A was structured but the answers were very much the same as the Northcote meeting.   

 

 

Papakura

Finally a visit to Papakura for the out going ACC Minister Judith Collins.

It was here that MAG got the most attention.  Asked to move our bikes (one bike per park) on to the grass to let the cars in.  The riders refused and one attendee was heard asking for security to move the bikes.  This meant one of us stayed with the bikes to ensure this did not happen.  WIN!  The most entertaining part of this meeting was the somewhat failed “tongue in cheek” comment by Kevin Stitt (Conservative) about not wanting to send his son to James Cook High School.

So what did we hope to achieve?  The main aim was to start the process of letting the politicians know that MAGNZ is back and that we are not happy with the ACC levy situation.  Reductions to cars and not to bikes is discrimination.  Most we spoke to were sympathetic although that is more than likely an attempt to get votes.  Did we succeed?  Time will tell as will future action.

 

 

What we want:

Reduction of ACC Levies in line with cars

Removal of CC rating based levy

Removal of the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council (MSAC)