Students too noisy with their bonking

September 4th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Fundy Post blogs:

News from University Hall, Auckland University’s latest money-making wheeze (sorry, I meant to say “integrated student accommodation environment” or something like that, but I just couldn’t) comes this  extraordinary  notice: “We have received several complaints of excessive noise of a sexual nature after 10pm. Although engaging in sexual activity is not discouraged, it would be prudent to note the accompanying noise may be heard by your neighbours. If you are unable to restrain these noises, we may have to ban sexual activity between 10pm and 6am.”

Heh. Good luck with that.

This is not a new problem. The walls at Carrington Hall in Dunedin were very thin, and you often could hear who was scoring. The main reason it was not a bigger problem is because the beds were so small, that they were called contraceptives! Of course a few of us upgraded to double beds at our own cost 🙂

I also recall how in the 1950s Carrington (the first mixed hostel in Australasia) had rules stating that you could entertain a person of the other sex in your room for coffee or tea between 2 pm and 4 pm, but the door must remain ajar, all four feet on the ground, and all persons must remain fully clothed.

The end of year magazine had a very amusing cartoon showing a couple of students standing in a room, behind an ajar door with the clock showing 3 pm. They are drinking tea, while having sex standing up 🙂

Youth Drinking

August 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I was one of those who strongly opposed the recent attempt to increase the alcohol purchase age from 18 to 20. A hysteria had been generated about drinking in NZ, and especially youth drinking – and many blamed the change in the purchase age in 1999.

The reality is that a number of surveys had shown that youth drinking had declined, not increased, since then. Once these facts got out to MPs, I think it helped the majority of them make the sensible decision not to scapegoat 18 and 19 year olds.

One of the significant pieces of research is a study done by Auckland University every few years of almost 10,000 secondary students. Their 2000 and 2007 studies showed a significant decline in youth drinking during that period.

Well last week the 2012 study came out, and the data was fascinating. It showed beyond any doubt that there had been significant drops in the number of school students who drink, and who drink regularly or binge, since 2000.



That is a seismic shift. It totally blows away the myths about youth drinking having got far worse, based on anecdotal stories and media horror stories.

  • The proportion of students who have drunk alcohol has dropped 25%, or around a third from 2000.
  • The proportion of students who are current drinkers has dropped 25%, just over a third from 2000
  • The proportion of students who drink regularly (weekly) has dropped 9%, just over one half from 2000
  • The proportion of students who have binge drinked (five or more in a session) in the last month has dropped 18%, or just under a half from 2000

Also of interest:

  • The proportion of students who have driven after drinking has fallen from 7.8% to 3.9% – a drop of a half.
  • The proportion of students who have been in a car with a driver who has been drinking has fallen from 27.8% to 18.4% – a drop of one third.

On the non alcohol side:

  • The proportion of students who have smoked cannabis dropped from 38.2% to 23.0%
  • The proportion of students who smoke tobacco weekly dropped from 6.7% to 3.2%
  • The proportion of students who have had sex dropped from 31.3% to 24.4%

Editorials 15 February 2010

February 15th, 2010 at 9:21 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald talks city transport:

Unlike the present agency, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, the new body will not be responsible for public transport alone, it will also take charge of roading from local councils. Thus it will oversee everything from the big picture to the small details of where to put footpaths and bus stops.

On the face of it, the idea of having one body co-ordinating the approach to all forms of transport in the city looks like a good thing. Unfortunately, there is a significant downside. As a council controlled organisation, Auckland Transport will not be obliged to hold public meetings or issue agendas and minutes except when making bylaws. Effectively, therefore, many of the decisions about things that directly affect ratepayers at a local level will be made in secrecy by remote officials. …

The best thing that can be said about the lack of transparency envisaged by the bill is that it is not yet set in stone. Mr Joyce acknowledged as much when he said the balance struck between administrative burden and transparency was a decision made by officials and further thought would be given to these aspects after submissions on the bill were heard.

This sounds very much like preparing the ground for some important changes. They will be most welcome if they favour more openness.

I expect the Select Committee will make changes.

The Dominion Post supports drug law reform:

The Government’s quick dismissal of the bulk of the Law Commission’s work on drug use in New Zealand is regrettable.

Its unpalatability for the Government – and, no doubt, for many others – comes in its recommendation for flexibility when dealing with small-scale dealing and personal possession for use, and for less emphasis on conviction and punishment. The flip side of that is a recommendation for a greater focus on treatment, prevention and education.

The current laws are hardly working. We have the highest use of cannabis in pretty much the western world.

The Press is enthused over electric vehicles:

The notion that petrol-driven vehicles are nearing the end of their domination of the road seems doubtful to many. They have become used to stories of geniuses with plans for water-propelled engines being done down by Big Oil, and with expectations from reputable scientists that alternative sources of unlimited energy were close to being harnessed. Scepticism about electric vehicles becoming a practical option is, therefore, understandable.

It is time for the end of those doubts. The world’s major car manufacturers are investing hugely in electric-motor research and development and have based their plans for survival on using the technology.

How about nuclear powered cars 🙂

The ODT welcomes back the scarfies:

In the wake of cruise-ship passengers crowding Dunedin streets comes the hubbub and display of an entirely different species of wild life: the university year is about to restart.

The influx of students is already evident in shops, bars and restaurants, and the second-hand furniture traders from which yet another year’s batch of scarfie flats is furnished.

Once again the streets are alive with the sound of youthful excitement, bubbling with optimism, hungry for adventure.

The city is an altogether more vibrant place when, like the godwits, these scholars migrate south to continue their studies or begin a new chapter in their lives.

Having spent a summer in Dunedin, it is a lovely place when it is more tranquil, but there is nothing like the bustle of term time.

Standby Student Fares

August 28th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Otago University students will soon be able to travel standby from Dunedin on Air New Zealand.

The Otago Daily Times reported the airline would next month introduce $39 standby fares for students.

Oh this brings back memories. When I was an Otago student, they also had very cheap standby fares for students. The problem was they were standby. I once spent two days and nights at Christchurch Airport, waiting for a standby fare to complete the journey home.

Oh the joys of being a poor student.

Making money from interest free loans

March 14th, 2009 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

The ODT has a story of a student who made free money from his interest free loans. Now there were bank loans, not the government student loans, but the principle is the same in terms of highlighting why it is a bad idea.

Of course the interest free bank loans are a deliberate loss leader to try and get students to join their bank, hoping they will remain with them. And it tends to work as a strategy.

At school I banked with Wesptpac after winning a bank account (and some money) in an Australasian maths competion. But at university went with BNZ for the interest free overdraft and have stayed with them ever since.

Students and Alcohol

November 22nd, 2008 at 8:57 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A third of university students who drink alcohol suffer memory black-outs from drinking too much, a new survey has found.

Otago University alcohol researcher Dr Jennie Connor said yesterday this was a surprising finding from the internet-based survey by an international team of researchers.

My only surprise was that it is only one third.

But later in the story I see this was about just the last four weeks. In that case, one third is pretty high.