The war on cone-tamination

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
24 March, 2023

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is worried, and rightly so. His city is battling an invasion of road cones, and something must be done about it.

It is not just Auckland that is affected. From our cities to our remote rural areas, cones have become a fixture of the New Zealand landscape, clogging up footpaths, roads and even beaches.

The cone-quest of our islands has become a national phenomenon. It would not be an exaggeration to say that New Zealand is starting to look like a giant VLC media player.

Effectively, road cones are New Zealand’s new national flower. Sadly, they have also begun competing with native kiwi birds and other local fauna.

The economic effects are mixed. On the one hand, road cones are an economic burden on local councils. The orange menace (and I am not talking about Donald Trump) is costly to manage and maintain.

On the other hand, the cones have a positive impact on tourism, simply because they created new attractions. The formation of the Great Cone Barrier along some of New Zealand’s most popular beaches is a case in point.

Where we previously advertised our country to the world as “100% pure”, we should adopt a new marketing slogan: “New Zealand: Come for the scenery, stay for the cone-versations!”

And still, Mayor Brown is right. As much as tourists may find it impressive, for us locals, our national cone installation is just a nuisance.

As they say on Karangahape Road: “Why did the orange cone cross the road? To annoy the other side!”

The invasion of road cones calls for urgent action. It will take imagination and courage to drive them back, and we are glad to see Mayor Brown on the case. Politicians like him really think outside the cone. We humbly offer a couple of suggestions of our own to help.

To address the cone-undrum, the government should recruit an elite army of Cone Collectors. Dressed in bright orange uniforms, they will blend right in as they do their dangerous work of removing cones from our roads.

The cone harvest can be used to build new tourist attractions. Conehenge anyone? Or a Cone of Liberty? Maybe even a Millennium Cone? And Cone-tiki tours between them?

As New Zealanders take back cone-trol of their cities from their orange overlords, they will know who to thank.

His name is not orange but Brown. Wayne Brown.

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