Me and My Car: Trusty blue Volvo safe as houses
ASHLEY CHURCH IS THE CEO OF THE PROPERTY INSTITUTE OF NEW ZEALAND
What do you drive?
I drive a dark-blue 2006 Volvo V50. I’m a creature of habit and have driven Toyota Camrys for the past 15 years — but when we went to replace one of our cars a while back we saw the Volvo and made an impulse purchase. I rang a few people who knew about Volvos and the feedback consistently rated them as very reliable. We haven’t regretted buying it.
Going back 30 years, that would have been a Morris 1100.
Who taught you to drive?
Years ago I worked for the Auckland Star in Shortland St as an advertising cadet. To be a cadet, I was required to have a driver’s licence, so my boss — a guy by the name of Bevin Stewart who was the advertising manager — took it upon himself to teach me to drive. He was a very good teacher, although I don’t know that he would have rated me as a very good student. I got my licence — but a couple of weeks later I managed to roll one of the fleet vehicles in Queen St. Not my finest moment.
Manual or automatic?
Automatic. Autos have plenty of power now and I don’t understand why anyone would want to drive a manual.
Most memorable road trip?
Last year we spent a month away driving around the Middle East and Eastern Europe. We drove around Jordan and Israel and then flew to Eastern Europe and drove in Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic. It was an amazing experience apart from the fact that most roads had a speed limit of 130km/h and it’s the only time in my life that I’ve been beeped at for driving too slowly at 125km/h!
Do you prefer to be the driver or passenger?
I do enjoy driving but I’m comfortable either way. My wife Bronnie takes the wheel as often as I do.
What’s a good day trip out of Auckland?
I’m probably stretching the definition of a day trip but I’d say Napier, my hometown. We go there to see family but we normally stay at least overnight. Other than that it would be Taupo.
What do you listen to when you’re driving?
I have both of the talkback stations and most of the music stations tuned in and I am a bit of a surfer. If I don’t like the song or topic of talkback, I switch. But the two I listen to most are Newstalk ZB and The Hits.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
People in the cars in front who hesitate to move when the lights turn green.
Would you rather drive or take public transport in Auckland?
I’m one of the 90-odd per cent of Aucklanders who prefer to use their car — but I recognise that public transport should be encouraged.
What would you do to fix Auckland’s traffic congestion?
I’d build more and better roads. I’d put far more emphasis on building up commercial centres in multiple locations around Auckland so that more people could work close to where they live. I’d open up more bus lanes to cars with three or more passengers. And I’d make public transport free for a decade with a gradual phase-in of fares after that.
-As told to Donna McIntyre