Killer power poles


Which do you think is more dangerous: slithering on your belly under enemy fire in the jungles of Borneo, or driving your pickup past a power pole in New Zealand?

Wrong. Forget the snakes and snipers — they pale beside the danger of roadside power poles.

Hard to believe, but more New Zealanders were killed in collisions with these underappreciated menaces during the last 40 months than in all armed conflict since World War II, according to a story from the New Zealand electrical industry magazine ELECTROLINK, reprinted in SCOOP. Adding up medical treatment, legal expenses, property damage, and social costs, a government agency calculates that power pole accidents have cost about $2 billion (in New Zealand dollars) over the past decade. And it’s not electric companies who foot the bill. When car meets pole, electric companies actually bill victims for damage to their property.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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