"If You Think About It, We Refer to the Right Hand as the Smart Hand, and the Left as the Stupid One, Currently Samoans Are Changing Gears With the Smart Hand, the Right, and Driving With Their Stupid Hand, the Left."
And there you have it: Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi's rationale for switching Samoa's cars from left to right hand drive. The Prime Minister's unilateral decision has unleashed unprecedented public dissent, especially from car owners who don't care to see their vehicle's value tank overnight. Radio New Zealand reports that over a thousand motorists are set to march (not drive?) in protest at the plan. Meanwhile, as the Prime Minister's "common sense" defense didn't seem to convince his skeptical electorate, Malielegaoi recently argued that the switch to right-hand drive will help the archipelago's populace cope with global warming. The New Zealand Herald reports the spin: the switch will spur rural residents to import cheap right hand drive cars from their New Zealand relatives, making it easier for Samoa's coastal citizenry to move inland, away from rising sea levels. Needless to say, the real reason behind the move is undoubtedly financial. Samoa currently imports vehicles from America and Japan. New Zealand and Australia figure the nearby island is a natural market for their right hand drive automobiles. What's the bet Samoa's neighbors have been working behind the scenes to "open" the Samoan car market to their products?
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