Hi a long time ago, driving in NZ when you turn left at the traffic lights you always gave way to the pedestrians who had the green man light.
When I was in urban Australia, you never give way to pedestrians who had the green man light, you just go if there's a gap.
Back in NZ nowadays, pedestrians take up all the green traffic light time to cross, so that generally you can't turn unless you turn after the light is red (even then sometimes the pedestrians are STILL crossing!!!)
So - is it acceptable to just drive and turn left when pedestrians are still far away on the other side?
In that situation yes, some sets of lights have a red arrow that is lit when the green man is going for crossing, in which case no. And I agree with what happens in Aussie, basically so long as the pedestrians don't have to yield to you it seems Ok.
I have not however tested this in a court of law so this is all my opinion!
Sorry,you are incorrect. If a pedestrian is crossing on the green man you must not cross infront of them.
It is a controlled pedestrian crossing and the pedestrian crossing rules apply.
The red arrow has been introduced when the green man is on because too many people do what you are suggesting and illegally cross infront of pedestrians.