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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Unjust speeding tickets legislation in NZ and Australia

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I have some strong views against the punitive speeding tickets, parking fines legislation stretching over several countries.
My concern is:
1. The punitive nature of the action - often there is no intent to speed, and it can hardly be construed as 'negligence' to wonder over the limit if the conditions justify it.
2. The lack of effective recourse - who wants to waste time going to court to save $150
3. The arbitrariness of the legislation, ie. In Australia I was fined for speeding going up a steep hill, when the steep limit is the same going down the other side. The limit was artificially low.
4. The arbitrariness of cameras - particularly in Australia - I was caught driving out of a town at 70kmph when the conditions were excellent, i.e. up hill, good clearance, fine weather, good road
5. The lack of scientific validity for the claims made, ie. Where is the evidence that 'speed kills'. I would argue this legislation is an over-simplification used by govts to raise taxes. NZ is going the same way as Australia. I can't live there any more. Its like living in police state.
6. Externalities - After I was caught for speeding, I was driving a further 5 hours in a state of stress. What about the sudden braking in response to 'natural' fears about a speeding camera. or the paranoia about police cars everywhere. Everyone's driving ability is different. If there is no scientific basis for the legislation, there will be harmful externalities. Another is my loss of confidence in government, the political system. The accountability that society has is under-funded, arbitrary, and loop holing.
7. Unfairness - The way this legislation attacks people of principle and the poor, as opposed to pragmatic & wealthy souls who give it no mind. Yes, we want more mindless people in society, and we want fewer critical thinkers because we live in such a workers paradise. Some people can't afford the cost of living in a police state.
8. The disparity in application - The police drive with impunity. Years ago I went on a skiing trip in Australia with police recruits. They were drinking whiskey whilst driving 100kmph on a back country road. In northern NSW, a local policeman warned drinkers in a pub that he would be watching a certain road on Melbourne Cup day. Meanwhile, outside Taree NSW, a local policeman patrols the highway because he does not want the discomfort of catching locals and potential friends. Justice is hardly served by either practice - cameras or no cameras. Give the policeman a clever answer and you escape punitive damages.
Perhaps you were thinking that these 'unmeasured' externalities are worth it. Think again. The fall in the road toll is not because of compliance with speed limits, it is because of the gradual improvement in roads as we straighten precarious highways, upgrade to dual-carriage ways, adopt road partitions to stop head on collisions, which have more to do with distraction and tiredness than anything else. A group that is less responsible are drinkers, particularly teen drinkers. Clearly there is a problem with this group, who don't care about the legislation anyway. This group needs special attention, but I would argue their 'rebellious' attitudes are more a response to the 'arbitrary' and punitive nature of our justice and policing system.

I do want to look at this issue in more detail - here is the statistics for NZ.

This legislation is poorly targeted and needs changing. The Consumer NZ non-profit group needs your support, and I suggest providing your insights to marc@consumer.org.nz.
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Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.


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