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Income related speeding fines – bring it on!

Written By: - Date published: 2:06 pm, January 3rd, 2018 - 159 comments
Categories: law and "order" - Tags: , , , , ,

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Dr Jarrod Gilbert has a provocative opinion piece on the Herald website today, proposing that speeding fines become income related.

It’s an interesting argument, but not a new one.

Gilbert cites sixteenth century French philosopher Montesquieu as one of the first to wonder if there can be equality under the law with monetary penalties that are much harder on the poor than on the rich.

For myself, it takes me back to a remit that was basically laughed off the floor of a Labour Party regional conference in the early 2000s. The proposal on that occasion was to tag speeding fines to the value of the car, so Ferrari owners would pay much more than those with a clapped out Toyota.

I took the microphone and made what I thought was a reasonable plea on behalf of low income motorists. As I resumed my seat a well-known elderly delegate (who was a member of the Backbone Club in the 80s) turned around from the row in front of me and spat “haven’t you ever heard of Shanks’s pony, boy?”

The remit was lost.

But perhaps it’s an idea thats time is coming.

As Gilbert points out, it has been done in Finland. And why not?

Is it ok that someone who has a lot of money can afford to put other people’s lives at risk because a piffling little speeding ticket is chump change to them, while for other people it could be the difference between putting food on the table that week or not?

What are the arguments against it? That it’s not treating people equally under the law? I would argue that’s a more apt description of a status quo that doesn’t deter wrongdoing equally.

And while we are at it, perhaps we could throw in a premium on top for people in flash cars using passing lanes to queue jump during holiday congestion – which is my new pet peeve after crawling home from Northland on Monday…

159 comments on “Income related speeding fines – bring it on! ”

  1. Psych nurse 1

    Why stop at speeding fines, all court fines should be proportionate to your ability to pay.

    • Ed 1.1

      I reckon some form of hard labour is the most effective deterrent for the parasitical 1%.
      Most have no idea what hard work looks like.

      Confiscation is another option. Selling such wasteful extravagances and using the money for the common good would be a valuable warning to the plutocracy and rentier class that their time is up.

      • chris73 1.1.1

        You, I and pretty much everybody living in a western country is probably in the one percent compared to the rest of the world

        http://www.globalrichlist.com/

      • James 1.1.2

        Spoken like someone who is truly jealous of others success.

        And you would be surprised (although obviously ignorant) of how hard it is to work your way to the 1%.

        • JC 1.1.2.1

          Tuff as bro

        • North 1.1.2.2

          James at 1.1.2…….spoken like someone who is truly jealous of the mis-concept that heightened wealth/position is a basis for relatively lesser penalty in the same misdeed…….jealous in the sense of ‘protective of’.

          That’s where James diverges from most people. He has ‘earned’ privilege and horrors that this privilege should not be available to him in all things.

          I cannot tell you how disheartening nay infuriating it is to see a well fed, well housed and well warmed community magistrate in my locality routinely and blithely slam $130 costs orders on minor offenders on top of the penalty levied…….many, many of such people having only $130/week left to maintain themselves and two young kids say. Worse…….it is done with such fucking righteousness.

          James twistedly supports that.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.1.2.3

          Yes, with enough hard work we could ALL be in the 1%….Brighter Future, but not so bright at maths.

    • Yep. In fact, I’d make it so that it’s a proportion of total assets owned either directly or through trusts. Make sure that those people who structure their taxes so that they only have $70k income also pay appropriately.

      • cleangreen 1.2.1

        Hahaha We see a pre-concieved & determined belief system there?

        “Born to rule”?

        Chris 73,- your tory skirt is showing again.

    • Et Tu Brute 1.3

      Not ability to pay. Income. Big difference.

  2. greywarshark 2

    Some jurisdictions alter fines according to income.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day-fine

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/03/finland-home-of-the-103000-speeding-ticket/387484/

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/speeding-fines-rise-175pc-weekly-wages-monday/

    Parking –
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/87691355/Budget-buster-How-you-can-get-out-of-that-parking-ticket

    Comment on BBC have your say:
    ” At 11:03 13th Aug 2010, Three Million Posse On Employed In A Dub wrote:
    “the underlying future philosophy is to tax everyone off the roads and planes except the stonking rich, (like in the good old days).
    if you are one of the poor kind (i.e. need to work for someone else) you are not entitled to drive a car and must get a bus or train for your movement you pleb.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/haveyoursay/2010/08/should_speeding_fines_be_based.html

    Fair? – Helpful?:
    https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/young-people-infringement-fines-qualitative-study.pdf
    and
    https://www.npr.org/2017/04/13/523269628/san-francisco-program-aims-to-make-smaller-fines-more-fair-for-poor

  3. I’m sure there was a right-winger who argued against confiscation of vehicles for some offences on the basis that it would be a much more severe punishment for a chap like himself with a late-model Mercedes than it would be for some pleb with a 20-year-old Corolla. The relativity involved naturally escaped him.

    • Ed 3.1

      Imagine Hosking having his Maserati confiscated…..

      • I’d make him watch as it got crushed.

        • McFlock 3.1.1.1

          He’d look like he lost an election, despite his best efforts at campaigning for them

        • James 3.1.1.2

          Amazing how bitter you are towards people.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2.1

            Not towards people – the system that raises worthless schmucks above others.

          • Ross 3.1.1.2.2

            James,

            Hosking isn’t just anyone. He’s a self-opinionated twat.

            Speaking of cars, he once abused a woman who dinged his beloved Maserati. He was beside himself with anger and called her a “moron”. I’m sure you wouldn’t think of doing such a thing.

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10818146

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10819659

            • Ed 3.1.1.2.2.1

              The story you refer to highlights he is a complete and utter obnoxious twat.

              From the article.

              ‘Pre-school manager Gayle Newby, who was celebrating her 60th birthday, was parking in Newmarket’s Teed St when the bumper of her 12-year-old Toyota Estima dinged Hosking’s Maserati.

              “He bowled out and berated me,” Newby said. “He just kept on going on about what a rare and expensive vehicle it was. He had a real tone in his voice. It was really unkind.

              “Most people would see that we were both insured, but not him. I mean, it was just a simple little accident.”

              ‘Newby, who spends her days teaching manners and life skills to pre-schoolers, was horrified by Hosking’s reaction. She had been a regular listener to his radio show but had no interest in tuning in again.’

              • eco maori

                Eco doesn’t like kicking a man when he’s down but I could see Mike would behave like that. That is why I made the statement that he was not the best person for OUR youth to see every week night and he was a bad role model for our boys Ka pai Ed.
                Ka kite ano

      • James 3.1.2

        He has a Ferrari from memory.

      • Naki man 3.1.3

        He doesnt own a maserati

  4. feijoa 4

    Indeed. Not being able to land your helicopter 6 days a week so you can get to golf was also pretty tough for the CEO of Briscoes.
    The rich have no idea.

    • Ed 4.1

      What do Briscoes pay their lowest paid workers?

      • At a guess – Not enough to live in Auckland.

      • cleangreen 4.1.2

        Right Draco,

        This is the way the 1% segrgate the poor from the rich as they play “born to rule” class policies so they can live in their ‘self imposed segregated from reatity of the poor lives.

        Just the same way as the aristocracy did years ago before the french revolution.

        To all those rich trolls here, your time will come for alll your excesses !!!

        So enjoy the harm you are bringing on the 99% as you cut wages and benefits for the poor, while your excesses lasts a little longer until the day of reckoning arrives this year.

        https://www.rt.com/shows/keiser-report/414787-episode-max-keiser-1170/

        In the conversation with Michael Pento a prediction is made that the central banks will fail in October 2018.

    • James 4.2

      1 – it’s not His helicopter.

      2 – it was 6 landings per week – same as his neighbors.

      • TB 4.2.1

        Wanting to land your helicopter at all (but 6 times a week!) in a residential neighborhood, so you can go play golf, is always going to open someone up to ridicule.

        Residential neighborhoods are no place to land (and i guess take off again) helicopters, planes, gliders, drones, hang gliders etc… Although I’m OK with emergency services.

        • cleangreen 4.2.1.1

          Spot on TB 100%

          Some here believe that residential communities should be dumping grounds for the pollution and noise created by the rich excesses dont they?

  5. Stunned mullet 5

    i would far prefer harsher penalties to discourage repeat offences.

    First speeding offence at speed limit plus 10 kmph -mandatory fine as prescribed by legislation.
    Second offence offence at speed limit plus 10 kmph within 12 month period – vehicle seizure and disposal.

    Any vehicle refusing to stop for the police to be subject to confiscation and disposal.

  6. chris73 6

    Arn’t we supposed to be an egalitarian society? 😉

    • Yes and so fines should have the same impact upon the person no matter what their wealth.

      As it stands, the rich can pretty much ignore fines.

    • Ed 6.2

      Yes so we need taxes to match income and wealth.

    • cleangreen 6.3

      Yes chris 73;

      We were until the rich pricks under the John Key Government raped and pillaged the economy and took away the ‘shared wealth’ that was equally re-distributed’ among us all under an ‘egelitarian society’ and now has left us all far poorer as a society for the rich and the segergated enslaved.

  7. chris73 7

    Keep the system as it is otherwise the door is then opened for other options, potentially tax refunds being based how much you earn (the more you earn the bigger the refund) or government services being based on how much you’ve put in like hospital wait lists based on income etc etc

  8. greywarshark 8

    It could be said that the poor pay higher and suffer hardship more from their taxes than the rich because they are paying tax from disposable income leaving little for basic income, with no or meagre discretionary income. While for the rich it is the other way round.

  9. KJT 9

    kids with little or no money are punished all out of proportion to the offense, with unpayable fines accumulating interest and penalties, losing jobs and having to do community work.
    While Mr Maserati, pays the fine, out of petty cash, and walks away laughing.

    Note: Many of the offenses have little to do with road safety. Such as expired registration. Or driving to their milking job at 0330.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      KJT
      It’s good to hear sense from someone who looks at the value of the fine as to whether it works to meet society’s needs, not just as some authoritarian ruler than can drop across the fingers of people just trying to manage, and not managing to do that very well. Sort of like punishing Maori for speaking their own language in the old-time schools. Draconian punishment. ‘That’ll larn them, they don’t like it up them you know,’ sort of approach.

  10. timeforacupoftea 10

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1302161/Swedish-driver-gets-worlds-largest-speeding-fine-180mph-chase.html

    A speeding Swedish driver is facing the world‘s biggest ever motoring fine of 650,000 euros – around £538,000 – after being clocked at 180mph while driving through Switzerland.
    The 37-year-old man‘s £140,000 Mercedes SLS AMG was impounded along with his driving licence after soaring along at two and-a-half times the speed limit on a Swiss motorway.
    ‘We have no record of anyone being caught travelling faster in the country,’ said a police spokesman.

  11. Hornet 11

    With respect to the fines, the idea is tempting, until we consider ‘Lady Justice’, the “allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Justice).

    Lady Justice carries a sword and balance, and is blindfolded (at least in most representations). The blindfold represents “impartiality, the ideal that justice should be applied without regard to wealth, power, or other status.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Justice).

    Justice should be blind, not just to prevent the undue influence of the wealthy in favour of the wealthy, but also to preserve the wider principle of equality under the law.

    • If we consider equality then the rich need to be charged more so that the fine is of the same magnitude for them as it is for the poor. Then it would have the same deterrent effect that the rich are always saying is needed and it would also be justice.

      ATM, having the same dollar value that impacts the poor more is an injustice.

      • Hornet 11.1.1

        “If we consider equality then the rich need to be charged more so that the fine is of the same magnitude for them as it is for the poor. ”
        That’s not equality. In fact it is the opposite. It is effectively saying that the crime is of greater magnitude when committed by the wealthy than by others. Justice is best administered not by differing ‘magnitude’, but by the equality of the individual perpetrator(s). The person driving the Ferrari has committed no greater or lesser offence than the person driving the Escort.

        “…having the same dollar value that impacts the poor more is an injustice.”
        The only just solution is when all pay the same, irrespective of wealth. Otherwise we are simply committing the same moral wrong as the wealthy of centuries ago who circumvented justice by virtue of that wealth.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1

          It is effectively saying that the crime is of greater magnitude when committed by the wealthy than by others.

          No it’s not. It’s saying that the fine, which is both a deterrent and a punishment, must have the same effect no matter the income.

          If the deterrent effect of the fine has no effect because the person is rich then it’s failing there.
          If the punishment is greater on the poor person because it proportionately takes more of their wealth than it does from the rich person then it’s failing there as well.

          The only solution is to tie fines to the persons wealth.

          And make them hurt.

          The only just solution is when all pay the same, irrespective of wealth.

          Assertions are not an argument.

          Otherwise we are simply committing the same moral wrong as the wealthy of centuries ago who circumvented justice by virtue of that wealth.

          That has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion and the rich are still bypassing justice by being rich. They can afford the lawyers.

          • Ross 11.1.1.1.1

            The poor are already disadvantaged regards the justice system. Firstly, they cannot afford the sort of legal representation that the wealthy can afford. Second, re benefit fraud (and possibly other crimes) they are more likely to be charged than someone who’s evaded their tax obligations. They are also likely to suffer more serious penalties than the wealthy if convicted.

            http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/guestlectures/pdfs/tgls-marriott-slides.pdf

            https://www.victoria.ac.nz/news/2017/08/why-is-tax-evasion-treated-more-gently-than-benefit-fraud2

            • Hornet 11.1.1.1.1.1

              “Firstly, they cannot afford the sort of legal representation that the wealthy can afford.”
              How many traffic offences lead to the employment of legal assistance?

              “Second, re benefit fraud (and possibly other crimes) they are more likely to be charged than someone who’s evaded their tax obligations. They are also likely to suffer more serious penalties than the wealthy if convicted.”
              Again, irrelevant to the core of the discussion, which was about speeding fines. But as a matter of principle, I see both benefit fraud and tax evasion as theft. Both should be punished with the same vigour, and with comparable punishment.

          • Hornet 11.1.1.1.2

            “It’s saying that the fine, which is both a deterrent and a punishment, must have the same effect no matter the income.”
            That is only true if you argue the singular purpose of a fine is as a deterrent. It is not.

            “If the deterrent effect of the fine has no effect because the person is rich then it’s failing there.”
            Now you are making an assumption that $100 is more important to a wealthy person than everyone else. You cannot assert that with any certainty.

            “That has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion…”
            Oh but it does. A moral imperative is (or should be) a key element of any justice system.

            ” and the rich are still bypassing justice by being rich.”
            Not in 2018 they aren’t. They face the same consequences as you and I. As they should. Justice is blind.

            ” They can afford the lawyers.”
            And so can most NZ’ers. Those that can’t get legal aid. And most driving offences don’t result in lawyers being involved.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1.2.1

              That is only true if you argue the singular purpose of a fine is as a deterrent.

              Good job I’m not doing that then.

              Now you are making an assumption that $100 is more important to a wealthy person than everyone else.

              No. I’m pointing out that a $100 fine to the rich person is a question of if they have a bottle of Moet with their lunch on Monday or not and then they do so any way because why the hell not. The $100 is nothing to those well off.

              Whereas that same $100 dollars for the poor person can have them not eating for a week, may lose their house, may not be able to afford to go to work. In other words, the effect is far greater on the poor person which is an injustice.

              Not in 2018 they aren’t.

              Yes they are.

              https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/09/14/if-it-takes-a-19yr-old-rich-lister-kid-getting-a-lenient-sentence-for-you-to-think-the-justice-system-is-racist-youre-not-paying-attention/
              https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/08/23/ummm-did-bill-liuwilliam-yan-just-buy-his-own-justice/
              https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/94915359/retailers-sentence-example-of-tax-evaders-getting-off-lightly

              Tax fraud, benefit fraud, proportional response

              And so can most NZ’ers. Those that can’t get legal aid.

              No, most NZers can’t afford to hire lawyers:

              “From my personal experience, I estimate that at least half the population of New Zealand could not afford legal services, were they to need them,” she says

              And National made it even harder to get legal aid.

              And most driving offences don’t result in lawyers being involved.

              But not all and the rich will probably talk to their lawyers even if it’s just a speeding fine. They have that option simply because they’re rich.

              • Hornet

                “I’m pointing out that a $100 fine to the rich person is a question of if they have a bottle of Moet with their lunch on Monday or not and then they do so any way because why the hell not. The $100 is nothing to those well off.“

                That’s a value judgement you are in no position to make unless you know the circumstances of every individual.

                “Yes they are.“
                No, they aren’t. Unl ss you can provide an example of judicial corruption, the defences used are available to all equally.

                • That’s a value judgement

                  No it’s not. It’s simple logic. Anyone who has 90%+ of their income as disposable isn’t going to bat an eyelid at a fine that only makes up 1% of their weekly income.

                  Unl ss you can provide an example of judicial corruption, the defences used are available to all equally.

                  No they’re not which is why I linked to several items showing that and even quoted from a lawyer. The evidence available shows that justice in NZ is what you can buy and the poor can’t afford to ask the price.

                  • Hornet

                    ” Anyone who has 90%+ of their income as disposable isn’t going to bat an eyelid at a fine that only makes up 1% of their weekly income.”
                    How do you know? I know plenty of wealthy people who would scream blue murder at a fine of any value.

                    “The evidence available shows that justice in NZ is what you can buy and the poor can’t afford to ask the price.”
                    Your ‘evidence’ was nothing more than examples of people exploiting legal loopholes, which anyone can do. You need to provide examples of actual judicial corruption if you want to establish the wealthy benefit over the rest.

                • North

                  Hornet……the right wing blowhard invoking right wing dogma to conceal the mind-altering reality of people trying to live on $130 a week after rent is met. That’s the lot of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. People with a couple of young kids……$130 a week for food, clothing, transport, the works.

                  43 years practising criminal law I’ve seen the actual reality to the point of nausea in my guts. If you really want to get it right blowhard doubtful)……please try to understand that while on paper the defences are there for everybody the common reality is that for the poor the defences “available to all equally” is a fiction. Relatively recent changes to the legal aid system were deliberately designed to prevent the poor from availing the “equality” that you claim exists.

                  All you can offer in sanitation of your filth Hornet is the fucked strawman of “judicial corruption”.

                  • Hornet

                    Your ’43 years practising law’ hasn’t helped you to understand my point. Supply an example of a situation where a defendant had the same argument denied that was successfully used by a wealthier person.

            • UncookedSelachimorpha 11.1.1.1.2.2

              “The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids both rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread”

              Anatole France

              • Hornet

                You’ll find that In France’s time, the poor were far poorer than those we call ‘poor’ today, and were subject to the inequities of privilege we have fought to eliminate. My argument is simply that by recreating those same inequities but in reverse, we do ourselves no favours.

                • Those same inequalities still exist. We have cities in NZ banning sleeping in doorways that equally applies to rich and poor.

                  The people living in cars aren’t actually allowed to sleep where they do.

                  • Hornet

                    My comment was referring to inequalities of privilege. And I made that fairly clear.

                    • And those inequalities of privilege still exist.

                      Rich people have more privilege due to being rich.

                      To have an egalitarian society, which we must have if we don’t want to destroy ourselves, then we need to get rid of those privileges.

                    • Hornet

                      “And those inequalities of privilege still exist.”
                      Not really. There is a very small number of both poor and rich in NZ. Most of the nation is ‘middle class’, and can well look after themselves.

                      “Rich people have more privilege due to being rich. To have an egalitarian society, which we must have if we don’t want to destroy ourselves, then we need to get rid of those privileges.”
                      If indeed “Rich people have more privilege due to being rich”, then you can only remove that privilege by removing their wealth. Is that what you have in mind? If not, your point is really a nonsense.

                • North

                  You really are thick Hornet. Prison time is not a fine. It’s the withdrawal of the right to determine how and where one spends one’s daily existence. France (or anywhere) of old……another fucked strawman.

      • Janet 11.1.2

        Fines are punishment. In Switzerland the law breakers income at that time is assessed , not his overall wealth , before the fine is calculated. Fine as a percentage of income is fair.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2.1

          Fine as a percentage of income is fair.

          50% of the richest people in the country have an ‘income’ less than the $70k top tax rate. This is why the fine needs to be based upon wealth and not just income.

          • David Mac 11.1.2.1.1

            How is this going to work Draco? So many of us are self-employed. Before the infringement notice is issued does every alleged speeder undergo a forensic audit by a qualified auditor?

            As you say, it can’t really be calculated on someone’s take home pay, the alleged speeder in question could own 5 freehold houses.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2.1.1.1

              Before the infringement notice is issued does every alleged speeder undergo a forensic audit by a qualified auditor?

              That’s what happens in those countries that have fines based upon wealth.

              Of course, all that information should be held by IRD anyway. If it’s not, then perhaps the person getting fined will have more difficulties.

              • David Mac

                Is that how they do it in other countries? Every speeder has IRD trawl through their affairs and determine the size of the fine. Are you sure Draco?

                The self employed person that has work on islands doesn’t need to own or maintain their boat, their business does. Income from overseas sources, trust directorships etc, the IRD are going to go through all this to determine what size fine should be levied? Maybe you’ll only target those wearing Italian shoes? I can see the Draco appeal, I think it’s an idea that creates more problems than it solves.

                • Every speeder has IRD trawl through their affairs and determine the size of the fine.

                  As I say, that should be instantly available through the IRD computer system.

                  The self employed person that has work on islands doesn’t need to own or maintain their boat, their business does.

                  And their ownership of the business is what counts.

                  Income from overseas sources, trust directorships etc, the IRD are going to go through all this to determine what size fine should be levied?

                  Again, something that IRD should already know. Has something to do with the FTAs and tax sharing agreements that we have.

                  This isn’t the 19th century any more where such trawling would take weeks. It’s now something that should take a couple of minutes with a simple SQL query.

                  • McFlock

                    lol just don’t get the nats to oversee the systems implementation…

                  • David Mac

                    You said you want to gear the fine to someone’s wealth rather than their income.

                    Graeme Hart didn’t pay for his 400 million dollar boat out of his pay packet Draco. To determine his wealth would need to start with looking into all the corporate entities he has interests in. Much more than a quick scan of his name in IRD files. It would require a comprehensive forensic audit or risk being unjust. A situation his lawyers would carve up and have thrown out.

                    There are better ways of getting Hart’s money than handing him a 1.3 million dollar speeding fine Draco.

                    • Much more than a quick scan of his name in IRD files. It would require a comprehensive forensic audit or risk being unjust.

                      Who said it would be a quick scan of his name?

                      A well set up IRD database would have all the connections in place. The SQL query would show all those connections.

                      This isn’t the 19th century any more. We actually can (and should) track all ownership and income.

  12. AB 12

    For offences that society is trying to deter by monetary fines – it seems a no-brainer to approximately equalise the deterrent effect across the population by pegging these fines to income or assets.
    So I would see it as actually creating equality before the law for this category of offenses, rather than undermining it.

    • Hornet 12.1

      Society is trying to deter all offences. Should we administer varying prison sentences for the same crime based on income/wealth?

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 12.1.1

        False equivalence right there from Hornet. Rich people do not have more time than poor people. They do have more money.

        • Ad 12.1.1.1

          Since time is a class equalizer as you say, costing rich or poor the same amount in lost time as a punishment is just.

          So paying in time is the way to ensure that the rich feel punishment for the crime the same way the poor do.

          Since the rich have more money, paying in money is a privilege to to the rich. When the poor pay in money it is a massive punishment from which it is hard for them to recover. Whereas the rich paying with time is more powerful as a punishment than paying with money.

          Therefore paying in time is just for rich and poor alike, but paying in money, especially as a preference to the rich, is unjust.

          • Hornet 12.1.1.1.1

            The $ paid by the rich is worth exactly the same as the $ paid by the rest. The crime committed by the rich is exactly the same as that committed by the rest. That’s justice. Blind.

            • Ad 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Blind indeed.

              But Justice is also holding scales that must be righted.

              For which every judge has a tariff sheet.

              • Hornet

                The scales of lady justice represent the measuring of the respective cases. That is why we speak of the ‘weight of evidence’. Thus these scales are not ‘righted’ at all.

        • Hornet 12.1.1.2

          You need to learn what a false equivalence is. The time of a wealthy person is worth no more or less than anyone else. Likewise their $$’s. That is precisely the reason unequal punishment is unjust.

          • Andre 12.1.1.2.1

            That looks like a good argument to move away from money fines and go to time fines. Get a ticket for more than 10km/hr over the limit, spend half a day doing community work, instead of the $80 fine we get now.

            • David Mac 12.1.1.2.1.1

              A possible solution is to invite the alleged speeder to decide how rich they are, provide a choice.

              A weekend of community service or a $2000 fine. 20 kms over the limit, 1.5 weekends or $3000 etc.

            • Hornet 12.1.1.2.1.2

              As long as the same penalty applies to everyone one committing the same offence, that’s fine with me.

  13. NZJester 13

    While that might be a good idea, I also see the idea of a sliding scale for the offense as a good idea. The first-time offenders receiving a lower fine with each subsequent offense having a higher and higher minimum fine with the fine-scale sliding up faster the greater the amount over the posted speed limit they go. The fine scale will slide back down slowly over time as well if there is a long period between offenses. Those with frequent speeding tickets would then get penalized higher and higher giving them a greater incentive not to speed.

  14. Goodshepherd 14

    What is the justification for fines in the first place?

    To recover cost of prosecution? Punishment? Deterrent?
    What else?

    I favour income/asset related scaling but I’d prefer demerits to be the instant punishment for traffic offences.

    Demerits and possible loss of licence are properly egalitarian and, in my case, a much more effective deterrent.

    • greywarshark 14.1

      Why demerits as first step.? Being forced to take a driving course, which goes over the theory and legal requirements, but further – into our psychology and physiology, ie how we might speed up if not concentrating instead listening to stressful info on a panel cellphone or music. Understanding how attention must be focussed at all times, and if some small event draws attention away, there should be a drop in speed for those seconds etc.

      And giving erring drivers some advantage if they attend the course and don’t offend again for say five years. A free ticket to some local concert or something. And don’t say that people will be likely to offend if they know of this; learning is hard, disciplining yourself is hard, finishing the driving course requires effort, and if not finished then demerit points plus a comparatively small fine of say $30 will be incurred. Later faults would incur compulsory attendance to a driving course which would involve a Court case finding guilty and then a period of day attendance at a concentrated driving course, and goal setting practice to help change behaviour, which would not be at a prison.

      The object of course is to change behaviour, not dump on people and extract money from them. That is witless and in tune with the dumb dumpers in RW government wagging their fingers at society like some rigid authoritarian schoolmaster, and squeezing them ever harder until they decide that life and the authorities are shit and they don’t feel like co-operating in society at all.

    • Demerits come with the fine. Get enough demerits and the driver loses their licence. This doesn’t need to change.

      The fine is both punishment and deterrent.

  15. Ross 15

    As far as egalitarianism is concerned, someone once said that throughout our lives we all receive the same quantity of ice. The rich get theirs in summer; the poor in winter.

  16. cleangreen 16

    Well said Ross,

    It’s the impacts ‘purpertrated’ by the rich upon the poor that is never considered by the rich. – And that is the whole problem so perhaps the courts should be tasked with considering what those rich excesses actual affects are made upon the poor, since the rich have failed to do?

  17. eco maori 17

    Speed fine based on income would be fine in a perfect world but our country ain’t perfect no we’re near it.
    I say that policy would just give the powers that be
    More tools to ________ up the 99% lives so that a big NO FROM ECO Ana to kai

  18. funstigator 18

    How about we look at the predominant income/socio-economic status of those who kill/maim themselves or others on the roads and use that to determine level of punishment?

  19. Dexter 19

    Why stop at court fines? Surely a loaf of bread could be priced according to ability to pay. And everything else. Why work when others can pay for whatever you need / want…?

    • greywarshark 19.1

      Oh what an amazing idea Dexter. Did you think that up on your own or did you get it off some RW site? Try to be more dexterous with your ideas in future. There is more to commenting here than putting down the sneering simple response of a RW jock.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 19.1.1

        Seem to be a few new RWNJ troll types popping up, who I haven’t noticed here before.

        Might just be me.

    • It’s not ability to pay but that the deterrent and punishment effect of the fine have the same effect no matter the wealth of the individual.

      Someone with a $10000/week income isn’t going to bat an eyelid at a $120 fine whereas the person on minimum wage is going to be seriously put out as they lose near a quarter of their weekly income

      • savenz 19.2.1

        The person on minimum wages doesn’t pay the fine anyway. Apparently boy racers just say to police “put it on my tab”. There is a huge problem in Christchurch when boy racers just race around as entertainment each weekend, causing havoc and it’s spreading around NZ onto beaches with unlicensed motocross and custom cars and bikes that can’t be identified.

        The whole car issue needs to be looked at because fining is not working and many people just think it’s revenue gathering not for accident prevention – especially when people call police for security issues (burglary or assault) and they apparently can’t turn up for a day or two due to lack of staffing. (Not a staffing problem on road for fining apparently). If you ring about dangerous drivers on beaches for example the police are not interested because it’s more difficult to stamp that out. Then they wonder why people don’t trust them when they get fined while others get away scott free who are actually really dangerous and doing it for the thrill of getting away with it.

        This discrepancy means it looks like deliberate attempt just to get easy money by officials on the working public. Such as on Auckland motorways they might suddenly put a sign 80 instead of the usual 100 and then a camera right behind it to catch anyone. Generally the only sign of road works seems to be years of cones hindering the traffic, no sign of anything else to justify the decreased speed limit.

        In general public have a cynical view to police and council speed or infringement fines because they are not for the right reasons and more for easy money.

        • Draco T Bastard 19.2.1.1

          The person on minimum wages doesn’t pay the fine anyway. Apparently boy racers just say to police “put it on my tab”.

          [Citation Needed]

          The whole car issue needs to be looked at because fining is not working and many people just think it’s revenue gathering not for accident prevention

          That wrong perception has been carefully produced over many decades by those who don’t like regulations and being held to account when they break those regulations.

          (Not a staffing problem on road for fining apparently)

          Legalise marijuana and the police would have, IIRC, about 30,000 hours more time.

          If you ring about dangerous drivers on beaches for example the police are not interested because it’s more difficult to stamp that out.

          Then they need to look at how to do so.

          This discrepancy means it looks like deliberate attempt just to get easy money by officials on the working public.

          Perception != reality.

          And you’re here adding to that incorrect perception.

          Generally the only sign of road works seems to be years of cones hindering the traffic, no sign of anything else to justify the decreased speed limit.

          I suggest you read the road code. Road works have a decreased speed by law. It doesn’t have to be sign posted specifically.

          In general public have a cynical view to police and council speed or infringement fines because they are not for the right reasons and more for easy money.

          More BS.

          As I said: Perception != reality.

        • North 19.2.1.2

          Save NZ……for “apparently” I read……”a little [anecdotal] knowledge is a dangerous thing”.

          Ultimately those who can’t pay fines get sentenced to community work for remission of their fines. It is increasingly common for offenders not performing that community work as a quid pro quo to then be sent to jail. Not too long ago the Court of Appeal endorsed prison for a first conviction for breach of community work. At the end of 2016 Court of Appeal judges were getting $8,800 a week. Just saying.

          I expect that the sons/grandsons/daughters/granddaughters of people on nearly nine grand a week……for the record I don’t refer to judges……wouldn’t be seeing anything more of Ngawha Prison than the signpost on SH 12. For them fines wouldn’t be a fucking problem. For the fucks who missed it this in my view is the entire point of this post. The poor pay a much harsher price……even if it’s not beyond the periodic incarceration which is community work.

          Must say looking through this thread there are lots of names whom I’d always thought reflected reasonably left-inclined and social democratic thinking. I was wrong.

  20. savenz 20

    Getting revenue from cars is the ‘new’ tax of choice from neoliberal governments. From excessive parking charges in hospitals to fining parents dropping off children in overcrowded schools that have inadequate drop off areas in their designs. More fines of that nature will lose votes come election time.

    What should be done, is actually doing metrics to see what is the circumstances that are killing people and causing accidents before government try anything.

    Is it tourists or new migrants (as some in the media have suggested), the elderly, tired drivers, drunk or drugged drivers, poorly serviced vehicles, slow drivers, motorbikes or speeding drivers? Are those caught speeding actually the culprits of most accidents? What are the demographics of the people causing the accidents – are they the rich drivers or are they poorer drivers. Do poorer drivers even pay their fines or are they carted off to prison eventually which does not seem to be a good use of justice.

    • greywarshark 20.1

      I remember Farmers department store in Auckland. They had their own parking building beside them.

      But for many years they ran a free bus from lower Queen Street that went up the hill to Hobson Street where the store was or is located in a circle route.

      That was in the day when decision making seemed to be more inventive, more let’s do it to match a need with a solution. Different from the lazy do-nothing unless some outfit can make large profits, in this case that would probably be Wilsons Parking which seems to dominate the market.

      The neo lib government doesn’t work to help with problems the people experience, largely from government doing nothing, but puts punitive fines on a a flat rate that hurt and distress the poor disproportionately to the comfortable. It is gaining revenue from its own bad ethos and lack of planning and implementation.

      • savenz 20.1.1

        According to this article it suggests that Thomas and Raymond Kwok, whose Hong Kong property empire (which includes Wilson Parking and Wilson Security in Australia) is valued at $US14.7 billion and clients of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.
        http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/the-panama-papers-chinese-rich-listers-were-top-australian-clients-20160508-gopgk2.html

        • savenz 20.1.1.1

          More on corporate business ‘Wilson’s carparking’

          A financial analysis on over 14 years of records shows the company’s income tax paid is around 1.6 per cent of its revenue. In this, it is typical of multinationals, like Pfizer and VW, operating in Australia. Revenue is soaked up by expenses and the resulting profit involves a smidgen of tax compared with the billion-dollar scale of the business.

          Wilson Parking seems to be burdened by uncannily high costs.

          The company had failed to comply with the Corporations Act and get its financial statements in on time for the past 18 years and we discovered accounting irregularities in the latest 2015 group financial statements. Wilson Parking has also left incorrect details about its ultimate holding company in ASIC’s registers for 12 years. And to top it off, Wilson Security has missing annual financial reports with ASIC.

          Take Wilson Parking for instance, the company recently embroiled in the Panama Papers imbroglio and whose shareholders include Hong Kong’s prominent Kwok brothers. Wilson Security, a subsidiary, also does the guarding at the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres.

          It is no small irony that Wilson has its security guards stationed at court houses and the Australian Taxation Office.

          https://www.michaelwest.com.au/wilson-parkings-tax-numbers-appear-to-defy-economic-reality/

          • savenz 20.1.1.1.1

            And to top it off, NZ is so laissez-faire that our government and media doesn’t seem to even be inclined to investigate into Wilson’s car parking activities in NZ, the Aussies seem a bit more concerned.

            • Ed 20.1.1.1.1.1

              The government and media is controlled by neoliberal financial interests and institutions:
              35 years of tyranny, thanks to Roger Douglas and his revolutionary cabal.

            • greywarshark 20.1.1.1.1.2

              save nz
              Its unbelievably believable. How NZ people can continue to vote in such a laissez faire government shows what a narrow deluded lot the comfortably off are. And I know a lot of nice people in this bracket but I leave political standards outside with my shoes. They would be noa to Gnats if they had any concept of pure motives.

              • savenz

                @greywarshark – I think most of Natz agenda is hidden from many. The MSM support National much more than other countries than have alternate main media sources.

                Also the left do not help themselves at all by concentrating on taking the wealth from the middle classes and concentrating on that, rather than the top .01% mostly fronted by corporations and paying little taxes who are literally ransacking all the countries they operate in and appear to be paying less than local corporations. That is how a handful of people have controlling interests in much of the world’s wealth – and it’s getting less equal.

                • greywarshark

                  savenz
                  You make a double point there –
                  overseas corporations not paying their fair share of tax
                  and
                  our local businesses paying more so funding the system that they utilise
                  and
                  also, having to cut costs to match the extras that the easy riders can
                  provide like specials, special services etc., affordable on their lower cost structure.

          • Draco T Bastard 20.1.1.1.2

            A financial analysis on over 14 years of records shows the company’s income tax paid is around 1.6 per cent of its revenue. In this, it is typical of multinationals, like Pfizer and VW, operating in Australia. Revenue is soaked up by expenses and the resulting profit involves a smidgen of tax compared with the billion-dollar scale of the business.

            This is a misunderstanding of how business taxes work. A properly run business will pay zero tax under the present regime. The shareholders, on the other hand, will pay a hell of a lot. The latter isn’t happening because of tax shelters and structures that allow them to avoid taxes.

            The company had failed to comply with the Corporations Act and get its financial statements in on time for the past 18 years and we discovered accounting irregularities in the latest 2015 group financial statements. Wilson Parking has also left incorrect details about its ultimate holding company in ASIC’s registers for 12 years. And to top it off, Wilson Security has missing annual financial reports with ASIC.

            Which sounds like purposeful crime to avoid taxes.

    • Getting revenue from cars is the ‘new’ tax of choice from neoliberal governments.

      What a load of bollocks.

      1. No one has a right to drive
      2. Excessive car use is major driver of climate change
      3. Excessive car use causes ~400 premature deaths per year in NZ from pollution alone

      In other words, we need a way to restrict car use. We have a market system and so the chances are that the government will reach to use that system.

      From excessive parking charges in hospitals to fining parents dropping off children in overcrowded schools that have inadequate drop off areas in their designs.

      Neither hospitals nor schools should have people going to them in cars. If people are still doing so then the charges aren’t excessive. In fact, they’re too low.

      That’s what the pricing system is for – restricting use of a scarce resource so that there’s no excessive demand for it.

      What should be done, is actually doing metrics to see what is the circumstances that are killing people and causing accidents before government try anything.

      It’s bad driving:

      Over 95% of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs, in the USA, or Road Traffic Accidents, RTAs, in Europe) involve some degree of driver behavior combined with one of the other three factors. Drivers always try to blame road conditions, equipment failure, or other drivers for those accidents. When the facts are truthfully presented, however, the behavior of the implicated driver is usually the primary cause. Most are caused by excessive speed or aggressive driver behavior.

      • savenz 20.2.1

        “Neither hospitals nor schools should have people going to them in cars. If people are still doing so then the charges aren’t excessive. In fact, they’re too low.”

        Love it (sarc), So seriously ill people have to navigate the public transport system and have the money for the fare. I think most people would be dead before they get there in Auckland and many rural places don’t have any other means of transport. Our ambulance service actually asks people to take themselves in many cases due to demand and is a charity not a government service.

        Other countries have reasonable public transport options for travel, NZ does not in most cases. We need the functioning public transport working across all areas before we can leave the cars behind.

        • Draco T Bastard 20.2.1.1

          So seriously ill people have to navigate the public transport system and have the money for the fare.

          1. It’s not the sick people using up the carparks (often it’s not even people going to the hospital)
          2. We have an ambulance service

          And, yes, it does need to be improved. At the same time, use of cars needs to decline.

          • beatie 20.2.1.1.1

            But what if your town has no public transport and an ambulance ride cost $100+? My low-income suburb has regular police checkpoints checking WOF’s and reg. Easy money but yet another burden for those who are struggling to keep a car on the road. I would prefer to bike or take public transport, but I don’t have that choice.

  21. eco maori 21

    I spend about 3 hours a day driving and my children called me a nanny driver. The sandflys deliberately drive slow in front of me to try and get me to make a mistake. But no I figure that out quite quickly. I had another incident to day with a car over taking and then they brake for no reason at all I keep 10 car lengths away from all cars I trust no one. The sandflys have cost me a few fine by planting marked cop car in place and at times that they would be home having a cup of whatever _________heads and they add 5 kls to tickets they are trying to get me to lose my licence through demerit points I try to distribute one what a waste of time.
    They don’t give a shit that my livelihood depends on having a drivers license yes people this is the way OUR police behave. Ana to kai
    You see

  22. funstigator 22

    You are a seriously paranoid dude.

    • greywarshark 22.1

      funsty
      You’re not adding much to the discourse. You have found a person with lots of worries and anxieties on here and that is a different set of worries to what you have.
      But being different from you, you feel free to label him paranoid, dude?

  23. McFlock 23

    Seems like a no-brainer to me.

    The goal of fines is to inconvenience the perpetrator enough to change their behaviour.

    A $200 fine for someone who takes home $2000/wk is made in one afternoon of work and paid when due.

    The same fine for someone who takes home $600/wk takes a day an a half of labour and is probably paid off on time, with a bit of struggle.

    The same fine for someone on fuckall might as well be a million dollars, and will in the long term end up being community detention – so far from the original offence that there’s no connection whatsoever.

    But if they paid $800, $200, and $20 respectively, everyone gets an immediate hit, connected to the event, that might change their behaviour.

    • Antoine 23.1

      Speaking as someone who has from time to time had a slightly higher income, I found demerits were quite disincentive enough. Plus the embarrassment of being pulled over (in the case that it was a roadside cop rather than a speed camera).

      A.

      • Antoine 23.1.1

        Anyway I think this whole thing is a red herring. I don’t think there’s a lot of rich people driving round committing infringements because the fine is small change for them.

        I suspect a much more important, real world problem is what to do about serious repeat offenders, who have shown that they will not be deterred by fines of any size, nor demerits, nor disqualification, nor confiscation of the vehicle. My understanding is that these people can come from all walks of life, rich or poor, young or old, male or female.

        A,

        • McFlock 23.1.1.1

          But that’s the other point – the rich repeat offenders who can take the current fines in their stride might have another reason to moderate their behaviour, while the poor repeat offenders for whom $200 might as well be $2gazillion (they’ll still pay it off at $5/wk forever or end up doing hd in the distant future) will suddenly have a relevant amount that means something to them.

          It won’t solve it for everyone, but I reckon it’ll make a few repeat offenders reconsider. We’re not talking about alcoholics in denial here, just people with a lack of consideration.

      • McFlock 23.1.2

        Well, yes, that’s the points – the demerits were a disincentive for you because the fines were trivial to you

  24. Foreign waka 24

    Getting law and order to a tribal approach are we? Since when is it anybody’s business what a person earns? The envious approach of some is simply disgusting. To take a common dislike to Mr Hoskin’s to appeal to that low emotional feeling is just plain Neanderthal.
    If one really wants to look at the issue of traffic fines, here is the first and most effective step: Everybody has to have a full driver license before they are allowed on the road. Second: Every driver has to have at least 20 training hours with a qualified driving teacher before they obtain a license. This would (I am convinced) prevent one of the most notorious reasons for accidents: choose the right speed and keep the correct distance. Be able to ascertain the speed vs distance to merge when overtaking.
    Try asking any of the drivers out there how much distance between themselves and the driver in front and behind they need if they merge in front of a multi tone truck.
    Don’t let anybody find another excuse to not remedy by reason and revert to some good old fashion blame someone else thing going.

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