Tamihere on road toll

April 11th, 2010 at 11:16 am by David Farrar

John Tamihere writes in the Sunday News:

There are over 700,000 New Zealanders who have been convicted of drink driving. This is a huge number and while drinking habits and driving habits have changed considerably in the past 30 years we must move to ensure not just the safety of our young, predominantly male drivers, who drink but more particularly we must also protect the innocent driver who often gets caught up in accidents created by young drink drivers. …

It does not matter whether we lower the breath alcohol level, any drink before driving must be met with a severe penalty.

As a consequence, it is pointless having any benchmark that one might risk endeavouring to reach.

It’s better to put all risk out of the way and make it a general rule that any consumption of alcohol means it is illegal to drive a vehicle.

I am surprised John wrote that column without mentioning he has four convictions for drink driving. Now the last one was in 1995, and I don’t mention this to beat up on him. But his column could have been far more powerful if he had mentioned his own past, and how he has learnt the hard way that you shouldn’t drink and drive.

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25 Responses to “Tamihere on road toll”

  1. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    I can’t say I agree with the overall focus of his opinion. I think he actually dismissed the main cause when he talked about the poor state of our roads. Especially in parts of the North Island there are some real killer roads out there, and we need to look at that more closely.

    Otherwise, I think it was your post the other day, DPF, asking about the number of deaths by people between 50m/gms per 100mls blood and 80 (I forget if that is .5. or .05) is a good one.

    It was you, wasn’t it?

    [DPF: Yes]

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  2. Yvette (2,765 comments) says:

    ‘The NBR says Tamihere was in fact convicted for drink driving in 1978, 1982, 1988 and 1995.
    …Tamihere has issued a statement responding to the new allegations. … “I was aware of ‘three’ not ‘five’ convictions. In the event that I have five drinking convictions against my name, it is ‘five’ not ‘three’, and I accept that.”

    I understand from kiwiblog posts that drink/driving is not among the crimes subject to Three Strikes Law, and wonder why not.
    [ And on Three Strike Law, I am unclear now if someone currently with two convictions for a qualifying crime, once the law is in effect and they offend again, is that their third strike out or just their first? ]

    Perhaps John has not seen fit to mention his offending in his article because his Radio Live off-sider Willie Jackson reminds the audience seemingly every second day that John has a drinking problem and is in ‘counselling’ for it.

    Main point though is that Tamihere advocates ["any drink before driving must be met with a severe penalty."] a zero level for everyone.

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  3. gravedodger (1,545 comments) says:

    All the sanctimony in this world wont make a blind bit of difference. As DPF and FES above point out is .03 that significant in the stats.
    The people I encounter in my other life having trouble keeping their car on the road safely are always more than 3 sheets in the wind.
    I will assume Mr Tamihere probably has many options for travel but for me I am 4kms from my once a week indulgence and after one jug over about 90 minutes with food I am far from sainthood when I drive home. BTW we have no public transport so do all those holier than thou want me to add another 8kms to my once a week display of weakness and devotion to the demon drink however prudent I consider myself.
    Sure a zero figure would make a difference but the main one IMHO would be the removal of traffic from the roads rather than making what I consider legal and safe drivers any safer in real terms.
    Disclaimer I have no convictions for driving under the influence of drink or other drugs.

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  4. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    >>It’s better to put all risk out of the way and make it a general rule that any consumption of alcohol means it is illegal to drive a vehicle.<<

    Well thats what i've been saying for f**king years.. leave no grey areas.. IF YOU DRINK DON'T DRIVE.. or take anything that may impair your driving ability from your normal driving ability.

    I mean how hard is it really.. to be responsable… having responsable laws that hold people responsable..

    Not this two or three glasses depending on your body mass age etc… bullshit…

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  5. Viking2 (11,367 comments) says:

    .08 or .05% isn’t the determining factor as to whether one is capable of driving or not. It is possibly one indicator. Daily in my work I could point out people who just should not be driving full stop. And they are stone cold sober but are incapable drivers.
    Is .79 safe? Is .81 not safe?

    What makes .049 safe in a small person 60kg, who has had no food and been awake for 20 hours? (young blonde females with bad attitudes.!

    What makes a 160 KG male who has been working his bum off in the bush, had a feed an plenty of sleep unsafe at 0.80?

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  6. Peter (1,688 comments) says:

    What is all this puritan nonsense? Having a few drinks before driving does not mean a persons driving turns to custard.

    If we’re going to eliminate anything that could have the slightest chance of hampering driving skills, then no one will be driving anywhere. No stereos. No talking. No letting ones mind wander. No medication.

    Again, please let us know the crash stats of people between .5-.8.

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  7. V (715 comments) says:

    So is he saying that drink driving should be met with such a severe penalty that one cannot become an MP?

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  8. Yvette (2,765 comments) says:

    Or Deputy Mayor of the Super City of Auckland?

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  9. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Viking2 @ 12:33 pm I said take anything that impears your ability.
    That is not old age or lack of sleep.. but that also comes under being responsable.

    Viking2 & Peter.. I mean how hard is it really.. to be responsable..

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  10. backster (2,141 comments) says:

    DPF and J.T. are in my opinion both right. There is no evidence that the margin between the current and the proposed limit will achieve anything except criminalising responsible people who have a glass of wine with lunch. Police propaganda will then lambast us with the ‘increase in drink driving offending’. For that reason I agree with J.T. if there is to be a decrease it should be to zero, not to ensure safer roads but to spare us the hypocritical sanctimony and to protect the law abiding from entrapment.

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  11. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (859 comments) says:

    I think you are right that this is a coordinated campaign DPF. Clearly the NGOs funded through our health dollars have decided that this is the issue for the winter nanny state season.

    The stats will of course be cooked – thats what lobbyists do. But the issues seem pretty damn clear to me.

    alcohol does have some impairment effect.

    The number of people who may make mistakes and have accidents and are under the limit is not zero. The counterfactual – people make mistakes and have accidents anyway, is also not zero.

    The marginal increase in injury accidents where the driver was between 0.5 and 0.8 will not be zero, but it doesnt seem very high – and of course the counterfactual also holds here too.

    What the nannyists never mention is that the people having serious accidents while drinking are typically trollied. They are 3X plus over the legal limit. and surprise surprise, many of them are recidivist drink-drivers. That is we already know who they are, they are often already disqualified.

    These people arent even the slightest bit interested in what the law says, nor will they take the blindest bit of notice of it. Its exactly like the smacking = child violence argument. The offenders don’t give a f**k about the law.

    So this proposed change will actively damage the hospitality industry, it will potentially criminalise a good number of otherwise law obiding citizens, and it will have a negligible impact on drunk driving.

    It sounds to me like the Clark regime never left office.

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  12. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    backster @ 1:31 pm

    Hay Hay Yeah Yeah…

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  13. Tauhei Notts (1,680 comments) says:

    Nigel6888.
    spot on mate!
    Good post.
    Of course alcohol impairs a person’s judgment. But you have to wonder how ugly women would get to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh if we did not have alcohol.

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  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    the deity etc etc has it in one.

    Like most crimes, the really serious drink driving stuff tends to be committed by a relatively small group of hardened recidivists. That’s true of a lot of crimes, especially property crimes and most violent crimes except murder.

    I think it might have been none other than Helen Clark who said that a lot of crime could be traced back to perhaps 1000 families. Whoever it was, they were basically right.

    So why, then, do we have this sort of blanket law enforcement targeting basically law-abiding citizens who are doing 10 km/h over the limit on the motorway or who’re barely over some arbitrary breath alcohol margin? Or why some populations (those in the UK and soon those in WA) are subject to gross intrusions such as random stop-and-search?

    1. Revenue. If police got out from behind their speed cameras and away from their RBT roadblocks and patrolled the streets looking for the few truly dangerous drivers they’d find only that serious handful. Thus revenues from fines would plummet. The government don’t want that.

    2. Police clearance rates. Graphs and tables showing increasing rates of “offending” coupled with increased rates of detection and punishment look good and ensure a constant flow of money and increasing powers back to the police. If they sensibly targeted the worst offenders those graphs would plummet. The police don’t want that. Plus, sitting on your arse with a radar gun is a lot less fuss than chasing down the real offenders.

    3. The need for the BS nanny statist “you’ve all been naughty boys and girls” advertising would disappear, as would the need for many of these well-funded quangoes who think them up. The quangoes don’t want that. Besides, most of them (particularly those concerned with road safety) are packed with zealots who truly believe we need them to regulate our behaviour.

    4. Politicians (and, it seems, ex-politicians) think they were somehow blessed with omniscience and we poor simple saps need the likes of them to pass endless laws deciding whether we can buy baked beans on Good Friday or setting a totally arbitrary limit at which we can drive our vehicles.

    5. Political correctness. We’re not meant to “profile” people, even if they’ve committed a slew of previous offences and common sense tells us they’re likely to commit more. So we treat everyone “fairly”, which means we strat treating everyone like criminals.

    Since Tamihere has taken it upon himself to tell the rest of us how to behave perhaps he could clarify the level of blood alcohol that led to his convictions. Was he one of the unlucky ones, caught marginally over, or one of the reckless ones?

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  15. starboard (2,524 comments) says:

    I am surprised John wrote that column without mentioning he has four convictions for drink driving. Now the last one was in 1995,

    ..what a cheek , classic case of do as I say not as I do…where does he get off tellin everyone else what they should or shouldnt be doing…phuk off back to your racist radio show Tamihere…

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  16. Viking2 (11,367 comments) says:

    Of course our favorite Nats. don’t give a toss about criminalizing people, witness the smacking fiasco that leaves most parents etc criminalize so expect the worst. Especially if Joyce is left in charge.
    No better than Cullen with his judgment and I know best behavoir.

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  17. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    Coincidentally I just noticed on my daughters Northern Territory license she has a z endorsement (zero alcohol limit). From what I can see this is because:

    (2) This section also applies to a person who:
    (a) is under the age of 25 years; and
    (b) has not held, in the Territory or elsewhere, a licence to drive a motor vehicle for a continuous period of 3 years;

    She got her NT license just before she turned 25, but has had an NZ license for about eight years, so I think the endorsement is wrong.

    Nevertheless, NT has zero limit for a range of drivers already:
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/ta77/s25.html

    There seems to be moves to have zero alcohol in other states.

    We would be ahead of Australia in common sense if we retain some practical allowable alcohol level. It’s nuts to try and restrict it zero for everyone. It targets and will adversely affect the wrong people.

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  18. Robert Black (423 comments) says:

    Wow four, that is a lot.

    I consider myself a bit of an alkie and I don’t have any.

    Is this the guy whose brother was convicted for the murders of the two Swedes?

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  19. calendar girl (1,214 comments) says:

    the deity at 1:57pm and Rex at 3:17pm – excellent posts.

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  20. Chuck Bird (4,832 comments) says:

    “Is this the guy whose brother was convicted for the murders of the two Swedes?”

    It is but what has that got to do with the topic?

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  21. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    agree with you calendar girl. rex, your 3:17pm comment hit the nail on the head (and drove it home) in one strike.

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  22. big bruv (13,701 comments) says:

    How the fuck do you end up with four drink driving convictions?

    I can understand having one, hell, the recklessness of youth and all that rubbish but four convictions????

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  23. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Rex said :”I think it might have been none other than Helen Clark who said that a lot of crime could be traced back to perhaps 1000 families. Whoever it was, they were basically right.”

    If this is true or relatively true, why isn’t there more targeted policing and management of these scumbags then?

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  24. burt (8,198 comments) says:

    expat

    Who did that group vote for ?

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  25. mikeysmokes (269 comments) says:

    Geez I agree with Big Bruv???????

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