3/12/2007New Zealand: Minor Speeding Tickets Explode
The number of tickets for driving 4-6 MPH over the limit in New Zealand jumps from 311 to 34,651.
The number of tickets issued for minor speeding offenses in New Zealand has skyrocketed. In 2001, there were just 311 tickets issued to motorists accused of driving between 4 and 6 miles per hour over the limit. Last year, that number grew to 34,651 with a total of NZD $46.5 million (US $32.3 million) collected from all speeding fines.
"The huge ticket rise has the smell of quotas about it," National Party Police Spokesman Chester Borrows said in a statement.
Figures show that while the number of tickets issued for minor violations has increased, the number of tickets issued for serious violations has dropped 35 percent.
"You have to wonder if they are playing catch-up in the lower threshold range," Borrows said. "And that raises questions about whether there is a government quota system."
A number of documents have surfaced exposing the country's use of ticket quotas to boost revenue. A Central North Island District police document dated June 21, 2006 ordered officers to set up traps on high-volume roads, "as it is the last week before the end of the accounting year for us, it is a great opportunity to get our ticket count up to ensure we end up the top group in Central."
Similarly, Levin police officers were urged to boost the number of traffic tickets written or face a pay cut. Marlborough police were ordered to issue, "a minimum of two notices" per day. A parliamentary report in 2005 criticized the police focus on traffic tickets over response to emergency calls, with an average police response time to a burglary report of 22 hours.