National denies 'hypocrisy' claims as speed tickets rise
Thursday 15 Sep 2011 5:24 p.m.
By Charlotte Shipman
If you were booked for speeding last year, you weren't alone.
Nearly twice as many tickets were issued compared with the previous year, prompting claims they're simply being used to raise revenue.
In 2010, nearly 628,000 speed camera tickets were issued, almost twice as many as the year before.
“I'm disappointed that people think that this is revenue gathering it simply isn't. It's about getting you, me and Dupree home safely,” says National Road Policing Manager Superintendent Paula Rose.
Police maintain the increase is due to new digital cameras, lowering the speed limit tolerance on public holidays and better placement of cameras.
“We've only got 55 cameras but we need to make them feel like there's a lot more, that's why we do have different coloured vehicles and why we do move them around,” says Superintendent Rose.
Along with the thousands of ticketed drivers, the Government seems to have been caught out.
Eight years ago, in opposition, National MPs accused the then Labour Government of using speedsters as cash cows when Labour proposed tougher rules for speeding drivers, which would have increased the number of fines.
“The only reason the Government would want to do these things is to collect extra money off motorists,” National MP Tony Ryall said at the time.
But now the fines are flying under his Government Tony Ryall denies he's a hypocrite.
The Automobile Association has also renewed calls for the money gathered from speeding fines to be used for improving road safety rather than going to the Government coffers, but the police’s head of road safety says that would just lead to more accusations of police chasing money rather than speed.
The AA has also asked for fixed speed cameras to be sign posted, warning drivers they are there. This used to happen when speed cameras were first introduced back in the early 1990s but the Police Minister Judith Collins has ruled out that out.