Number of Crown cars stung by speeding tickets revealed

The number of Crown vehicles stung by speeding tickets has dropped significantly since 2011, information from the Department of Internal Affairs shows.

Recent data - released to Newshub under the Official Information Act - shows four speeding tickets were issued to Crown vehicles between October 2016 and February 2019.

It's a huge drop from 19 speeding tickets issued to Crown vehicles between August 2011 and October 2015, information released to Stuff in 2016 showed. 

Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin told Newshub she wasn't aware of any warning to Crown car drivers to watch their speed limit.

But looking at how the number of speeding tickets had dropped since 2011, she joked: "So it's not just that the last government was really speedy and we're just more careful?"

Martin added: "All I know is that my Crown car driver will not take me anywhere over the speed limit. All I can say is they're very, very responsible."

The new information released to Newshub shows the most speeding tickets issued to Crown vehicles between 2016-2019 occurred in 2017 - two in Wellington and one in south Auckland.

In 2018, one speeding ticket was issued in July to a Crown vehicle, in the Coromandel. It went 12km over the 80km speed limit - the highest out of the speeding tickets issued over the 2016-2019 period.

Former Prime Minister Bill English exiting a Crown car in 2017.
Former Prime Minister Bill English exiting a Crown car in 2017. Photo credit: Getty

Vehicles that exceed the speed limit by 11-15km are pinged with an $80 infringement fine in New Zealand. The most expensive speeding fine of $630 is issued to drivers who exceed the speed limit by 46-50km.

The second-highest speeding ticket given to a Crown car from 2016 to 2019 was in south Auckland in December 2017. It went 11km over the 50km speed limit.

The other two speeding tickets were issued to Crown cars in Wellington - one on 27 January, 2017, that went 6km over the 80km speed limit; and a vehicle in Wellington East that went 5km over the 55km limit on 8 February the same year.

Ministers are the largest group entitled to use the Crown fleet in New Zealand made up of 72 vehicles, both owned and leased.

Eligible VIP Transport users:

  • Ministers
  • Visiting dignitaries
  • Heads of state and heads of government
  • Governors-General (current and former)
  • Former Prime Ministers
  • Leader of the Opposition
  • House Speaker and Deputy House Speaker
  • Senior judges

The fleet includes 34 chauffeur-driven BMWs which are commonly referred to as Crown cars. It also includes seven non-BMW chauffeur-driven vehicles, five vans, and 26 vehicles that ministers can drive themselves.

The Ministers' Travel Services guide says: "A Minister may use a chauffeur-driven car arranged by VIP Transport at any time for any purpose, at the Minister's discretion."

As Leader of the Opposition, Simon Bridges is eligible for VIP transport services, but he's charged at $171 per hour, whereas transport for ministers is charged at $68 per hour.

VIP Transport operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It also organises taxis or other private providers where VIP Transport chauffeured cars are either not available or not practical.

Newshub.

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