About 50 people a year escape a drink-driving conviction, with judges letting off models with overseas job prospects and businessmen who need to travel internationally, among others.
Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that since 2007, 239 drink-drivers have not been convicted and granted discharges.
Auckland lawyer Stuart Blake, who specialises in drink-driving and traffic law, told the New Zealand Herald he obtained a discharge this month for a trainee pilot whose student debt exceeded $100,000 and who considered a conviction would prevent him getting a job to repay it.
A west Auckland man was discharged because his business interests required him to travel internationally, while a woman working as a model was discharged because she had job prospects overseas.
Mr Blake said he had also obtained discharges for a prospective firefighter and a man who wanted to join the police.
Only a "select few" people could apply for a discharge, he said.
Steve Cullen, who also specialises in drink-driving law, said 239 discharges in five years represents about 2 per cent of all drink-driving cases.
He said discharges were rare and only a small number of drink-drivers met the threshold for discharge.
source: newshub archive