Friday, January 15, 2010

ZenTiger Friday Night Free for All

My last day of holiday, and I'm going to miss them. It's been fantastic just "taking it easy" over the last three weeks, although I've been just a wee bit lazy with my time. Been doing a bit of reading, a bit of blogging, a couple of visits, a BBQ, a few activities with the kids, and a bit of blogging again. If I had the funds to retire, I could keep myself very occupied.

With so much happening out there in the world (probably the same amount as always, but relative to me having a bit more time to notice, it seems so busy!) I'm going to pick on something trivial as my topic for tonight, because all the major events deserve so much more commentary.

The trivial thing is a post on Kiwiblog about having fines as a percentage of a person's income to ensure the "rich pricks" get hurt as much as the poor folk when they get fined for speeding. I'm against this for several reasons:

Firstly, this seems to be an example of how bureaucracy grows. Imagine the information and process the government needs to go through to determine the fine. Do we really need to add more divisions to deal with this new "revenue stream" and will we see enforcement agencies target richer drivers?

Secondly, we've not even established if "rich pricks" are getting away with frequent speeding and if this is a problem NZ needs to solve.

Thirdly, the justification for this seemingly ignores or overly diminishes the effect of the demerit point system, which can result in loss of license for excessive speeding. The demerit point system is a great leveler.

Fourth, the solution involves money rather than consideration of other disincentives - such as community service. Throw a "rich prick" in a soup kitchen for a few weekends, might do them a world of good.

Fifth, the justice in getting speeding fines in the first place is suspect. Many people I know have received fines for trivial offenses, such as overtaking in a passing lane to get past an annoying driver that insists on going well below the limit when the lane is single, and speeds up to 103 in a passing lane as if to stop anyone from passing. Why charge that offense at $2,000 or $3,000, especially when letting of the rude/inconsiderate driver that tends to share some blame in fostering dangerous driving?

Sixth, we see cases where unemployed people don't pay their fines, or pay them at a rate of $5 a week forever. Rich people may have recourse to lawyers, chauffeurs and trust accounts (to minimise their total salary) so it will be the middle class that pays.

Seventh, if the fine was set at 2% of income - how fair to charge a sole income earner in a family of four on $100,000 a fine of $2K, and then charge another person with a family of 4 half that amount because they are on 50K, and their wife on 50K? The household income is the same, but the fine is doubled. Actually, the working couple are already paying about $8K less in tax, and may qualify for child benefits.

Eighth, I repeat again the demerit point system as the discussion at Kiwiblog seemed intent on ignoring this as much as possible.

Ninth, I suspect the biggest problem is the repeat offenders that drive without a license, have thousands of dollars in unpaid fines and are able to get back out on the road in spite of all these fines. Enforce the law in a just way, and justice will be done.

This current idea is just a distraction by people that want to rely on the state to ensure every tall poppy is cut down to size. We don't need this kind of thinking to solve the real problems we face on the roads.

Rant over, so drop in and say hello. Are you a good driver, or a bad driver?

13 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

And last week I didn't ask for any opinions on the latest blog design, so feel free to speak up about it tonight :-)

ZenTiger said...

Just checked my mail and have a letter from the FBI. The agent contacting me is ROBERT S. MUELLER, III and he must be a secret agent, because he is using a yahoo email address. I wonder if it is about the 100 million dollars I've won in a lottery (an email further up the list)?


Anonymous said...

A comment from personal experience.

I drive around 120-150 kms a day, mainly on country roads. Three months ago I was pinged by a cruiser doing 113 in a 100 Zone, fined $80 ans 20 demerits. No problem.

The following week I spent $300 on a good radar detector, and instead of driving at around 110-115, I now sit on 120-130 and have avoided 5 other encounters with Mr Plod. Maybe a fine of 2% of my income may have had a far greater effect.

Anonymous said...

A question, if I may, as this blog seems to be home to a Catholic or two.

I don't understand this business of saints, and it has been on my mind since the beatification of Mary McKillop.

1. If one can only become a saint many years after death, why do some people go straight to heaven while the rest of us wait for the Final trumpet?

2. How can anyone be sure that any claimed miracle is attributable to a particular person, and not the work of a pre-existing Saint?

Maybe one of you could be kind enough to post a thread on this topic for enlightenment.

ZenTiger said...

Yeah, you would have purchased the radar detector earlier.

ZenTiger said...

Howdy, you need our resident expert on saints (Lucia) although others may come to your aid. I'll take a stab at a couple of the main points:

1. People can become saints very quickly after death, it is just uncommon because of the process, which includes verifying the miracle.

1a. Some people go straight to heaven depending upon the state of their soul (a very basic explanation). Those that end up in purgatory go through a period of purification before going to heaven. This then ties in with a longer discussion on what is heaven (and hell) and another basic concept is that hell is at the least a place where people have deliberately rejected God and do not truly repent of their sins. In a sense, one cannot approach God unless they are pure (without the blemish of sin and in a state of Grace). Imagine that it is not God keeping you away from God, but your recognition of your sins against God, and so you must attain that state of Grace in order to get to heaven, either directly or after a period in purgatory.

2. The miracle is usually claimed by some-one who was purposefully praying to that person, who then reports it and the miracle. The miracle is then investigated and decided if it has substance.

That's the brief version, hope it makes sense.

ZenTiger said...

Also, the concepts of "saints" and "heaven and hell" and indeed, eternal life can be quite different outside of Catholic doctrine. The others are heretics :-) Pray for them :-)

ZenTiger said...

maybe a fine of 2% of my income may have had a far greater effect.

Leftrightout: Would you have felt it a "just" fine?

Here's a report into the effects of adjusting speed limits. Seems when the limits were raised, drivers respected them and there were less crashes. When limits were lowered, there was greater disobedience, and more accidents.

If the aim is to reduce accidents, perhaps findings like this need to be taken into account?

scrubone said...

Technically, all Christians are saints to protestants. But there's a funny thing, which is that some churches are named things like "St Mark's".

Are we doing puns tonight?

ZenTiger said...

Yes, Sir we are doing puns to knight.

scrubone said...

I see a lot of people visited their accountant today - reading lots about BDO. I prefer PWC myself...

ZenTiger said...

Is that a cryptic reference to a news story on BDO??

scrubone said...

Didn't seem to be much accounting going on - mostly dancing and loud music. Some sort of tax dodge I expect.

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