In every drink-drive blitz, the police catch people who have been caught before and don't care much that they have been nabbed again.
They will be fined, disqualified from driving and some might get community work.
If they are on their fourth or fifth conviction they might be sentenced to a short burst in prison.
Hardly ever do they receive the one thing Roger Brooking says they need the most - a referral for a drug and alcohol assessment.
What concerns the drug and alcohol counsellor and others, including some police officers, is an emerging sense of casualness among some who drink drive and commit other traffic offences.
Fining people does not do the trick. Young people in particular simply rack up thousands and thousands of dollars in debt and seem unfazed they cannot pay.
Cars are often impounded but even so a blase attitude persists.
Last month the Herald reported on police operations around the country. Among those arrested in Tauranga was a 27-year-old mother with 11 drink-drive convictions and three for driving while disqualified.
In South Auckland, police went out one morning with officials from other agencies, from Land Transport to the ACC and court bailiffs.
Of 1100 people stopped, about half were found to be breaking the law - driving without licences, breaching licence conditions, driving while disqualified and owing court fines.
Discussions are ongoing about how to combat the problem. The Ministry of Transport points to research in other countries which shows hefty demerit points, where people lose their licence after two or three offences, may be more effective than fines.
There is also debate about whether New Zealand should lower the blood alcohol level which, at .08 per cent, has not been changed since the late 1970s and puts us with only four countries with such a high tolerance.
Australia tolerates only .05 per cent and other countries less.
Waitemata strategic road policing manager John Kelly says the catch rate for drink drivers is going up again. In the 1990s police were catching about 25,000 drink drivers a year. This slowly dropped to around 23,000 but the trend began to rise again and now police prosecute about 29,000 drink drivers annually.
"We seem to have gone through a societal change somewhere along the line and it may be connected with the ease of access to alcohol these days."
Metropolitan Auckland has about 3500 liquor outlets and the downtown area is crammed with bars. All police can do is carry on with enforcement and point out to authorities and social engineers that there is a problem.
Kelly is concerned at the number of young people being caught. Around the country, about 20 per cent of those being caught are under 20.
This is a significant number - in the Generation Y age group - and this age group reflects other sides of policing, such as street disorder and out of control parties, which have also risen.
"There used to be one [out of control party] a year but now there seems to be at least one a weekend where they have a big stoush on the street and I think a lot of it comes back to that ease of access to alcohol."
Brooking says that behind most drink driving offences is a battle with the bottle but problems with alcohol are behind much more than just drinking and driving. Statistics indicate up to 90 per cent of all crime is alcohol related.
Kelly agrees and says the statistics are telling. During 2006/2007, police in Auckland ran 698 checkpoints, stopped 320,296 vehicles, carried out 498 blood tests, prosecuted nearly 2000 drunk drivers, recovered 16 stolen vehicles, found 643 disqualified drivers, arrested 23 people for drug offences, four people for violence, 12 for dishonesty and made 129 arrests for outstanding warrants.
Banning alcohol is probably not the answer, Kelly says, but "I suspect it's one of those things that if someone invented it now and it had never been used before we probably would ban it."
For now, he would like to see the blood alcohol limit lowered from .08 per cent to .05 per cent.
"There is a huge amount of evidence that says if we bring that level down, we will reduce crashes, we will reduce deaths. The estimates are anything from 16 to 60 deaths a year and hundreds and hundreds of injuries."
The evidence also suggests that bringing the level down for everyone will reduce recidivism.
Another problem, though, is getting Generation Y's and high level offenders to care.
"They probably figure the worst sanction is they can be fined, they can lose their car, they can lose their licences, they can go to jail and after we've sent them to jail there's nothing worse we can do and some of them will say, you know, 'that's a risk I'll take to carry on my chosen lifestyle'."
If a young person has been fined $400 for not licensing their car, then is caught again and again, by the time the fine has reached $2000 many say "I can never pay that anyway so I won't even bother trying."
Nick Aldous from the Ministry of Transport concedes there is a casual attitude among some to getting caught but questions whether this is any worse than it has ever been.
But research does show that it does not take a big fines debt for teenagers to decide it is too big to ever be able to pay and at that point the fine system stops acting as a deterrent.
When it comes to repeat drink driving, Brooking has strong words for the judiciary. Judges, he says, rarely order people who turn up in court to undergo drug and alcohol assessments.
Judges have the power to order an assessment, yet only 5 per cent of drink drivers are sent for one, says Brooking.
The beauty of an assessment for even a first time drink driver is that if the person is found to have a drinking problem, the judge can require him or her to obtain counselling or attend a residential treatment programme.
Rather than label people "bloody idiots", judges should realise they have a drinking problem, he says.
"My impression of why judges are so reluctant to do anything is because they're simply not trained to do it.
"They come from a legal background, and their job fundamentally is to adjudicate on the legalities of the issue and to hand down a sentence ... it isn't part of their brief to think 'well, what is underlying this guy's offending and is there anything I can do about it?"'
Brooking praises some judges. In Wellington recently a judge had seven or eight people before him in one day for drink driving and he ordered all of them to have assessments.
Brooking wants the liquor industry to have a similar levy to that of the gambling industry, which pays money to help problem gamblers.
"The damage caused by alcohol is far greater than the damage caused by methamphetamine and all other drugs combined."By Catherine Masters Email Catherine