STRAIGHT TALK: Column by Richard Moore

Zero tolerance blitz no place for a rookie
I love it when high-profile people lead by example.
Henry V with his "once more into the breach, dear friends" before he risked death joining his men in the storm of the walls of Harfleur.
Julius Caesar, surrounded and massively outnumbered by more than 300,000 stirred-up Gauls, as he fought hand to hand for hours before finally triumphing at Alesia.
Lieutenant John Rouse Merriott Chard whose heroics at Rorke's Drift saved his 120 men from the butcher's blades of 4000 Zulu assegais.
Graham Henry, All Blacks coach, as he drove at 31km/h over the speed limit in a 50km/h area.
Oooh, that's not so good is it? Not really a good example at all. But then he got off. Hooray! Or is it?
In this case it isn't the typical Kiwi thing of allowing high-profile people to get away with all sorts of misdemeanours, but rather the dubious logic of the police.
You see the police say - and hopefully this just isn't a smokescreen to allow them to let Henry off a serious traffic offence because he coaches the ABs - that the cop who zapped him with a speed gun wasn't qualified to do so and therefore Henry couldn't be charged anyway.
He, like many others that night of the 4km/h zero-tolerance blitz, got away with warnings.
Now in my view zero tolerance means no one gets off.
If an officer was unable to legally prosecute an offender, then surely he should not have been practising during the blitz.
And while completely backing road safety efforts by the police, I have to question the legality of this 4km/h mark.
Car speedometers are accurate only to about 10 per cent of the speed shown and that is why law enforcement officials around the world allow that 10 per cent tolerance.

If I was caught speeding by 4km/h I would challenge it on the grounds that my car's speedo isn't that accurate.
I would also want to know when the speed gun that zapped me in my unlikely speeding was last calibrated.
They do need regular testing to make sure they are accurate. In America that is done once or twice a year.
I remember a classic case in Melbourne when a 1960s vehicle was clocked by a fixed-position speed camera as doing 140km/h while going uphill on a highway.
The owner filed a query on the speed camera and discovered it had not been calibrated in several years.
In fact, all of the cameras were so out that the Victorian Government had to reimburse hundreds of millions of dollars. That has also occurred in NSW.
Back to here.
I reckon 10 per cent tolerance is logical and anyone caught doing more than that should have the book thrown at them by qualified officers.
That includes the coach of the All Blacks.
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OOOOh, to all those scary kidiwinkies who extracted choccies from me on Halloween by scaring the living nightlights out of me all I can say is I hope you enjoyed yourselves.
There were skeletons with scythes - which gave me heart palpitations thinking the Grim Reaper had popped by again for me - witches, skeletons and various other beasties.
And all I can say is don't listen to those whingeing, ill-educated boors who say "Halloween is an American invention".
Halloween is Celtic, derr-brains - All Hallows Eve - and in the Middle Ages people would wander from house to house, all dressed up, looking for treats.
All the Americans have done is raise it to a fun occasion, with the exception of anyone in a house with pretty university students and an insane brother called Michael, of course.
Now while on the subject of Halloween - the pint-sized brutes from the gang and violence-ravaged wastes of south Auckland have again shown that you can never generalise too much.
Instead going up to houses, knocking on the doors and saying "Trick or treat?", the South Auckland thugettes are going up to doors, hammering on them and saying, "Sod trick or treat ... if you don't give us lollies we'll duff you up and burn your house down."
Extra police patrols were called after numerous complaints from people who had been menaced by the feral hobbits. You know I still reckon the best way to deal with south Auckland is to get a message to the Taleban that Mohammad has been offended there and they'll deal to the place.
Hang on, maybe south Auckland's too dangerous for the Taleban ...

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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