Conviction costs man trip of a lifetime

By Amy McGillivray


Nick Ashton, a sales representative for Tauranga Wind-screens and Glass, got a phone call on Wednesday from a Lion Breweries representative to say he had won an all-expenses-paid trip for two to see the All Blacks play in London.

But the 26-year-old's excitement was quickly dashed when he was asked about any criminal convictions, and told he was ineligible for the $10,000 prize because he'd been convicted of a drink-driving offence earlier this year.

The All Blacks fan had filled out and sent multiple entry forms from the back of Steinlager boxes in the hope of winning the prize.

Mr Ashton accepted he'd made a mistake getting behind the wheel and was paying the price, losing his licence for six months.

But he said it should not jeopardise his winning something like this.

"I'm not a criminal. Everybody's had a traffic offence. It just seems pathetic," Mr Ashton said.

"If that was the case 25 per cent of the country wouldn't be able to go ...

I feel cheated."

External relations director for Lion- Beer, Spirits and Wine New Zealand, Liz Read, said the terms and conditions clearly stated a police check would be done and the prize would be awarded at the company's discretion.

"We think it's unfortunate that we can't give it to him," she said.

"What sort of signal would it send if we were to award something of that value to a drink-driver. It's entirely unacceptable behaviour."

She said Lion believed it had an important responsibility to discourage all alcohol-related offences.

"An alcohol-related offence is actually at the top of our list, somewhat behind violence or sexual offences."

Ms Read said such offences disqualified people from winning competitions on a regular basis.

"We are quite astounded how many people have drink-driving convictions and we are very concerned about it ...

"I'm quite flabbergasted by the outrage that people express when we advise them they have done something that disqualified them from receiving a prize from an alcohol producer."

The prize has been redrawn and awarded to an eligible entrant.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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