Editorial: Denying winner prize not petty act

By Dylan Thorne

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The ongoing consequences of a drink-driving conviction are perfectly illustrated by the case of an All Black fan whose decision to get behind the wheel after a few drinks has cost him the trip of a lifetime.

 


Today, we report that Tauranga salesman Nick Ashton was selected to receive an all expenses paid trip for two to see the All Blacks play in London from Lion Breweries.

The 26-year-old's excitement was quickly dashed when he was asked about any criminal convictions and was told he was ineligible for the $10,000 prize because of his drink-driving offence.

For his part, Mr Ashton is outraged the conviction has cost him the trip. He argues that he is not a criminal, that he's been cheated out of the prize and that his drink-driving conviction should not make him ineligible for the trip. Tough.

Drink driving is a criminal offence and, like all other crimes, it has consequences. Those consequences can be immediate, in the form of fines, imprisonment or a loss of licence, or may arise in unexpected ways years later.

In this All Blacks fan's case it has resulted in him missing out on an all-expenses trip to the UK.

Mr Ashton may not want to accept it but it was his own actions that cost him this prize and it is a telling lesson for anyone who still views drink-driving as a minor offence.

As this paper has pointed out before, people who get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol are putting not only their lives at risk but the lives of others as well..

In 2011, a third of these crimes ended in someone's death on New Zealand roads

Despite this, many people continue to view it as a petty crime.

The point has not been lost on Lion's external relations director Liz Read, who says awarding Mr Ashton the prize would have sent the wrong signal about drink-driving and the company's responsibility to discourage alcohol-related offences.

Such offences disqualify people from winning competitions run by the company on a regular basis - so regular that she has been astounded by the number of people with drink-driving convictions.

If there is anyone Mr Ashton should be angry with, it is himself.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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