Editorial: Rush to bill for crash disturbing

By Doug Laing

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The New Zealand Transport Agency, so charged with the responsibility of helping the nation bring down the road toll, seems to have acted with an odd sense of haste in raising the toll of the crashes on our highways.

At least that's what can be taken from a decision to lumber a teenager with costs associated with a serious crash near Taradale, while the woman was still in hospital just three weeks after the incident.

The bill of $1366.29 was literally adding insult to injury, but has possibly far-reaching ramifications, not only for the overall question of who pays when the emergency services come running and who closes and cleans up the road.

Also at issue is justice and fair play over who decides, and how quickly, who's right and who's wrong, for even when there's just one vehicle there can still be issues other than driver carelessness.

It's a little ironic that insurance companies which once seemed to have all the power in these issues could now be fighting a benchmark issue, for while it is apparently just one of two such accounts in Hawke's Bay in the past six months, there are hints that the flagging postal rates across New Zealand could soon be getting a wee boost as Government agencies start distributing all sorts of financially weighted mail in the bid to balance the Treasury books a bit better.

The imagination can start to run wild as to what the possibilities might be, but it's not worth thinking about. Sooner or later, there's bound to be a fee or a tax for that as well.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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