Matt Greenop on motoring
Matt Greenop is editor of Driven magazine

Matt Greenop: We have a winner...


This week's admission by police that tickets were wrongly issued to about 20,000 motorists is without doubt one of the leaders in this year's automotive stupidity awards.

It won't win - Australia's embarrassingly short-sighted farewell to its car manufacturing industry is a shoo-in for number one. The devastation in terms of jobs and car industry strength will be huge, no matter which carefully chosen words the politicians utter.

Many Aussies believe government support - whichever form it may take - should never have existed. But it is how it works, globally.

The so-called patriots essentially allowed two Australian icons to fall over and failed to protect jobs that aren't going to be easy to replace.

New Zealand's car industry, on the other hand is cranking along, with many distributors reporting record months for January. It is possible to survive the collapse of manufacturing, but there are far more pleasant ways to do good business and keep people gainfully employed. Ask Germany.

It signals that Kiwis have a bit more padding in the pocket at the moment, and they're liking what's on offer - and there's a lot. It's a busy year for car launches and some big surprises are likely to drop in Geneva in two weeks.

Now, back to surprises - how did it take so long for the police ticketing problem to be picked up? The problem here was ticketing former vehicle owners from an outdated database, not ticketing them for driving at 54km/h.

This happened between October 22 and December 16, and was an "isolated fault" caused by use of an old Transport Agency database. Anyone who sold cars, or changed their address or surname during that time could have been a winner.

An investigation took until this week to establish that this 'isolated fault' was not particularly isolated at all. Anyone who's argued the toss on a speeding ticket will know that their investigation didn't last even a fraction of this time before they're told to go away.

What other pieces of recent automotive stupidity should be recognised? Tell us below or on

- NZ Herald

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