Somebody somewhere in this country has had $11,600 worth of infringement notices for failing to display their registration on their vehicle. This sort of treatment may seem harsh, especially when for so many people their vehicle is a necessity because it's also the family home.
It's hard to know how a car owner who was not a goldfish in disguise could forget to do this 57 times. But it highlights the absurdity of the law requiring you to display your rego, which, according to a Ministry of Transport representative, "has a number of purposes, including a road safety purpose".
"Including." I don't want to nit-pick about vocabulary here, but a more accurate phrase might have been "has a number of purposes, mainly being a nice little earner".
There's a degree of whimsicality about how this rule is administered. I was once guilty of the offence but let off with a warning, told to hightail it down to the nearest office and get myself registered.
I guess the officer concerned could see my potential and decided I deserved a second chance. I took it with both hands and have never looked back. I turned over a new leaf, grateful for the opportunity I'd been given.
I don't know if being white and middle class increases your chances of clemency? How would you tell?
I'm also not sure where in the list of causes of accident - which includes drink driving, speeding, changing the music on your phone and eating pies - failing to display your rego sits, but I doubt it's very near the top.
Vehicles are big, expensive, dangerous things and it's good we keep track of them like we do other weapons of potential mass destruction.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
We shouldn't have to add the possibility of this fine to the already numerous bureaucratic perils of our daily life.
If technology is available that allows a police officer to note a vehicle's licence plate number and immediately, thanks to the wonder of satellites, computers, information systems and opposable thumbs working in harmony, find out whether that vehicle is on a database of stolen cars, he or she should also be able to find out whether it is on a database of registered vehicles.
The "display" provision is so out of step with the times it can only still be there to trap motorists.
It should be replaced.
Speaking of anachronisms, Winston Peters should have chosen the Government by the time you read this, and if not will do so any year now.
It will indeed be time to turn over a new leaf.
And while we're doing that it would also be a good time and clear out the anachronisms that litter our language.
At the least we should know what we are talking about when we use them.
Only when doing some research - oh, yes, I do - for this column did I find out that when we CC an email the CC refers to "carbon copy", something that has never happened to an email ever.
So not only is that out of date, even people who were old enough to have used carbon paper didn't know what it meant.
A linguistic spring clean is tempting but would be rash (two things Peters isn't).
It would be all very well to throw out obsolete phrases like "turn over a new leaf".
But when you consider the alternatives would include "time to reboot" or "time for a system reset" we are probably better off retaining the old phrases with their faint whiff of poetry and the window they keep open on the past - two things, funnily enough, you also get with Peters.