Monday, January 07, 2008

Bedtime for Conservative Canards

One of the many, mostly silly, conservative talking points that pop up with dreary regularity in the Great New Zealand Debate is the claim that speed cameras and speeding fines are simply a government revenue gathering exercise. (DPF obliges with examples here and here*).

The nonsensical nature of this claim is revealed by the following statistic:

All fees and fines put together contribute a whopping 1% to crown revenue. This figure is made up of much more than just speeding tickets too, meaning that the actual contribution of speeding fines to government revenue is trivially small. The government could eliminate all speeding fines tomorrow and still run a comfortable surplus.

So why don't they?

Presumably because the actual reason for levying speeding fines is the official one: to punish people for breaking the law** and to try and make our roads safer.


*To be fair to David Farrar I should note that he does - grudgingly - approve of speed cameras in some circumstances. This is more than can be said about many NZ conservatives.
**And while we're on the subject, have you ever noted the way that law and order conservatives tend to be all for the strict enforcement of all laws except those that might conceivably inconvenience their mighty selves.

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