Nice one, Pete – we would like to know where the revenue-grabbing speed cameras are hidden, too

Good on ya, Peter Dunne, for having a crack at the cops over their hidden speed cameras.

He is trying to find out where in the Wellington region the cameras are being used.

Alf might encourage him to extend his campaign to cover the Wairarapa.

The story popped up on the telly last night (see here).

“I think what all this subterfuge is about police having a nice little earner,” he told the broadcaster.

But was he worried on behalf of the public?

Or did he have a personal agenda?

Last month, Mr Dunne tweeted he had been sent two speed camera fines. “Ouch,” he said.

Obviously he is keen to avoid this happening again.

And so he wants police to make it obvious where they use the cameras public to send a bold signal to drivers to slow down.

The cops aren’t being helpful.

He tried to use the Official Information Act to get the information.

But police refused, saying it would prejudice the maintenance of the law.

Yep.

And it would prejudice the flow of a nice bundle of dosh.

Speed cameras fines were worth almost $50 million to nearly 700,000 speeding drivers last year.

Police told TV3 the aim of speed cameras is to get people to drive within the speed limit throughout their journey, not just in areas they think there may be police officers or speed cameras.

The Automobile Association supports publicising fixed speed camera locations, but says hidden cameras should be used to catch speeders as when fixed cameras are not working.

There’s just one thing niggles Alf about Pete becoming antsy about the cops gathering revenue (besides his concern to avoid the cameras).

He happens to be the Minister of Revenue whose job is revenue gathering.

If he had his way, the Government would have changed the way some employer-paid carparks in central Auckland and Wellington are treated for tax purposes.

A hullabaloo led to an embarrassing U-turn.

Announcing the change of heart, we were told (here):

“The proposal was made as a matter of fairness, because in general we consider that cash and non-cash benefits should be taxed the same way,” Mr English says.

“While we do not resile from that general principle of fairness, we do need to be pragmatic. This was considered likely to be one of those proposals from IRD where the cost of compliance, compared with the likely return, made it not worth pursuing.”

Pete then said officials’ estimates of the number of carparks which would have been affected were far fewer than the 180,000 that was being talked about publicly.

“Even so, for expected revenue of about $17 million, and the difficulties around ensuring the policy would not have adversely impacted other workers, it seems sensible not to proceed,” Mr Dunne says.

“We will continue to focus on fairness in the tax system but we also think that there are bigger and more important tax matters for officials to focus on.”

Including speed cameras, it seems.

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