Sunday, February 03, 2013

Licence Revoked

The Herald on Sunday's big story today is the undetonated timebomb of expired drivers licences, which threatens to inundate bureaucrats with more revenue.

NZ Drivers Licences expire after ten years, the way that NZ Passports used to. It wasn't always thus. For a brief moment, the bureaucratic clouds parted and drivers licences were for a lifetime (or 70-something, whichever came first).

But there's no user-pays fees in that strategy. So, one day the government declared that after ten years of being an able and competent driver, all of a sudden you weren't.

You had to go to the AA, fill in the correct form, sit an impromptu eye test of dubious merit, get photographed in unflattering lighting, and hand over a significant chunk of change. Only then were you deemed a competent and legal driver again.

The old 'lifetime' licence had no photo, the current 10 year ones did. The drivers licence has since become a form of generally accepted ID, contrary to legislative intent.

As a nation, we used to scoff at other countries that required its citizens to carry ID papers at all times. Now we suck it up.