David Williams: Drink-drive and you’re on our front page

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OPINION: Yesterday we started a campaign aimed directly at Queenstown’s drink-drivers.

On our front page you’ll find the names of the 100 people who have been convicted of drink-driving in Queenstown, or locals who appeared in other courts, so far this year.

That’s right, 100 people in less than six months.

What an abysmal record.

The torrent of pissed-up drivers parading through our courts each fortnight makes it clear that the court system isn’t offering a big enough deterrent.

So we’ve decided to create a new one.

If you drive drunk Mountain Scene will print your name on the front page.

And we’ll do that for the rest of the year.

We’ll make sure it’s posted online, too, so your future employers can find you on the web.

The number of drink-drivers revealed in Paul Taylor’s story should be sobering reading for everyone in Queenstown and the wider district.

The pure volume of people getting behind the wheel after a night on the lash is worrying in itself.

But the figures also show Queenstown is heading in the wrong direction while other centres are cleaning up their act.

We, as a paper, will not tolerate it any longer.

Do we want more Nicholas Catlins?

In March, Catlin lost control of his car while drunk and skittled poor Mutsuko Morisue, who was standing on a Queenstown footpath.

He’s been sentenced to two years and four months in prison.

It would have been better for everyone if Catlin took a taxi home.

Local drug and alcohol counsellor Kathryn Denniston says many pissed people don’t remember getting in their cars in the first place. So why take the risk?

If you taxi into town then you can’t drive home. Simple.

Another tactic is limit your drinking money – leave your Eftpos card at home.

With our front page shaming, some might argue Mountain Scene is heaping further punishment on people when they’ve already been dealt with by the justice system.

What codswallop.

The publication of names is already part of the deterrent for criminals. So when they commit a crime they’re already running the risk of appearing in our paper.

But drink-driving in this town is at such epidemic proportions we feel the need to take it a step further. And it can’t be done just once.

A new wave of arrivals hit town every week so, to be effective, our campaign has to last months.

What we want is for word to get around the bars so people will think twice about drink-driving.

If it stops just one person from starting up after pissing up, it’ll be worth it.

david@scene.co.nz