Drink-driving at top of local crime stats

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Drink-driving is the most common offence in Queenstown and New Zealand, official figures show. 

Ministry of Justice data released to Mountain Scene under the Official Information Act reveal the resort is in line with the national trend of drink-driving being the offence that brings in the most court fines. 

For the 2012 financial year, 109 fines were issued to drink-drivers in Queenstown District Court, worth a total of $35,470 – an average of $325. 

Nationally, 25,604 fines were issued to drink-drivers, worth a total of $8.6 million in the same period. 

The rest of the country’s top three offences include other driving offences, but runner-up on the list for Queenstown is disorderly conduct. Given the resort’s reputation as a party town and recent publicity over drunken tourists being arrested, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

Thirty-two people were fined for disorderly conduct during the 2012 fiscal year for a total of $6687, or an average of $209 per person. 

Number three on the list of most common offences resulting in a fine in Queenstown is dangerous or negligent operation of a vehicle. Twenty-six fines were doled out, worth a total of $17,557, or an average $675 per person. 

Twenty people were fined for theft charges in the same period (total $5626) and 20 people were fined for offences relating to commercial/industry/financial regulation (total $4828). 

Meanwhile, Queenstowners racked up 3422 parking fines for the 2012 fiscal year, resulting in a total of $107,419 imposed. 

Last week Mountain Scene revealed that the Justice Ministry scrapped $361,000 in court-imposed fines in the past five years. 

The amount was wiped from almost $1.1m worth of fines exchanged for alternative sentences. 

Ministry acting deputy secretary for legal and operational services Brendan Horsley says alternative sentences are imposed because “this clears fines off the Ministry of Justice’s books, allowing it to concentrate its efforts on collecting fines from people more likely to pay”.