top of page

Subscribe Form

Thanks for submitting!


LINDSAY MITCHELL: Cracking down hard ... on people with hangovers

A sneaking suspicion is crawling up my spine.

In a reaction to ram-raiding (which has now morphed into aggravated angle-grinding); to cold-blooded murders by a home detainee; to brazen trolley-filled supermarket shoplifting; to defiant silence from witnesses of child abuse deaths; New Zealanders voted for a crackdown on law and order.  The issue was second only to inflation on the list of the voter concerns in the run-up to the 2023 election. New Police Minister Mitchell has sent a public message to old Police Commissioner Coster - Quit with the tolerance of crime.

Since the election police visibility on our roads has ramped up. For instance, on a bypass road running between a golf course and a military facility the speed limit recently reduced from 80kmph to 50kmph. Of a morning, frequent sirens blast as police catch unaware 'speeders' as if shooting fish in a barrel.

Now we learn forty-five people were arrested on New Year's Day leaving Rhythm and Vines for drinking and driving. Well actually drinking, sleeping it off and driving. The three check-point operation was run in the morning.

The age-old sensible slogan will have to be amended to 'Don't Drink, Sleep and Drive.'

OK. People with hangovers probably aren't the safest drivers behind the wheel. But then neither are people with fatigue, who chose not to sleep. 

"No driver has the right to put other people's lives at risk; every person in and around your vehicle relies on you being in full control of it" says the police area commander. Quite.

But all of this smacks of window-dressing:  Look at us. Look how tough we are. Look at all the resources we can summon up to catch people doing 55kmph in what was for years safely a 80kmph zone. Or to hobble the hungover.

In reality the police have much bigger, nastier fish to fry. But the temptation will always be, when pressed, to chase after low-hanging fruit.

Anyway. That's my suspicion. The demand for a 'tough on crime' approach will be executed but not in quite the way we anticipated.

And there will be no room to complain. Commissioner Coster need only reply, "You asked for it."

Let's hope I'm wrong.

In the year to November 2023 there were 347,068 crimes comprising assault, sexual assault, abduction, robbery, burglary and theft reported to police. Up 35,644 (or 10 percent) on the previous period.

Legal boundaries must always be drawn somewhere but sometimes crossing them is a minor breech. 

Policing and punishing minor misdemeanors does nothing to prevent innocent people from becoming victims of serious crime.

Lindsay Mitchell blogs here

3,802 views149 comments


20 hours ago charliecovkid7491 Replying to Picker N Grin "You sound like a left wing twot Charlie," And you sound like a redneck self opinionated oaf. 'Pecker' Your perspective clearly demonstrates that you are an obnoxious ill mannered prat. Better a " pointy head" than a fuck wit. Unable to maintain an intelligent, informed discussion. You are out of your depths. and resort to obscenities and irrational ranting. I don't normally respond to pricks like you But I'll make an exception in this case. You know virtually nothing about me and even less about the topic you are gibbering about. “Try being informed instead of being opinionated”


Replying to

Picker N Grin

Point taken

With respect, do you have an understanding of crime and punishment.


I can genuinely understand the cries for violent retribution.

 I've done it myself. Especially when dealing with crimes against children , or the weak and elderly.

 Violence begets violence. I've dealt with plenty, on a professional basis. .

I have dealt with murderers, rapists, paedophiles, drug dealers, gangsters et al


It's simply not a case of one size fits all.

I guess we could try a return to burning at the stake, public hanging or the very popular beheading

There is no single answer. This is well established fact.


Picker N Grin

Replying tocharliecovkid7491

All of the above is true but, not everyone that is born into 'trying circumstances' turn out criminals, people make choices. Those that make the wrong choice should be aware of the consequences. Anyone that goes to jail should start their sentence with 2 weeks bread and water with some hard labour, then they go into the general prison population where they are given the opportunity to learn/reform/whatever to mend their ways. As reminder, they get 3 weeks of hard labour in a chain gang and live in tents on the way out and the promise thats their future, if they come back in or, take a leaf out of sherif Joes regime in Arizona,…


Replying to

Picker N Grin

Oh dear !!!!

Where to begin ??? I don't think that any attempt at rational discussion will have any effect

You obviously have a right to your opinions. As do I . I have made similar comments regarding " Trying circumstances, " I certainly don't believe in making excuses for anti social behaviour.

You have some very interesting, but not unique, thoughts regarding crime and punishment. I've heard it all before , Phenomenally simplistic .

Several pieces of research into criminal behaviour have shown that more than the severity of punishment, it’s the certainty of being caught & punished which is a bigger deterrent for criminals. Increasing the certainty of being captured generally leads to…


Pickern grin's comment

Taking a leaf out of Singapore's treatment of petty, and other crime would be a good start, The rattan never did anyone any harm, but it did get their attention. Sherif Joe in Arizona also had the right idea, he had crims paying their way to stay in jail, didnt cost the community anything, dressing them in pink helped as well

bottom of page