There are some great conversations in the pub on a Friday night (there are probably some wonderful conversations on other nights of the week, too, but this post is about tonight, so…)

For no particular reason that I can recall someone mentioned demerit points. For those who live somewhere other than ‘Godzone’, ‘Middle Earth’, Aotearoa, New Zealand I should explain that if you are caught doing something naughty in your car you are likely to be fined, possibly jailed, maybe disqualified for a while, but certainly given DEMERIT POINTS! Demerit points are given on a sliding scale and they don’t go away. Get caught doing something naughty once, and rack up some points. No worries- no real penalty. Hullo! Do something naughty and get caught again, and you grab another bunch of points! Oh well, that’s OK, I can still drive. BUT, keep up naughtiness and the score gets to the stage where the it adds up to DISQUALIFICATION FROM DRIVING (100 demerit points). You lose your licence, you may not drive, no questions, no alternatives. So all of the naughtiness was pretty inconsequential, but the consequence of accumulated points can be a 3 month disqualification. No small deal, huh.

But back to the pub conversation. My BRIGHT SPARK friend suggested that there should be a parallel system whereby if you commit some naughtiness while driving BUT AREN’T CAUGHT you should be allocated merit points! What a bloody good idea! I went a bit over the speed limit but wasn’t caught, get 10 MERIT POINTS! I sort of drove through a Give Way sign and slightly inconvenienced someone (but didn’t cause an accident), but wasn’t pinged for it- gimme 20 MERIT POINTS. My phone goes so I glimpse into my rear-vision mirror, see nothing so answer the phone- hey! -another 20 MERIT POINTS! And so it goes on, and even though I am not barrelling around the country’s roads at 150kph, ignoring basic safety such as school patrolled crossings, keeping a dangerous and noisy clunker on the road I am sneakily avoiding penalties I am building up a wonderful credit of POINTS that the powers-that-be can take a few demerit points away from when I am finally caught.

And, no, I didn’t drive home from the pub- my good wife came down and picked me up, AND IT’S OUR 39TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! She gets a bunch of MERIT POINTS for that!!


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