This exchange of letters is genuine. It dates from 2005 when computer executive Paul Clarkin received a letter from the local police about an alleged incident of unsafe driving. Mr Clarkin was not amused.
First, the original letter from the Police:
New Zealand Police
Nga Piurihimana O Aotearoa
15 June 2005
Records indicate that you are the owner of Holden registration number ******.
On Friday, 10 June 2005 your vehicle was seen exceeding the speed limit at the junction of Shortland Street and Fields Lane, Auckland. Evasive action taken by pedestrians. This incident took place at about 1:15 PM and has been reported to the police by way of the Community Roadwatch program.
You may not have been the driver at the time and even if you were you may feel that the driving was not in any way risky. However another person was sufficiently alarmed by the driving to report the matter to the Police. The other person’s perception was that the way your vehicle was driven at that time was not safe.
If you were not the driver at the time, we would ask that you bring this matter to the driver’s attention.
Inspector Matt Fitzsimons
Officer in Charge: Police Infringement Bureau
Well, Paul was not a happy bunny. In fact, he was furious. So he returned fire with both barrels…
21st Officer in Charge
Police Infringement Bureau
New Zealand Police
PO Box 9147 Wellington
Attention : Inspector Matt Fitzsimons
RE: Police advice Ref ******
Thank you for your recent letter dated June 15th, 2005.
I appreciate that you are only following up on a report from a member of the public but I feel the need to set the record straight as I have been driving for the past 25 years all over the world without incident and class myself as generally a good driver. Yes, I have had a few speeding tickets during this time, but that doesn’t necessarily detract from a person’s driving abilities.
I was indeed the driver of this Holden. I clearly remember this incident because it happened on the eve of my 40th birthday and I remember thinking that it was a miracle that I had made it to this milestone despite there being numerous stupid people out there.
My car is an HSV Avalanche, which is a two tonne 300KW 5.7L V8 4WD Holden station wagon with a performance braking package fitted to it. Whenever this car is driven, the minimum forward lighting on it is the halogen driving lights that sit below the front grill – this being necessary because of the large number of dickhead drivers on the Auckland motorway system.
On the afternoon of June 10th, my wife and I were on our way to Auckland International airport to pick up some friends who had flown over for my 40th birthday party that was being held the next day. We were making a quick detour to my company offices when the incident occurred.
I was already in the process of turning my car right into Fields Lane from the western side of Shortland Street (Queen Street end) when I was first introduced to Dumb Ass A and Dumb Ass B who both simply stepped off the footpath to cross Fields Lane right in front of me.
At this particular point in time we now had said two tonne car, with it’s lights and right hand indicator on, having complete right of way after giving way to the appropriate vehicle traffic. We also now had two clowns who were happily chatting to each other, completely ignorant of their surroundings, walking down Shortland Street (south side) and when they reached the kerb they simply kept on walking right into my path without even looking for traffic.
Note that this is not a pedestrian crossing of any kind.
The chances of these two being able to beat a car that was already committed to turning were about that of Auckland being able to beat Waikato in an NPC rugby match – slim to none.
As soon as I realised that Dumb Ass A and Dumb Ass B had a deathwish, I hit the car horn and the brakes at the same time.
The three air horns which are located on the front left side of the car (the very solid, pointy corner closest to Dumb Ass A and Dumb Ass B) hit a single, beautiful note at about 100 decibels. Now 100 decibels is about 20 decibels louder than the Sprint Cars cars that were deemed “too loud” for the Western Springs raceway, thereby causing it to close because in Auckland at the moment we seem to have an anti-motorsport, politically correct, left leaning, tree hugging, land-rights-for-gay-whales City Council – but I digress.
Anyway, Dumb Ass A and Dumb Ass B now looked to the source of the 100dB noise and in doing so started to realise that stepping out in front of two tonnes of General Motors metal that was bearing down on them at about 30kmph with a set of 200W halogen spot lights now burning their retinas and making the metal on metal sound of a Bosch 5.3 ABS system kicking in onto a set of 336 x 32mm AP Racing ventilated and grooved front discs with HSV-embossed twin piston Corvette front calipers (in HRT red) and 315 x 18mm ventilated and grooved rear discs was perhaps not the smartest move they have either individually or collectively ever made.
Put simply, they shit themselves & back-pedalled faster than an eight year old at Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch, I pulled the car up in time, wound the window down and let loose with some brilliant swear words that one can only learn after serving at least 10 years in the Army, and we all went on our merry way.
I can understand why the guy behind me had a heart murmur because an HSV Avalanche can come to a complete stop from 100KM/H in about 6.3 seconds. We were both lucky that he didn’t hit me as I braked because Dumb Ass A and Dumb Ass B might have got run over after all.
In order for my car to have supposedly exceeded the 50kmph speed limit that prevails within our fair city as I was making a complete 90 degree right-handed turn, both the car and my wife and I would have been subjected to lateral G Forces of around .92 Gs.
I can assure you that had I actually attempted to carry out such a manoeuvre as your letter suggests, my wife would have given me a rather significant slap up side of my head followed by a not-insignificant lecture and I would have had to spend the rest of the weekend on the couch.
If you get a chance to talk to whichever one of Dumb Ass A or Dumb Ass B who had the perception “that the way my vehicle was being driven was not safe”, could you ask them if they would much rather have had the number plate of the car embedded in their skull due to being mowed down as a result of their own stupidity.
You may also wish to point out to this person that just because the City Council also killed any chance of an Auckland City street race, that decision didn’t also suddenly give pedestrians super-human powers to simply ignore any of the existing rules in the Road Code.
The fact that Dumb Ass A and Dumb Ass B were able to lodge a complaint with your office is both a testament to the quality of Holden HSV braking systems and my own lightning quick reflexes. I would therefore like to be rewarded for this outstanding display of driving skills with lower petrol prices and a better corporate tax rate. Can you see what you could do for me here and please get back to me.
This incident does prove one thing though – in order to have smart people in this world, you need to have dumb asses by which to gauge
Thank you for your time and I am happy to discuss further
The police decided that, sometimes, you’re just not going to win… better to withdraw gracefully.
New Zealand Police
Nga Pirihimana O Aotearoa
29 June 2005
Dear Mr. Clarkin
RE: Roadwatch Report *******
Thank you for your letter dated the 21st June 2005, concerning the driving matter on the 10th June 2005 in Auckland. I certainly appreciate what you have written, I note the points in your letter (not the descriptions), there are always two sides to one
story, we are not to know that until like in this situation, you have brought in another side of the story.
I have attached your letter to our file.
Any further enquiries please do not hesitate to contact me.
Senior Constable E319
(Ph 04 381 0046)
Safer Communities Together