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Moana Sinclair's Lawlessness Far From Rare

Alliance Press Secretary Moana Sinclair is one of 800,000 people still do not have their new photo-id licenses and the Land Transport Authority says publicity surrounding her misfortune may assist in getting more people to get their licenses up to date.

A spokesperson for the authority Craig Dowling said the LTSA had set a target to get 2.4 million people into the new photo-identity licenses by the 2nd of June.

Currently 1.6 million people had received their new licenses with 800,000 still needing to make the change.

However because of gaps in records in the previous life-time license system, Mr Dowling admitted the department could not know exactly how many people still needed to change to new licenses.

He said he estimated there are a small but significant number of people that are not on record because they have changed address or moved overseas.

The onus was on drivers to come to the authority and change their licenses, and the "star-sign" television advertisement campaign was aimed at making people aware of this need, Mr Dowling said.

Current law requires holders of the old life-time license to change them to the new plastic photo-identity card in the month of their birthday.

If old license holders have not changed to the cards after a further 60 days, they face a $400 fine and are barred from driving if caught behind the wheel.

If caught a second time, as happened to Moana Sinclair, their car is impounded for a period of 28 days and the owner of the car is liable for all towage and storage costs. The owner of the car can appeal the decision to impound the car.

A year later if they still do not have their new licenses they would have to re-sit their driving test.

When asked why these penalties were not included in the current television advertisements reminding people of the new system, Mr Dowling said "budgetary constraints" had not made this possible.

Mr Dowling said the penalties for not having your new license were heavily publicised at the time of introduction, and all media releases issued by the authority on the licenses mentioned them.

"To a certain extent our cause is helped by publicity surrounding instances like [Moana Sinclair's]"

Alliance Press Secretary Moana Sinclair currently faces charges of assaulting a police officer and driving without a current licence when she was caught driving Sandra Lee's ministerial vehicle without a new licence last week.

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