It was a quiet road. We had just driven across New Zealand's South Island and were within two miles of our accommodation, just south of Greymouth. After the roundabout at Kumara Junction, we found ourselves behind a battered old pick up truck as we headed along the Taramaku Highway. The driver slowed down to little more than twenty miles an hour and waved me on but I stayed put until the next corner. I looked down the long gentle hill to the bridge at the bottom and saw that there was nothing in sight on the three lane road so I decided to overtake - which manoeuvre was completed safely within the flash of a kiwi's eye. Oh - the one fact I forgot to mention is there were double yellow lines on the edge of our downhill lane.
Next thing I know, zooming out of his roadside hiding place, comes a New Zealand traffic cop with his blue lights flashing. After Taramaku Bridge, I pull into a gravel driveway and the little fellow writes me an infringement notice. Apparently, I am going to be fined $NZ150 - around £75. It had been a long drive and I was tired and even though the pick up truck was travelling slowly and even though its driver had slowed down to encourage me to overtake and even though the road ahead was clear, I knew I was in the wrong.
However, we Yorkshire folk are even meaner than the Scots so to try to reduce my fine I wrote to the New Zealand Police in Wellington, apologising and explaining the circumstances. Hearing nothing and with the deadline date looming I decided to pay the fine anyway - avoiding any further repercussions. However, a few days later I received this letter - via Brunei for some odd reason:-
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And now in our online bank account I notice that they have refunded the whole fine. I have never been a big fan of police forces anywhere but may I say a big public thank you to the New Zealand Police. I accept their formal warning and should I ever be lucky enough to visit that faraway land again I will be even more respectful of their basic road rules.