New Zealand newspaper 'names and shames' drink drivers on front page

The campaign comes amid increasing convictions in the popular resort town of Queenstown

New Zealand newspaper 'names and shames' drink drivers on front page

View of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Picture by: Kai Schworer/DPA/PA Images

A local newspaper in New Zealand has 'named and shamed' convicted drink drivers on its front page.

The names were published in Mountain Scene, a paper based in Queenstown, as part of its campaign against what it describes as a "drink driving epidemic".

Queenstown - located on New Zealand's North Island - is a booming resort town, known for its nearby mountains, the adjacent Lake Wakatipu, and also for offering a wide variety of outdoor activities.

The town attracts around two million tourists a year.

Statistics published by Mountain Scene showed that while the nationwide number of drink-driving convictions has been in decline, the number in Queenstown has increased in recent years.

Figures from 2016 showed 208 convictions in the town - up almost 50 on the figure recorded in 2014.

David Williams, editor of Mountain Scene, told the Newstalk ZB radio station: "We thought if the judicial system isn't offering up a deterrent that's bad enough for people not to get behind the wheel, then we'd help out.

"We've put 100 names on the front page today and they are the 100 people that we know of that have been convicted of drink driving in this town, this year."

He added that the paper has seen "very strong reactions" from readers - mostly divided into the two very different categories of of 'good on you' and 'how dare you'.

Here in Ireland, the prospect of publishing the names of drink drivers has previously been raised by Transport Minister Shane Ross.

He told The Irish Times that the idea is "often more powerful than fining them or issuing penalty points".