Kiwi thought NZ licence was suitable replacement

"WILL I be right to drive in New Zealand. I'm pretty sure I will be," Kiwi citizen James Hapurona queried an Ipswich court magistrate.

Charged with driving unlicensed four days before Christmas, Hapurona told magistrate David Shepherd "I'm guilty but I've got a New Zealand licence until 2021 and this happened."

"I'm a New Zealand citizen."

James Tane Hapurona, 33, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to driving unlicensed when suspended because of demerit points on December 21, 2017.

Prosecutor Sergeant Jo Colston said Hapurona was caught driving at 11am on the Ipswich-Boonah Road at Peak Crossing. She said his licence had been suspended from October 4.

"He says he knew his Queensland licence was suspended but because he held a New Zealand licence he thought he could keep driving," Sgt Colston said.

"Will I be right to drive in New Zealand," Hapurona then inquired of Mr Shepherd.

"I'm pretty sure I will be."

However, Mr Shepherd told Hapurona he could not give him advice about that.

"Do you work," inquired Mr Shepherd.

"I don't have to," said Hapurona.

"Any income?" asked Mr Shepherd, trying to gauge if the offender could pay a fine.

"Yes. I'd rather not pay a fine as I'm getting double-whammed," said Hapurona.

"If I pay a fine and I don't have a licence."

Mr Shepherd said he might be able to do a community service work order.

"Can I do it in New Zealand," asked Hapurona.

"No," said Mr Shepherd.

Hapurona was convicted and fined $400, and disqualified from driving for six months.

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