Key snatcher didn't have licence

Robert Penman.
Robert Penman.
The Dunedin man who took car keys from a tourist on Otago Peninsula did not hold a valid New Zealand driver's licence, it has been revealed.

Robert Penman (45) made national headlines for his stance against a foreign driver on Highcliff Rd, on the Otago Peninsula.

''When you see the near-misses you see on a daily basis ... well, you've just got to do something,'' he told the Otago Daily Times following this month's key-snatching incident.

Dunedin police referred inquiries about the status of his licence to the New Zealand Transport Agency.

An NZTA spokesman yesterday confirmed Mr Penman's driver's licence expired on September 21 last year.

When approached for comment yesterday, Mr Penman confirmed he had been driving on an expired licence, but ''wasn't aware of it''.

''There are probably numerous people out there whose licences have expired and they aren't aware of it.''

He had been contacted by police and told to rectify the situation, which he hoped to do this week.

Mr Penman said he stood by his key-snatching, which prompted a comment from Prime Minister John Key condemning the practice.

''I have no problem with doing it again,'' Mr Penman said.

"If it saves people's lives, I have no problem with it.''

Since going public about the incident, he had received plenty of feedback, he said.

In the incident, Mr Penman tooted his horn after a rental car stopped on a road while its occupants took photos of scenery, causing eight vehicles to back up behind them.

He later blocked the car from exiting a driveway and snatched the keys from the driver.

Police were called to the scene and spoke to both parties.

No infringement notices were issued.

Mr Penman said other than some online comments, most people were supportive.

''Everywhere I have been people say, 'Good on you for standing up'.''

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz