Car crushing 'discredits law'
Thu, 21 Jun 2012 2:48p.m.
Police Minister Anne "Trasher" Tolley is talking tough on anti-boy racer laws, but a well-known criminologist has dismissed the first car crushing as "ministerial grandstanding".
After a four-year wait since the new law was introduced by then police minister Judith Collins, which earned her the nickname "Crusher", Ms Tolley on Thursday in Lower Hutt pushed the button to compact the law's first victim.
She said it would send a strong message to boy racers and would be upsetting for them to have their cars destroyed.
The law targeting illegal street racing has seen a nearly 30 percent reduction in offences between 2009 and 2011.
However, Canterbury University criminologist Professor Greg Newbold is scathing of the crushing laws, describing them as "vindictive, malicious, petty and an undignified way of dealing with the problem".
It was "ministerial grandstanding" and using it to look as if the Government was getting tough on crime, he told NZ Newswire.
"I think it discredits the Government and it brings the legal system into disrepute and engenders disrespect for the law."
Crushing a car would not have any effect, and if anything would be more antagonistic towards young drivers, most of who would go on to be productive members of society, he said.
"It would be far better to confiscate it and sell it to another buyer."
Boy racers spent a lot of money on their cars and it would be far more effective to take their licences off them, he said.
He put the drop in offences down to fear of that, rather than car crushing.
The car's owner, reported to be 19-year-old Paraparaumu Beach man Daniel Briant, lost his car under the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act, which requires a car to be seized and destroyed following a third illegal street racing offence.
He has now reached his fourth strike after being found guilty of driving while suspended, sustained loss of traction and dangerous driving, and disqualified from driving for 21 months, and is awaiting sentencing on his fourth offence.
Ms Tolley says there are 116 offenders on two strikes.
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25/06/2012 6:10:29 p.m.
@Nigel, this is not about Boy Racers per se. This is about persons who are repeatedly committing traffic offences, eg driving while disqualified. Monitor a Court list for six months and you'll see the same people popping up again and again, demonstrating a blatant disregard for the law. If you don't want your car crushed, the remedy is simple - don't drive.
23/06/2012 9:52:01 p.m.
You know Boy Racers are just having fun, why do you all have such a problem with that?
23/06/2012 2:27:06 p.m.
Not a good look Anne, we do have a justice system that deals with these matters....or should be the ones to deal with them.
23/06/2012 1:59:53 p.m.
I am one of the 116 on the 2nd strike,second strike was bull but i didnt have the money or time to defend myself in court... have over 60k invested in my car now im worried...
Have been to family layer and am now looking at setting up a trust and adding the car as a depreciating asset or putting the car ownership into a company name.
22/06/2012 9:52:39 p.m.
Two points arise here.
1. Greg Newbold must be on another planet with his comments about taking licences and crushing making boy racers antagonistic. Many of them are likely to be disqualified but they flout the law anyway. Selling the car is unlikely to have much effect. I bet one of their mates would be a likely buyer and nothing would be changed.
2. As for increasing antagonism, these racers are antagonistic and negative towards the law no matter what. That’s why they are involved in illegal racing knowing full-well that they are breaking the law. Simple – if they want to keep the car, don’t be pathetic and break the law! Yes, it’s the usual attitude that “I have rights.” Well the news is - so do the rest of us, except we can show responsibility as well. The clown who had his car crushed epitomises contemptible arrogance by being on his fourth charge!
22/06/2012 11:02:52 a.m.
Crush their cars and its one less vehical on the road that will do damage to people or public property. how is it if you want a motorcycle licence you are restricted to a certain cc rating, how about it is made law that they restrict the cc rating of cars too. maybe a 1000cc, its still fast enough to get from a to b and can still be made to look good.
These guys have no respect for laws because they have been brought up in the new world where they know they can not be punished. so teach them hard where it hurts in their pockets and if their parents pay for them then they will be hurt too and maybe will have to take responsibility for their actions as well.
I was curious that the expensive bitls like mags and spoilers had been removed, I hope the owner was not aloud to remove anything from the car before it was crushed.
You do the crime, you know the consequenses so why should there we any questions.
When someone shoots someone you cant say "oh well take away his guns and he wont do it again," the law is there and you know the punishment.
22/06/2012 10:38:07 a.m.
Taking their licences away won't make any difference. I doubt half of them have licences in the first place! Keep on crushing the cars - and name and shame them. It seems the first guy was very embarrassed. Good.
22/06/2012 9:31:29 a.m.
The fact that these 'boy' racers perform ILLEGAL street racing in the first place is evidence that they have no respect for the law. Taken away their licence is not going to deter them one iota! Confiscating the car and reselling it is not an option. Who is going to buy one of these hyper modified cars? Yup, just another boy-racer. Crushing the cars is a move in the right direction. I just don't think it is enough. Name and shame them on an online public database too!
21/06/2012 7:29:31 p.m.
Shame it wasn't the car of the boy racer that killed our family member. How disgusting and disrespectful of the youth that laugh at the seriousness of their crime. Keep on Crushing and make the fines and penalties harsher
21/06/2012 6:04:23 p.m.
Come on Greg, take their licenses off them? Are you serious? That doesn't, and never has stopped them because they drive anyway just like they often drive with no rego or warrant. I agree it is quite malicious to crush them, as well as being a huge waste. Selling them off would be much better.
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