A man died in Tauranga on Saturday after being run down by a boy racer. The driver responsible has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, but that's not good enough for the local mayor. Instead, he's proposing a bylaw to ban cars from large portions of the city after dark.
There are obvious practical problems: what about the cleaners, the night-shift workers, people who work late? Or simply those for whom the shortest path from A to B passes through a banned area? But more important than that is the violence done to the right of freedom of movement affirmed in s18 of the Bill of Rights Act. We need no permits for internal travel in New Zealand. We take it for granted that on public streets we can go where we choose, when we choose, and not have to justify ourselves to anyone. And if we choose to drive the streets at night, provided we keep within the speed limit and are not obviously drunk, it is no business whatsoever of the state. But if this bylaw passes, this will no longer be true, at least in Tauranga - and another valuable part of our freedom will have been sacrificed simply so some shitty little local body politician can be seen to be "doing something" about the headline d'jour.