Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Boy racers": Treasury says it won't work

Back in April, the government announced that Cabinet had signed off on its proposed anti-"boy racer" laws. Naturally, I requested the relevant Cabinet papers from the responsible Minister. Naturally, the Minister didn't want to hand them out. And having finally received the relevant Cabinet paper (after a second, illegal, extension) I can see why: because Treasury thought her ideas for getting positive media coverage by being "tough on crime" controlling "boy racers" through draconian measures wouldn't work. Here's what they had to say:

Regulatory Impact Analysis

Treasury does not consider that the Regulatory Impact Statement (see Appendix 3) would currently meet the Regulatory Impact Analysis criteria.


Treasury considers that some suggestions in the paper, such as rebalancing demerit point deductions with fines, and issuing notices to "forbid to drive", are potential low cost options for enhancing existing procedures. [Three sentences withheld under s9(2)(g)(i) OIA - "free and frank advice"]

However, there is no indication that these measures will be effective in altering illegal street racing behaviour.

Treasury is unable to support the full suite of proposals because there is no analysis, evident in the paper, that any of the measures proposed are likely to be effective in influencing behaviour and achieving the stated objectives. Likewise, there has been no assessment of potential risks arising from unintended consequences of the proposals.

(Source: Joint paper from Ministers of Police and transport to Cabinet Domestic Policy Committee on "Land Transport (Illegal Street Racing) Bill and Vehicle Seizure and Confiscation Bill" 6 April 2009 (sorry, no POL number); Emphasis and links added)

The exact proposals Treasury is referring to have been censored, but they can quite easily be worked out by a process of elimination: it's the high profile, draconian bylaws, seizures, crushing and punishing the innocent Collins needs to get her "tough on crime" photo ops. And Treasury thinks that they will not work (or at least that the Ministers of Police and Transport have not made any case that they will).

These draconian laws are about PR, not policy. They should be dumped immediately.