Thursday, July 09, 2009

"Boy racers": "severe punishment"

Yesterday the Herald reported on the Transport and Industrial Relations committee's hearings into the government's "boy racer" laws, and specifically on the Motor Trade Association pointing out that crushing cars rather than selling them is mindlessly vindictive and makes no financial sense. It also reported the Police Minister's response:

But Police Minister Judith Collins says this is unlikely and public support for severe punishments for the worst offenders is overwhelming.
I'll leave aside Collins' characterisation of people who drive round and round in circles as "the worst offenders" for the moment, because I have a bigger target. Crown Law's advice that the bills complied with the Bill of Rights Act relied very heavily on the view that confiscation and crushing was not in any way a punishment for offending, or that if it was, it was "of a limited character". Here we have the Minister admitting not just that its a punishment, but a "severe" one. Which rather blows Crown Law's arguments (and the BORA-consistency of the bills) out of the water, neh?

Collins can't have it both ways. If confiscation and seizure are punishments, then the bills are inconsistent with the BORA, as those punishments are disproportionate and intended to be inflicted without trial. But if they're not, she doesn't get to grandstand. I wonder which one she'll choose?