Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Boy racers": Reported back

The Transport and Industrial Relations Committee has reported back [both PDF] on the Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Bill and the Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill. The bills establish a draconian regime targeting "boy racers", criminalising "cruising" and allowing their cars (or those of "substitutes for the offender") to be impounded, confiscated, and crushed for a variety of mostly minor offences. Despite serious human rights concerns and no evidence that these measures will work, the select committee has reported the bills back without substantive amendment, and the major parties are already positioning themselves for yet another unseemly competition to see who can be the most vicious and inhumane (yes, Labour objects to one of the bills because it doesn't go far enough). Meanwhile, the report on the Land Transport Bill neatly sums up the lack of actual need for new legislation:

We understand that there are effective interventions being undertaken by the New Zealand Police, such as Operation Sniper in Counties Manukau, and that measures have been taken by the New Zealand Police to ensure that operational responses to illegal street racing are national and consistent. This includes the Police fully utilising all existing legislation and clearly monitoring illegal street racing in each district.
In other words, to the extent that there is a real problem - as opposed to pure pedophobia - it can be handled under existing legislation. But I guess there's no votes for any politician in admitting that.