Editorial: Car crushing just a gimmick
WARWICK RASMUSSEN, DEPUTY EDITOR
OPINION: While a picture of Police Minister Anne Tolley atop a crushed car in high heels may seem like great publicity for the Government's crackdown on street racers, it's probably time to think again.
The three strikes policy pushed through by former police minister, now Justice Minister, Judith "Crusher" Collins was gimmicky law-making at its best.
It may be a practice used overseas as some kind of deterrent, but that doesn't make it right – it's still just a gimmick any way you look at it.
The Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill in 2008 gives people an outlet to vent their frustrations at street racing, but does it really make any difference?
It's one of those politically convenient laws that is a win-win: it looks good to the voting public while requiring little resourcing to enforce because virtually no offenders are affected by it.
Of course, the car crushing law was meant to be some kind of deterrent.
It's been four years since the law was put into place, yet yesterday's crushing of a Lower Hutt man's car after several brushes with the law was the first vehicle squashed down into a metal block.
The Government would have you believe that means it's a success, when in reality the law is an ineffective waste of time that addresses nothing.
It could be argued that the high price of petrol has been more of a deterrent than any fear of having your souped-up car put in a crusher.
Addressing street racing issues is not as simple as just punishing them by destroying what they love.
Yes, punish them, but the behaviour in the first place needs to be looked at. People who street race do it for entertainment, for kudos among their peers and for the danger element. These are the issues that need looking at if meaningful change is wanted.
As with most crimes, it is only a small fraction who cause the problems for everyone. They are the ones who need to be targeted, rather than setting up a system that is adversarial and will lead to even more resentment from both sides of the street racing debate.
Thank you to all of the students from room 5 at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School for their letters about the Green Rig. The loss of the rig because of funding cuts is being felt hard by such students and that they went to such effort to write letters to the Manawatu Standard and Horizons Regional Council shows how much it means to them.
Because of the sheer number of letters we are unable to publish them all, but do appreciate the effort and have read every one of them. Well done.
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