Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Racing in the Street [update 3]

From the more-laws-where-we’ve-already-got-laws file we’ve got Judith ‘Grandstander’ Collins who, instead of simply insisting that the police and judiciary apply laws already on the books, wants (just like her predecessor ‘Plugs’ Cosgrove) to get a headline for herself for beating up on youngsters in cars.

While we wait the time it takes for the first car to be crushed for either driving in a convoy, for going along a street more than once, or for (gasp) going into a skid (all of which may now lead to having your car eventually crushed if you do it three times in four years), let’s enjoy a song by Bruce Springsteen: ‘Racing in the Street’:

Apparently it’s not on Judith Collins’s iPod.  I’m sure she’d like to upload ‘I Eat Heavy Metal’ sung by John Lee Hooker  – but I’m not sure she’d understand the irony.

UPDATE 1:  Brad Taylor makes the point I’ve hinted at crystal clear in his well-named post The Boy-Racer Moral Panic:

    I find the focus on ‘intimidation’ and ‘anti-social’ driving rather troubling. The legislation is pandering to the same sort of bigoted public sentiment which fueled prior panics over rock & roll, punk, etc. . . [W] e already have laws against dangerous driving and street racing, and it’s not clear to me the penalties are too light.
    My main problem with the law, though, is that it does more than simply crack down on dangerous driving. Being able to lose your driving license for having your car stereo too loud seems ridiculous, as does allowing councils to stop drivers from ‘cruising’ city streets.
This legislation is not primarily about road safety, but the moral distaste many people have for spiky-haired hoodlums in loud and garish cars. I, for one, think it’s a bigoted piece of populist crap.

UPDATE 2: And how about this: No Right Turn takes a stand on principle:

"Boy racers": why you should care
    Firstly, they discard the entire idea of justice, instead seeking to curb street racing by punishing the innocent. If a person commits multiple street racing offences, they will punish them by taking someone else's car away and crushing it.
Secondly, it takes a car crusher to human rights, violating the freedoms of movement, association, peaceful assembly, and from unreasonable search and seizure, not to mention the rights to justice and the right against disproportionate punishment - all of which are affirmed in the Bill of Rights Act and in multiple international instruments our government has sworn to uphold.
No-one likes boy racers. They're loud, obnoxious, and a danger to cats. But justice and human rights are indivisible. We need to protect them for everyone, even people we despise, or we have no right to claim those protections ourselves. What the government is doing here is simply wrong, and we should stand up and tell them so.

Well said those men.

UPDATE 3:  Strange bedfellows indeed.  Even, cough, John Banks is against:

Auckland City mayor John Banks compares [Judith Collins’s]  plans to the "draconian" ban on gang patches in Wanganui. . . Prime Minister John Key said [the plans] would stop boy-racers "circling the same streets again and again". The proposed law will allow local authorities to make bylaws preventing people "cruising" down certain streets. Transport Minister Steven Joyce said cruising was defined as "repeatedly driving over the same section of road in a motor vehicle that draws attention to the sound of its engine or creates a convoy that impedes traffic flow". This meant cruising would not capture those "just looking for a carpark". But Mr Banks last night said he would not be rushing to introduce an anti-cruising ban on Queen St. "I'm the Mayor for all of the people that live in this city. We promote good behaviour and boy-racers that behave themselves are not an issue. There are bigger problems in the CBD Auckland today than boy-racers."


UPDATE 4: And from Danyl at the Dim Post:

    The main goal of the legislation . . .  seems to be the generation of positive media coverage for Judith Collins, ideally prime time news stories in which she is seen crushing cars and then delivering a piece to camera. Less importantly it will provide an additional revenue stream for her departments by allowing Police to confiscate cars belonging to people with overdue fines and then auction them off.
I predict that the number of cars crushed subsequent to Collins’ staged media event will be tiny, possibly even zero, and that ‘boy racers’ will also be a small proportion of the people who have their cars confiscated and sold.


  1. I am not fully informed on this, but I think I heard that undesirable activities include driving in such a way as to draw attention to yourself or your car or such, with needless 'laps' of the street or an overloud exhaust or car stereo.

    Time to shift that MG, Peter.

  2. Another victory for the little grey apparatchiks, the humourless bastards who want to regulate every aspect of our lives.
    Stop youngsters from letting off steam in one direction and the frustration will simply pop out somewhere else.What the hell is it with people whose only answer to every perceived problem is to ban/confiscate/proscribe?

  3. Mmm. Well I consider myself a Libertarian, and as such, coming from Christchurch, have to say that if I was owner of one of the CBD motels they are putting out of business because patrons can't sleep at night due to the behaviour and noise of these ignorant little thugs, or a householder in the suburbs not able to sleep at night for the same reason, and having my property damaged by them, then I consider they have initiated force on me, that they have no respect for my property rights, and thus the use of force against them is a justifiable function of the state (small s).

    How am I wrong?

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  5. And KG:

    Stop youngsters from letting off steam in one direction and the frustration will simply pop out somewhere else.That's the blackmail argument that is used for the existence of the welfare state: we have to pay the little toerags otherwise they might murder us as we sleep.

    I'll never buy into that argument.

  6. Mark, young men will always need (and find) an outlet for their energy and raging hormones.
    There are plenty of laws already in place to control antisocial behaviour, what's needed is effective policing of those laws already on the books.
    Every assault on our liberties is always presented as 'reasonable' and justified in light of the particular circumstances and the cumulative effect is to render us less free at an accelerating rate.
    Boy racers on occasion give me the shits--there are times when I think it'd be a reasonable response to use them for skeet shooting practice.
    And I'm bloody sure that adults felt the same way about me and my mates when we used to gather in our sports cars and hold impromptu drag races at the local shopping centre carpark after hours.
    The difference is, if our races went on for too long or got too rowdy, the local coppers would turn up and thicken a few ears. Message received.
    What we have now is layer upon layer of laws, few of which really work--except to stifle us all with so many laws, it's no longer possible to be sure we're not breaking some law or some regulation no matter how inoffensive to others our lives are.
    How about some laws demanding transparency from politicians and bureaucrats? Or perhaps some laws protecting personal property from State thugs? Or perhaps some effing laws allowing us to protect ourselves?
    You want laws? let's start with some laws which will set us free.

  7. I grew up on a farm, and flew round in vehicles from a young age. It's what kids love to do. I really feel sorry for townie kids who don't have a chance to go nuts with a car until they are old enough to get a licence, then they only have access to the roads and cause all sorts of problems. It is a difficult issue.

  8. Well, Mr. Dennis when I was a lad (back in the steam age) we simply borrowed a paddock from the local cocky and held 'motorkhanas', competitive events which allowed us to go nuts in relative safety.
    Of course, these days the elf'nsafety nazis would have to have their fingers in that pie, thus vetoing it.
    Another case of too many damn laws.

  9. Quoth the Raven27 May 2009, 12:32:00

    The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.Tacitus

  10. KG: I noticed the Dargaville youngsters recently held a Motorkhana on the edge of town with the full support of the locals -- it's an annual event, widely advertised around Northland.

  11. Well that's pretty cool, PC. Let's hope the idea spreads. :-)

  12. I agree with Denis & Mark Hubbard. It is my rights to use the roads peacefully whereas the others don't violate my rights. Remember that the roads are owned by NZ taxpayers and there shouldn't be anyone monopolising those. I have a right to use the roads without violating the rights of other road users whom themselves are also rightful owners.

    If anyone disagrees with what I said above, just post your address here, so that I can drive up and park my vehicle right in front of your driveway so you cannot get out in your vehicle to the road and see if you like your right to use the roads being violated.

  13. ... we have to pay the little toerags otherwise they might get a job and learn to be productive members of societyAnd then they wouldn't vote for Labour. Hmm.

  14. Prahandra, you may at any time come and block my driveway.
    And I will apply the remedy without recourse to laws or the powers of the State.Because if you did that you wouldn't be 'using the roads peacefully'--and the remedy would be correspondingly brutal.

    Yours is an idiot argument, partly because nobody here is claiming boy racers are using the roads peacefully--what I'm saying is the remedy is draconian and unnecessary.
    And I'd also point out that all kinds of petty bureaucrats have a say in how and when you use the roads you so fondly imagine you own. You may pay for them but you sure as hell don't own them.

  15. Whoa, NRT's Idiot/Savant said something I wholeheartedly agree with - who would have thought!

  16. These new laws are corrupt. Forget "boy racers" (whoever they are meant to be). These laws will eventually be employed against the regular citizenry, exactly those they are aimed at. Do any of you trust the enforcers to do otherwise?

    Slowly some people will begin to understand. When they do they'll complain but by then the "getting tough" PR will have done the trick. The public lusts to see the show. A crushing, like an execution, plays well. Politicians and commissars and suchlike vermin well know that. They rely on the fame their acts of power and authority attract. What do you all expect from National Socialists in government?


  17. If you are stupid enough to lend /give your vehicle to these ne'erdowell halfwits who street race and potentially kill people as what happened to one of my mates when he was run down and killed by a boy racer then you deserve getting your car crushed, you are as guilty of the crime as they are. The law is there to let everyone enjoy their lives not have it ruined by a few selfish stupid idiots. It is only because these half wits are doing this that the law has to be toughened and about time too.


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