Car crushing Tolley sending wrong message to boy racers

It has taken four years for a car crushing to be carried out under boy racer laws but last week the Minister of Police, Anne Tolley, pressed the button to begin the the first car crushing. She then posed for the  large media contingent in attendance, standing on top of the finished product.

An editorial in the New Zealand Herald said her actions suggested that when on top, the boot should be put in as far as possible. Her behaviour sent a strong message saying, “it was fine to wallow in the misfortune of others.”  “That sentiment, not ‘the graphic deterrent to prevent another generation of boy racers’, was the one more likely to be picked up by street racers,” said the editorial.

Canterbury University criminologist Professor Greg Newbold is scathing of the car crushing laws, describing them as “vindictive, malicious, petty and an undignified way of dealing with the problem”. It was “ministerial grandstanding” and using it to look as if the Government was getting tough on crime, he told NZ Newswire. “I think it discredits the Government and it brings the legal system into disrepute and engenders disrespect for the law.”

The father of the boy-racer whose car was crushed has said the minister has publicly humiliated his son.

It has taken four years for a car crushing to be carried out under boy racer laws. National passed the Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill in 2008. The law aimed to cut out illegal street racing by requiring a vehicle to be destroyed after a third offence.


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