Car crush law closer for boy racers

By Patrick Gower

The threat to crush boy racers' cars for repeat offences has moved forward with the Government drafting legislation aimed at getting their souped-up vehicles out of circulation.

Police Minister Judith Collins said legislation currently being written would allow courts to order the crushing of cars belonging to recidivist offenders.

Ms Collins said yesterday that she believed crushing had benefits over selling the seized car and giving the money to charity.

"Who buys a boy racer car except another boy racer? We're just recycling the problem," she said, adding that while fines meant nothing to some boy racers, "they do care about their cars".

Ms Collins said National was yet to get the support of the other parties that it needs to pass the legislation.

Governing partner Act or the Labour Opposition are the most likely but both reserved their positions last night.

Ms Collins was nicknamed "Crusher" after she first suggested crushing cars in February when Christchurch police officer Sergeant Nigel Armstrong was ambushed, bottled and shot at by boy racers.

At the time, Prime Minister John Key said legislation targeting boy racers would be drafted within four to six weeks, and implemented within six months.

Ms Collins told the Q and A television programme she was working on the legislation with the ministers of justice and transport and their officials, and it was still to go to Cabinet or National's caucus for approval.

Ms Collins said the legislation was aimed at illegal street-racing, with crushing one of several measures. It would also have measures relating to the licences of boy racers and would close the loophole in the law that allowed boy racers to sell an impounded car before the police did.

Ms Collins said crushing was for those "who have not learnt from having their car confiscated, have not learnt from every other mechanism that is bought into play and who are basically thumbing their nose at the justice system and the courts".

Act leader Rodney Hide said Ms Collins had discussed the legislation with him but the party had made no decisions.

Labour law and order spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said it would consider "any measures that will get these hoons off the road", but could not back legislation it had not seen.

Mr Cosgrove said there were questions about the effectiveness of crushing. "What happens when the hoon takes out Dad's car or Grandad's car and that ends up getting crushed - what happens then?"

Mr Cosgrove said a boy racer's car was often the only asset they had to pay fines and court costs, and if crushed, those costs would be passed onto the taxpayer.

Police earlier this year said they would want a cease and desist order, similar to the law in Scotland, which would require a new offence of vehicle disorder.

A notice would be issued and if offenders breached it within two years they could be jailed for three months or fined $2000, disqualified from driving for six months and have their vehicle impounded for up to 28 days.

Any subsequent offences would see an increased disqualification period or even a court-ordered confiscation of their vehicle.

- NZ Herald

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