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Labour Undermines Voters' Desire To Crack Down On Boy Racers

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Police Minister Judith Collins is calling on Labour to declare its hand regarding its support of the Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill, which was tabled in the House today. "Labour's minority report shows it clearly does not understand the implications of the Bill, as discussed at the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee. Labour is confused over the Bill's empowering of the courts regarding vehicle confiscation - in actual fact, the Bill strengthens the current confiscation regime." Under the current law, a vehicle owned by an offender can be confiscated if the offender commits a specified offence. If the offender commits a second offence within four years, the court must confiscate the vehicle unless this would cause extreme hardship to the offender or undue hardship to someone else. The Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill does not change these provisions. Ms Collins said while Labour claimed to back the National-led government's efforts to toughen 'boy racer' laws, the Opposition appeared to let down voters at the last moment. "I am sure people living in Canterbury, where there is a real problem with illegal street racing, will be disappointed Labour doesn't consider cracking down on hooligans to be a priority. "Labour's minority report is erroneous in its assumption that the Bill changes the second step - mandatory confiscation - in the confiscation process, when in fact it is still set in stone." The Bill adds a third layer of authority to the current law, allowing the court to order that a vehicle be confiscated and destroyed for a third illegal street racing offence within four years. If the court does not order that the vehicle be confiscated and destroyed, it must still confiscate the vehicle unless this would cause extreme hardship to the offender or undue hardship to someone else.

The Bill also allows the court to confiscate, or confiscate and destroy, vehicles owned by third parties (called "substitute for the offender" in the Bill). However, unlike situations where the offender owns the vehicle, the decision to confiscate is always discretionary with third party vehicles - there is no mandatory confiscation.

The Bill currently provides that a written caution is to be sent to all those with an interest in the vehicle on a first offence.

"I hope Labour repudiates the nonsense in its minority report and realises, like the rest of the country, that this Bill is meeting the needs of New Zealanders who are sick and tired of the obnoxious behaviour of illegal street racers," says Ms Collins.

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