30 Jan 2013

Two cars crushed under three-year-old law

10:40 pm on 30 January 2013

The Government is hailing its illegal street racing legislation as a success, even though just two boy-racer cars have been crushed since the law came into effect.

The legislation was introduced in December 2009 with a promise to crush cars once their owners had committed a third offence.

The most recent figures from the Ministry of Justice show that 3756 people were convicted of illegal street racing up to 30 June 2012. A second offence had been committed by 122 people and five people had been caught three times.

One of the two cars was destroyed in Lower Hutt in June last year with Police Minister Anne Tolley pressing the remote control to set the crusher in action.

Mrs Tolley says the fact that only two vehicles have been crushed proves that the new law is effective at deterring illegal street racing.

The minister says since the legislation was introduced, the rate of convictions has dropped by 30%.

"We think the legislation's actually been quite effective. The very public crushing of that first car really sent the message home and made some of those young guys sit up and think that the Government did mean business.

"The police are saying to me know that there is a reducing trend in this sort of activity."

But the editor of New Zealand Performance Car magazine, the so-called bible for boy-racers, says the law has not made a difference.

Peter Kelly says petrol and insurance prices - and several laws preceding the car-crushing one - had already killed the scene.

Mr Kelly says there will still be hard-core boy-racers who push the boundaries, but most people have moved on.

The editor of vehicle website the Dog and Lemon Guide, Clive Matthew-Wilson, says the threat of losing a car hasn't deterred boy-racers and the legislation is a complete failure.