26 May 2009

Boy-racer car crushing bill introduced

10:48 pm on 26 May 2009

Illegal street racers could see their cars crushed under new legislation introduced to Parliament on Tuesday.

Two bills have been drawn up by the Government strengthening the powers of police and the courts dealing with boy racers.

Included is a provision to seize and destroy a car if the driver already has two convictions for illegal street racing offences in the previous four years.

It also allows local authorities to ban cars "cruising" city streets.

Police Minister Judith Collins says the message to illegal street racers is that every new offence will bring their cars closer to the crusher.

The car can be seized even if the driver is not the owner, she says, though the owners will receive proper warning.

Prime Minister John Key says the message to illegal street racers is that disorderly and dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated.

The Labour Party, ACT and United Future will support the bills going to a select committee.

But Labour has reservations, with leader Phil Goff saying tough measures allowing the confiscation of cars are already in place under current laws introduced by the previous Labour-led government.

"The powers are there right now for judges to confiscate cars, but they've only done so in two percent of cases. In the end, the judge makes the decision; we can only provide legislation that encourages judges to take this particular offence seriously."