Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > The law as a plaything…

The law as a plaything…

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After three years, the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act (car crushing law) has netted it’s first (or rather, second – the first crushed the wrong car) casualty. A $9,000 Nissan Skyline was seized from a boy racer after his third offence; crushed by Macauley Metals in Seaview, Lower Hutt; and reduced to scrap metal in seconds last Thursday (21 June).

See:  Car crushing ‘discredits law’ – expert

Some thoughts on this issue…

1. This blogger has no issue with vehicles being seized from boy racers, drunk drivers, dangerous drivers, or people otherwise unfit to be behind the wheel of an automobile.  None. Nada. Nil.

Owning a firearm is not a “right”. Neither is driving a vehicle. It is a privilege that the community confers on its citizens, according to the needs of society, and to balance rights and responsibilities.

No responsible driving = no right to drive.

Regarding this issue,  the safety of the Many outweighs the self-indulgence of the Individual.

Simple.

2. When the law becomes a plaything for politicians; to present an image to the public as “tough on crime”; then the law is being brought into disrepute by the very people who swear an oath in Parliament to uphold it.

3. The crushing of a boyracer’s car on 21 June became an occassion that could rightly be called the 21st century version of the Stocks, and Police Minister, Anne Tolley, made a ‘meal’ out of it.

In this TV3 report, Mr Tolley figures prominently. First the intro from Mike McRoberts,

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Countdown by Minister Tolley.  Evidently she has no real work back at her Parliamentary office, and  ‘moonlights’ in her spare time in the scrap-metal-recycling industry,

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Tolley even had the ‘pleasure’ of activating the car-crushing machine,

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Notice the media ‘scrum’ behind her. Obviously it must’ve been a ‘slow news day’ last Thursday, and nothing else of any importance happened in New Zealand,

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Nice little pose for the camera. Note the Police-issue fluoro-vest.  Is it legal for non-sworn persons to wear a Police uniform?

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Warm smile of satisfaction from Tolley as she surveys her handiwork of destruction. Is it normal for a supposedly sane person to revel in destroying something?

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And yet more posing for the waiting media. One for the scrapbook, no doubt, for Tolley to show her grandchildren,

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Some tough-talking to the camera,

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The reporter makes the point that a further 116 drivers are on their second strike notice. One more offence, and their vehicles will be seized; impounded; and suffer the same fate: crushing and turned into scrap metal.

Ms Tolley responds with,

Bring it on!”

Pardon moi?!

Did the Police Minister just encourage 116 drivers to break the law; get their third strike; just so their vehicles could be destroyed?

Shouldn’t a responsible Minister of the Crown be advising those 116 drivers to drive carefully? To seek additional driver-training? To at least think carefully before getting behind the wheel so that they don’t drive irresponsibly and perhaps harm, maim, or kill someone?

You’d think so – right?

Instead, the Minister of Police, Anne Tolley, just  incited 116 drivers to break the law – so she could get off on reducing more vehicles to reduce to scrap!?

This woman is obviously not ‘firing on all spark-plugs’ !

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“Bring it on!”

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A nice, slow camera pan-up of Tolley, standing atop…

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… the crushed vehicle, in triumph! Xena, Warrior Princess, eat yer heart out!

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Victory! Over the Dark forces of Evil!!

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Although, as Murray Olsen pointed out on Facebook, isn’t Police Minister Tolley breaking umpteen safety laws and regulations by not wearing safety boots in a hazard-area?

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To be blunt, this was an asinine idea. It achieved nothing, except cheapen the law; antagonise people who are already rebellious in our community; and to present justice as a concept of revenge.  In what possible way would taking delight in someone’s misfortune – as Tolley has clearly done – make boy-racers and other anti-social drivers more socially responsible?!?!

This was not justice.

This was an exercise in state power; wanton destruction; and gloating.

Crushing a $9,000 car was a needless act. It could just as easily have been seized and either auctioned or given to a worthy cause.

Instead, we are left with a tonne of metal that is now worth a hundred (?) bucks. This was a shameful exercise,  serving little purpose.

Is this how we are to teach our young people to respect the law?

Well, it ain’t going to work.

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Additional

Editorial: Car crushing an undignified stunt

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= fs =

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  1. 24 June 2012 at 10:43 am

    ”This was an exercise in state power; wanton destruction; and gloating.”

    Ah, but it plays so well in the lounges of National supporters and the politically illiterate.
    The important thing with these stunts, based on shonky legislation at best, is that the act of crushing the car is the visible act of ”doing something about it” – doesn’t matter that the stunt will be counter-productive in the long run.

  2. 24 June 2012 at 4:08 pm

    “…but it plays so well in the lounges of National supporters and the politically illiterate.”

    Indeed it does, Duncan. If New Zealand was a more politically savvy nation (eg, a Scandinavian or Nordic state), I doubt if any politician would try such a stunt. They’d be laughed at and dismissed as clowns…

    We sooo need Civics in our school curriculum!!

  3. Sue Windsor
    25 June 2012 at 9:14 am

    Excellent post Frank. I was totally speechless seeing Anne Tolleys performance. And then the only word I could think of was ‘fascist’.

    • 25 June 2012 at 9:22 am

      Fascist indeed, Sue…

      The only thing missing were banners and flaming torches. Our household just sat in our lounge, gobsmacked, at what we were seeing…

  4. Mooloo magic
    25 June 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Such undignified behaviour for a Minster of the crown!!! Typical of this government very good at photo opportunities that may impresses the politically naïve. Hard to respect this minster when she seems to get so much personal delight from wanton vandalism. I have no problem with car confiscation for recidivist offenders but surly the sensible thing would be to see the car and the proceed s from the sale go to charity. I guess the symbolism was more important to the minster

  5. 25 June 2012 at 10:13 pm

    “…but surly the sensible thing would be to see the car and the proceed s from the sale go to charity.”

    Good common sense, Mooloo.

    Weird isn’t it, how common sense seems to desert many of our elected representatives once they get a bit of power.

    I wonder if Tolley has looked at herself in the media, and has had second thoughts about her immature behaviour?

  6. Jena
    25 June 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Bullying by a Government…

  7. XYZ
    27 June 2012 at 2:12 am

    She’s an idiot. I could say more but why bother? She’s an idiot.

  8. Red
    28 June 2012 at 12:16 pm

    She behaved like an excited teenager herself! What a waste. Why didn’t they give the car to a poor family? Or sell it and give the money to an accident victim of a drunk driver? How can a politicians act so childishly and then expect teenagers to behave responsibly?

    I was really disgusted.

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