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Car crushing fist of the State

Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, February 3rd, 2009 - 32 comments
Categories: crime, national, police - Tags:

tank-crushes-carDespite being remarkably quiet throughout a spate of serious police controversies, Police Minister Judith Collins has finally risen to the challenge of leadership over the so-called Boy Racer issue.

Collins has suggested crushing the impounded cars of those deemed to be acting like ‘Boy Racers’ in reaction to a Christchurch incident last week when a group of said racers attacked a police patrol car en masse. The Herald reported John Key’s support for the idea, and oddly pulled from their website a story published earlier that day focussing on Collins’ more hardline stance on the issue (very obliging of the Herald to help National better coordinate their more inconsistent and mis-timed media releases). Elsewhere it seems Key is feeling a bit cautious about his Minister‘s reactionary approach.

The idea isn’t new, they’ve been crushing ‘Boy Racer’ cars in California for some time now. But you have to wonder about the imperious symbolism of Collins declaring a desire to ‘crush’ these cars and ‘inviting their owners to watch’. Many of these cars are worth a lot of money – why not sell them and donate the proceeds to the Fred Hollows Foundation? Why just crush them for more scrap and landfill?

Sure the Christchurch incident was serious and indefensible. A group of people attacking a lone individual probably always is. But taking this kind of approach isn’t going to improve relations between police and young men who are obviously very emotionally, perhaps even irrationally, attached to their automotive personality extensions. Collins’ Crush Policy might well increase dangers for police and will likely dash any remote hopes of cooperation in the future. But Collins knows she needs to appear to be tough and she needs to be seen to be doing something after her enduring inactivity since becoming Minister of Police. Threatening a demonized out-group like hot-rodders with populist draconian sanctions fulfils that need perfectly.

No word from Collins yet on where all this might end up though. This year the UK is set to crush 2 million cars impounded just because they’re not insured. I wonder how popular that’d be here for a government that reckons it’s all about reducing the ‘Nanny-State’ and keeping its hands off people’s private property?

32 comments on “Car crushing fist of the State ”

  1. there’s some really nice turns of phrase in that post, sprout. always a pleasure to read good writing.

    the nats just want their own nanny state

    [sprout: thanks SP, much appreciated]

  2. Steve Withers 3

    In their own way, National is every bit the Nanny State. It’s just their version of Nanny weilds a whip, is stone deaf and enjoys providing ‘correction’.

  3. @ work 4

    Sounds like one of the options being considered is a very ASBO like proposal (check out NRT). Boy racers as a group are easily villified, theres already some laws sorounding them that have no real legal basis and are just a court case waiting to happen, yet no one seems to mind.

    Anyway, if any one has any questions about the boy racer “mentality”, behaviour ect fire away, I can give you my best as a close observer (no participation in illegal behavior on my part!)

    Keep in mind every one that nothing that happened in chch the other day that people are complaining about, isnt already illegal.

    [sprout: thanks for the offer @work.
    2 questions for you then:
    a. what would it feel like for these guys to see their ‘babies’ getting crushed and how would they react?
    b. are motorheads really so different from anyone else that special powers are needed to police them?]

  4. NX 5

    Believe it or not, but I agree with The Sprout – which is surprising given his last half a dozen posts.

    I’m uncomfortable with the idea of the state having the power to crush your possessions.

    Plus, not only are the cars worth a lot of money – they symbolise hours of work and the passion of the individual. Passion is something that should never be crushed.

    Nia Glassie’s killers were passionless – which was half their problems.

    There must be better ways to deal with the boy-racers.

  5. Felix 6

    nothing that happened in chch the other day that people are complaining about, isnt already illegal.

    That’s the single most important fact in this story.

    Any calls for new laws or new police powers over this matter must be seen as complete bullshit. There are plenty of laws in place to deal with this criminal behaviour. So deal with it, please.

  6. Finally we have a government that is taking the problem of these thugs seriously. For nine years Labour MP’s turned a blind eye, even at the local level, mayors like Garry Moore thought it wasn’t a big problem.

    Well I’m afraid, when a bunch of criminals get hold of a police scanner, then surround a police officer and start throwing bottles threw his car window, something has to be done, this was premeditated, and could of resulted in disaster, these guys are lucky they aren’t facing attempted murder charges because believe me, they would be in any other country on the face of the planet.

    How anyone can give sympathy to boyracers is beyond me, they don’t bring colour to the city, (despite what Garry Moore might say) they bully and threatened the public and put life’s at risk.

    Now the government wants to past a law, saying if you continue to use your vehicle for criminal activity your car will be crushed. Now of course the extreme left wing bloggers are saying this is not the answer, well I disagree, you must take away a criminal weapon’s and if their weapon is a car so be it.

    There is no respect for the law from these boyracers, just a take a took at the interview with boyracer Jordon Mason, he blamed the police for the incident, then drove off at 100khm an hour in a residential street, it’s lucky a kid didn’t run out after a ball , a further check of this guy’s facebook page, sees a lot of agro, a lot of pictures of him trying to look mean and tough although they come off being more like homoerotic poses (each to their own) but also a anti police attitude which is dangerous.

    Boyracers show no respect for public safety, time has come to show them the public have no respect for them.

  7. jbc 8

    @work “Keep in mind every one that nothing that happened in chch the other day that people are complaining about, isnt already illegal.”

    I guess that’s the frustrating thing for police. Fines for driving offences are probably an effective deterrent for 99% of the population – but not for this group.

    NZ: “I’m uncomfortable with the idea of the state having the power to crush your possessions.”

    Me too. On the other hand I guess I wouldn’t have any problem with the police confiscating and “melting down” a shotgun owned by someone who waved it around in public in a threatening manner.

    So I guess I have room to be convinced that the crushing might be a good idea. If the cars were sold then they would probably end up in the hands of another boy racer. What type of person is going to buy a noisy, extensively modified, manhood extension?

  8. BeShakey 9

    ?nothing that happened in chch the other day that people are complaining about, isnt already illegal.?

    I’m hardly one to have sympathy for the Nats, but I think the point is that the law as is isn’t effective. Personally I’m all for nuanced multi-faceted responses to problems like this blah blah blah. But I think that a decent and enforcable legal framework is an important part of the response. It’d be nice if society could actually have an informed and reasoned debate about why this is happening (including the fact that young people with cars annoying older people is hardly new) and what bits should be criminal, and which bits merely annoying, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

  9. BLiP 10

    Pointless posturing and PR puffery!! What are the buggers up to? It can’t simply be Jumbo Jude trying to make herself look busy, can it?

    I can’t help but feel this whole issue is a side show, some sort of sleight of hand designed to distract us from some more important matter. Has Goober John Key released his RMA proposals yet ?

    I smell a rat.

  10. @ work 11

    sprout: thanks for the offer @work.

    2 questions for you then:
    a. what would it feel like for these guys to see their ‘babies’ getting crushed and how would they react?

    There’s probably a few separate groups in this. There’s a group who are often the ones doing burn outs and skids, in cars brought for a couple of hundred dollars off the side of the road or trade me. For them there would be a bit of short term anger, but ultimately it’s unlikely the car would have passed its next warrant anyway, and the money not spent on gas over the few weeks after would easily pay for another one.

    Then there is people in flasher cars, the ones with a lot of money spent on them. These people would probably respond with quite a lot of anger. I’m not sure it would really make them see the error in their ways, more than likely they would just start over with another car on credit.

    My own personal view is that if car crushing is the punishment then that’s the punishment, and if you still choose to commit a crime then so be it. How ever I don’t see that “being a boy racer’ is or should be a crime. Dangerous driving, speeding, burnouts, those things are all crimes, and if car crushing is the punishment, then its just like a fine. Maybe even better than a fine because it is (generally) in proportion to what an offender earns.

    Any one how ever who has their car crushed for “being a boy racer’ (but not actually committing a crime) but not actually breaking the rules, would be very angry. A few of the cars around would be approaching 50k plus, that kind of money could result in a very embarrassing court case. Can you imagine 2nd article on the front page, great big shiny Japanese car, big exhaust pipe, bigger wheels “this is what a brought with my payout from the cops for crushing my car’.

    b. are motorheads really so different from anyone else that special powers are needed to police them?

    Not really no. As above, everything going on that people are complaining about is already illegal, and changing the law to shortcut the process so that police don’t need to prove you have acted in an illegal manner to be guilty is asking for trouble.

    Obviously the real problem here is a few people breaking the law. Like usual though, the public and media is quite willing to tar any young person in a modified car with the same brush. Add too this youthfulness, rebellion aspect and the in your face nature of it (compared to something like drug taking, which happens, but isn’t fluro green at 80 decibels down the main road) your just asking for talkback radio outrage.

    Like terrorism, communism, gangs what ever else, it seems that as they are unpopular, easily identifiable and differentiatable from the public, apparently its ok to suspend all rational thought and legal process, in order to punish the whole group, rather than the ones who are actually breaking the law.

    I don’t think any special powers are needed just a special response (talk back loves a good ole’ crack-down!). Send out a convoy, half a dozen police cars, a booze bus, maybe a paddy wagon, and some warrant inspectors. Block off the area they are in, and on the way out give them each the full once over. Its far too easy for people to say “they never pay their fines’ or “they just drive without their licenses’, sure some won’t but eventually the message will get through. Policing of boy racing is inconsistent, if police were to show they are going to have a regular presence around boy racers, with strict enforcement against those breaking the law, and curtasey and tolerance for those not, there would me a marked improvement

    [sprout: thanks for your insights @work, well put]

  11. Ianmac 12

    Having only glimpsed the “boy racers” a few times I regarded them as annoying rather than illegal. I reckon that the vast majority (like spectators at a rugby match) are there for a community of interest.
    In this case however, a few behaved in a criminal fashion- bottles, slug gun etc. and these are the ones who deserve the full weight of the law as it stands. Throw a bottle at a bobby and action happens. But like the rugby crowd, identifying the thug must be hard.
    Perhaps we should have a law that condemns all those at the match if a few are violent?

  12. Pascal's bookie 13

    Has Goober John Key released his RMA proposals yet ?


  13. Felix 14

    jbc, BeShakey

    I’m not talking about speeding fines. The police have plenty of laws at their disposal covering dangerous, careless and reckless driving just for a start. These laws are already sufficiently vague and open to interpretation as to allow the police some discretion in determining what constitutes a serious act worth prosecuting.

    There is no need for more laws – the police need to get to work and enforce the laws we have.

  14. Peter Burns 15

    Edit in moderation? About sums this place up! Who needs a tank.

  15. randal 16

    hey sprout the nub of the issue seems to be that of your last sentence
    I have a car
    it cost x dollars
    therefore I have an entitlement to make as much noise as I want
    stone the police
    put a blight on the peace of my community and
    all in all just do whatever I feel like
    Judith collins aint gonna do anything
    this morning she said any legislation willl take six months
    so can anyone tell me what happened to the noise laws and keeping the peace that just got tossed out the window as new zealand became infantilised and a home fit for morons

  16. @ work 17

    “Peter Burns
    Edit in moderation? About sums this place up!”

    Probably cause I wrote the “c” word in my post, no big deal, didn’t occur to me 2 seconds before posting that it would be moderated, but fair enough on Lynn’s part, keeps the quality of the discussion up.

  17. George Darroch 18

    If the cars were sold then they would probably end up in the hands of another boy racer.

    Not if they were auctioned with a high reserve price attached. People who race these cars don’t just have a spare 5-10k lying around, and even if they did, it would dry up pretty quickly.

    I wonder how popular that’d be here for a government that reckons it’s all about reducing the ‘Nanny-State’ and keeping its hands off people’s private property?

    Oh, very. The iron fist of the Nanny State is wonderful when it’s being used on other people. Y’know, bad people. Like them.

    It’s only when it affects me that I’ll start screaming through the opinion columns and talkbackradio.

  18. @ work 19

    Just a little more on car crushing’s as a punishment. Personally I’d rather it wasn’t a punishment, mainly as it’s more a PR move to appeal too the public rather than a good policy decision, buy I accept that it is Nationals prerogative to set the punishments for crimes as they choose (within reason of course), and having your car crushed basically boils down to receiving a fine that is equivalent to the value of your car. Not impressed, but it’s their choice.

  19. George Darroch 20

    “Any calls for new laws or new police powers over this matter must be seen as complete bullshit.

    The police have plenty of laws at their disposal covering dangerous, careless and reckless driving just for a start. These laws are already sufficiently vague and open to interpretation as to allow the police some discretion in determining what constitutes a serious act worth prosecuting.

    Absolutely. The police have the power to prosecute for reckless and careless driving – which, surely, was the intent of the drafters of those laws. That they’re not using them shows that they simply don’t want to. And that’s not good enough.

    This will be yet another rushed through piece of legislation taking away rights, with the power to be abused, when sufficient laws already exist against the acts in question. Same as the last 9 years, in other words.

  20. Kerry 21

    The fuckwits who do 100ks around town piss me off and frankly they need a kick in the arse, I would suggest crushing their cars would not solve anything!

    Why why why is it only a problem when a cop gets bailed up??? Everyday citizen’s have had this shit to deal with for years!

    On a serious note I suggest we crush all cars belonging to Right Wingers….with one proviso…they cant sell the scrap crap on trademe!!!!

  21. How about impounding steering wheels on all vehicles used for boyracing. I guess 21 would be the top age for such said owners. Various other necessary requirements ie prohibiting parts replacement could be made..Owners register.. for tracing back to source and so on.. recording fines, infringements—a make work scheme even! Owners buy back confiscations from police or its agency.. all fines and related debt to be cleared prior to such purchase etc. Been tried..?

    The California pics were interesting weren’t they. But what was the deal about squeezing air out of the tires..? Such a waste of wheel and rubber. I mean hey take all the wheels off and racer it aint. Rubbish, removal, dumping, crunching being the words that spring to mind..

    BTW: likely this comment will make me this thread’s PEN!

  22. Felix 23


    having your car crushed basically boils down to receiving a fine that is equivalent to the value of your car.

    Just a thought – do you reckon this would encourage the kids to use cheap, perhaps un-roadworthy cars for the really stupid moves? (and would that make any difference one way or the other?)

  23. @ work 24


    Theres always someone in a dirty great discusting 80’s commodore, burn outs for africa!

    I’m currently in the process of preparing to sell my old 80’s, no airbags, no abs, no safety features what so ever japanese car for something newer. If both the ASBO style rules were brought in and car crushing was brought in, I would probably keep it as a “sacrifical” car, to use after dark or in areas where I would be at risk of getting designated a “boy racer”, dispite me just wanting to drive to a mates house.

    Boy racers driving dumps like that are far more likely to be the ones doing skids, burnout ect.

  24. Peter Burns 25

    @work, fyi a real flash $60k plus car did a 100 yard burn out on my street in Shirley on Sunday night .The smoke filled the house as he shredded two new tyres.. Anyone would think I live on a formula one race circuit. Get real mate.

    Build a burn out pad out country FFS or I start up the cannons..

  25. Felix 26


    Some bastard was firing cannons up the road the other night. Build a firing range out country or I release the bears…

  26. tsmithfield 27

    There could be a benefit in even the mere threat of cars being crushed.

    Finance companies are unlikely to tick powerful cars up to likely boy racers if they think their security for the loan could end up in a crusher.

  27. That will probably just raise the interest rates.

    As with most crime, when they don’t think they are going to get caught, then it doesn’t matter what the penalty is. Concentrate on more active policing.

  28. randal 29

    what a pathetic list of replies to this blight on our society
    private property is a priviliege anfd these little turds are abusing it
    did you see the little creeps on teevee last night saying that they make their own laws?

  29. @ work 30

    “did you see the little creeps on teevee last night saying that they make their own laws?”

    So in response you’d like to give the power to police officers to make up laws on the spot.

  30. @ work 31

    Just another misconception i’ve noticed amongst various comment sections. Not many of these people are driving stolen cars. Stolen cars get parted out and sold as bits, even they aren’t crazy enough to take a stolen car too the burnouts/drags.

  31. randal 32

    no @work
    that is not what I said and you know it
    what I want is peace and quiet without little morons dweebs and other specimens disturbing the peace
    if Keys and his monkey men had any guts they would bring back the birch for these creeps who think they are above the law and that owning a car makes them special
    is that clear enough 4u

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