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Discriminatory car scheme needs to go

Young Labour President Moana Mackey, continuing with a series of comments on
negative areas of discrimination against young people, has stepped into the
fray over Christchurch's "Under-25 scheme" targeting young people driving cars
in the city.

"The scheme is supposedly designed to cut car theft rates in the Christchurch
area. In fact, what it does is legitimate discrimination against a given group
of people, in this case young people, based solely on their age," said Moana
Mackey today.

"Discrimination is a slippery slope, and trends towards it should be stopped
whenever possible. It's simply an easy way out to blame young people for car
thefts. It would be more useful for those in support of this scheme to reflect
on why young people are often driven to crime. Gerry Brownlee for example
(National MP for Ilam) said on Monday that concerns over the scheme
were "alarmist… excessively politically correct statements" (Christchurch
Press, 13 March).

"Mr. Brownlee might want to recognise before blaming young people for our
problems that he was part of a Government which oversaw the highest rate of
youth suicide in the Western world, which cannot help but be linked to the
sorts of economic and social policies he supports. Yes, car thefts are bad,
but discriminating against one particular group is not the way to solve this
issue," Moana Mackey said.

"There are practical questions too. If criminals know that police are keeping
an eye on cars with stickers, then all people aged under 25 unfairly face a
higher risk of having their cars targeted by thieves. They would also by
extension face higher insurance premiums, basically due to a denial of police
protection for their property. That isn't fair.

"Young Labour takes young people seriously, and we haven't had good feedback
over this scheme. While we obviously have sympathy for victims of car theft,
transferring the risk of theft to young people isn't the way to solve the
problem. We support Yani Johanson in making his complaint to the Human Rights
Commission," Moana Mackey concluded.

Young Labour at its policy conference in June last year passed resolutions to
oppose schemes such as this one which discriminate against young people solely
because of their age. More Young Labour policy can be found on our web site at
http://younglabour.org.nz/

ENDS

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