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Common-sense the first casualty of sticker crusade

Common-sense the first casualty of “Under-25” sticker crusade

Common-sense looks to have been the first casualty of the ongoing crusade against Christchurch’s anti-theft “Under-25” car sticker scheme says Waimakariri MP, Clayton Cosgrove.

Mr Cosgrove who earlier waded into the debate over the stickers by pledging to complain to the Minister of Police if the scheme did not go national said he had watched the continuing complaints against the scheme with mounting disbelief and concern.

The scheme has been the subject of complaints to the Human Rights Commission and has been slammed by youth advocates as discriminating against young people.

“If you haven’t stolen a car you don’t have anything to worry about with the stickers, whatever your age,’’ Mr Cosgrove said.

Mr Cosgrove said he was amazed that despite overwhelming evidence that the scheme worked it was continuing to be slammed by critics.

His constituents, from urban Papanui to rural Rangiora, had been uniformly in favour of the scheme when it had been raised for discussion.

“It would be a great vote catcher to say I believe common-sense stops at the boundaries of my Waimakariri Electorate but I don’t think that’s really the case,’’ Mr Cosgrove said.

The scheme enjoyed huge support throughout Canterbury and he was sure it would also find favour nationally.

“I’ve watched the continuing chorus of whines and complaints about the scheme with increasing disbelief that such a no win crusade appears to be becoming the line in the sand for people claiming to speak for the young ,’’he said.

“They’re making their stand on quicksand.’’

Mr Cosgrove was also hugely concerned that with the enormous number of real issues facing young people, their advocates had chosen to focus on such a minor issue.

“Six years ago I would have qualified to have been one of the group allegedly discriminated against by the “Under 25” stickers. I don’t think sighting one then would have left me blubbing on the pavement with feelings of alienation and quite frankly I don’t think that for anyone, outside of a few very precious types, that’s the case now,’’ Mr Cosgrove said.

He was also concerned that the debate was achieving the very opposite effect of what the critics hoped it would do. It had the result of starting to make the under-25 youth group look daft by having the misfortune to have such “advocates.’’

“The reality is that most kids still work hard to get their first car, they don’t go out and steal somebody else’s. They must feel fairly insulted by this precious crusade allegedly on their behalf.’’

He was sure that the majority of young people in New Zealand had far too much common-sense to be at all bothered by the “Under 25” controversy.

“My gut instinct is that the only people this bothers are the trainee politically correct and the car thieves,’’ Mr Cosgrove said.


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