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Boy Racers and All the Usual Suspects

Boy Racers and All the Usual Suspects

It seems the very fears ACT New Zealand expressed when its MPs voted against the Street and Illegal Drag Racing Bill have unfortunately come to pass, Transport Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"ACT totally supports police crackdowns on lawbreakers but the wider powers given to the police under this new law are harming the innocent as well.

"There's no question that people found illegally speeding or causing a nuisance should be punished. However, we once had a quaint tradition in this country of innocent until proven guilty. Under this new law that doesn't apply, as the weekend tally of impounded cars - and predicted door-knocking by police, shows. Cars are impounded, and their warrants of fitness automatically cancelled, before their owners are found guilty of a criminal offence.

"Even the Attorney-General reported these impoundment provisions were inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act, but the law was passed with National and United Future's help.

"Already I'm getting letters from car club members - not boy racers, not law breakers - who are penalised by this poorly written legislation. One man who drives a Honda is facing court action because in pouring rain he lost traction for about two seconds at the lights.

"And now the law has extended to modified exhausts. These are not allowed to 'make the vehicle louder than it would have been when the vehicle was manufactured with its original exhaust system'. This means all Group A road registered rally cars will have their warrants of fitness automatically cancelled - with no exceptions. No decibel level is stated, so a Harley Davidson that comes out of the factory at 100 decibels is fine, but a Subaru, the late Possum Bourne's choice, with a slightly noisier exhaust is illegal and its owner is breaching the law. Rally drivers modify exhausts to improve performance, not to annoy the neighbours.

"Since half the Labour caucus like to roar around the country on their Harley Davidsons, I don't suppose they care. However, United Future - with its rally driver member - and National - which was founded on freedom - were possibly misguided in their vote. Hopefully they will help ACT repeal this law and markedly increase police funding and resources when the centre-right takes the Treasury benches," Miss Coddington said.

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