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Discriminatory Car Scheme Should Go - Young Labour

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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