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Clampdown On Illegal Street Racing


Clampdown On Illegal Street Racing

More streets are to be restricted to non-residential traffic on weekends and public holidays in order to tackle the scourge of illegal street racing in Manukau. This will include a large stretch of Te Irirangi Drive between Dawson Road in Otara and Ti Rakau Drive in Pakuranga.

Te Irirangi Drive, along with streets leading to and from it, has been the focus of many late-night illegal gatherings attracting up to 2,000 spectators and hundreds of racers. These areas are also used for parking, as pit stops and escape routes when Police arrive.

The Manukau City Council's "Illegal Street Racing" bylaw will in future cover 35 streets leading to or close to Te Irirangi Drive, in addition to the many other streets already affected. This bylaw is enforceable by the Police and prohibits vehicles entering a road between 10pm Fridays and 5am Mondays unless they have a legitimate reason for being there.

The Police have been consulted and are supportive of the move, and signs advising the public of the change are to be put up in the effected areas.

The bylaw was introduced in 1996 to discourage large groups of people from gathering and carrying out anti-social and criminal activities such as:

drag racing, donut and burnouts burning stolen cars, sale of stolen goods, drugs and other illegal behaviour vandalising council and private property

In reality, the Police do not expect to stop every car on the effected roads not owned by a resident. They will use their discretion and only cars which are clearly breaking the law or gathering to watch illegal activity will be targeted. The penalty for an offence is an $500 instant fine. The Police have found this bylaw to be an effective tool in reducing problems in other areas.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis supports the move. "The effects of these late-night gatherings include dangerous driving, crime such as arson, drunkenness, smashed and damaged property, damage to roads and horrific noise levels in otherwise quiet neighbourhoods. Residents are getting abused and their weekends are becoming a nightmare because their sleep is being ruined.

"It's totally unacceptable. People have a right to live in a normal, peaceable suburb without having their streets turned into drag strips by defiant, in-your-face vandalism and childish exhibitionists, male and female".

"This problem affects huge numbers of people all over the country. At a recent public meeting here, hundreds of residents turn up. They're fed up and want action. They feel intimidated in their own homes.

"I've been concerned that the level of anger will produce vigilante attacks against the boy racers in Manukau. We don't want that because it could have tragic consequences."

The council's move reinforces the intent behind a proposed law change. The Street and Illegal Drag Racing Bill is now being considered by a parliamentary select committee.

If passed by parliament this year, it is expected to come into effect next year. The aim of the legislation is to allow repeat offenders' cars to be confiscated, which is not possible under the current law. To support Manukau City's Council's submission on the bill, Sir Barry Curtis will be giving an oral presentation to the law and order committee in Wellington on October 9.

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