A crushing rejoinder to Treasury twaddle

Some tossers in the Treasury have become much too keen to show off their flair for analysis, and have advised the government there’s no proof its proposed new laws to prevent boy-racing will work.

The department’s objections to the law changes which include the crowd-pleasing proposal to crush the cars of repeat offenders are contained in Cabinet papers on the new laws released to The Press under the Official Information Act.

“Treasury is unable to support the full suite of proposals because there is no analysis evident in the paper that any of the measures proposed are likely to be effective in influencing behaviour and achieving the stated objectives,” Treasury’s comments on the Cabinet paper said.

“Likewise, there has been no assessment of potential risks arising from unintended consequences of the proposals.”

Elsewhere, the paper warns plans to seize the cars of alleged boy racers may fall foul of the Bill of Rights, as a breach of the presumption of innocence.

The Cabinet paper was addressing Police Minister Judith Collins’ Land Transport (Illegal Street Racing) and Vehicle Seizure and Confiscation Bill.

Penalties for illegal street racing were not enough to make a significant impact on a problem which resulted in an average of 101 crashes, 10 deaths and 46 serious injuries a year, the Treasury said.

But –

“Actually apprehending a driver or drivers in the act of illegal street racing is a rare and random event. In the 2003-07 period there were on average 1659 convictions [a year] for illegal street racing … [but] it is hard to know the true extent … as the participants are transitory and highly organised.”

The Treasury said it recognised boy racing was a significant issue that caused disruption and concern to many in the community, which is a heartening reassurance its officials indeed are living on the same planet as the rest of us.

It also is aware

…that finding an effective means of resolving this issue remains elusive, and that this is exacerbating the public’s general frustration.”

It supported some suggestions in the paper, such as rebalancing fines with demerit points and issuing “forbidden to drive” notices.

“However, there is no indication that these measures will be effective in altering illegal street racing.”

Collins’ response to Treasury’s concerns was much the same as Alf's indignant comment to Mrs Grumble, but without the expletives and therefore more succinct.

She told The Press: “I can personally guarantee that no illegal street racing will ever occur in a car that has been crushed.”

Can’t put it better.

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