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Saturday, January 31, 2009

A peek into Kiwi life

New Zealand, Christchurch in particular, has a problem with "boy racers." Teens and young men who terrorize city streets at night racing, doing burnouts, drinking and drugging, vandalizing property, and creating obscene amounts of noise.

Friday night, Christchurch police responded to complaints of a gathering of 300 boy racers (not an unusual number) causing mayhem. A single squad car responded and was set upon by the mob who threw beer bottles through the windows and shot at the officer with air rifles (handguns are not permitted in New Zealand). The crowd had been using a police scanner and was lying in wait. The officer managed to escape unharmed, and no additional police response was ordered to round up the perpetrators.

Why? That's how things are in New Zealand. Lawless. Kiwis, for reasons I have yet to determine, have a high tolerance for crime. The police have very little power (other than to hand out speeding tickets) and the court system is a joke. Prison sentences are minimal with many criminals ordered to pay monetary reparations to their victims rather than serve time.

After this weekend's attack, this was the national government's response: "Transport Minister Steven Joyce has promised to visit [Christchurch] in the next six weeks to see scale (sic) of the problem. He would also talk to Police Minister Judith Collins on whether current laws gave police enough power to act against boy racers. The Ministry of Transport is writing a report for Mr Joyce on proposals to curb noisy cars. The report should be finished mid-year."

Just about the time we say "good riddance" to this place.

[The Christchurch Press]


Debi said...

I have never understood - the Mayor seems confused at how to handle the situation. I can tell him - START ARRESTING THEM! Throw their sorry asses in jail - they do it because they can get away with it.

It is really unfortunate - since Christchurch really does have some charm - and could have a great night life...oh yeah - then there are the regular

hello gorgeous said...

That's horrible. I thought you were going to say they started him on fire. Yikes.

Designers' Brew said...

That is SO fucked up.

nkp said...

That is some Craaaazzzzy sheeeet!

erin@designcrisis said...

Hawaii had a bunch of those stupid boy racers. They were always getting into wrecks and killing people. Insane, really. Except at least there was JAIL there, and cops used it. Sometimes.

Islands suck. Unless you're just visiting.

Robin said...

That is insane! like the Wild West. This is the kind of thing that everyone turns a blind eye until the son or daughter of someone "important" gets hurt by one of these thugs. Nice, the future of their city is in their hands.

anna said...

eeeeek -- it's happening here on the north eastern side of los angeles, too. we have boy (and girl) racers dragging up and down the main street on weekend nights, people have been killed. it's awful.

but there aren't enough city resources to have cops stake-out the street -- is chch that strapped for cash, too?

Raina said...

Heavens no. The police make a boatload of cash with speed traps. It's a cultural thing over here. Kiwis are very tolerant of crime and bad behavior in general. Imagine an entire nation of frat boys.

anna said...

ha! i spent my formative years in chch (from four to seventeen) and i do remember that -- sounds like it hasn't changed much.

is it still as uber-macho as i remember? that's one reason mom and dad hightailed it back to the states, even though it meant leaving before high school was done.

Raina said...

It is very much that way. It's one of many reasons we're leaving in July.