The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Act 2009 comes into effect on 1 December 2009. The Act introduces a number of measures for tackling illegal street racing and the anti-social use of vehicles. Read a list of provisions in the Act.

Why is this legislation needed?

Drivers who use their vehicles in an anti social manner are a threat to public safety, and can cause excessive noise, disruption and intimidation.

Apprehending a driver in the act of illegal street racing can be difficult. The changes in the Act will strengthen existing laws to ensure that Police have better powers to crack down illegal street racers, and that penalties are appropriate to prevent repeat offending.

In addition, the government is taking major steps to improve New Zealand’s road safety to 2020 through the Safer Journeys strategy. The Enforcement Powers Act will assist this work by giving Police and Courts greater powers to stop the extremes of dangerous and anti-social behaviour shown by some road users.

When does this come into force?

The Act comes into force on 1 December 2009.  The licence reinstatement provisions will come into force by Order in Council.

Will this law affect legitimate car clubs?

The provisions in the Act are aimed at preventing only activities which create a public nuisance. There is no intention of targeting safe and non-disruptive activities, and it would be unlikely that the activities of legitimate clubs would breach the provisions in the Act.

Some car events already require local authority permission to be held. Under the Act, local authority permission would also mean that illegal street racing bylaws (such as those prohibiting “cruising”) would not apply.

What is meant by “cruising”?

Cruising refers to drivers circling specified streets within defined periods of time drawing attention to the power or the sound of the vehicle, or creating a convoy that impedes the flow of traffic.

Do other countries have similar legislation?

New Zealand’s situation is relatively unique in that there is access to cheap high powered cars, cheap fuel (in comparison to many countries), credit to purchase cars, and very wide car ownership.

However, there are a number of similar interventions in place in different jurisdictions. Legislation in other countries includes laws for the impoundment and confiscation of cars, the creation of greater powers for local authorities, and the crushing of cars.

Have the public been consulted?

The public were invited to make submissions during the select committee process earlier this year. 126 submissions were received and these were considered by the select committee working on the Act.

What about crushing cars?

A provision for vehicle seizure and destruction is included in the Sentencing Amendment (Vehicle Confiscation) Act 2009. This Act came into force on 1 December. For further information visit the Police website(external link).