Hello and felicitous new year salutations to one and all!

Phew – any more flowery language like that and we’ll be swimming in pollen and attacked by gigantic bumble-type bees.

I returned from my Scottish holiday a few weeks back and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks driving my mother-in-law around our fair country – all the while racking my brain about what to talk about in my first blog back… and then the other night it came to me: Boy Racers!

If you’re scratching your head, or indeed other portions of your anatomical structure at this point wondering what a ‘boy racer’ is, look no further, for I, Boon, have discovered the Wikipedia link to the definition of boy racer. Read it. And you know it’s 100% true because it’s been edited by anyone. Basically these guys spend thousand of dollars doing up late model Nissans etc making them hugely powerful, with hundreds of horsepower so that they can drive down Queen Street in Auckland doing 3kms per hour with several hundred of their peers. There may be the odd bit of racing and drifting here and there also.

Oh how New Zealand is currently up in their collective arms over the tendency for young, mobile types who congregate together at night on our nations roads. Last week it came to a crunch – and I’m not talking about the crunch of reinforced automobile metal on unprotected youth bone. After months, perhaps years of skids, donuts, drag races and burnouts, the people of Christchurch demanded action. And when I say demanded I mean DEMANDED. Letters to the editor were written. Talkback radio was called. Moans and gripes were outlined.

Then it happened… Judith Collins, the brand new Minister of Police (as of October last year, although parliament has pretty much been in ‘summer recess’ since just after the election, so how much work any of them have done in the last 3 months is anybodies guess. In fact, h0w on earth has New Zealand continued along its merry way with no politicians in charge? It’s a damn miracle, I say), announced several measures to deal with what we in this country refer to as ‘hoons’. As an aside I had a wee chuckled to myself when I was in Scotland and I found out that the Secretary of State for Transport in the UK is none other than Geoff Hoon – an excellent, if not rather dry, play on words…..

Anyway, let’s get back to the war on the New Zealand hoons and leave poor old Geoff to his non-job in the Labour government. Collins, in her infinite wisdom as Police Minister, this wisdom back up by her ‘real world’ experience as an 80s solicitor and, before that, an owner-operator of two (that’s right, TWO!) restaurants, has announced plans to crack down on boy racers by, among other things, perhaps crushing their beloved cars. There was also talk of fines, more fines, perhaps a bit of jail, and/or a lash or two of the birch (and that’s not Bill Birch, former Finance Minister and Bolger lackey).

In a bid to stop boy racers driving around they are going to crush their cars. Good one! What are they going to do next? Crush the shoes of tap dancers because their incessant tapping annoys the hell out of the audience… well me anyway. And why are ‘tappers’ so damn happy? Surely they have problems like the rest of us. Off topic…

Crushing the cars of these young men, and perhaps women, is not going to achieve the desired effect. The banks own most of these cars anyway, so I’m pretty sure, in the current climate where many of said banks are struggling to find assets anywhere, that they would like to keep their Skylines and Camaros. Good one Collins! Thought about that?

As a driver of Auckland roads, I am constantly amazed (amazed is the wrong word – it suggests positive connotations, perhaps we will used utterly disgusted instead) by the general poor (again, poor is too positive a word, lets try abhorrent) driving from a number of my fellow motorists. Driver behaviour and attitude in New Zealand is appalling. I must say, for the most part, it is just little things like failing to indicate when changing lanes. An indicator is there for just that reason. To let other drivers know that you are planning to move a tonne of steel, plastic and glass from one part of the road to the other. It’s just a common courtesy to let other drivers in on your intentions. Although I don’t know why I’m complaining – the other day I should have been able to guess the woman speaking into her cellphone while putting on lipstick was indeed going to cut me off.

Basically, when it comes down to it, if you let a population get their licence to drive in their teens and then choose to next retest them when they are septuagenarian racers, you are just asking for your windscreen to be smashed by a baseball bat. When you’re a teen you have no idea about the dangers of the road (unless you’re a nerd) and all of the habits you develop when you first begin to drive you take with you all the way through your driving life. Crushing the car of a young chap isn’t going to do squat. If you really want to clean up the roads, reduce the shoddy driving practices of New Zealanders by making them take the practical driving test every 10 years or so. And the theory while you’re at it. I am aware that this will cost millions, possibly even billions, so it might not actually be practical. Who knows? It may happen, but it probably will not.

This has all come to a head for me in the last couple of years – since returning to NZ from overseas. I am now a teacher. It is terrible to see so much of this shonky car-work outside our schools in areas where motorists should be taking the utmost of care. Children die outside schools in this country because people are too selfish to think about what is happening outside their motor vehicle at the time.

Aside 2: Speeding – people complain about getting zapped by a speed camera and given a ticket saying the police are ‘revenue gathering’. If you weren’t breaking the damn law in the first place you wouldn’t be fined. It’s like Jeffery Dahmer saying, “I know I ate all those people, but I thought the law was unfair and people quite tasty, so I didn’t think it applied to me.”

So, Collins, don’t bother crushing any cars. Start teaching New Zealanders to drive properly.

Happy new year!

Boon x


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