No cars have been crushed under a controversial two-year-old a law promising a crackdown on boy racers.
Police Minister Judith Collins was dubbed 'Crusher Collins' when the Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill was passed in October 2009.
It gave courts the power to send cars owned by people who committed three serious vehicle offences in four years to the crusher.
Estimates quoted by Ms Collins during a parliamentary debate on the law said there would be 10 cars crushed every year.
At first glance, it would seem that Judith Collins' threat to crush boy racers' cars has been an empty one. But read on, and you get to the nub of the story (with our emphasis added):
She told Radio New Zealand this morning no cars had yet been crushed - though 17 offenders were on their second 'strike'.
"If one of them wants to pop their hand up and get the stupid sticker and get their car crushed, we'll be happy to oblige."
Ms Collins said the lack of orders to crush cars showed the law was working as a deterrent for boy racers.
Vehicle offences had lowered by 15 per cent in its first year and police had seen a "massive" drop off in the number of complaints about boy racers, she said.
"There are still some who want to test the law and the police are happy to help them."
There you have it; the car-crushing legislation after which Crusher Collins was nicknamed has actually been a success. It has had a deterrent effect, and all of those who have been issued with a second "strike" have pulled their heads in, realising that the police are deadly serious about seizing and crushing their pride and joy should they reoffend.
Laws don't have to be punitive to be effective. Boy racers pour vast sums of money into their cars, and the prospect of having all that time and money squeezed into a cube of scrap metal is enough to cause them to moderate their behaviour. And we're sure that the finance companies won't go away, just because a car has been reduced to the abovementioned cube. The consequences of crushing will be longer-lasting than the moment when the crusher bursts into life.
Whilst the first car-crushing would make for great television, especially if it happened during an election campaign we reckon that Judith Collins is probably very satisfied with the outcome. And 17 boy racers will be on tenterhooks every time they take their cars out for a cruise, it could be their last.