Moral Panics in New Zealand

Fear of pervert Drivers

Moral Panics Index

Banning Drivers, Index

Banning drivers with convictions
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2006-0119 - NZ Herald - Law change best option for drivers' problem, say officials
Officials have advised the Government that a legislative amendment is the best way to save the jobs of bus and taxi drivers caught out by law changes. Provisions to the Land Transport Act that came into effect on Monday prevent bus and taxi drivers convicted of murder, or a sex offence punishable by more than seven years' prison, from carrying passengers. But under the law, passed last year, drivers convicted when they were young of having underage sex would lose their passenger service licences

2006-0117 - Waikato Times - Untouchable drivers
by Dilip Kurien - Most of them were convicted decades back for having underage sex. They cannot, and should not, be put in the same class as hardened sex criminals. By taking back their licences, you are not only destroying their livelihood but also their families. For decades it was all right for them to drive and suddenly they have become untouchables. It is all right not to allow hardened sex criminals behind the wheel of a public transport carrier. But this is a different scenario. I hope that the Government reviews the law and gives them back their licences

2006-0117 - Waikato Times - Politicians get it wrong at a cost
Editorial -
Sometimes Parliament simply gets it wrong. It debates a bill, passes it into law and if no one's spotted the fish hooks, or if MPs have chosen to ignore them, people's livelihoods can be placed at risk. That is exactly what has happened with changes to the Land Transport Amendment Act that came into force yesterday. New provisions mean bus and taxi drivers who have been convicted of murder or sex offences that attract a jail term of seven years or more are banned from carrying passengers. It is not so much the amendment that is of concern but the fact it is being applied retrospectively

2006-0117 - Nelson Mail - Net cast too wide
Editorial -
Nobody wants to see sexual predators or violent criminals driving buses and taxis. The potential for them to use these jobs to come into contact with vulnerable people is too great,....... Mr Duynhoven has conceded that this part of the legislation is an ass - "I don't believe this law was intended to catch these people," he says - and is looking for a way to restore the right of appeal. If the Government's officials can't figure out how to do that, he might have to go back to Parliament with an amendment to put things right. How much better it would have been for the Government and, more importantly, the affected drivers, if more thought had been given to the detail.

2006-0116 - The Press - The Land Transport Amendment Act
by Carol Stove - The Land Transport Amendment Act 2005 will cause us to lose two very dedicated and respected bus drivers, for something they did when teenagers. We need good reliable safe men such as these men in our world today, who have, by the length of time they have not reoffended, proven themselves to be just this. These are the kind of men we, as parents and grandparents, can trust the lives of our children to

2006-0116 - Stuff - Driver sex offence law may change
The Government will consider seeking an amendment to a new law that strips bus and taxi drivers convicted of even the most moderate of sex offences of their passenger licences. From today, new provisions of the Land Transport Act mean bus and taxi drivers convicted of murder, or a sex offence punishable by more than seven years' prison, will be banned from carrying passengers. Only a small handful have a right of appeal under the changes.

2006-0116 - Sunday Star Times - New transport law will 'destroy my life', taxi driver says
by Jennifer Dann - When Queenstown bus driver Garry Adams was 16 he went to Dunedin's St Kilda beach one night to "fool around" with a 15-year-old girl. No clothes were removed in the consensual activity, which he described as heavy petting. But after the girl was late home, her parents complained to police and he was charged with indecent assault. "The police told me if I pleaded guilty, there would be a $55 fine and it would go away. Thirty-five years later it's coming back to haunt me. This is going to destroy my life," he said.

2006-0116 - One News - Association pushing for amendment
The Bus and Coach Association is to ask the government for an amendment to new legislation that would give drivers banned for historical sex convictions, the right to appeal. The Land Transport Amendment Act stops people who've committed murder, serious violent and sexual offences from being licensed to drive passengers. More than 200 current licence holders will have their licences suspended indefinitely

2006-0116 - Otago Daily Times - Licence issue example of over-regulation
by G Rixon - The article on bus driver Lloyd Walsh (ODT, 10.1.06) is a fine example which shows just how over-regulated New Zealand is becoming. My feeling is that the Land Transport New Zealand computer cross-references with the police computer, and any names that result for the violent or sexual crimes are then sent a chain letter saying that they are going to lose their licence. There is no, or very little, human input into this — it is all computer controlled.

2006-0116 - Newstalk ZB - Few treated unfairly by new law
The Transport Safety Minister says he knows of only a handful of people who believe they are being unfairly treated by a new law banning sex offenders from driving buses and taxis.The legislation comes into effect today, stripping hundreds of drivers of their right to operate public transport

2006-0116 - Newstalk ZB - Drivers off the road for sex crimes
It is now officially the end of the road for bus and taxi drivers with convictions for sex crimes. The Land Transport Amendment Act comes into effect today. Approximately 400 drivers no longer have a passenger-class licence because they have previous criminal convictions of a sexual nature.

2006-0116 - Green Party Blog - A cautionary tale about trying to make robust law just before an election
Last April when the Land Transport Amendment Bill was going through the Select Committee stage, then Green MP Mike Ward raised some concerns. It was an omnibus bill, which means it was fiddling with bits and pieces all over the relevant law. The Greens agreed with nearly all of it, certainly enough to vote for it. But Mike noticed a problem with the clause on preventing serious offenders from holding passenger licenses and he argued for just a few extra words to fix it.

2006-0116 - Blog Russell Brown - Second-time blog virgin
This law is well-intended but it sorely needs attention - the easiest course seems to be to simply allow for review of cases like Adams'. Inevitably, its impact has triggered the usual bitching about "the left", but actually, the Greens opposed it - predicting exactly the sort of unfairness that has become apparent - and it was Deborah Coddington who sounded off about it not being sufficiently draconian

2006-0115 - One News - Fresh criticism over driver law change
The Criminal Bar Association has joined a wave of criticism of new legislation banning people with old convictions for sex offences from holding a commercial drivers licence...... However, vice-President of the Criminal Bar Association Mark Anthony Edgar says he does not think Parliament intended that people be penalised for convictions that are now so old and irrelevant they do not pose an immediate danger to anyone. He says the law has changed sufficiently over the years that people are being penalised for things that today may not result in a conviction. 

2006-0114 - Waikato Times - Law forces bus drivers off road
by Geoff Taylor and NZPA - Red Cabs manager Mike Smith said he believed the law change was a knee-jerk reaction. He said he thought drivers' situations should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. The 285 drivers written to have no right of appeal but stories have emerged around the country of drivers with long and impeccable driving records being forced off the road. One Dunedin driver is losing his licence because as a 16-year-old 34 years ago, he had sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, just two days short of her 16th birthday. Kaiapoi driver Beau Harrison will be off the road because about 40 years ago when he was 18, he had sex with a 15-year-old co-worker in a shearing gang, believing she was the same age as him.

2006-0114 - Timaru Herald - Govt seeking remedy for driving law
Government lawyers are searching for a legal loophole in a new law which stops bus drivers with minor historic criminal convictions from getting behind the wheel. The Land Transport Amendment Act, which takes effect on Monday, specifies a series of serious offences, led by murder and sexual crimes, that have no recourse to appeals against licence removal.

2006-0114 - Timaru Herald - An ass of a law
Editorial -
Charles Dickens could have had the Land Transport Amendment Act in mind when he wrote "the law is a ass, a idiot". While Parliament was well meaning when it passed the amendment last year, what it meant and what it has delivered are clearly two different things. It is yet another example of legislation not being properly scrutinised.

2006-0114 - Otago Daily Times - Transport legislation may be amended
by John Lewis - Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven says there may be ways to amend legislation which dumped Dunedin bus driver Lloyd Walsh out of a job. Mr Walsh (50) has had his passenger class licence suspended because of teenage convictions, under legislation condemned by an Amalgamated Workers Union official yesterday as “extreme, heavy handed and unjust”. The union has thrown its weight behind Mr Walsh and his case has sparked a supporting petition.

2006-0114 - Nelson Mail - Bus driver loophole sought
Government lawyers are searching for a legal loophole in a new law which stops bus drivers with minor historic criminal convictions from getting behind the wheel. The Land Transport Amendment Act, which takes effect on Monday, specifies a series of serious offences, led by murder and sex crimes, that have no recourse to appeals against licence removal. Hundreds of drivers have received letters saying their passenger endorsement licences will be suspended. This has caught out some drivers who have minor historic sex convictions.

2006-0114 - Daily News - Parliamentary team's poor job of driving home safe-licence act
Editorial -
It is poor legislation that requires repair on the eve of coming into force. The Land Transport Amendment Act takes effect on Monday, primarily aimed at weeding out from the public passenger licence list those people with convictions for serious violent or sexual offences...... For reasons that now seem to baffle Mr Duynhoven too, the committee opted to ignore advice from government officials, and instead made the legislation retrospective, without any time limit. Back-dated law-making is always dangerous, and especially reaching back indefinitely.