Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Immobilising the brain

David Farrar along with numerous other right wing blogs bemoans the fact that the government is making the fitting of immobilisers and use of 'Whole of Vehicle' Marking on newly imported cars and light vehicles mandatory.

Predictably the argument goes that it is blind regulatory nanny state knows best ideology that is inducing these regulations.

He quotes Jim Peron from the institute for Liberal Values in saying that:

Justice Minister Phil Goff wants to reduce car thefts by forcing automobile owners to install immobilisers. He admits this will cost at least $300 per car.

He justifies this expense for consumers because it will reduce "opportunistic" car thefts. No doubt it will. Mandatory curfews for women would reduce rape. And mandatory burglar bars and security gates would reduce break-ins.

Well I wonder if one day, just one day, that people like this may, just may admit that regulations sometimes can work.

From Goff's release:

"In West Australia vehicle theft fell 34 per cent between 1999 and 2001, during which time the number of vehicles fitted with immobilisers rose from 45 per cent to 70 per cent. In the UK, where all new vehicles have required immobilisers since 1998, vehicle theft has fallen 23 per cent."

Goff points out that "Vehicle theft costs New Zealand about $110 million a year. It imposes on thousands of ordinary New Zealanders significant financial costs, involves major inconvenience, and adds to the cost of insurance premiums for every motorist."

"Just over 22,000 vehicles were stolen in 2003/04, accounting for 5.2 per cent of all recorded crime. About 80 per cent of vehicle crime is opportunistic; the remaining 20 per cent is professional crime involving the fraudulent re-identification of a vehicle or theft of its parts."

So, yes it does seem to work. I am interested in solutions that work. It seems to me that rather than the government being the one hung up on an ideology of excessive regulatory zeal it is opponents to this move that are blinded to the fact that this will work to reduce crime. You are right that it will impinge on peoples liberty to be free from having immoblisers, however don't you think that more liberty is created by regulating away crime? It may be hard for you to see things from this way round of course.
Noting that regulation along the lines of 'mandatory walking reduces car crashes' is silly, surely the object of government is to find a balance. A balance that works.


  • Okay so you want solutions that work. How about making it compulsory for women to wear chasity belts when they go out to reduce rape? That would inevitably reduce rape.

    The issue is not whether car immobilisers are a good idea. It is whether the state has any business at all declaring they are compulsory.

    Why not make electric fences compulsory to reduce burglary also?

    By Blogger David Farrar, at 5:13 pm  

  • If you read my post I believe that the states job is to strike a balance in order to ensure the greatest liberty.
    I would argue that regulating for immobilisers increases liberty overall by way of reducing opportunistic car theft with only a small loss to the people who would choose to not have one.
    Giving women a curfew obviously results in too much of a loss of liberty and cant be justified.
    I guess its the same as saying the state has no business in requiring car manufacturers to include seat belts and I hope you don’t intend arguing that.

    By Blogger Constar, at 5:53 pm  

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