Council staff are compiling a report for councillors on ways to tackle boy racers in McLeans Island Road, but a car ban could prove difficult as it may violate the Bill of Rights Act. ... Banning cars is a problem on a main route like McLeans Island Road as it is more likely to violate the right to freedom of movement enshrined in the act than a ban on a minor road. Council solicitor David Rolls said a ban would be considered, but it had to be looked at carefully to avoid a legal challenge. "You have to consider if it is a reasonable intrusion on the freedom of movement, and the more well-used the road is, the greater the intrusion on freedom of movement," he said. "You have to weigh that against other competing factors and weigh up if the intrusion is warranted, given the mischief you are attempting to remove." Rolls would write a legal opinion on ways to deal with the McLeans Island Road problem for a February council meeting. The Manukau City Council has banned cars on 160 streets, including about five main roads. Manukau traffic engineer Bruce Conaghan said the ban could be imposed on main roads without violating the Bill of Rights Act. "We are not being restrictive on those that are carrying out something that is legal. The Christchurch council is in a good position to include those roads in their bylaw," he said.It's always important to remember that the Bill of Rights does not provide a blanket restriction on regulation which affects people's freedom of movement. Limits are permissible if they are demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society, generally treated as insisting that the limits are proportionate to their objective.
The comments from the City's solicitor seem to be heading in the right direction and indicate they are testing carefully regulation by applying this proportionality calculus. In contrast, the comments of the Manukau City engineer demonstrate a complete lack of appreciation of the Bill of Rights.
I look forward to seeing how this issue plays out when it comes to Council in February next year.