A Very Special Sort of New Zealander


WHENEVER A POLICE CHASE ends in tragedy, a very special sort of New Zealander steps forward into the spotlight. The contribution offered by this kind of Kiwi never varies. What happened is all about “The Law”. The offenders, otherwise known as the dead and horribly injured, are solely to blame for the tragic outcome of their offending. They chose not to stop when ordered to do so by the Police – a crime. As law-breakers, they simply had to be apprehended and punished. Any other course of action is unthinkable. The Law is The Law.

When, as so often happens, high-speed Police chases ending in high-speed collisions leave not only the offenders, but also entirely innocent citizens, dead and injured, this very special sort of New Zealander does not blink.

They understand that even the slightest acknowledgement of the right of innocent road-users not to be put in danger unnecessarily can only end in some form of limitation being placed upon the obligation of the Police to pursue and apprehend law-breakers. That cannot be allowed to happen. Innocent road-users are, therefore, straightforward collateral damage: unavoidable casualties in the brutal but absolutely necessary war against disobedience and disorder.

In vain do those seeking to radically curtail high-speed Police chases point out to these very special New Zealanders that the offences for which drivers are pursued by the Police are more often than not quite trivial. Violations of the road code and petty thievery are crimes punishable by fines, or a short spell in prison – not death.

For these special Kiwis, the original justification for the Police pursuit is irrelevant: it is the offenders’ open defiance of authority that constitutes the real crime. Allow people – especially young people – to defy authority and the entire social structure is put at risk. Hounding these miscreant drivers to their deaths, and even to the deaths of innocent road-users, is a small price to pay for the maintenance of law and order.

The mindset of these special New Zealanders is very similar to the mindset of those conservative white Americans who refuse to condemn local law enforcement for killing unarmed black Americans. Even when there is clear video evidence of a police officer emptying his firearm into a defenceless African-American who is running away, white juries have refused to convict the accused. In the eyes of these conservative American whites, law enforcement’s “thin blue line” is all that stands between them and an America in which the rights of “Real Americans” are no longer respected.

The rigid character structure of this particular type of human-being has for long been the special study of psychologists and sociologists. Taken in its entirety, it is referred to as “The Authoritarian Personality” and is distinguishable by the presentation of some, or all, of the following behaviours:

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Conventionalism: Adherence to conventional values.

Authoritarian Submission: Towards in-group authority figures.

Authoritarian Aggression: Against people who violate conventional values.

Anti-Intraception: Opposition to subjectivity and imagination.

Superstition and Stereotypy: Belief in individual fate; thinking in rigid categories.

Power and Toughness: Concerned with submission and domination; assertion of strength.

Destructiveness and Cynicism: Hostility against human nature.

Projectivity: Perception of the world as dangerous; tendency to project unconscious impulses.

Sex: Overly concerned with modern sexual practices.

At the core of the Authoritarian Personality lies a deep-seated and all-pervasive fear of complexity. The simpler the world can be made to appear, the more these authoritarians like it. Clear boundaries and strict rules are crucial to easing their manifold anxieties. The idea that the world might best be rendered in a multitude of shades and colours – as opposed to black and white – both incenses and terrifies them.

It’s why these very special New Zealanders are so willing to countenance the death of youngsters whose only real crime is being stupid – and even the death of people who have done nothing wrong at all – rather than offer the slightest challenge to the authority of the Police. When all that’s holding you up psychically is the rigid and unforgiving structures of patriarchal hierarchy and laissez-faire capitalism, letting go is not an option.



  1. But they are mostly young idiots so their lives don’t seem to matter too much. The special people think it stops a lifetime of crime.
    And you’ve overlooked that all chases end 30-90 seconds prior to the crash, so you can’t really blame the police.
    The problem is we have no public policy guidelines in NZ. If we did this practice woulda been stopped years ago. I’m gonna develop a set as my contribution to NZ before I get euthanised.

  2. Gosh, those special types of New Zealander sound very unpleasant, Chris.

    Fortunately, most of us aren’t that type of New Zealander. We’re just capable of figuring out that driving a motor vehicle is a significant responsibility, and driving one so dangerously that you’re highly likely to kill people is a crime (and should be a very serious one if you do actually kill people). We’re also capable of figuring out that this applies regardless of whether you were driving dangerously just because you get a kick out of it, or whether you were doing it because PC Plod had the temerity to flash his lights at you.

  3. Yes Chris

    The Law exists to protect and prosper Citizens. Plain and simple. Therefore, the Law should always be upheld. Fully.

    Offenders place themselves in no man’s land and in Debt to Citizens.

    • If the law exists to protect citizens, but instead it critically endangers them, and continuously leads to their innocent deaths, then the law is patently failing to perform the function you identify. And needs to be changed.
      D J S

  4. How can you compare a pursuit in New Zealand to police shootings in America. It is NOT one of your best.

    • If you let these people disappear in their own smoke wont they just keep doing it knowing nothing will be done?

    • The comparison is perfectly appropriate. The problem is all about police egotism overwhelming their responsibility as protectors of the community. There is a fine line between enforcement of the law and regarding the public as the enemy, and it’s beyond some officers intellectual and emotional capacity to identify that line.
      D J S

  5. Having had a close relative’s car written off, and she very nearly seriously injured or worse by a racing driver as the result of a hastily set up and poorly thought out roadblock with road spikes, it is imperative that the police first consider public safety. Creating innocent victims must be stringently avoided.

  6. Interesting,… when one considers a speeding car is as lethal as a 303. rifle…

    Vehicles have now been used as a terrorist weapon in some places .

    Its not always feasible to lay spike traps, but a darn site safer… and so is a helicopter in tracking the miscreants, however that’s not always feasible…

    And in light of a speeding vehicle being as potentially lethal as a 303.rifle, it would seem the wiser course at times would be to abandon the chase.

    Police discretion ? ,… it seems some are beyond being discreet.

    With tragic circumstances.

  7. It’s a very unfortunate fact for this opinion piece that vehicle crashes involving injury and death do not involve the police at all, except after the fact as they come along and clean the horror story away for the public and of course for the know it all finger-wagging armchair experts. And the same police will, no doubt, see idiots driving who are on their way to a crash or should never be behind the wheel, full stop.

    As said by others, motor vehicles are all guided missiles that can cause massive destruction if safety rules are not followed. And yet they are seen by some as a silly little thing that can be driven by drivers doing what feels good pretty much all of the time rather than the rules that guide their safe travel. The motor vehicles place on the road is not to be fannyed about by musing in Trotter’s dream world.

    Can it be helped that laws around this subject are so pathetic and countless politicians so impotent when it comes to ideas, that it would almost be laughable were it not for the tragedy?

    So what say you Chris Trotter, whats the fix? What have you ever done to fix this? Anything??

    Slagging off the system and offering nothing but your usual waffle and pontificating is not a solution.

  8. Chris what i think is that these special New Zealanders fear an uprising with increased inequality. The rule of law is the only thing protecting their wealth. Everything is about money these days and law and order is no different. Unfortunately the cops are under funded the judicial system is overwhelmed. There is no room at the Inn at our jails or money in the Kitty. We have an interesting future ahead as long as immigrants keep pouring in our gates.

  9. It reminds me of an interview a year or two back, on RNZ, with one of the ‘top’ Parking Wardens in the country, possibly from Wellington at a time when handing out parking tickets for the most minor infraction was a booming industry.
    Mr Ticket Man boldly informed the interviewer that ‘,i>Upholding the Law will never be unpopular‘.
    He meant it.
    He was sincere.
    A very special sort of New Zealander would no doubt agree whole heartedly.

    And as I keep having to remind myself, we do in fact live in a country where half the voters vote National.

  10. And then there are those crashes caused by people who cross the centre line, tank up on bevvies of known toxicity, want to show off in front of mates – and there was no police chase at all.

    And people die. Usually not the driver. Unfortunately.

    Perhaps some expenditure on drones with night vision? Perhaps enough traffic police so they can call ahead to colleagues and provide a welcome party?

    I’m not so sure too many of the ‘bubbly babies’ would respond to seeing the gory consequences of their often repeated stupidity. If they live so long – maybe after thirty. Before then? We’re already hard-pressed to keep the hoons out of other people’s cars.

    In addition to ‘narrow-mindedness, etc’ some recognition of the angry frustration and fear – will someone I love be totalled by one of these charming children?

    A lot of us have endured those losses. We wish there was a short, sharp way of keeping these people off our roads – including the over 50s who are in a pretty guilty cohort of their own

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