Hawke's Bay man wants offensive number plate removed from circulation


Tom Kitchin for RNZ

A Hawke's Bay man is calling for an offensive number plate to be removed from circulation after he found one on his new car.

Earlier this year, James Crow and his family needed a new plate for a recently purchased car, and went along to collect it.

They were shocked when they found the first three letters on the number plate were "NGR".

"We arrived at the AA Centre to receive it and as we drove in, and my wife saw it first and said 'oh my, we can't have that on the front of our car'," Crow told RNZ.

"If there have been many many number plates that have been avoided being produced in the past with different three letter words or different three letter analogies, why did this one slip through? 'Cause it felt like if it's going to really offend or hurt a few people in the public, it's not necessary."

Waka Kotahi (New Zealand Transport Agency) is responsible for number plates.

A spokesperson said the NGR number plate series was manufactured earlier this year.

A total of 999 plates was included in the series, as was the case for all three letter standard issue plate series.

The spokesperson said general issue plates could be prevented from being manufactured due to the potential for letter combinations to cause offence.

"While this three letter combination was not withheld, Waka Kotahi recognises the offense the letter combination has caused, and we will arrange for replacement standard issue plates to be provided at no charge for any vehicle owners who do not wish to retain the plates," the spokesperson said.

"We are also looking at the practicality of withdrawing the series from circulation. We are reviewing our processes to ensure that future number plate combinations are more thoroughly assessed before being manufactured and released."

Some three letter combinations have previously been withheld.

Waka Kotahi also has banned the manufacturing of registration plates that contain the letters I, O, and V as these letters can easily be mistaken for 1,0, and U, and can cause issues for enforcement authorities.