TODAY |

Calls for 'racially insensitive' number plate letter combination to be banned

A Hawke's Bay family is calling for standard-issue license plates with the letters "NGR" to be pulled from circulation after their family was given one earlier this year.

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A Hawke’s Bay family is calling for standard-issue license plates with the letters “NGR” to be pulled from circulation. Source: Seven Sharp

A spokesperson for Waka Kotahi (New Zealand Transport Agency) said 999 of the NGR number plate series was manufactured earlier this year.

Seven Sharp asked people on the streets if they considered the sequence of letters – which could be construed as a shorter version of a racist slur – offensive.

Most people found it offensive saying it shouldn’t have made it onto Kiwi number plates.

One man disagreed, saying it looked like just another licence plate.

Motoring expert Clive Matthew-Wilson was asked for his views on the issue.

“I don’t think most people who saw that plate thought about it as anything more than an ordinary plate,” he says.

“Now that a driver has drawn the attention of the public to it he’s created the very situation he’s tried to avoid.”

He says the driver can ask for a new plate from the Transport Agency.

“It’s a slippery slope, where do we draw the line as to what letter combinations are offensive,” Matthew-Wilson says.