NZ Local News

Man wins fight with NZTA over ‘offensive’ licence plate with help from David Seymour, Simeon Brown

Editor Written by Editor · 3 min read >


An Auckland man has won his battle with the national transport agency to keep his personalised plates NUTSAX after authorities decided they must be forfeited after a complainant found them offensive.

Taylor Crawshaw’s fight to keep his plates, intended to raise awareness of testicular cancer, reached the highest levels of New Zealand Government with minister and future Deputy Prime Minister David Seymour urging Transport Minister Simeon Brown to intervene.

Crawshaw, a 20-year-old builder from Te Atatū, is glad the right decision was made and says the experience demonstrated how people should fight for what they believe in.

Seymour hails the backdown as a “victory for common sense” and jokes the matter adds to his reputation as a defender of “pricks everywhere” – a reference to former PM Jacinda Ardern’s 2022 insult which turned into a fundraiser to address prostate cancer.

Crawshaw bought the plates second-hand about three years ago, initially in jest but decided use them to raise awareness about testicular cancer – a cause he felt strongly about.

Taylor Crawshaw bought the plates in question about three years ago and had received nothing but positive feedback.
Taylor Crawshaw bought the plates in question about three years ago and had received nothing but positive feedback.

They had been made about 11 years ago and Crawshaw said the previous owner had not experienced any issues.

Crawshaw used stickers to add “Check Ya” above the plates to make sure his aim of raising awareness was clear.

He said he had never received negative feedback, with many commuters winding down their windows to commend him or post images and videos on social media.

However, that changed when he received an email from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) about three months ago, notifying him of a complaint and requesting an explanation.

The email said the complaint centred on the plates having “sexual connotations” and being “offensive”.

Crawshaw explained his reasoning but about a week ago, NZTA told him the original decision to approve the plates 11 years ago had been reversed and the plates would have to be forfeited by February 8.

”That sort of pissed me off, so I threw the letter straight in the bin,” he said.

He posted about the situation on a men’s mental health social media page and soon received hundreds of supportive comments, including one suggesting he seek help from Seymour.

Future Deputy Prime Minister David Seymour was only too happy to help on Taylor Crawshaw's behalf. Photo / Dean Purcell
Future Deputy Prime Minister David Seymour was only too happy to help on Taylor Crawshaw’s behalf. Photo / Dean Purcell

Crawshaw wrote to the Act leader and Regulations Minister, who almost immediately took up the matter with Transport Minister Simeon Brown through a letter on Wednesday.

“Minister, the balls are very much in your court on this one,” Seymour wrote to Brown.

”What’s more important – protecting the feelings of an individual who mistook the plates’ meaning … or raising awareness about a disease that about 150 Kiwi men are diagnosed with every year and 7-10 die from.

“Please demand your officials to revisit this testy decision and let Mr Crawshaw continue to spread his positive message up and down New Zealand.”

Brown, responding via letter on the same day, told Seymour he had sent Seymour’s letter to NZTA and he understood the agency was investigating options to retain the plates.

Crawshaw was informed later that day by NZTA that a second review of the complaint had been done following a “request from the Minister’s office”.

”After a second review, we have decided to allow the plate number to remain in circulation providing the surrounding message ‘Check ya’ is printed on the plate number above ‘NUTSAX’,” the NZTA email read.

Crawshaw, now awaiting new plates with the necessary surrounding to be manufactured, said the experience was a good reminder to stick to what he believed in.

”If you really stand for something, fight for it.

”I wasn’t going to give up without a fight, I don’t normally do that so it came in handy for once.”

Transport Minister Simeon Brown referred the matter to his officials. Photo / Dean Purcell
Transport Minister Simeon Brown referred the matter to his officials. Photo / Dean Purcell

He said he was still brassed off with NZTA for wanting to retrieve the plates even after he explained they were for a good cause.

Asked why the decision was reviewed again, an NZTA spokesman said the decision was changed from “revoke” to “allow with a surround” on the basis it would “promote men’s health and line up with what the owner advised was the intention of the plate”.

Seymour commended Brown on his intervention and said while the issue itself wasn’t a major, it did represent a wider issue of the public service interfering too much in people’s lives.

In 2022, Ardern was caught calling Seymour an “arrogant prick” under her breath while in Parliament’s debating chamber.

The pair then joined forces with a signed copy of the transcript being auctioned off with more than $100,000 going towards helping those suffering from prostate cancer.

Seymour said some men were typically less likely to seek help and that raising awareness, even through someone’s number plate, could “literally save lives”.

Adam Pearse is a political reporter in the NZ Herald Press Gallery team, based at Parliament. He has worked for NZME since 2018, covering sport and health for the Northern Advocate in Whangārei before moving to the NZ Herald in Auckland, covering Covid-19 and crime.



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