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Former All Black Supports Roadworks Campaign

18 February 2005

Former All Black Supports Roadworks Campaign

Former All Black and Kiwi League star Frano Botica knows what can happen when you don’t take enough care around hazardous obstacles.

At the Parliamentary launch of a major new Safety Around Roadworks campaign in Wellington yesterday, Frano told the story of how on the field instead of carefully going around Mark Geyer, he ploughed straight into him and cracked a rib. The next week, instead of sidestepping Paul Sorenine, he slid into him and broke a leg.

The analogy was used to highlight a growing problem on New Zealand roads: motorists are not taking enough care around road works and as a result, and drivers and passengers are being seriously injured and even killed.

The campaign has been developed by Roading New Zealand, an organisation which represents wide range of contracting companies that build and maintain New Zealand's roading.

Chairman Nick Miller said at the launch that safety around road works has been an issue which has concerned the industry for the past five years. And with the increased amount of works on New Zealand roads planned for the future, the situation is only going to get worse, he said.

“When we first started talking about this campaign many people thought that it was a campaign in which we wanted to create a safe environment for our staff. Obviously the safety of our staff is key to us and we work really hard to ensure that they are protected.

“But this campaign has been developed because our people are worried about the drivers and passengers who drive through road works completely oblivious of the risks they are taking when they ignore the signs.

Frano Botica, who as a youth used to mow the median strips might have become a road worker himself, he said, if he hadn’t become a rugby player. His grandfather spent his life as a road worker and Frano introduced his father, Nick Botica, at the launch, who this week celebrates 50 years as a road worker.

Mr Botica Senior says in his 50 years of a great career on the roadsthe only downside for him is the witnessing of the many accidents caused by drivers going through road works too fast and ignoring the spread restrictions.

“If people are frustrated by delays they should think how much longer the delay would be if they got stuck behind a six car nose to tail pile up!”

The campaign was officially launched by the Hon Harry Duynhoven, Minister for Transport Safety.

ENDS

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