Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Petition presented on roadside drug testing

The introduction of roadside drug testing is critical given the escalating road toll and the Government’s liberalization of drug laws, Nelson MP Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith received ‘Mathew’s petition’ on Parliament’s steps today. The petition from Karen Dow seeks the urgent introduction of random roadside saliva testing for drug impairment.

“I commend Karen Dow on her brave advocacy in memory of her son Matthew who would be celebrating his 25th birthday today were it not for the reckless actions of a drugged driver.”

Matthew Dow was killed in a head-on crash on the Appleby straight of State Highway 60, near Richmond, on December 31, 2017. The driver of the car that hit him, Alicia Fulcher-Poole, had been smoking meth and cannabis, and was seen driving recklessly prior to the crash.

Karen Dow launched Matthew’s petition at the site of the crash on the first anniversary of her son’s death last year.

“New Zealand urgently needs to introduce roadside drug testing to address the increasing road toll and to protect motorists from the effects of the Government’s reforms that allow easier access to drugs,” Dr Smith says.

“The current law and enforcement for drug-impaired drivers is ineffective and weak, compared to that for drunk driving. In 2017, drug-impaired driving is cost 79 lives, compared to the 70 deaths caused by drunk drivers, yet there were only 200 convictions for drug-impaired driving compared to more than 16,000 for drunk driving.”

“This petition rightly seeks the introduction of random roadside saliva tests for drugs on the same basis as breath testing for alcohol. These saliva tests are working successfully in Australia, the UK and Canada, and are urgently needed here.”

“The Government’s position on roadside drug testing is compromised and confused. The Minister in charge of road safety, Julie Anne Genter, is opposed because of her Green Party’s liberal approach to drugs.

“Police Minister Stuart Nash has promised action but is yet to deliver on the promise he made to TVNZ at the petition’s launch last year that a discussion document on the issue had been approved by Cabinet and would go out to the public in early 2019.

“National wants roadside drug testing introduced as quickly as possible. We will be supporting Matthew’s petition. My National colleague, Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott, has also relodged his Members Bill to get progress. The Bill was voted down by the Labour, Greens and NZ First parties last October. The Government again blocked the Bill’s introduction today when I sought leave to introduce it following Question Time.

“It was highly unusual for the Speaker to intervene and block the introduction of National’s Bill on roadside drug testing. It was normal for the Speaker to put such leave to the House.

“The Speaker had no business in blocking the introduction of the Bill that would have made out roads safer, particularly with the Government liberalising access to drugs. It is worse that he has named me and removed me from doing my job.”

“National will do everything possible to address this serious problem, and get drug-impaired drivers off our roads.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Reforming Parliament’s Toxic Culture

It would be nice to think Parliament was a forum where rationality ruled – and where policies are raised and evaluated in terms of their contribution to the greater good. Obviously, it isn’t like that... More>>

Historic Assualt Allegation: Parliamentary Service Staff Member Stood Down
Rt Hon Trevor Mallard said today: “I do not want to cut across any employment or possible police investigations, but I am satisfied that the Parliamentary Service has removed a threat to the safety of women working in the Parliamentary complex." More>>


Fatal 2018 Crash: Police Officer Should Not Have Engaged In Pursuit

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police officer should not have tried to stop or pursue a car thought to contain young people in Palmerston North on 28 May 2018. More>>


New Poverty Targets: Goals Overlook 174000 Children In Worst Poverty

Child Poverty Action Group is pleased to see the Government set ambitious 10-year targets for child poverty reduction, but we are disappointed not to see a target set for improving thousands of young lives where the worst of poverty is found. More>>


Study: Guidelines Needed To Avoid Risks In Government AI

New Zealand is a world leader in government algorithm use – but measures are needed to guard against their dangers. This is the conclusion of a New Zealand Law Foundation-funded report from the University of Otago’s Artificial Intelligence and Law in New Zealand Project. More>>


Pike River: Families Welcome Opening Of Drift

The group representing 29 of the Pike River Families - the Pike River Family Reference Group - has welcomed the unsealing of the mine at a private family event this morning... More>>


Auckland Harbour Bridge: New Design For Walking And Cycling Crossing

The NZ Transport Agency has released plans for its preferred option for a shared path over the Auckland Harbour Bridge which will transform walking and cycling not only across the harbour, but throughout the city. The Transport Agency says its preferred ... More>>



Shaw First Reading Speech: Climate Change Response Bill

Madam Speaker, today we begin the task of amending the Climate Change Response Act [2002], to fulfil the commitment that we have made, as a country, to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. More>>


Housing: More Unsold Kiwibuild Houses Bought By Govt

The Crown underwrite for unsold Kiwibuild homes has been triggered for a second time. Now lack of sales in Mike Greer's development in Canterbury and Auckland means the government has had to buy back seven more homes. More>>





InfoPages News Channels