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Road Safety 2000 - Mark Gosche Speech

Hon Mark Gosche
8 June 2000 Speech Notes

Road Safety 2000

Kia Ora, Greetings, Talofa Lava

I would like to thank all of you for coming and hosting us here in Hamilton. Thanks to our kaumatua and our elders, it is very important that you have taken time to share today with us.

We are here to announce details of a major road safety package that we hope will save lives and make New Zealand roads safer for all users.

Since 1995 thousands of families around the country have buried loved ones who were killed in car crashes on New Zealand roads.

To be precise, two thousand eight hundred and fifty seven mums and dads, sons and daughters who never made it home.

Tens of thousands of others have been maimed and injured on our roads.

Last year the fiscal impact of this carnage amounted to $3.1 billion with property damage alone totalling nearly $400 million."

The price paid by those left behind: immeasurable and permanent.

But this is nothing new to most of you here today.

Many of you are road safety educators and you know this scenario all too well.

Fifty eight people have already died on Waikato roads since New Years, this region has one of the worst road tolls in the country.

The Government is convinced that we cannot afford the fiscal nor the social cost our road toll has been taking on our communities and families.

It is simply unacceptable.

We are going to invest in saving lives.

We are going to invest in changing attitudes to road safety.

And in doing so we are investing in our country's future.
We will spend more than $152 million on a comprehensive road safety package that will see a greater emphasis on road safety education and a dedicated traffic patrol on our state highways.

The highway patrol that will be located within the New Zealand Police and at least 200 officers will needed. We have also decided that the pilot of hidden speed cameras will cease at the end of June.

I am not convinced they have worked. But I am convinced that a mix of extra education and more enforcement make up a better solution.

There is to be more compulsory breath testing for drunk drivers, particularly in high-risk rural areas. We are going to continue our campaign on reducing speed and encouraging drivers to use safety belts and child restraints.

But with this extra enforcement comes extra education.

More money has been secured for community education initiatives with almost twice as much going to community funding as there is at present.

In fact today's announcement marks the first increase in government road safety spending in nearly six years.

We believe that communities and people like yourselves are the ones who can really help change attitudes to road safety.

This announcement also carries more funding and a greater emphasis on driver education within Maori and Pacific communities who need this support.

We also know that for many youngsters their first interaction with our criminal justice system is related to driving offences, sometimes as simple as driving without a license.

In fact one colleague of mine recently visited a prison in her electoate and many inmates told her that their first brush with the law was a traffic offence. This first brush with the law was the first of many to come.

There are already programmes in place that are working and that we want to see extended throughout communities.
A good example are marae-based and pacific community based driver licensing and education programmes now being run successfully nation-wide. Typically a group of 20 experienced but unlicensed Maori or Pacific Island drivers come together on a marae to learn the road rules and prepare for the learner licence test in an environment in which they feel comfortable.


That's why education programmes delivered by Maori and Pacific communities and education campaigns carried by the Maori and Pacific media will get a significant boost in funding from this year on.

Community road safety education is a hallmark of this announcement.

Earlier this year local and central government met in Wellington. A key issue that came out of the local government forum discussions was road safety. We have now acted on this and today's announcement will double existing funds set aside for community education.

The amount of funding available for community road safety projects has received a significant boost with a GST inclusive $3.837 million top-up. Of this, $1.125 million has been allocated specifically for projects to reach Maori and Pacific people under the Government’s Closing the Gaps strategy.

We will also spend an additional GST inclusive $1.688 million of road safety advertising support targeted specifically for Maori and Pacific people.

The top-up is in addition to the $2.779 million the Land Transport Safety Authority currently receives from the Government for community road safety initiatives.

Today's road safety package broadens the approach of the last nine years.

We have seen a strong emphasis on enforcement with new driver license testing, roadside impoundments and heavier penalities.

I believe that community road safety education also needs more emphasis. And today's announcement recognises this.

Education alongside enforcement.

Central government in partnership with local communities.

I am convinced that this holistic approach to road safety will make New Zealand roads safer for all of us.

Thank you.

ENDS

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