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Government’s eyes tight shut over lower drink-drive levels


Associate Transport Spokesperson                       

7 October  2012                                                      


Government’s eyes tight shut over lower drink-drive levels

Steven Joyce deliberately misled the public and wasted time, resources and lives by failing to heed overwhelming evidence in favour of lowering the drink drive when he was Transport Minister, says Labour’s Transport Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.
“Documents I have obtained under the Official Information Act reveal Mr Joyce was presented with abundant evidence that that shows lowering the legal blood alcohol content level for driving from 0.08mg to 0.05mg would not only reduce the number of people driving at low levels of intoxication but would also significantly reduce the number of extremely drunk drivers.
“Mr Joyce, as former Transport Minister, was prone to pointing out that lowering the drink drive limit would have a limited impact because it only affects moderately intoxicated drivers.
“He even fuelled this falsehood by initiating costly research into the number of crashes caused by drivers with an alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08.
“But Mr Joyce knew all along that evidence, from as close to home as Australia,  shows that lowering the level has a much broader impact than that and actually reduces the number of very drunk drivers on the road.
“Ironically, in the same breath Steven Joyce said the Government was cracking down on high-risk drivers - including those with very high blood alcohol levels –  and increasing penalties, he was refusing to do the one thing which is proven to reduce the number of those drivers. 
“Ministry officials estimate that the Government would save $173 for every $1 invested in enforcing a lower limit.
“It’s mind-boggling why Steven Joyce chose not to implement a road safety initiative that would save lives, has public support and is incredible value for money.
“And it’s mind-boggling this latest National Government hasn’t done so either.
“Parliament can bring a stop to this nonsense when it debates the Alcohol Reform Bill later this month. I have tabled an amendment that will set the drink drive limit at 0.05 and I am urging other MPs to follow the evidence and make this change that is so desperately needed to make our roads safer,” said Iain Lees-Galloway.


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