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Minister has blind spot on roadside drug testing

Associate Transport Minister and Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter should explain why she doesn’t think roadside drug testing is a good way to reduce the road toll, National’s Associate Transport Spokesperson Brett Hudson and Police Spokesperson Chris Bishop say.

“For a Minister who claims to be serious about reducing New Zealand’s road toll to zero in just eighteen months’ time, why won’t Julie Anne Genter accept the advice of her own officials that roadside drug testing will reduce fatalities each year?” Mr Hudson says.

“Ms Genter says she doesn’t think roadside drug testing is the best investment of money to reduce impaired and dangerous driving, and reduce serious injuries and deaths.

“This is despite advice from officials at the Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Police that it would act as a deterrent and reduce the number of fatalities on our roads. What exactly makes Ms Genter think that she knows better than these experts?

“The technology previously wasn’t available to make roadside drug testing practicable in New Zealand. But there have been major advances and now is the right time to introduce it. That’s why Alastair Scott lodged a Member’s Bill to establish random roadside drug testing.”

Mr Bishop says frontline Police have seen the impact that drug drivers have and have told Ms Genter they need random roadside drug testing to keep our roads safer.

“But Ms Genter’s rebuff that Police should stop pushing for roadside drug tests and instead focus on more alcohol testing undermines and even discredits Police.

“Recognising and responding to the harm of drink driving doesn’t need to come at the expense of recognising the danger posed by drug driving. Police are more than capable of focusing on both.

“Roadside drug testing is a measure that will help save lives but Ms Genter appears to be putting her own ideology ahead of doing the right thing.”

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