Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Govt sits on drug driving proposal for 17 months

Simon Bridges - Leader of the Opposition

12 May 2019

Govt sits on drug driving proposal for 17 months

Government Ministers received a Discussion Document from Police and Transport officials proposing roadside drug testing in December 2017, but 17 months later it has still not been released, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“The revelation in response to National’s questioning that Ministers have been sitting on a roadside drug testing Discussion Document for so long confirms the Government has been dragging its feet in addressing the serious issue of drug impaired driving.

“There can be no excuses for Ministers taking 17 months to agree on a Discussion Document when a New Zealander dies from a drug impaired driver every five days.

“Road deaths from drug impaired drivers have steadily increased in recent years from 14 in 2014, 27 in 2015, 54 in 2016 to 79 in 2017. The number of road fatalities from drug impaired drivers now exceed those for drink driving by 79 to 70. But the number of prosecutions number just 200 for drug impaired drivers, compared with 16,000 for drunk driving.

“When Police Minister Stuart Nash was asked about a petition launched following the death of Matthew Dow in a crash involving a drug driver, he said ‘There’s a Discussion Document that’s been approved by Cabinet that’s going out to the public early next year.’ We now know the Discussion Document had not been approved.

“It was inappropriate for Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters to say on Thursday that the delay was due to the Christchurch Mosque attack when Ministers had the officials’ drafted Discussion Document for well over a year.

“It’s obvious that the reason for the delay is the divergent views between the governing parties. Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter is on the public record saying that roadside testing was too intrusive and that she was unimpressed with recommendations from her officials to introduce roadside saliva testing.

“National has heard from both Police and Transport officials who are frustrated Ministers are not acting on this issue. The Government has a blind spot when it comes to the risk of drug impaired driving due to their liberal policies around drugs.

“We will be seeking further explanation from Ministers about why it has taken so long to agree on the Discussion Document. National has a Bill on this issue which is ready to go through Parliament but it was voted down by Labour, NZ First and Green MPs in October 2018. National tried again to get the Bill introduced last Wednesday but it was blocked by Speaker Trevor Mallard triggering Nelson MP Nick Smith being suspended from Parliament.

“The revelation on Friday in the Coroner’s Court that the Waverley tragedy in June 2018 was caused by a driver impaired by cannabis and synthetics reinforces the urgent need for roadside drug testing. This was the worst road accident in a decade, killing seven New Zealanders.

“The Government, with National’s support, passed new gun laws in just four weeks in response to the 51 lives lost in the Christchurch Mosque attacks. We need the same sort of commitment and urgency to address drug impaired driving which causes the death of over 70 New Zealanders a year.

“National wants a proper roadside drug testing regime in place as soon as possible and before any of the Government’s law changes liberalising access to drugs takes effect. We will continue to push for the introduction of our own Bill but would equally support rapid progress on any Government Bill to get drug impaired drivers off the road.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The RWC, And The Op Burnham Inquiry

Testimony was given that damning evidence had been culpably ignored, lost or (deliberately?) mislaid. The systems for handling secret material from our allies were – to be charitable – only loosely observed.

Moreover… vital evidence was only belatedly made available to the inquiry, and former NZDF officers later found to be central to the events under scrutiny were strangely missing from the original witness list offered by NZDF. In short, last week’s cross-examination of the military’s former top brass demonstrated in detail that the NZDF had consistently misled its Ministers (and the wider public) for years, over the impact of our military activities in Afghanistan. More>>


Call For Action On Expert Panel Report: Welfare System Needs Urgent Change

If we want New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child, the Government needs to increase benefits, remove sanctions, individualise benefits, and fix abatement rates now, says Child Poverty Action Group and ActionStation . More>>


First Data Releases: Mixed External Report On Census Fail Mitigation

The panel endorses the statistical approaches used to mitigate non-response... However, the unprecedented use of alternative government datasets to augment census data raises questions around ethics, social licence, cultural licence, and Māori data sovereignty. More>>


Aitches: Manawatū-Whanganui Region Spelling Corrected

The Manawatu-Wanganui Region will in future be correctly spelt Manawatū-Whanganui Region. The change also means the regional council will be known as the Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Council. Horizons Regional Council is the trading name for the council. More>>

PM In Japan: Jacinda Ardern’s Remarks Following Abe Summit

Today we discussed a wide range of topics. Broadly the themes were: a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening our security partnership. More>>


Replacing All But Chair: Twyford Appoints Five NZTA Board Members

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Transport Agency Board... There remain two vacancies on the NZTA Board which will be filled in due course. More>>


Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>


Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>


PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>




InfoPages News Channels