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Farmers Praise Road Toll Package

Farmers Praise Road Toll Package

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) congratulates the government for listening to New Zealanders, especially rural people, and rejecting the Minister of Transport's back door plan to reduce the drink-driving blood-alcohol limit.

"Cabinet has rightly recognized that the ill-conceived proposal had widespread opposition. Neither the Minister of Transport, the Ministry of Transport, nor the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) had carried out any consultation since a similar proposal was mooted by the minister a year earlier," said Charlie Pedersen, Vice-President of Federated Farmers.

Federated Farmers supports the proposals to concentrate on repeat offenders and drivers well over the limit.

"The minister's original proposals to punish drivers with a blood alcohol reading between 50-80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood with temporary impoundment and infringement fees risked alienating a wide section of the population. The clear perception created was that the LTSA did not want people to drive if they had drunk at all," Mr Pedersen said.

"Rural people have taken on the LTSA's current message - we are looking out for our mates. Farmers' concern with the minister's original proposal was that the social infrastructure of rural New Zealand would be significantly affected by almost halving the limit.

"Rural people cannot hop on a bus, catch a taxi or walk home," he said. Federated Farmers is open to practical ways of reducing deaths and injuries on rural roads - we challenge the minister to not repeat the mistakes of the past two Christmases and instead consult before making important decisions.

Mr Pedersen urged the government to help lower the road toll by using existing fuel excise to improve dangerous roads.

"Think how many lives the minister could save if the 21 cents per litre that is siphoned off motorists - that's nearly $700 million a year - into the consolidated fund was spent on roads instead of filling the Government's overflowing coffers," he said.

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