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Stubborn Joyce won’t listen to consensus

28 October 2010 Media Statement

Stubborn Joyce won’t listen to consensus

Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s stubborn unwillingness to consider lowering the blood alcohol limit runs in direct counter to public opinion which powerfully supports such a move, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darren Hughes.

Darren Hughes said Steven Joyce remained convinced that lowering the limit was a ‘controversial’ issue, but that view simply showed how badly he was misreading the mood of Parliament, the public and road safety experts.

“When Mr Joyce first tried to justify his lame refusal to back lowering the limit from .08 to 05 of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, even though he privately supports such a move, he said public consensus was needed,” Darren Hughes said.

“When pressed on how he would identify such a consensus, he said off the top of his head that 75 percent support would probably do it for him.

“Clearly, it doesn’t, because the Herald on Sunday has conducted a scientific poll which effectively shows 76 percent of New Zealanders support a lower limit,” Darren Hughes said.

“When confronted with this evidence in Parliament today, Steven Joyce became even more ill at ease than he normally is over this issue, and toyed with words by saying the 76 percent were actually opposed to driving after more than two drinks rather than in favour of lowering the limit.

“Well, I have news for Mr Joyce,” Darren Hughes said. “The families of all those New Zealanders who have been victims of drink driving are sick of the Minister toying with words. They want action, not excuses.

“The truth is that this Minister is running scared of making a sensible and justifiable decision. He says he needs more data to back him up. The data is already there in the road toll, and we don’t need another two years of drink driving deaths to prove the point.

“Steven Joyce has a responsibility to try to ensure the safety of tomorrow’s drivers, and next week’s drivers and next year’s,” Darren Hughes said.

“Instead he lamely offers the excuse that he is still trying to find out what happened to yesterday’s drivers. Sadly, far too many of them are dead. Let’s try to prevent tomorrow’s drivers suffering the same fate.”


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