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More flexibility in small passenger services, mandatory alcohol interlock sentences, and tougher penalties for fleeing drivers will all become law following the passing of the Land Transport Amendment Bill today, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

Mr Bridges says the Bill aims to promote better regulation, improved safety, and greater economic growth and productivity.

“New technologies are rapidly emerging, so we need to ensure we have the right regulations in place to allow innovation to thrive while managing safety risks,” Mr Bridges says.

“Smartphone apps and other advances in technology have changed how the small passenger service sector can operate.

“This Bill creates a single, simple category for all small passenger services, provides greater flexibility for emerging business models and encourages innovation, while ensuring safety for drivers and passengers. 

“This Bill also improves safety for road users by simplifying the law relating to alcohol interlocks, and creating more effective deterrents to drivers fleeing from police.

“Alcohol interlocks are very effective as a public safety measure because they physically prevent an offender driving after drinking. This keeps the driver, their passengers and other road users safe.

“We’ll also see changes to clamp down on fleeing drivers and fare evaders.

“Crashes involving a fleeing driver where people have been killed or injured have nearly doubled – from 60 in 2012 to 117 in 2016.

“The Government is committed to making New Zealand roads safer and reducing the number of people injured and killed in crashes. Increasing the penalties for fleeing drivers sends a clear message that this behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“Fare evasion on our public transport system is a growing problem. This new Bill provides new powers to enforcement officers so they can more effectively deal with fare evaders.

“Fare evaders increase the costs of public transport for paying passengers, as well as taxpayers and ratepayers who subsidise these services. It undermines the integrity of the ticketing systems used and the effectiveness of public transport generally.

“Act Party Leader, David Seymour, has had a keen interest in this Bill as it progressed through Parliament. His strong advocacy and contributions will ensure that this new piece of legislation is not only fit for purpose but encourages innovation in the transport sector.

“The Government remains committed to better regulation. This Bill also includes a range of minor amendments to clarify interpretations or the intent of the legislation, improve its operation, remove inconsistencies, and make minor technical adjustments,” Mr Bridges says.

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