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Every year over the summer holiday period, friends and family gather across New Zealand to celebrate, reflect on the past year, and set goals for the year ahead.

As we turn to driving to our holiday destinations, or swimming in our beaches, rivers, and lakes, it is important to remember to be safe this summer.

Making New Zealand roads safer, and reducing the number of people injured and killed in crashes, is a key priority for the National-led Government.

Throughout the year, we’ve announced a number of initiatives that aim to significantly reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

In June, we announced a $600 million road safety package which will see safety improvements made to around 1700km of New Zealand’s rural road network.

The package includes safety improvements to more than 50 projects on high risk rural state highway corridors and intersections across the country.

In August, we announced alcohol interlocks will become mandatory for drivers convicted of two or more drink-driving offences within five years, and for first-time offenders caught driving more than 3.2 times over the legal limit.

Consultation to changes on the Speed Management Guide will also begin in early 2017. The changes may include altering road design, lowering speed limits, or in certain circumstances, raising them.

Summer is a busy time on the road. Please drive to the conditions, take regular breaks, and make sure you have a sober driver during this festive season. Keep an eye on family and friends who are at risk on our roads.

When we all take care out there the road toll is lower and so is the social cost to our families, friends and communities

New Zealanders love the outdoors, and swimming, boating, jet skiing, fishing, and boogie-boarding are part of many Kiwi holidays.

Our beaches, lakes, and rivers are beautiful but can be dangerous. Make sure you prep your boat, check your gear and know the weather conditions before you get on the water. Always swim between the flags, watch your kids in the water, and wear a lifejacket if you’re out in a boat, kayak, or on a jet ski.

Of course, don’t forget to be sun-smart – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap when outdoors. 

I wish you and your family a happy festive season and safe holiday. Please stay safe these holidays, whether it is on the roads, under the sun, or in the water.

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