National will keep New Zealanders safer on our roads

National will deliver where Labour has failed and roll out roadside drug testing to keep New Zealanders safer on our roads, National’s Transport spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road accidents in New Zealand, with 199 deaths on our roads in 2022 attributed to alcohol and drugs.

“Currently there is no roadside drug testing in New Zealand. Last year Labour passed a law to introduce roadside drug testing in March of this year. However, three months later there is still no sign of it because Labour’s law failed to allow Police to use oral fluid drug testing devices – leaving Police with no way of screening drivers.

“Oral fluid drug tests are used overseas, including in states throughout Australia, and are the easiest way to screen drivers for drugs.

“These tests are accurate around 95 per cent of the time, but currently do not comply with New Zealand law which requires tests to be highly accurate to be used in evidence.

“National will change the law to allow oral fluid drug tests to be used to screen drivers’ at the roadside. If a driver fails two roadside tests, a sample from the second test will be sent to a laboratory to confirm the result. Laboratory testing is more accurate and will provide police with the evidence they need to charge the driver.

“This would bring New Zealand in line with overseas standards and remove unnecessary restrictions around the use of oral fluid testing. 

“The oral fluid drug tests will be funded out of the New Zealand Transport Agency’s Road Safety Partnership Programme with Police.

“Every single day that goes by without random roadside drug testing is another day that puts New Zealanders’ lives at risk. National will give Police the tools they need to rollout random roadside drug testing in New Zealand as soon as possible.

“This is yet another abject failure by Labour. It follows new figures out today that show Labour is failing to meet the alcohol breath testing target at a time when alcohol related deaths have hit a new high. 

“Police have a target of 3 million breath tests each year, but that target has not been achieved once in the last six years.

“New Zealanders deserve a government that delivers on what it says, especially when it comes to road safety.”