Random roadside drug testing Bill welcome

National welcomes the introduction today of the Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill that enables Police to randomly test for drug impairment, National’s Drug Reform spokesperson Nick Smith says.

“We need to get drugged drivers off the road to reduce the appalling toll of 103 deaths a year. We know random road side drug testing saves lives from the experience overseas.

“National welcomes the Government’s changed position, it was churlish of Government parties to vote down Alastair Scott’s Member’s Bill in November 2018 and to have blocked my three subsequent attempts to progress this law change.

“It is disappointing the Bill does not include the criminal limits equivalent for drugs to the 80mg/100ml for alcohol. The Government has had ample time to determine these and proposing to add them by supplementary order paper will slow the process and compromise the public’s input into the appropriate limits.

“National will strongly support this Bill and help facilitate its passage through Parliament. Every month we delay risks another eight lives being lost.

“It was wrong for Road Safety Minister Julie Anne Genter to reject officials’ detailed proposals in November 2017 for roadside drug testing, saying it was ‘too intrusive’ and ‘extremely expensive’.

“We credit Matthew’s Petition last year and the powerful submission by his mother Karen Dow and other victims’ families for making the Government reconsider.

“New Zealand’s experience with random roadside alcohol testing controversially introduced by National in 1993 halved the deaths from drunk driving within three years.

“We have the same hope for this legislation, we will work hard to get the detail right, the resources into place and this Bill facilitated through Parliament to get this urgent road safety legislation in place.”