The families at the centre of a crash which claimed seven lives in Waverley have today joined forces with the Dow family in promoting ‘Matthew’s Petition’ seeking the urgent introduction of roadside drug testing, Nelson MP Nick Smith says.
“The Porteous and Keene families have travelled to Wellington today to meet with the Dow family and ask the Government to take urgent action. It is very brave of these families who have lost loved ones in horrific road crashes to come forward and join forces to get drugged drivers off the road.
“They bring a powerful message that the more than 70 lives lost each year are not statistics but real people whose families will forever be scarred by the recklessness of drug impaired driving."
‘Matthew’s petition’ was launched on the first anniversary of Matthew Dow’s death on New Year’s Eve by his parents Karen and Peter Dow. The petition was to be presented to Parliament last week. This was unable to happen after Nelson MP Nick Smith was suspended by Speaker Trevor Mallard when he questioned the Speaker on blocking the introduction of a bill on the issue.
“I welcome the Dow family’s decision to join forces with the Porteous families, re-open the petition and to invite as many New Zealanders as possible to add their name to this campaign to make our roads safer.
“Ministers have been sitting on proposals from Police and Transport officials for road-side drug testing for 17 months, before both these devastating tragedies occurred. If they can pass gun control laws in four weeks, they can move much more quickly on getting drug impaired drivers off the road that kill more than 70 people a year.
“The Government has a blind spot on the damage of drug impaired driving. Green Ministers have made plain their rejection of official’s advice saying roadside drug testing is too intrusive. Police Minister Stuart Nash has undermined the petition by saying in December that Cabinet had approved a discussion paper when it had not and that the issue could be resolved by the time the petition was presented in May.
“This petition is needed to highlight the issue and to pressure Ministers into making real progress. The Government is being reckless with public safety in liberalising access to drugs while ignoring the real risks for road safety. I will be doing all I can to support these families, promote the petition and get the laws in place to get drug impaired drivers off the road.”