Queen’s Birthday weekend is a popular time to travel on our roads. Like many New Zealanders I will have my family with me this weekend.

When driving as a parent you are acutely aware of the extra responsibility you have to keep your loved ones safe. As an MP I have the added responsibility of creating policy that protects other people’s families.

I’m concerned that the Government is dragging its feet on keeping New Zealanders safe by not acting on a proposal for roadside drug testing.

Road deaths from drug impaired drivers have steadily increased in recent years. Stat’s show 79 drug-impaired drivers were involved in fatal road crashes in 2017, compared to 70 alcohol-impaired drivers.

This is thought to be the first-time drugs have overtaken alcohol in this statistic, yet the number of prosecutions for drug-impaired drivers that year was only 200, compared to 16,000 for drunk driving.

How many drugged-up drivers are escaping being caught and threatening the lives of New Zealanders because there is no suitable testing in place?

We know roadside drug testing works, as it has been successfully implemented in Australia, Canada and the UK. But this Government has a blind spot on drug driving due to its wider policies on liberalising access to drugs.

National has a Bill on this issue which is ready to go. We want a proper roadside drug testing regime in place as soon as possible.

This needs to happen now, before any of the Government’s proposed cannabis law changes take effect.

Simon Bridges
National Party Leader