MP supports motorists call for action
New Zealanders are now confronted on an almost daily basis with reports of increasing injury, non-injury and sometimes fatal motor vehicle crashes,involving tourists says Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.
Mrs Dean, said Saturday's SH 1 crash near Moeraki in which a five-year-old Oamaru girl was killed was devastating. "My heart goes out to her family," she said.
The MP said she wasn't impressed with the circumstances surrounding another crash near Arrowtown that same day however the circumstances of both incidents would be revealed after appropriate inquiries.
"People are now calling at my offices and rightfully asking what is being done? "Whatever it is we're doing to stop these situations from occurring is not working. It could perhaps be time we prioritised the seeking of a solution. And if we need too, it could be the time to widen our search for a constructive remedy. If we do nothing we'll end with a drive on our scenic highways and country roads becoming little more than a game of chance and I don't say that lightly as I have constituents describing it as such already."
Mrs Dean said she had discussed the issue with the Prime Minister and was aware New Zealand had a responsibility to make the country safe for tourists, visitors and locals.
"Tourists crash into other tourists as well. Whatever remedies we find, they have to be workable for everyone, not just one or two sectors."
Mrs Dean said her large electorate often featured in the news as a bad crash site as it encompassed a number of scenic and tourist routes.
"Nearly every driver in the Waitaki has a tale of witnessing, or dodging an accident situation involving people who do not know the country's road rules. In fairness to all motorists we need to find answers and arrange for the implementation of some of the better ideas."
Mrs Dean said she continues to back Geraldine schoolboy Sean Robert's petition to Parliament seeking to make tourists sit a test before they drive on New Zealand roads. Sean's petition, which received nationwide attention, followed his father's earlier road death involving tourists.
"Sean and his brother Cody, 9, are still waiting to appear before a Transport and Industrial Relations select committee so perhaps it's an appropriate time for the matter to receive some urgency," Mrs Dean said.