Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's Peter Dunne's problem - opposes blood alcohol limit reduction...

iPhone Alcohol Breathalyzer [review]
iPhone Alcohol Breathalyzer [review] (Photo credit:

A push by Palmerston North's MP to lower the legal alcohol limit for driving is being thwarted by "abhorrent", "ridiculous" and "untenable" opposition from UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.
Iain Lees-Galloway said he needed the support of one more MP to pass his proposal to reduce blood-alcohol limits for adults from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50mg.
"I understand 60 MPs now intend to vote for my amendment to the Alcohol Reform Bill.
"Unfortunately, the National Party, supported by John Banks and Peter Dunne, has indicated it will block vote against all amendments designed to improve the Alcohol Reform Bill so for now it looks like my amendment will lose by just one vote."
A spokesperson for Mr Dunne said Mr Lees-Galloway's amendment was "a worthy aim being sought through the wrong bill".
Drink-driving law changes of any description should be addressed in transport legislation.
"And on that, UnitedFuture supported recent transport-led legislation amending the blood-alcohol limit for under-20s to zero and requiring further research to be undertaken on a lower blood-alcohol level for adults."
Mr Dunne was not supporting any amendments to the Alcohol Reform Bill.
Mr Lees-Galloway said the committee considering the alcohol legislation had allowed his amendment to be considered, making it a legitimate way of changing alcohol limits for drivers.
Regardless of how the legislation was introduced to Parliament, limits had to come down, he said, because doing so could save up to 30 lives a year.
The Transport's Ministry's Safer Journeys Strategy estimated lowering the adult limit could save 15 to 30 lives and prevent 320 to 686 injuries per year.
Mr Lees-Galloway said Mr Dunne agreed with him about the need to lower blood-alcohol limits and was using a "ridiculous excuse" to not support his amendment, and as such keep on side with the Government.
"I know that many National MPs support reducing the limit. However, because their vote is whipped I don't expect any change of heart from them. John Banks will do whatever National tells him to.
"Peter Dunne has supported sensible legislation promoted by opposition MPs this year and understands the value of reducing the drink-driving limit. As the Associate Health Minister responsible for Mental Health and Addictions he knows the sector he is responsible for wants this to happen. He should follow their advice."
Mr Lees-Galloway last week had another amendment to the Alcohol Reform Bill voted down that would have tightened the rules on the marketing of alcohol and sponsorship of sports teams and events by the liquor industry.
Should his amendment fail, Mr Lees-Galloway said Labour had a private member's bill he hoped would be drawn from the ballot.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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