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Nelson MP Nick Smith is disappointed that legislation to introduce roadside drug testing has still not occurred despite promises it would be early this year and Matthew’s Petition supported by 5,000 Nelsonians being presented a year ago.

“The tragic deaths from drug impaired drivers just keep occurring with it this month confirmed that the two deaths on Whakatu Drive 18 months ago was another caused by drugged driving. Drug impaired driving is now killing 95 people per year, more than from drunk driving. Every month we delay is costing another eight lives.”

“The Government has been dragging its feet for years on this issue despite knowing it will save lives. They rejected official’s proposals in November 2017 saying roadside testing was “too intrusive” and “extremely expensive” and voted down National’s bill in November 2018. I was delighted when in response to Matthew’s Petition last December the Government announced a change of position and promised legislation “early in 2020”.

“We know roadside testing works. The road toll from drunk drivers halved when National introduced random roadside testing in 1993. We also know saliva testing for drugs has saved hundreds of lives in Australia and the UK.

“I tried again this week to get my bill introduced but was blocked by Government. This is even more important with the referendum on recreational cannabis in September. I am determined to deliver this for the memory of Matthew Dow, his family and the hundreds of innocent people killed by drugged drivers. We must get drug impaired drivers off the road.”

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