25 Feb 2015

Politicians deaf to tourist driver problem: family

7:34 am on 25 February 2015

A family calling for a competency test for all tourist drivers says political leaders are not listening.

Melanie Pipson

Photo: 123RF

Cody Roberts, 9, and his brother Sean, 10, last year presented a petition to Parliament with more than 30,000 signatures asking for New Zealand's driving laws to be tightened for foreign visitors.

Their father, Grant Roberts and another man were killed by a Chinese tourist in 2012 when his car collided with their motorcycles.

The 20-year-old student had been in the country only for one day when the crash occurred on the Lindis Pass.

The boys' mother, Melanie Pipson, said Prime Minister John Key did not seem interested and kept playing down the problem by saying foreign driver crashes only account for 2 percent of the total, yet in the Westland region they account for 37 percent of crashes.

Ms Pipson says that is a serious problem and politicians need to act.

She said there was also the social cost running into the millions of dollars of dealing with the crashes foreigners cause.

She said the Government's 10-year Safer Journeys programme was a good start but not enough to fix the problem.

Sean and Cody Roberts presented their petition to Parliament's Transport and Industrial Relations select committee last July.

Ms Pipson said the committee had finally set a date to hear it, and the boys would appear there on 19 March to answer questions.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs