14 Feb 2017

Thousands sign petition to test tourist drivers

5:12 pm on 14 February 2017

A petition calling for tourists who have been in the country for more than three months to sit a drivers test, has been presented to Parliament.

Crosses representing road deaths caused by foreign drivers in 2016.

Crosses representing road deaths caused by foreign drivers in 2016. Photo: RNZ / James Malthus

Judy Richards, whose son, Rhys Middleton was killed by a tourist driver a year ago, gave the petition to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

"It takes a period of years to obtain a full New Zealand driving license. Why is it that overseas people can come into our country and virtually drive straight away on their international driver's license with no experience or understanding?," she said.

Journalist Karen Rutherford also attended the presentation of the petition - she is still recovering physically and psychologically after a tourist driver hit her five months ago.

The petitions states that any tourist driver visiting for longer than three months must sit a full licence test before they get behind the wheel and was signed by nearly 8000 people.

Currently visitors can wait for 12 months before getting a New Zealand licence.

However, Prime Minister Bill English said the government would not be supporting the stricter rules as he said it was impractical to try and test every tourist entering the country.

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