Foreign drivers

The Herald reports:

Today the family and friends of Rhys Middleton will mark the anniversary of his death by paying tribute to the Tauranga man with a private gathering.

“It’s going to be a tough day,” his mother Judy Richards said.

Middleton was killed when the motorcycle he was riding was struck by a Chinese woman who pulled out onto State Highway 5 north of Hawkes Bay. Jieling Xiao, 27, was convicted of dangerous driving and sent home leaving Middleton’s grief-stricken family to pick up the pieces.

“No one knows what it’s like until you walk in those shoes,” Richards said.

But what is helping her through is the fight she has started to call for change to the New Zealand legal system.

On February 14, Richards will present a petition to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters on Parliament’s steps. She will be flanked by the many people who have supported her call for tighter rules on on New Zealand roads since the petition began in August.

The petition calls for foreign drivers spending at least three months in New Zealand to sit a driver’s test before they are issued a licence and already has more than 5300 signatures.

I have real sympathy for the Middleton family and understand why you would want tougher rules on foreign drivers.

What proportion of tourists spent at least three months in NZ and how many of the foreign drivers who have caused an accident were here for greater than three months?

The median stay for visitors is 8.9 days so only a tiny proportion would be here for more than 90 days. You actually need a special visa to stay more than 90 days as a tourist.

So this proposed law change would probably have no impact.

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