Conscience vote on drink drive limit?

The Herald reports:

National Party MPs might be allowed a conscience vote on a Labour Party bill that proposes lowering the drink-driving blood alcohol limit, Prime Minister John Key said today.

The Government decided last month not to lower the limit from 0.08 milligrams to 0.05 milligrams per millilitre of blood, saying it needed to collect data for the next two years to find out what the effect would be and to demonstrate to the public that a change would be effective. …

Labour MP Darren Hughes has drafted a member’s bill that proposing lowering the limit to 0.06mg, saying the Government is “dithering” and there is already clear public support for the change.  …

However, Mr Key said at his post-cabinet press conference today drink-driving issues were usually dealt with by conscience votes.

“I imagine it would be a conscience vote,” he said.

“I know there’s a wide range of views within our caucus.

“So that’s something I would have to take to caucus, but off the top of my head I’m not proposing to stand in its way.”

While I am against lowering the BAC limit, at least until we have some specific NZ research on the prevalence and accident rate of those driving with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, I think National should allow a conscience vote on the issue of Darren gets lucky with the ballot. I’d rather hear National MPs genuinely give their views for or against any change, rather than be whipped on it.

Hopefully Labour would also do the same, and allow their MPs to vote against should they wish to do so.

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