More than 30,000 signatures was not enough to persuade the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee to listen to Sean and Cody Roberts’ petition calling for compulsory drivers test for foreign drivers.
The Geraldine youngsters, 10 and 9 respectively, collated the petition after their father, Grant Roberts was killed in 2012 by a Chinese tourist who had been in New Zealand for less than 48 hours. Grant was travelling on a motorcycle through the Lindis Pass when he was killed.
The petition was started because the pair believed their father would still be alive had the driver completed a competency test. The brothers asked for Parliament to consider a change to legislation, so that every foreign driver was to be competency tested before being able to get behind the wheel of a rental vehicle.
The roads would be safer if every foreign driver was required to sit a competence test. Likewise they would safer if every NZ driver had to annually sit a competence test. And they would be safer if no one under the age of 25 was allowed to drive.
The test is how much impact any change would make on road safety, and what would be the impact in other areas.
If people knew that NZ was the only country in the world where tourists are not allowed to drive, unless they sit a competency test, then we’d have a lot fewer tourists.
The Select Committee heard and received evidence from the New Zealand Automobile Association, the Tourist Industry Association New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand and petitioners Sean and Cody Roberts.
However it rejected compulsory testing, noting New Zealand was a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic 1949 which prevented administration of a competency based test to foreign drivers.
Which makes the whole issue rather moot.