Two Drinks Max: MP's booze-limit backdown

By Leigh van der Stoep

The Government believes New Zealand drivers aren't ready to moderate their drinking. We know they are. So take responsibility for keeping our roads safe by signing up: Two Drinks Max.

- Sign up at nzherald.co.nz here
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Allan Peachey. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Allan Peachey. Photo / Herald on Sunday

National MP Allan Peachey is feeling the heat for his refusal to consider lowering the drink-drive alcohol limits.

The Tamaki MP, who sits on the select committee overseeing proposals to toughen drink-driving rules, has had to back away from strong comments against the lowering of the drink-drive limits he made in his weekly email newsletter, Just Peachey.

Responding to the Herald on Sunday's Two Drinks Max campaign, aimed at ensuring drivers do not hit the road with more than two drinks under their belt, Peachey said he was not convinced that lowering the blood-alcohol limit would reduce the number of drink-drive fatalities.

"I am asking for New Zealand-researched evidence as to whether a reduction in blood alcohol levels to 0.50 will result in fewer drinking-driving accidents and fatalities. I don't think it is unreasonable to reserve my judgment until that research is available.

"I will not be pressured by newspapers, interest groups or others to take anything but that approach."

The Herald on Sunday campaign, to which 8200 people have pledged their support, aims to pressure the Government to reduce the drink-drive limit. The move has massive support in various polls and from the Ministry of Transport, which says cutting the blood alcohol limit will save lives.

But in his latest newsletter, Peachey is more conciliatory.

"There was a huge response to last week's Just Peachey," he wrote. "No other Just Peachey in five years has had so many replies.

"Thank you for both the overwhelming support you gave for my position and the constructive comments that you made, even when you were disagreeing with my position.

"One thing I am sensing from your responses is a view that maybe the pendulum has swung too far towards the relaxation of alcohol laws and it is time to redress the balance."

The Herald on Sunday requested an interview with Peachey who sits on the Transport and Industrial Relations select committee to find out how many people disagreed with him but we were told he was "too busy".

However, one newsletter reader, public relations consultant Niki Schuck, confirmed she had let Peachey know her views.

"This is an issue I feel very strongly about," Schuck told the Herald on Sunday. She had told Peachey that she was surprised by his stance.

"I agree research is important but given the high death rates of young people on the road, surely lowering the limit (to what is the norm in many parts of the world) is a positive move?" she wrote.

"It saddens me every Sunday morning to read of absolute carnage on our roads ... Perhaps it is not only lowering the limit that we need to truly make a difference but reducing the level that is legally acceptable seems a very good place to start."

- Herald on Sunday

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