Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Cop calls for ban after fatal crash

Unlicensed drivers should not be allowed to own vehicles, says cop

Nazareth Taulagaua
Nazareth Taulagaua

A top police officer is calling for unlicensed drivers to be banned from buying vehicles after a horror motorcycle death last week.

Nazareth Joshua Taulagaua, 28, died a week ago when he smashed his motorcycle into a stone wall in the Auckland suburb of Mt Roskill.

His sister Pearl Andrew said his family would remember him as a humble and caring man who loved them, his job as a furniture mover - and the motorcycle he had owned less than a month.

He would be particularly missed by his five nieces and nephews.

"They were very spoilt by him. They're not doing too well, they're going to miss him terribly."

Taulagaua owned a powerful, 800cc Honda VFR 800F.

Road policing manager for Auckland, Inspector Gavin Macdonald, said speed was a factor but it was also significant Taulagaua did not have a motorcycle licence.

Macdonald said there needed to be a change in the law which let Taulagaua buy a motorcycle 140cc more powerful than he could buy on a learner or restricted licence.

"I suspect there'd be a lot of motorcycle riders who don't have a licence and I don't think you should be able to buy a vehicle, car or motorcycle, if you don't have a licence.

"It means that you don't have the necessary skills on the road. And it's not just about you, but your passengers and other road users.

"A vehicle is good for getting from A to B, but it's also a like a weapon."

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson, who runs the Dog and Lemon Guide for buying cars, said it was a "no-brainer".

"It's like handing people a gun without a firearms licence."

It was becoming a bigger issue because law changes had made licences harder to get and the poor were "bailing out of the system," Matthew-Wilson said.

Ministry of Transport spokesman Brenden Crocker said a law change had been considered.

"The main reason for not recommending legislative change has been because such a requirement could disadvantage people who want to own a car so as to maintain their mobility but may be unable to drive, for example, the elderly or infirm who may get someone else to drive for them.

"Arguably this situation is less applicable to motorcycle ownership, however it is the safety and competence of drivers and riders that is the paramount issue."

- Herald on Sunday

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