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Prime Minister John Key has finally been forced to speak out on drink-driving and, as is the habit of most politicians, he has been extremely selective in his mutterings.

Key has not been keen to talk to the Herald on Sunday since the paper launched its Two Drinks Max campaign a couple of weeks ago.

The campaign, getting Kiwis to pledge never to drive after consuming any more than two standard drinks, is in response to his Government's refusal to lower the alcohol driving limits.

National favours two years of research to check the lowering will actually have an effect on road tolls.

This week on Breakfast TV the PM was forced to face questions on drink-driving after last week's horrific accident in Otaki where an alleged drink-driver claimed the life of picnicker Shelagh Cotter.

"We take this issue seriously," Key intoned. Research would "give the New Zealand public confidence" in any future decisions.

He even had an ace up his sleeve - a "fact" he thought was worth considering.

"Between 2004 and 2009, we measured every driver that died behind the wheel and had been drinking alcohol - 1045. To cut to the chase, only 10 of them had a blood alcohol level between .5 and 1."

The legal limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The level being recommended is 50mg (or .5). A check with Key's office confirmed he was saying that very few died in the 50mg-80mg range that a law change would target.

Key's facts came from a report to New Zealand Police. However, Ministry of Transport statistics for the same 2004-09 period say 20 drivers died in the 50mg-80mg range and seven died while driving with an alcohol level lower than 50mg. Significantly, more than a fifth of fatal drivers were not tested for alcohol.

Key also did not address another vital point. How many of those drivers in the 50mg-80mg range killed or maimed their passengers, other road users or even pedestrians?

Host Rawdon Christie twice had to ask Key whether he was happy with the current drink-drive limit, before the PM replied: "I am."

Again justifying the need for research, Key said: "If we want New Zealanders to obey a new law, I think we've got to be able to go out and say 'here's the harm'."

Here is the harm PM: More drivers are dying than necessary now. How much more blood do you want on your hands before the next election?