The grieving mother of Tauranga man Rhys Middleton has started a petition calling for greater scrutiny on foreign drivers arriving in New Zealand.

Judy Richards launched the online petition yesterday , just hours before the Chinese tourist responsible for Mr Middleton's death was deported from New Zealand without serving out her sentence.

The petition calls for a change to legislation to ensure that any visitor to New Zealand issued with a visa for a period longer than 3 months, and who wishes to drive a vehicle while in the country, be required to sit a full New Zealand driver's licence test and be issued with a New Zealand Driver's Licence.

As of 4pm today the petition had already gained 1211 signatures from across the world.


''We don't want other families to suffer what we have. It's horrendous,'' Ms Richards said.

In June, Jieling Xiao, 27, was sentenced to 17 months in jail after causing the death of Mr Middleton, 23, in a Waitangi Weekend crash on State Highway 5. An appeal reduced her sentence to nine months' home detention and 150 hours' community work. She was deported last night.

Ms Richards said prevention was better than cure.

''We just need to focus on this petition and gain that momentum to make things better for other people. Our loss might be someone else's gain.''

Tauranga List MP Clayton Mitchell said the petition was ''sensible'' and would put the spotlight on the Government's need to address carnage caused by foreign drivers.

"There have been far too many incidents where there has been loss of life as a result of inexperience on our roads," Mr Mitchell said.

Currently, overseas visitors don't have to sit a New Zealand driver's test until 12 months after their arrival.

Labour spokesperson for transport Sue Moroney said the current system needed to be reviewed because 12 months was too long.

Ms Moroney said six months would be suitable and in keeping with other countries.

Minister of Transport, and Tauranga MP, Simon Bridges said the Government did not support the petition because evidence showed foreign drivers did not cause more crashes than the proportion of New Zealanders.

Foreign drivers were only a small part of the overall road safety issues in New Zealand and kiwis benefited by not having to sit tests straight away when going overseas.

''I wouldn't want to lose that reciprocal privilege,'' Mr Bridges said.

To view the petition, click here.

Foreign driver carnage

On Wednesday Chinese National Limin Ma admitted causing the death of Dunedin man Riley Baker in a head-on crash, in November Motueka motorcyclist Craig Chambers died when a Singaporean tourist crossed a double line and in February last year 5 year old Ruby Marris died when a Chinese driver crashed into her family's car.