Mike's Minute: Don't blame foreigners

Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking has taken a parting shot - or kick - at outspoken road safety campaigner Clive Mathew-Wilson over his views on Chinese drivers.

In his latest column, Hosking says Mathew-Wilson - editor of the Dog and Lemon Guide - "deserves a good kick in the gonads" after saying the Government should ban Chinese drivers in New Zealand as Kiwis aren't allowed to drive in their country.

"If the Chinese government won't accept New Zealand driver's licences in China, why is New Zealand accepting Chinese licences," Mathew-Wilson wrote.

Matthew-Wilson said even the Chinese themselves admit their driving is poor.

"China has the highest number of road accident fatalities in the world, many of which have been directly attributed to drivers' bad habits and their lack of respect for traffic rules.


"The Chinese government believes that New Zealanders may not have the skills to use Chinese roads safely. The same situation applies in New Zealand; Chinese drivers may not have the skills to use New Zealand roads safely; therefore they should not be driving here on an international licence."

But Hosking says Chinese drivers aren't dangerous.

"Tourism New Zealand came to the truth's rescue with numbers: 4 per cent of accidents in this country involve foreign drivers. That means 96 per cent don't.

"Tourist-driver crashes are on our radar because foreign-driver accidents tend to be high-profile. But if you are really worried about the road toll, focus on the drunk and the drugged and the licence violators and the thieves and the thugs."

Hosking says when the debate involving foreign drivers first surfaced last year, statistics showed that crashes involving tourists were no worse than they've ever been.

"They're just higher profile because (1) some have got a largely xenophobic bee in their bonnet and want to make an issue of it and (2) because tourism is absolutely booming and as a result of far more people, there are more cars and, by default, more accidents."

Hosking admits "the odd traffic accident gets headlines" but when it's looked at in totality "these are truly golden days and it would serve us well if we could limit the whining
and concentrate on the benefits.

"Being so overtly racist and singling one group of people for a good dose of xenophobic finger-pointing does us no good at all."