INDEPENDENT NEWS

Dyson Defenders Have Questions To Answer

Published: Wed 1 Nov 2000 01:11 PM
"The reaction from Labour MPs to the Ruth Dyson drunk-driving incident has been disappointing," National's ACC spokesman Gerry Brownlee said today.
"I believe the Prime Minister and her colleagues must stand up and be accountable for their 'spin', which sends horribly mixed messages about the carnage caused by drunk driving.
"To all those who have portrayed Ruth Dyson as the victim in this incident - would they make the same excuses on behalf of the drivers who left 122 people dead, and nearly 2,000 people injured in alcohol related crashes last year?
"To all those who have praised Ms Dyson for 'doing the right thing' - did she have any alternative, as Associate Minister of ACC, when the social costs of drinking related accidents last year were $590 million? And isn't it likely Ms Dyson's decision was made easy by the Prime Minister's assurances that she would get reinstated once this had all blown over?
"To those who defend Ms Dyson by saying 98 percent of people will think 'There but for the Grace of God go I' - is this message designed to endorse drunk-driving? Does this comment mean that 98 percent people have access to a free 24-hour a day chauffeur service? And doesn't this statement undermine the millions of dollars spent on campaigns to change public attitudes on the acceptability of drunk-driving?
"To those who suggest Ms Dyson had just three glasses of wine - is this designed to suggest that Ms Dyson was just a bit 'unlucky', and doesn't it ignore the expert opinion that her breath-alcohol reading would require her drinking a 750ml bottle of wine within the hour before being tested? Ms Dyson had been drinking over a period of four hours, exactly how much did she consume?
"To the Prime Minister, who has clearly indicated Ms Dyson is likely to get a Ministerial job back, will she apply the same rule to everyone who loses their job over a drunk-driving offence? Will they be given the Ruth Dyson option of falling on a rubber sword?
"Those who defend Ms Dyson should think long and hard about the consequences of excusing drunk-driving as if it were a minor transgression. Ms Dyson only lost her job. Thousands have lost their lives," Mr Brownlee said.
Ends

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