NZ Government inaction killed two Chinese democracy campaigners

The government is responsible for the deaths of two Chinese democracy campaigners, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

“Two people – both Chinese democracy campaigners – are dead because a median barrier was missing off a road near Tokoroa last Tuesday. Because there was no median barrier, they were hit by a pickup in the opposite lane. Regardless of the weather conditions, the road conditions or the condition of their vehicle, including possible sabotage, if a median barrier had been in place, these men would not have died in a head-on collision.The simple fact is, the Chinese democracy campaigners died because the New Zealand government failed to do its job.”

The campaigners: Lecheng Wang and Weiguo Xi, were travelling to Wellington to ask the Government to address the issue of Chinese Communist Party political interference in NZ, when they were hit by a pickup truck travelling in the opposite direction.

Matthew-Wilson says the government has had three years to install median barriers on high risk roads such as this one. However, he describes the government’s median barrier installation programme as ‘pathetic’. 

“How many more of these tragedies do we have to put up with before the government takes serious action? We get a section of barrier here, a section of barrier there, but the vast majority of our state highways are an accident waiting to happen.”

A study by Monash University of the effectiveness of roadside fencing and median barriers concluded that: “reductions of up to 90% in death and serious injury can be achieved, with no evidence of increased road trauma for motorcyclists.”

Matthew-Wilson adds that building expensive new highways is not the answer. 

“Expensive new highways improve the safety on short stretches of road. However, expensive new highways also take decades and in the meantime they rob the funds necessary to fix the rest of the country’s hazardous roads.” 

Matthew-Wilson describes many New Zealand roads as being like “a staircase without a handrail – you make the slightest mistake, you’re going to get hurt.”

Matthew-Wilson hopes the recent spate of serious accidents will spur the government into urgent action, but he’s not optimistic the government will make the right decisions.

“My guess is that the government will simply panic and try again to lower the speed limit, even on safer roads. However, this action will alienate millions of motorists, without actually solving the problem.”

“Most speed-related car crashes involve a small group of young, poor males, who don’t wear seatbelts and who are often blotto when they crash. Speed signs and road safety messages are meaningless to this group.”

“A speed limit sign will not protect your family from a reckless yobbo. A median barrier will.”