Boy gathers 28k names for dead dad
A young lad who lost his dad in a fatal crash on the Lindis Pass will personally hand over a 28,000 signature petition at the Beehive today.
In November 2012, Grant John Roberts, 43, of Timaru, and Dennis Pederson, 54, were killed when Chinese student Kejia Zheng, 20, ploughed into a group of motorcyclists returning from the Burt Munro Challenge in Invercargill. Two other bikers were injured.
Zheng was convicted in the Alexandra District Court and ordered to pay $10,000 for causing the deaths.
Zheng had been in New Zealand one day when she hit gravel on the Lindis Pass, a notorious black spot, overcorrected and crossed the centre line, crashing into the bikers. Since then, there have been calls to address the crash rate involving foreign drivers.
Roberts’ son Sean, 10, wanted to do something after his dad’s death so he started a petition calling for reform including driving tests for tourists when they hire a car in New Zealand. The aim was 5000 signatories but support has hit 28,391.
This afternoon, he will present the petition to Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and list MP and immigration minister Michael Woodhouse.
Sean’s mother Mel Pipson told the Mirror the trip to Parliament was arranged before the July break.
‘‘Sean’s being doing a lot of fundraising and anything left over he’s hoping to have $500 for St John.’’
Pipson, Sean, Mr Robert’s children and extended family were all planning to accompany the plucky youngster to the Beehive.
‘‘When Sean met with Jacqui Dean she told him with the sheer amount of signatures it will go to the House of Representatives. We’re 90 per cent sure that it will go to a select committee. It’s not bad for a 10-year-old boy from the boondocks.’’
Dean and Woodhouse were unavailable but in a letter to Sean from Woodhouse, the minister said the Government was determined to make New Zealand roads safer.
He said he asked for more information on the proposal for tourists to sit tests and the Government’s 10-year plan included a project called Safer Journeys.
As part of that initiative, the Government has asked for a special project to improve road safety in the lower South Island.
In 1998, 0.3 per cent of fatal crashes involved drivers with an overseas licence. In 2012, it was 5 per cent.
For dad: Grant Roberts with sons Sean and Cody.