Driveway safety record a ‘national shame’
Almost 500 Porirua state houses would benefit from improved driveway safety, Housing Minister Nick Smith said when he visited Porirua East this month.
The minister was launching a $ 30 million Government programme aimed at reducing the number of children killed or injured in driveways.
The Mungavin Ave home, where the programme was launched, was one of nine Porirua houses fitted with new fencing and self- lock gates, Mr Smith said.
Housing New Zealand spokeswoman Dee Guja said more than $1 million would be spent over the next four years to improve 485 Porirua driveways.
Mr Smith said one child died every 10 weeks in New Zealand driveways and Porirua was a good place to kick off the campaign.
‘‘This area has a particular concentration of state houses and is a useful place to launch this nationwide programme,’’ he said.
Mr Smith said families with young children would be targeted with an education programme run by Safekids Aotearoa and the improved driveway safety measures.
‘‘This is typical of what we are attempting to do, so for state houses with young families we want to fence off the area in which the children play,’’ he said. ‘‘Cul-de-sacs are particularly vulnerable, because the children tend to play on the road.’’
He said 13,000 state houses nationwide would benefit from the scheme.
‘‘Porirua is an area in which we want to raise the profile of the issue of child safety,’’ Mr Smith said.
‘‘Not only is there loss of life, but the families involved are permanently scarred by the tragedy when a young family member is lost in a driveway accident.
‘‘Frankly, barely a month goes by that we don’t pick up a newspaper and find that a child has been driven over accidentally by a parent.
‘‘Every time it happens your heart sinks.’’