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PM stands strong on helmets

Friday June 05, 2020 Written by Published in Local
Henry Puna calls for public safety to be placed ahead of personal convenience. 20060414 Henry Puna calls for public safety to be placed ahead of personal convenience. 20060414

As helmet opponents gather for a second motorbike rally, Henry Puna acknowledges their views but says safety comes first. 

Henry Puna says he has seen too many lives lost on the roads, to sit by and do nothing.

The Prime Minister has spoken out about the new law making helmets mandatory, ahead of today’s second motorbike rally by opponents.

He acknowledges their beliefs but expresses “disappointment” that they would choose to protest against safety initiatives.

The rallies come at the same time that millions of peoples have been joining Black Lives Matter protests, elsewhere in the world.

Here, Puna said the protests were about “personal convenience,” ahead of safety.

“For me it’s sad that we must be the only country in the world, that we are opposing a public safety measure,” he said.

Government would “stand firm on their commitment to this measure,” Puna said.

He acknowledged that for some families the cost of buying helmets would be a burden – and said government would be prepared to help genuinely needy families, “in order to protect our people”.

The second protest starts at midday at the Constitution Park grounds in town; organisers hope to match or exceed the estimated 200 people who attended last week.

“It’s their beliefs and their opinions, it’s our democracy and we respect that,” said Puna.

“If there was a particular reason why people are protesting, perhaps there may be room for some discussion with them about a possible resolution.”

But he felt the rallies were largely about protesters individual convenience, “when you balance personal convenience against safety on the roads.”

“I’ve seen enough people killed on our roads, to not do anything,” he said.

Twenty-six people have died on the roads in the past five years, an even spread from age 14 to 50-plus. All but one of the deaths were on motorbikes, and none of them was wearing a secured helmet.

“I really don’t want any more deaths under my watch as Prime Minister.”

Puna said when the nation confronted the Covid-19 challenge, people took the attitude that “we’re all in this together.” He would like people to adopt the same attitude to this important public safety measure.

He argued it would be difficult for the younger generation to observe the helmet law, if they saw older people on the roads without a helmet.

“Being a role model to the younger ones is really important… we have a role to play, to inspire, to educate and to be a role model to our kids; this is a public safety issue.

“I plead with people who are opposing it to please consider that, were all in this together, and we must pull together; to think otherwise would be to think about one’s convenience.”

10 comments

  • Comment Link Ina Tekeu Saturday, 06 June 2020 09:46 posted by Ina Tekeu

    I totally agree with you PM that older people should be role models to our younger generation. You're the Leader of the Country, you set the Law for the safety of our people. May God Bless you with a BOLD decision.
    All motor bike riders, your passengers wear a helmet even little kids put a helmet on them too. Kia okotai.

  • Comment Link Gina Samuel Saturday, 06 June 2020 03:32 posted by Gina Samuel

    I agree

  • Comment Link Joe joe caffery Saturday, 06 June 2020 00:48 posted by Joe joe caffery

    Our days we always wear them. It really save our lives then. Do the right thing for our tamariki in years to come

  • Comment Link Tangimama Harry Friday, 05 June 2020 23:51 posted by Tangimama Harry

    You're right Mr PM, better safe than sorry....

  • Comment Link It’s easy for you make these rules....and yet you don’t have a bike n you never been seen on one....iid like to see you on a bike with a helmet for at least a fortnight and then see how like it...sometimes it’s easy to dish it out and harder to actually d Friday, 05 June 2020 23:49 posted by It’s easy for you make these rules....and yet you don’t have a bike n you never been seen on one....iid like to see you on a bike with a helmet for at least a fortnight and then see how like it...sometimes it’s easy to dish it out and harder to actually d

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  • Comment Link Manu TEKEU Friday, 05 June 2020 16:42 posted by Manu TEKEU

    I Agree with The bosman safety First saving lives is The key To stop people's killing Themselves so Do Right Thing But The HelmetOn Just Do it right That's The law in Force

  • Comment Link Penny Murray Friday, 05 June 2020 16:09 posted by Penny Murray

    Good on you, Mr Prime Minister ... there are times when you have to make the tough call when others are against you. Safety first !!!

  • Comment Link Carolyn Hunter Friday, 05 June 2020 14:51 posted by Carolyn Hunter

    Live to protest

  • Comment Link Cameron Samuel Friday, 05 June 2020 14:08 posted by Cameron Samuel

    Safety measures are put in place because the cost of a life outweighs our convenience. A helmets job is just to help minimise the damage to our beautiful coconut head when it hits the road - that is all it’s designed to do. It has nothing to do whether you are a drunk or sober, careful or careless, pretty or ugly driver. A small investment in a helmet can save in hospital expenses, funeral and the stress that comes with it all. Accidents can happen to anyone. In the Islands it’s only a short trip anywhere. But just think

  • Comment Link Nia Petero Friday, 05 June 2020 10:33 posted by Nia Petero

    Agree with you minister safety first to many lives lost, you can still look cool with a helmet on not a coffin lid just saying... ka kite