The New Zealand Government has announced it will introduce new legislation by the end of the year which will allow police to use roadside drug testing.

The AA has welcomed the move but said it was “ridiculous” that testing had taken so long to be introduced in the country.

New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi figures show out of 374 total road deaths in 2022, there were 218 where drugs and/or alcohol – both over and under the legal limit – were detected in a driver. Drugs were involved in 112 of those deaths.

“With drugs involved in so much harm on New Zealand roads, it is ridiculous testing has taken so long to be introduced,” said AA road safety spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“Victoria in Australia introduced drug testing 20 years ago.

“The tests will be an important deterrent to those thinking about getting behind the wheel while under the influence, and a safety net to catch impaired drivers before they are able to harm themselves and others.”