• Maurice Williamson

A proposed seatbelt rule which included a provision to legalise single action seatbelts on imported cars has not been signed by Transport Minister Maurice Williamson, who has instructed officials to explore the matter further.

"If I was convinced that legalising these belts would benefit road safety, I would have signed the rule, but at this stage, I'm not satisfied."

Mr Williamson said it was a very complex and technical issue that needed more work and consultation.

"Helen Clark and Harry Duynhoven have been using this issue as a political football over the last few months by implying I was always going to sign the rule and put lives at risk.

"I was amazed that Helen Clark even moved a motion in the House calling for my resignation over signing the rule when I hadn't even considered it. The Labour Party may take all the advice from their officials, but I certainly don't."

"The issue here is making the decision that best benefits road safety and that's always been my only concern."

Mr Williamson said there were still a number of public concerns about legalising such belts.

"I've asked officials from the Ministry of Transport and Land Transport Safety Authority to look at the issue further and talk to interested parties. If these groups then believe a change would benefit road safety, we'll have another look at it."

The proposal to legalise the belts was made after concerns it was more dangerous to modify a vehicle's occupant protection system by replacing a single action belt than maintaining the protection system with the original belt.