Trust programme gets results

None for the Road

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 08:02 06/12/2012

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An effective programme aimed at stopping recidivist drunk drivers re-offending is now being offered in Taranaki.

Auckland's Harmony Trust has this year begun running its One for the Road programme through New Plymouth's Tu Tama Wahine counselling organisation.

The programme has been in operation in Auckland since 2008 and participants could be referred through lawyers, the courts, family members or through self-referral.

Programme manager Alex Dawber said the Harmony Trust had a background in alcohol, drug and addiction counselling.

"We saw the need for a specific programme for drunk and drugged drivers," he said.

He said many participants were reluctant to accept they had issues with addiction but they would admit to a driving problem.

"They've got ways of justifying their behaviour."

Mr Dawber said data from the New Zealand Transport Agency showed just 3.5 per cent of participants received a further conviction for driving drunk.

"It's encouraging for us and it supports the model that we use."

He described the 10-hour programme as a brief intervention.

"The programme can be done fairly quickly but that doesn't mean the impact and intensity isn't there."

Mr Dawber said the programme made participants confront the issues, including attitudes, their experiences and associates, which could be contributing to their behaviour.

"It is getting people to be aware of what it is about them that makes them a repeat drunk driver."

He said participants had described the course in various ways.

"Some people comment that it was uncomfortable, others say it was a wake-up call or something that I needed, while some people have described it as an ambush."

He said the trust would continue to run programmes through Tu Tama Wahine next year.

Awhina Cameron, TTW deputy chief executive, said the organisation was approached by Roadsafe Taranaki to see if they would hold the programme.

Ms Cameron said it had been identified there was a need for such programmes in Taranaki and it had a high success and low recidivist rate.

The programme also fitted in with the group's overarching goal for peaceful, prosperous families and addressing family violence, drug and alcohol abuse.

It was therefore "another piece of the puzzle to meet the need in Taranaki".

Ms Cameron said the next step would be to train local staff so they could continue to offer the resource locally.

Participants in the programme are also offered follow- up support.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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