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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Govt’s speed dating dodge

Despite making election campaign promises to swiftly reverse speed reductions and return the limit on SH2 to 100kmh, Minister of Transport Simeon Brown still can’t confirm when it will actually occur.

The Times-Age approached the Transport Minister’s office with a series of questions about when – or even if – Wairarapa residents can expect to see the 80kmh limit imposed last year reversed, and whether the entire road between Masterton and Featherston is considered safe enough for a 100kmh limit, as well as seeking details about the ongoing safety improvement project on SH2.

The Minister’s response in full is as follows:

“I want to see a transport system that boosts productivity and economic growth and allows New Zealanders to get to where they want to go, quickly and safely. As part of the Government’s 100-day actions, we are committed to stopping blanket speed limit reductions and have started work on replacing the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 [the rule].

“As a first step, in December last year, I amended the rule to make speed management plans discretionary and revoked deadlines that were set under the rule for submitting and approving such plans. I also wrote to all road controlling authorities [RCAs] and regional transport committees [RTCs] advising them of these changes and encouraging them to wait until the new rule is in place before making any further decisions on speed limits in their jurisdiction.

“Work is underway to develop the new rule. It will take a more balanced approach and consider economic impacts, community, and road user views, and travel times alongside safety when setting speed limits. I’m working with officials through the changes to the rule and intend to provide RCAs and RTCs with more information on the policy direction of the new rule in due course.

“Mike Butterick has been keeping me informed about what is happening on State Highway 2 and the frustration this project is causing to local motorists. I want to see investment which improves the safety and efficiency of our network in a cost-effective manner rather than some of the costly interventions which have become prevalent under the last Government.”

The speed reductions on SH2 took effect just over one year ago, on January 27, 2023, and were highly criticised by the then-opposition government, they quickly became one of the National Party’s key promises to remove if elected.

The reduction between Masterton and Featherston underwent consultation in August and September 2021 with stakeholders and the public.

Speed reductions under the Land Transport Rule were introduced as part of Labour’s Road to Zero campaign in the hopes of reducing the number of deaths and injuries from car crashes on New Zealand roads by 40 per cent by 2030.

When Brown announced the amendment to speed limit rules in December last year, saying that the blanket speed reductions had negatively impacted the country’s economy and disregarded the wishes of local stakeholders, he promised that the new government would focus on a transport system that would boost economic growth and productivity.

“Speed limits have been reduced using a blanket approach across many parts of the country under the previous government’s Land Transport Rule, ignoring economic impacts and the views of road users and local communities,” he said in an official statement.

During his election campaign, Wairarapa MP Mike Butterick promised to return SH2 to 100kmh and end blanket speed reductions introduced in January 2023, in line with National’s 100-day action plan to replace the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022, and National leader Christopher Luxon and Brown travelled to Wairarapa in the run-up to the election to make similar pledges.

1 COMMENT

  1. We need to get rid of this last governments nanny state agenda 🙄. Stop this state control system the last government had it’s a socialist communist dictatorship system not
    our democracy 🙄 system .

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