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MP to pursue speed limit reversal

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty said he will continue to advocate for a reversal of the speed limit reduction on SH2 between Greytown and Featherston.

He said he is disappointed by Waka Kotahi NZTA’s decision to lower the speed limit for the sake of “consistency”, after the transport agency revealed it had assessed 100kmh as a safe and appropriate speed for the stretch in response to an Official Information Act [OIA] request by Wairarapa resident Chris Rawson.

The OIA response included an internal review form which noted that SH2 Greytown-to-Featherston “would look similar” to other sections of the state highway on which 80kmh was safe and appropriate and that “for consistency, consideration should be given to have an 80kmh limit on this portion of highway”.

McAnulty, who has advocated to keep the stretch between Greytown and Featherston at 100kmh since 2021, said information revealed by the OIA had strengthened his resolve to advocate for a reversal of Waka Kotahi’s decision.

He said that keeping the 100kmh speed limit for this strip is supported by the majority of constituents he had heard from.

“While I continue to support the broader programme to make our roads safer and prevent deaths, especially safety measures outside schools, there is a very strong and broad feeling within the community that it is not being listened to by Waka Kotahi on the question of maximum speeds on SH2,” McAnulty said.

A Waka Kotahi spokesperson said the speed review was undertaken because people were dying or being seriously injured in crashes.

“Our consultation on proposed speed limit changes was not a vote.

“That’s why we focussed on the evidence behind the proposed changes and asked if there was any other information that should inform our final decision instead of asking if people liked it or not.”

The spokesperson said reducing the speed would reduce the seriousness of crash outcomes.

According to Waka Kotahi’s research, the people who respond to consultation only represent about 15 per cent of the public.

“There is a significant silent majority that wants us to improve road safety and save lives; they are just not always the ones quoted in the media.

“New Zealanders have accepted changes in the past, like wearing seatbelts and not smoking in some places, because we know it will make a difference and we know it is the right thing to do.”

Rawson said he made the OIA request to understand why Waka Kotahi reduced the SH2 speed limit despite widespread public opposition.

He said Waka Kotahi’s response revealed that it never seriously considered the negative public feedback.

“Given that New Zealand is a democratic nation, public feedback on proposals like these should be taken under advisement, with strategies adjusted when or if public sentiment is strong enough,” Rawson said.

“Consultations may not be a vote, but if the outcome of the consultation is pre-determined no matter what the public says, then the consultation itself is a farce.”

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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