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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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On the road to nowhere: Government falls short

The government appears not to be on a Road to Zero, as its strategy to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand roads fails to meet all but one of its targets.
In its annual report, Waka Kotahi NZTA revealed that only one of six measures for the Road to Zero campaign were met in the year to June.
NZTA is working with police and other agencies to reduce road deaths and serious injuries by 40 per cent from 2018 levels by 2030.
As of yesterday, 336 people have died on New Zealand roads this year, up from 319 in 2021. The worst year was 2018, when 378 road deaths were recorded.
To combat this, NZTA had planned a range of key programs that included three million passive breath checks and 500 kilometres of reduced speed limits.
However, the programmes were falling far short of its targets, performing just 1.5 million breath checks and 165km of reduced speed limits.
Wairarapa roads were no exception to the toll, with three deaths recorded in the region so far this year.
For Wairarapa road users, Remutaka Hill was particularly dangerous. From 2011-2021, there were more than 400 crashes on the hill, causing 20 serious injuries and seven deaths.
Living Streets Aotearoa lifetime member and Wairarapa Walking Festival founder Celia Wade-Brown said there were far too few pedestrian crossings across the region.
“There is nothing east of the roundabout on State Highway 2, and many rural roads have inadequate shoulders, especially at corners.
“The area of Gladstone Rd between Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae and Carters Reserve is an example of the past total lack of consideration for people who are not in cars.
“I support the modest speed reductions proposed but there needs to be more investment in crossings, paths, and other appropriate infrastructure to encourage sustainable transport choices for commuting and recreation in Wairarapa.”
Wade-Brown said she supported the speed review but said it could be interim in places and part of a more comprehensive package.
“One hundred kilometres as a speed limit over winding gravel where stock, cyclists, walkers or horse riders are, is not a target.
“People are prepared to drive with no surprises, but there are always surprises.”
Cyclist and Greytown resident John Rhodes said he supported the current safety improvement works and said that for the most part the roads were feeling safe.
“Now that they’ve got the work going between Masterton and Carterton it’s lovely being able to cycle and have the traffic passing you at 50kmh.
“I think when its done they should just leave it at that.”
Rhodes said he supported the proposed lower speed limits for sections of SH2.
“Too many people think they are really good drivers.
“They’re too proud of their ability to sit in a car with their foot on the accelerator and go as fast as they can. It’s a problem.”

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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