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Speed review gets started

While Wairarapa commuters wait patiently for the end of blanket speed restrictions, the Times-Age has discovered a speed limit review was commissioned last year for the section of State Highway 2 between Carterton and Masterton.

Although the open road speed limit on SH2 between Masterton and Featherston was reduced from 100kmh to 80kmh in January last year, only the stretch between Masterton and Carterton is subject to the review – despite the reduction for the section between Greytown and Featherston only having been imposed by NZTA Waka Kotahi for the sake of “consistency”, according to an Official Information Act [OIA] request.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown disclosed to the Times-Age that a review of the SH2 speed limit is already underway after he announced the timeframe for the new Land Transport Rule last week.

“I have been advised by NZTA that they are currently undertaking a review of speed limits on State Highway 2 in Wairarapa,” he said.

“This is welcome news, and I look forward to the outcome of this review.”

When asked about the length of time it would take for the new Land Transport Rule to come into effect, Brown said the previous government’s blanket speed limit reductions “took over two years to publish”.

“The coalition government is moving at pace to deliver on our commitment to reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by signing a new speed limits rule by the end of this year,” he said.

“The new speed limits rule will require blanket speed limit reductions on State Highways and local roads to be reversed, except where it is unsafe. It is too early to comment on speed limits on individual roads,” the minister said.

NZTA programme and standards national manager Vanessa Browne confirmed that only the section between Masterton and Carterton is under review due to the safety improvement project on that stretch.

Browne said the review of speed limits between Masterton and Carterton was commissioned last year in preparation for the 2024-27 Speed Management Plan.

“Consideration can be given to increasing speed limits where safety improvements or other changes have been made to improve the highway’s safety,” she said.

“Please note the review did not cover the rest of the State Highway 2 Wairarapa corridor as there have been no material safety improvements made on those parts of the state highway network,” Browne said.

Waka Kotahi NZTA’s technical assessment that led to the conclusion that 80kmh was the safe and appropriate speed for the open road sections between Masterton and Featherston was released via an OIA request in February 2023.

The OIA showed the 80kmh speed limit was assessed as the safe and appropriate speed on SH2 for Masterton to Carterton, and Carterton to Greytown.

Although 100kmh was initially assessed as a safe and appropriate speed for the stretch between Greytown and Featherston, it NZTA proposed to drop it to 80kmh anyway.

In an internal review form, it was noted the Greytown-to-Featherston section “would look similar” to the sections between the other towns and that “for consistency, consideration should be given to have an 80kmh limit on this portion of highway” as well.

It is expected that the new review process may have a similar technical assessment completed.


  1. Ridiculously small area they are reviewing. No improvements have been made on the Featherston to Carterton section because none were needed. It’s a dead flat, straight section of road that should never have had the limit reduced in the first place. Damn NZTA!

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