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Districts divided over speed review

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] and Carterton District Council [CDC] want to work together on their respective speed reviews, but the districts’ residents are moving in opposite directions.

Both SWDC and CDC are beginning to review the consultation submissions for their wide-ranging joint speed review, which proposes to lower speed limits near several schools and marae, as well as on a raft of high-priority roads.

The proposal is in line with Waka Kotahi NZTA’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on roads.

Over 450 public submissions were made during the four-week consultation in June and July.

South Wairarapa District had a public hearing yesterday at which 32 submitters spoke, while Carterton will hold a public hearing on September 5.

In the written submissions, most Carterton submitters supported the proposed changes, but while South Wairarapa submitters agreed with the approach to schools, they were far less keen on the proposal to drop speeds near marae or on high-priority roads.

In Carterton District, some proposed speed reductions on high-priority roads include parts of Carters Line from 100kph to 80kph, and Hughes Line from 100kph to 60kph.

CDC infrastructure services manager Johannes Ferraria submitted a report to the council’s policy and projects committee yesterday, detailing the first findings from the consultation.

Ferraria said CDC received 264 written submissions.

“We are still in the process of reviewing the submission data, however, overall, we had an overwhelmingly positive response to the proposed plan,” he said.

A clear majority of submitters [81 per cent] agreed with CDC’s approach to lower speed near schools and marae, while 66 per cent agreed with the approach to lower speed limits on high-priority roads.

In South Wairarapa District, some proposed speed reductions on high-priority roads include parts of Cape Palliser Rd from 100kmh to 80kmh or lower, parts of Lake Ferry Rd from 100kmh to 60kmh or lower, and Ponatahi Rd from 100kmh to 80kmh.

SWDC roading manager Tim Langley submitted a corresponding report to his council’s hearings committee yesterday.

Langley’s report said SWDC received 183 submissions, of which 56 per cent lived in the Martinborough ward.

Although a majority of submitters [74 per cent] agreed with SWDC’s approach to lowering speeds near schools, while only 52 per cent supported reducing speed limits near marae.

The report said that because only a slim majority of submitters agreed with changes near marae, it would be an area where SWDC will need to listen closely to reasons given in oral submissions.

When it came to reduced speed limits on high-priority roads, South Wairarapa residents were far less supportive than those in Carterton: only 26 per cent agreed with the proposal, compared to Carterton’s 66 per cent.

Langley’s report said some submitters indicated that current speed limits should remain on all high-priority roads, or that Lake Ferry Rd, Ponatahi Rd, Cape Palliser Rd, and others be left alone.

After the hearings process and with direction from elected members, the draft Interim Speed Management Plan will be prepared and submitted to the Waka Kotahi Director of Land Transport for review, comments, and certification.


  1. Is this an admission of guilt from district councils and NZTA that our roads have have been mismanaged and are unsafe. Vehicles are more safer now than when the speed limits were put in place. Stop making our road limits look like a nanny state. Just a thought if truck 🚚 speed was reduced from 100k to 80k for safety 🤔 shouldn’t there speed be 60k now 🤔.

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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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