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Speed reduction list shrinks

A list of proposed speed reductions in South Wairarapa has shrunk, with the focus now remaining on speed limits around schools, marae, and “roads with local priority”.

South Wairarapa District councillors [SWDC] attended a workshop last week chaired by council roading manager Tim Langley to discuss the district’s proposed interim speed management plan.

There were about 60 speed changes throughout the South Wairarapa District included in last week’s presentation, compared to about 160 in a draft proposal from December last year.

As South Wairarapa’s roading network is interlinked with Carterton’s, the districts have a shared interim speed management plan.

The proposed plan, presented in December, followed the Waka Kotahi Speed Management Guide and aligned with the agency’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy.

Once implemented, the interim plan would be followed by a full speed management plan to be included in the 2024-27 National Land Transport Plan.

At last week’s workshop, elected members questioned whether the updated list reflected the government’s change of heart on the ‘Road to Zero’ strategy for state highways.

In March, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the government would back down from its plan to cut the speed limit on most of the country’s state highways.

The government now only plans to focus on the “most dangerous one per cent” of state highways as it switches its focus to recovering and rebuilding flood and slip-damaged roads following Cyclone Gabrielle.

“That means speed limits will reduce in the places where there are the highest numbers of deaths and injuries, and where local communities support change,” Hipkins said.

“We will continue to make targeted reductions in the areas immediately around schools and marae, and in small townships that a state highway runs through.”

Councillor Alistair Plimmer and Mayor Martin Connelly asked whether the refined list of speed reductions for South Wairarapa was for the district’s most dangerous one per cent of roads.

“I don’t think anyone around the table would disagree with the recommendations for [lowering speed limits around] schools and marae at all,” Plimmer said.

“The rest of it, however, I don’t understand why we are still proceeding when the government has said, ‘Let’s call a halt to this’.”

Under the proposed interim speed management plan, speed limits in school areas would largely drop to 30kmh, and areas around marae would largely drop to 60kmh.

Roads around Martinborough Square are proposed to drop to 30kmh and sections of Cape Palliser Rd would drop from 100kmh to 60kmh.

South Wairarapa District Council’s Infrastructure and Community Services Committee is set to receive a copy of the Interim Speed Management Plan Consultation Draft on June 1. It will then likely be up for approval at a full council meeting on June 7, with public consultation to follow.


    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. More people drowned in two weekend on Auckland beaches last summer that died on State highway 2 between Masterton and Featherstone over ten years. I do not see any government department or council planning to closing these beaches or significantly invest in better beach safety. Simply police the 100km and bigger fines for going over. We are just chocking and economically impacting the country becouse it is cheaper than building new roads expected in a developed country.

  2. It is blindingly obvious that drivers are much more sensible and less inclined to take chances, if they don’t get frustrated because they’re stuck for ages behind somebody driving considerably more slowly than the speed limit allows. This isn’t rocket science, and we’ve all been there, stuck in a line of traffic behind someone going 70 in a 100 zone.

    So here are two solutions:
    1. Perhaps drivers could be given a few more overtaking lanes so there are safe places to overtake rather than having to take chances. There are barely any between Featherston and Masterton and vice versa. There are precisely none between Woodville and Masterton. These state highways cover hundreds of kilometers, surely an overtaking lane or two is warranted?

    2. Legislate that a driver going below the speed limit, who has a line of traffic behind them of (say) 5+ vehicles, is REQUIRED by law to pull over and allow traffic to pass at the next safe opportunity. I gather this is law in parts of the USA. Sometimes they do have a good idea. A law like this would remove significant frustration for drivers, and ensure that the slower drivers out there don’t become the cause of accidents. It’s a necessary courtesy given NZ has so many single lane roads.

  3. Re micheal platforms comments the only part he got wrong was that people are not brighter some.. alot are impatient and have self righteous ego when it comes to driving and police are not totally to blame as they are under resourced

  4. Not only a nanny state, lowering limits to an unnecessarily low speed is going to result in worse driving, tailgating, aggressive overtaking, and people driving at vastly different speeds. At best we will all take much longer to get anywhere, and with more costs for business to pass on to the consumer as the country becomes less accessible, and ironically with more capable vehicles. At worst, lowering the limit will achieve exactly the opposite of what is intended, more crashes, worse driving decisions, more social and needless harm, if we genuinely want to improve road safety then let’s set sensible limits and encourage and/or enforce people to drive more responsibly so that we can take full advantage of the safer roads and safer vehicles we are lucky enough to drive today. Yes some roads may be too fast, but the vast majority are either already too slow or OK without being lowered further. Most people I talk to about this agree. Let’s keep politics independent from road safety NZTA.

  5. Sorry but aren’t vehicles safer, roads safer and drivers brighter so why reduce traffic limits? Maybe control? Nanny state. Come on.

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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