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Regional approach to speed limit setting

Regional committees will now decide district speed limits based on speed management plans by councils. PHOTO/FILE

For the past 100 years, district councils have set their own speed limits with bylaws.

But the Government’s adoption of the Tackling Unsafe Speeds programme has changed this.

Councils would now be developing speed management plans which would be assessed at a regional level for implementation.

At a Masterton District Council [MDC] meeting, elected member Sandy Ryan said the rule change seemed to be another example of “dismantling local government”.

Her comment was said in the context of the Three Waters reforms, the Future for Local Government Review, and changes to the Resource Management Act.

MDC chief executive David Hopman said a “cynical view” could be taken that a huge part of council bylaws had now been centralised, “but the way the rule was written, we will still have a role in how our network is set up”.

He said there would be some tough calls in the future about “safer speeds versus safer roads and the costs associated with that”.

Hopman said the new Land Transport Rule for setting speed limits would provide for a more cohesive regional approach to road speeds.

“This is intended to be a faster and easier process for Roading Control Authorities [councils] than using bylaws and will also ensure greater consistency across regions,” he said.

The rule would lead to the establishment of a new regulatory framework for speed management utilising speed management plans, safer speed limits around schools, and a more effective approach to using road safety cameras.

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency would continue to set speeds for the state highway network alongside the new framework. — NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.

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