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Reversal of speed reductions in 2025

“A win for commonsense.”

That’s how Wairarapa electorate MP Mike Butterick has described the Coalition Government’s announcement that it will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by July 1, 2025, through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation yesterday.

“By July 1, 2025, all relevant reduced speed limits must be either recertified or reversed to what they were on 31 December 2019,” Transport Minister Simeon Brown said.

This is several months earlier than Transport Minister Simeon Brown originally indicated in March this year when he said blanket reductions would not be required to be reversed until the end of 2025.

If finalised as proposed, the reversal in the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2024 will apply to local streets with widespread 30kmh speed limits surrounding schools, arterial roads and rural State Highways [interregional connectors], such as State Highway 2 [SH2] through Wairarapa.

The move is a step towards fulfilling the promise Prime Minister Christopher Luxon made when he visited Wairarapa in September during last year’s election campaign to restore the 100kmh speed limit on SH2 if elected.

“When you look at the very straight stretch of SH2, which has gone from 100kmh down to 80kmh, it just makes no sense,” Luxon said at the time.

The proposed rule includes several measures, including enabling the consideration of economic impacts alongside safety when setting speed limits, and requiring variable speed limits on local streets outside a school during school travel times.

“People have had a bit of a gutsful,” Butterick told the Times-Age. “We’ve been putting up with restrictions on our roads getting from A to B for quite some time, as well as all the road works. So it’s been pretty frustrating for a lot of people.

“At the end of the day, about 90 per cent of our goods are conveyed on our roads. It’s a pretty simple calculation – the longer it takes to get from A to B, the more it costs, and the consumer pays that bill.” Butterick also welcomed the proposed requirement for variable speed limits outside schools during the school travel periods by December 31, 2027.

“I think it’s a commonsense approach. Obviously, go slow when the kids come in and out of school because that’s the danger period for kids. But outside of school hours, say two or three o’clock in the morning when there are no kids, it’s just a normal road.”

Labour List MP Kieran McAnulty also found favour with the announcement but questioned the speed at which any change on the ground will be implemented.

“Like many others, I did not see the need for a reduction in speed between Featherston and Greytown,” he said in a statement to the Times-Age.

“I welcome measures to get the right limit in place, but this announcement is about a change to the criteria through which appropriate speed limits are assessed. It is not a decision itself to reset the speed limit. There’s a consultation process to come.

“Today’s announcement says it may not be until July next year before there is a decision. This would mean the 80kmh limit would have lasted for almost twice as long under the Nats and ACT [19 months] as under Labour [nine months – the 80kmh limit started on January 27, 2023].

“And it’s not a done deal yet – today’s announcement still leaves any future decision about reversing the speed reduction to NZTA Waka Kotahi.

“Perhaps the government needs to speed up on this change. Before the election, they talked big; now they’re deciding to go slow.”

Until the proposed rule is finalised “in late 2024”, NZTA Waka Kotahi “will continue to review and set speed limits on the state highway network under the current 2022 Rule as required, but with appropriate consideration for proposed changes in the draft 2024 Rule”, an NZTA spokesperson said.

“After the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2024 is finalised in late 2024, as the Road Controlling Authority (RCA) for state highways in New Zealand, NZTA will identify state highway locations impacted by the Rule and advise on next steps for speed limit changes on the state highway network.”

The Wairarapa Road Safety Council [WRSC] declined to comment on the government’s announcement until its board has met to discuss the issue.

WRSC manager Bruce Pauling did confirm that the organised will make a submission on the draft rule.

Butterick urged “everybody to have their say” during the consultation period, which closes on July 11.

“I’m sure there’ll be a flurry of people wanting to. We campaigned on it and the previous administration said it wasn’t possible [to reverse the speed limits]. Well, guess what? It is.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thank heaven for commonsense !, Can’t wait for Featherston to Greytown, Carterton to Masterton regaining its 100kph with exceptions around schools, the flashing lights are really good around the schools displaying 30kph signs.
    When will it happen, we surely don’t have to wait for public consultations I hope.

  2. It’s about time! Never should have reduced the limits in the first place. It seems that NZTA never met a limit they didn’t want to reduce, or a passing lane they didn’t want to close. I don’t know why they hate passing lanes, but it is getting old very fast. I guess they never actually drive anywhere and therefore don’t know how annoying it is to be trapped behind somebody doing 20, 30 or even 40 km/hr UNDER the limit, and not being able to get by them.

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