Are speed limits too high for the roads in New Zealand?

Ryan Bridge 05/06/2019

The speed limits on nearly 90 percent of New Zealand roads are too high, according to a NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) tool.

Mega Maps is an interactive risk assessment tool used by the NZTA and councils to help decide the appropriate speed limit for roads.

It uses a range of factors to assess the road, including the road width, crash history, potential hazards, and volume of traffic.

According to the tool, 87 percent of speed limits across New Zealand are too high and only five percent of open roads should have their current 100km/h speed limit.

In Auckland, 65 percent of 50km/h streets would require a lower speed limit.

On Wednesday, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter spoke with Ryan Bridge on Magic Talk Drive to discuss the speed limits on New Zealand's roads.

Ryan began the interview by asking about the 90 percent of roads with speed limits too high and does she plan to lower them?

"The Government has a policy to review speeds on the top ten percent most dangerous roads," She said. "The previous Government planned to do that within ten years while we will complete it in three years because it needs to be done to stop people dying on the roads.

Ryan wanted to know as the Associate Minister for Road Safety, does she have the power to change speed limits?

Yes I'm responsible for making policy but other authorities control the roads.

"We set the framework while decisions are made by NZTA."

Ryan wanted to know then, if the Associate Minister had any sway to influence those decisions, considering that the NZTA has said that 90 percent of roads have limits that are too high to be safe. When in opposition Julie Anne Genter was very vocal about road safety with that in mind Ryan asked why she was not doing more to act faster?

We are acting, doing it in three years is as fast as we can go.

"We have provided $1.4 billion for road improvements in three years, that’s thousands of kilometres on roads."

Ryan wanted to know how much in billions of dollars are the Government pulling from the previous National Governments plan to build new roads? But Julie Anne Genter refutes the notion that the National Government had provided any real funding.

They would have needed higher taxes to do that so they weren't funding it.

When asked if she can provide a target for a reduction in road deaths Genter told Ryan that they will be reviewing those later in the year and can’t provide any targets now.

Listen to the full interview above.