Simeon Brown’s lethal draft speed-setting rule is open for public consultation until Thursday 11 July. We strongly encourage you to take a minute to add your voice.

The simple online survey asks for your thoughts on seven key proposals (see page 4). You can also email your thoughts to

Scroll further down this post for points we’ll be making in our feedback, and more context to help inform your submission.

What’s wrong with this proposal?

It sends safety backwards at speed

Just like the Government Policy Statement on transport, the Draft Speed Rule speeds past the evidence, steamrolls over local decision-making, and will cost lives.

By requiring towns and cities all over the motu to revisit well-supported plans that are demonstrably reducing harm and saving lives, it represents a waste of time, money and good will. Councils will have to spend precious time and budget re-running consultations, replacing signs, and even removing and rebuilding street elements.

As drafted, the rule will also force the return of blanket unsafe speeds on schools and communities now enjoying calmer streets and safer travels, giving them no option to stick with the status quo if preferred.

It doesn’t even do what it says on the tin

The rule won’t even do what it claims to do – which, according to Ministers Simeon Brown and David Seymour, is boost productivity and restore “joy” to everyday life at the wheel. That’s because “the faster you go, the bigger the mess” applies economically, as well.

Like clockwork, road crashes bring the transport network grinding to a halt every single day, trapping New Zealanders in congestion. And you only have to visit an ER on an average day, or worse, attend a funeral (human or pet) to see what really “drains the joy out of life.” It costs us, big time.

As RNZ reported just before Christmas 2023:

The latest data from the Ministry of Transport shows the social cost of [road] crashes was $9.77 billion in 2021 – 4 percent of gross domestic product or GDP.

Chief executive of Global Road Safety Partnership and former assistant commissioner of Road Policing David Cliff said any crash at more than 30 km/h increased the likelihood of serious harm, so one solution was to adjust speed limits.

Research showed a 5 percent decrease in average speed led to approximately a 10 percent decrease in all injury crashes and a 20 percent decrease in fatal crashes, he said.

It overrides local decision-making

The draft rule is also at odds with this government’s talk of freedom, seeking to restrict local ability to determine traffic speeds that suit the places we live, work, play, shop and go to school.

In proposing the blanket reimposition of 50km/h across cities, it removes a whole lot of freedom to enjoy healthier, more liveable streets; thriving and more welcoming business districts; and neighbourhoods full of folks out walking, biking, jogging – and yes, driving, at the kind of calmer, fuel-efficient speeds that allow more leeway for encounters with the aforementioned people, neighbours, children and pets.

It lacks vision on how transport can improve our lives

Just ask our national transport agency, which said this two years ago this month:

“Imagine an Aotearoa where everyone can get to where they’re going safely. Where it’s safe to drive to work and home again or visit whānau and friends. Where it’s safe to ride bikes and let tamariki walk to school. Where transport improves our health and wellbeing, creating liveable places for our communities.”

– Waka Kotahi, Speed Management Guide July 2022

Now imagine a Minister of Transport proposing to take all of that away.

The cover image of the Speed Management Guide published in July 2022 by Waka Kotahi NZTA, just two years ago. Eyes on the prize, kids!

So, what’s in the proposed rule change?

As per Bike Auckland’s overview, it heads in the opposite direction from the rest of the civilised world:

Transport Minister Simeon Brown’s proposed new “Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2024”, often called the Draft Speed Rule, wants to do the following things, which will make streets more dangerous, increase congestion, and increase emissions.

  • Increase the speed limits for most types of roads,
  • Forbid local road authorities from lowering speeds below these new limits. Urban streets, even those with shops, houses and on-street activities, would no longer be allowed to be lower than 50km/h.
  • Mandatorily take away all safer speed zones around schools. This means that most streets around schools will go back to 50km/h. These will be replaced with more costly Variable Speed Limits only for a tiny 150m each side of the school gate [ed: and only for short periods at each end of the school day on weekdays, regardless of the local need at other times].
  • Mandatorily take away recent speed limit reductions on all urban main roads
  • The rule does not require safety impacts, evidence and local support for the current safe speeds to be taken into account.
  • All the changes are blanket changes, without taking into account the local area and how it may have changed since the safe speeds were adopted.

We’d add: it also takes specific and blanket aim at all safe speeds implemented since 1 January 2020, with the goal of reversing every single one by 1 July 2025. This can’t possibly be for evidential reasons; it smacks of playing petty politics with people’s lives. This will affect over 100 schools and neighbourhoods in Auckland alone.

Worse, it rides roughshod over local decision-making. While there’s an option for rural communities to keep their existing safe speed zones, Simeon Brown says urban schools and neighbourhoods will have zero choice in the matter.

As Bike Auckland sums up:

Speed kills. Around 55 more Aucklanders will be killed on the road over the next two years if the Speed Rule goes ahead – and more would be seriously injured. The Government is increasing speed limits under the guise of boosting the economy, despite all evidence to the contrary, and with no consultation process allowed on affected streets. It’s important they hear from all of us how harmful their proposal will be.

Feedback tips – consultation closes midnight Thursday 11 July!

Here’s the consultation page and the online survey. You can also email your submission directly.

Here’s the consultation summary document, for handy reference.

Feel free to refer to our points below to shape your feedback. Others that may be useful:

Short on time? Focus on Proposals 3, 5, and 7, which have the biggest impact on life in our city.

State your position: start with a clear and simple statement, e.g. “I oppose the draft Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits and believe it should not proceed to further stages.”

Tell your story: describe how speeds (safe or otherwise) affect you and your daily life.

Proposal 1 – require cost benefit analysis for speed changes

This proposed change would require Road Controlling Authorities (RCA) to undertake a cost benefit analysis for any speed changes.

We say: This is overkill. It imposes an extra burden on Road Controlling Authorities and just adds hurdles for communities looking to make their streets safer.  We already have plenty of evidence on safe speeds, showing the benefits outweigh the costs.

While a cost-benefit analysis may make sense for say, an area-wide or city-wide proposal, it’s unnecessary to repeat one for every single speed change.

Ironically: strictly applying this rule makes all the other proposals look highly questionable.

To take just one example: an independent economic assessment of Auckland Transport’s speed management plan showed a benefit/cost ratio of 9.0 for area-wide 30km/h zones 1km around schools, which prevent an estimated 539 deaths and serious injuries (DSI) over ten years. In other words, each dollar invested returns $9 in benefits, and keeps 539 young Aucklanders out of hospital and/or coffins.

This contrasts with a benefit/cost ratio of 0.2 for variable speed zones at the school-gate (as per the Minister’s Proposal 3 below) i.e. this approach would economically cost the country, and would only prevent 29 DSI over ten years.

So, on cost-benefit analysis alone, the current approach is approximately 45 times better for the economy, if that’s your key measure. Whereas, compared to the current approach, the Minister’s proposal could cost us the lives and health of 510 young Aucklanders in the next decade.

(To quote the meme: please help us budget this, our families are dying.)

Proposal 2 – strengthen consultation requirements 

This change would standardise consultation requirements to:

  • Use reasonable efforts to consult with persons that use the road for which a speed limit change is proposed, freight users, local communities, businesses and schools surrounding the impacted area, and local government (for example, neighbouring RCAs).
  • Publish the draft speed management plan and cost benefit analysis on a website and give at least four weeks for any interested party to make a submission.
  • Following consultation, publish a summary of submissions and include an explanation of how feedback was taken into account in the final speed limit changes. include all road users, publish the draft plan  

We say: Ensuring consultation with local people and communities is not a bad thing, and we would support that. However, if this proposal intends to require a separate consultation for each road, that would be a ridiculous and costly bureaucratic burden to impose. The proposal should allow consultations to cover a given area of the road network.

Note that the full proposal removes the requirement to consult with Māori on speed management plans, which is both out of step with Te Tiriti, and at odds with the disproportionate degree of harm experienced by Māori on our roads.

Proposal 3 – require variable speed limits at school gates

The draft Rule proposes speed limits of 30km/h for all city schools – which might sound sensible, until you read the fine print: only at fixed times on weekdays, and only for 150m either side of the school gate:

The draft Rule defines outside a school gate as a stretch of road immediately adjacent to a gate or other access used by students to enter or leave the school, measuring:
• 300 metres for category 1 schools
• 600 metres for category 2 schools.

The proposed lengths are based on the minimum road length for speed limits outlined in the schedule and are total length (not 300 metres either side of a gate). These lengths will not work for every road outside a school gate and the Rule allows for variation to meet specific circumstances.

The draft Rule defines school travel periods as 8-9.30am and 2.30-4pm on school days.

We say: No. This is a terrible and deadly combination of blanket approach and tunnel vision. It won’t achieve the Transport Minister’s stated aim of “protecting young New Zealanders” – rather, it dramatically shrinks their safety to a tiny bubble in time and space, and completely ignores how children travel and how they want to travel.

The time restrictions ignore the fact that children exist (and have the right to move around safely) at all times, including on weekends – and that schools function as community hubs all week, at all times.

The proposed distances are equally detached from reality: 150m from the school gate barely gets a child to a parent’s parked car or the nearest bus stop – let alone safely home on foot or on wheels.

Worse, in combination with Proposal 5 and Proposal 7, which aim to return city streets to 50km/h this would mean that within minutes of leaving the school gate, children will be mixing with 50km/h traffic.

Death and injury risk percentages at different speeds. Source: Auckland Transport

This will discourage children from walking, biking and scooting, and we’ll lose all the benefits of kids being able to get themselves to school – healthier and happier children, cleaner air, reduced emissions, parental time savings (productivity!), a year-round ‘school holiday effect’ at peak times (also productivity!).

This rule would impact over 100 Auckland schools across the city. It will require new signage (NZTA estimates the cost of electronic variable signs as around $90,000 per school) and enforcement.

As Healthy Auckland Together points out:

Permanent safe speed zones are much more effective at preventing deaths and injuries, cheaper to implement, and were supported by 78 percent of school leaders in Tāmaki Makaurau’s recent speed management plan consultation.

85 percent of deaths and serious injuries outside schools happen when variable speed limits are not operating.

80 percent of people in New Zealand cities think we should invest to make sure all children can cycle to school safely.

Honestly, it’s just not normal to propose shrinking safe travel zones around schools, raising speeds in communities, and making children’s and parents’ lives more difficult. Resist this proposal at all costs.

Proposal 4 – introduce a Ministerial Speed Objective

It is unclear what exactly a Ministerial Speed Objective would entail, but as presented in the draft changes it would give the Minister power to signal the pace, scale, and focus, of speed changes that local RCAs would be beholden to.

We say: No. Local RCAs (councils and transport agencies) and local people are best suited to set speed limits according to evidence and local context, rather than giving a single Minister authority over every street in the country.

Proposal 5 – changes to speed limits classifications

This proposal seeks to change the guidance of different classes of road, outlined in this table:

The draft Rule proposes to introduce a binding schedule of speed limit classifications that specify speed limits available for each road type. When making speed limit changes, RCAs will need to align the proposed speed limit with the schedule of classifications. There will be limited exceptions to this. NZTA guidance will include information on exceptions and criteria for choosing a speed limit from within any range in the classification.

The schedule moves back to more standardised speed limits in urban areas (50 km/h) and interregional connectors (100 km/h). The exceptions enable variation in certain instances to improve road safety outcomes.

The intent of the draft Rule is to make it easier to set 110km/h speed limits by removing the Director’s approval process on roads that are built and maintained to support that speed limit.

We say: The introduction of blanket speed raises as outlined in the proposed changes is not good.

Roads vary significantly from place to place, and it’s important for local road-controlling authorities to have flexibility regarding what speed people can travel. There’s no one-size approach that fits all roads.

Particularly concerning is the proposed increase from 30-40km/h to a standardised 50km/h in urban streets. This will drastically lower safety in cities.

Likewise, raising speeds on urban connectors will immediately lower safety on those roads; as will the move to increase speed limits on many of the rural road classifications.

Having a standardised speed limit of 100km/h for interregional connectors will result in more crashes, as these are some of the roads with the most variation. It is critical that these changes do not go through.

Perhaps the only positive in this proposal is the separation of an ‘Expressways’ class; however, more flexibility should be provided under that class as well.

Proposal 6 – update the Director’s criteria for assessing speed management plans for certification

This updates the criteria for assessing speed management plans, adding the other proposed changes.

We say: No. Given how poorly evidenced and dangerous the other proposed changes are, incorporating them into a changed criteria is not something we support.

Proposal 7 – reverse recent speed limit reductions

This change would require the reversal of speed limit reductions from the start of 2020 in these areas:

• local streets with widespread 30km/h speed limits surrounding a school
• arterial roads (urban connectors)
• Rural State highways (interregional connectors)

It includes permanently reversing speed limits around schools and requiring variable limits, full removal for arterial roads, and reversal of reductions on Rural State Highways unless WK/NZTA can demonstrate public support for these reductions.

We say: No! These speed reductions have been undertaken by local road-controlling authorities on the basis of evidence, with a great deal of work and support from local councils and communities, specifically in order to increase safety in these areas.

This blanket, reckons-based reversal would result in more deaths and serious injuries on our roads, especially around schools, at significant cost to public health, wealth and wellbeing. It should be absolutely opposed.

Background reading – to keep front of mind!

More deaths and injuries expected on Auckland’s roads due to Government plans (Stuff):

Road crashes place a substantial burden on the economy and the health sector. The social cost in New Zealand is $9.77 billion a year, with $2b of that just in Auckland.

‘We could stop death’: Call to keep speed limits near schools (1News)

“What we see is our children head home, they then come back to school on their bikes, they run back to school, they play on the playgrounds, they head off to football practice, they’re always in the community,” said Lethbridge.

“I attended the funeral of a young man, about 10 years old. He was hit by a car as he rode his bike in a 50km/h area. that could have been different if it was 30km/h around that school.”

Government’s speed proposals pose serious safety risks (Healthy Auckland Together)

  • Every week in Tāmaki Makaurau 12 people die or have a serious injury on our roads (HAT analysis of Waka Kotahi Crash Analysis data, 2023)
  • Active transport users (e.g. cyclists and walkers) account for 36 percent of deaths and serious injuries due to crashes (AT Equity and Road Harm Report 2022)
  • Children account for six percent of death and serious injuries due to crashes (Auckland Transport analysis of Waka Kotahi Crash Analysis System, 2022)
  • 80 percent of people in New Zealand cities think we should invest to make sure all children can cycle to school safely (NZTA: Urban Cycling Attitudes, 2016)
  • 85 percent of deaths and serious injuries outside of schools occur when variable limits are not operating (Auckland Transport, 2022)

Give way: 5 reasons why the government should slow down on raising speed limits (The Conversation)

“The case for lower speed limits is compelling. Lives are saved, pollution reduced, health improved and communities enhanced. The question is, why is New Zealand’s government seeking to buck the trend and go against what science shows is good policy, when the rest of the world accepts lower speed limits make sense.”

Back to school for the government’s new speed limit policy (Newsroom)

“First, this overrides the wishes of communities all over New Zealand who want slower, safer residential streets. Permanent low-speed zones, for instance, were supported by 78 percent of school leaders in Tāmaki Makaurau’s recent speed-management plan consultation and will be abolished if the new Land Transport Rule is adopted.

Second, there is a mountain of evidence that higher speeds lead to more traffic crashes, injuries and deaths. A summary of 20 high-quality studies found the risk of pedestrian death increases tenfold when vehicle speeds rise from 30kph (5 percent mortality) to 60kph (when impact is associated with only a 50:50 chance of survival).

Third, the Government is moving in the opposite direction from that taken by other countries we like to compare ourselves with.”

Expert not sold on proposed speed limit rule changes (Newsroom)

Koorey said the idea the previous rule had allowed blanket reductions did not make sense.  “They keep talking about these blanket speed limit changes, but they never were, they were targeted, and if anything, we’re going back to the days of every urban street is a 50 kilometre per hour zone and every rural road is 100 kilometres and that’s regardless of the nature of the road.

“There are reasons why we have different limits for different roads, or certainly that was the approach that the previous government took – it was horses for courses.”

Key stats on safer speeds, from Healthy Auckland Together’s 2023 scorecard report.
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  1. Higher speed limits on certain roads proposes 120 km/h on some roads, but it’s hidden at the end of the consultation and doesn’t seem to have been spotted. As most vehicles run most efficiently at around 75 km/h, it would add yet another impediment to reaching climate and safety goals. The Crash Analysis System map shows that even so called safe roads aren’t, even at existing speeds.

    1. yeah, going from 100 to 120km/h basically cuts the range of our EV in half, which means any journey would end up taking longer because we have to spend twice as much time charging…

      and my petrol car does *not* like struggling to hit 120 at 4500rpm in top gear.

        1. You can, and the trucks and trailers will still be going 90. But this creates safety issues of its own with greater speed differentials between vehicles.

    2. faster speeds means we are going to have to plant more trees

      I believe that was in the GPS section titled climate impact

    1. Stand up and be counted still applies even then.

      My feedback on this was probably the most emotional one I have done on a transport topic in 20 years. I was struggling to keep it professional in language, seeing how egregious and dangerous the proposals are.

      1. Same here. I had many expletive words came into my head, and had consider how to replace them for submitting

  2. It’s the most irresponsible piece of legislation the coalition government are trying to push. It will put more lives at risk, end up adding extra costs and burdens to local councils and do very little to improve the economy or productivity. It’s nothing short of a populists dream.

    This bill should be killed. Not more road users.

    1. And he has no evidence on the improved productivity claim. He has been asked several times and only says “the analysis is being done”. So its purely an ideological move.

    2. This government is beyond sociopath, it does not give a F%&* about human lives. Stopping the anti smoking legislation – 5,000 lives lost, speed changes ???lives, anti climate change, pro fossil fuel and emissions more thousands of lives. Thet are dangerous criminals…shame on anyone implementing their evil plans. We citizens and councils should refuse to implement any of these measures and oppose the government at every opportunity

  3. Submitted. After seeing my local council water down speed reduction measures based off the draft GPS, I’m so annoyed at both central and local govt.

    1. To be fair local govt just trying to save themselves money in the future as they would have to change brand new signs if they went ahead with them

      1. Nickel and diming when lives are at stake? Do you think that’s professional?

        AT’s response to initial discussions with Simeon Brown last year should have been to lawyer up with Auckland Council, WCC and others, and fight it.

        That is what we should be able to expect from a transport expert when a death cult takes hold of government.

        Instead, their response was pathetic and out of touch with their responsibilities.

        1. Come on. The govt made it super clear what was going to happen pre election they couldn’t have been any more clear that the speed limits would be reversed. They can lawyer up all they want the govt can still set this rule the same way it was set to force limits down in the first place. When you’re in as much debt as AC are you don’t really have a choice either. As TRM pointed out only 13% wanted the lowered limits in a poll, it’s sad yes but when you’ve got strong numbers like that it’s hard to do the opposite. If you want lower limits you need to create support for them no one has done that yet.

      2. To be fair, Tauranga Council is spending more on variable signs than fixed 30kmh signs outside schools … so saving money doesn’t wash well in this instance.

        1. You’re absolutely right Bradley a bit surprised councils had the money for speed signs in the first place. Hopefully govt funds the replacement signs like they hinted they would. FNDC was extremely arrogant ordering signs they knew would have to be changed. Their argument of they didn’t take a blanket approach is total rubbish 50k from SH10 all the way into Kerikeri has got to be a joke. Under the guidance it will have to stay at 80 no matter if they claim they didn’t blanket their approach.

  4. Submitted.
    Thank you for the summaries, very helpful in formulating my responses.
    I can only hope that someone in power actually reads these and maybe has a conscience….

  5. RIP ‘Road to Zero’ the new policy slogan is “Road to more 0’s” (at the end of the number of road deaths NZ will have)

    1. Pretty sure the replacement for RtZ is RtH, and I’m not calling it that because its the road to the pizza place.

  6. Simeon Brown is a psychopath. Sorry but there’s no other explanation. Why would you want to kill more children.

  7. [Comment edited. We remind people to read the user guidelines.]

    Policy of the previous government was to provide blanket speed restrictions. The policy was a complete failure in that it ignored the needs of local communities. Contrary to what is stated in this post, the approach has seen massive push back and is one of the many reasons why the previous government was voted it. The policy took power away from local communities.

    The new policy is a massive improvement in that it allows speeds to be decided based on road infrastructure. The Waikato Expressway for instance has been a huge success for both increasing safety an having a higher speed limit. The new policy hands the power back to communities.

    The studies cite in this post are a fallacy. If reducing speed limits has led to a reduction in road fatalities why has the annual road toll remained stagnant? We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars across the country implementing the sort of infrastructure recommended in this blog and the same number of people are dying every year. Your ideology is a complete failure.

    Last time we increased speed limits in New Zealand the road toll actually dropped. I know that will be counter-intuitive to many on here but that is what happened (was around late 70’s/early 80’s from memory). Speed does not kill and we need to get that government propaganda out of our heads before we can move forward.

    Using children as a political weapon in this discussion really is a low point. Of the 715 people killed on our roads in 2022 & 2023, just 17 were below the age of 15. They are not the group being killed, using them to advance radical ideology is something I don’t have words for.

    1. Hi TRM. Your statement “Policy of the previous government was to provide blanket speed restrictions” is not correct. The current Setting of Speed Limits rule does not compel any Road Controlling Authority (council or NZTA) to change any speed limit whatsoever. If they do want to change a speed, they have to follow a certain process of consultation etc. That is what is being taken away now. And in fact, in the first round of speed management plans only very few limits were changed.

      Re: “If reducing speed limits has led to a reduction in road fatalities why has the annual road toll remained stagnant?”: Mostly because very few speed limits were reduced. The studies of specific sections where speeds were reduced, showing reduced deaths and injuries, look sound to me, but they contribute a small proportion all crashes.

      When the open road speed limit was lowered from 100 to 80, annual deaths reduced from 843 to 676 the following year, and 628 the year after.

      When the limit was increased to 100 again, deaths went from 664 & 669 the 2 previous years to 747 and 766 the next 2 years.

      We have dropped from 18th place out of 36 OECD countries in 2000, to 28th place in 2010, to 34th place in 2022. Only the US and Chile are worse. And note that the US has a very large number of highly-engineered freeways.

      1. Good points Robert, except there was a significant amount of speed reductions in Auckland 39% of our entire road network had its speed limit lowered and there has been no actual decrease in deaths it’s sad but true. The fact is having a policy that targets the average driver is doomed to fail. Drug/Drunk drivers are still the largest portion of the road toll.

        1. Auckland Transport has highlighted that where speed limits have been reduced, there has been a significant reduction in DSIs.

        2. Lies with a bit of truth mixed in.

          As noted, deaths and injuries HAVE dropped significantly.

          And also, the “39%” figure is misleading in itself, because a) many of these reductions were quite slight (at least I consider dropping a 100 kph road to 80kph as slight, others may not) – and in many cases these were rural roads. Quite long (thus the high percentage), but with low traffic volumes. So in many ways this was just the start, and affecting only a pretty small part of the overall driving. But of course that is how you feel when you mainly focus on how speed limits “suck the joy” out of your driving rather than being an adult and realising that not everything that is fun should be permitted (especially if YOUR fun may KILL others – jump out of airplanes with parachutes all you want, that’s unlikely to kill ME, or my nephews).

        3. It’s a fair point Beatrice but if you read the report published by Abley they highlight the fact that these speed limits were put in then we had multiple lockdowns and that further monitoring is needed. Didn’t stop AT from spinning the data as if they had made a huge difference so can see how the confusion can happen. Also Damian the 39% figure is not misleading it’s the figure AT provided when they implemented phase 3 reductions.

        4. “Also Damian the 39% figure is not misleading it’s the figure AT provided when they implemented phase 3 reductions.”

          You clearly didn’t read my comment as to why I consider it misleading. Misleading is not the same as untrue.

        5. There may have been lockdowns during some of the time since the original Auckland speed limits were lowered but they compared the data against the parts of the network that weren’t changed. The safety gains were relative to what happened in the rest of the network – which had a relatively minor drop. Claiming lockdowns had an effect is a red herring.
          Also the “whataboutism” of blaming other factors (e.g. drug/drink drivers or any other manner of sins) overlooks the fact that we’re talking about the consequences once a crash has occurred. It doesn’t matter what “caused” the crash – if you’re travelling a bit slower then your outcome is likely to be better…

      2. If the number of deaths remains constant but the city keeps growing that surely is a (small) success, isn’t it? So it seems the speed limits helped?

        1. Excessive speed is a pretty small % of overall cause of deaths. Higher penalty’s for speed will fix this small %. Drugs and Alcohol by far the biggest killers on our roads. Hopefully roadside drug testing is on the way soon. The truth is it’s really hard to define if drugged drivers just happened to crash on roads where speed limits were not changed and then it’s put down to the speed limit when it obviously had nothing to do with it. Same could be said for the reverse argument too with the lowered zones. The sooner we start being more honest the faster we can get our road toll down. Australia for example 60-80k roads the same type here is 50. Bugger all 30 areas yet weirdly enough despite larger populations their roads tolls are lower. Speed limits have almost nothing to do with it and you only need to drive in AKL to see how almost no one follows the 30k zones ,cyclists are guilty and probably exceed the speed limit on some roads more regularly than drivers.

      3. Appreciate your response Robert.

        The Labour policy set out requirements that road controlling authorities must comply with when making speed limit decisions. NZTA somehow decided that 85% of roads in this county had speed limits that were too high. You can argue semantics all you want but the only way to comply with the policy was to reduce the speed limit on 85% of New Zealand roads. If that isn’t blanket I’m not sure what is.

        To his credit Chris Hipkins recognised the problem once he became leader of the Labour party and amended the policy to only cover the worst 1% of roads. He knew it was a big vote loser which was r-enforced by a poll at the time that only found 13% support. However, it was too late, the damage was done and the rest is history.

        In terms of your deaths data, 1973 was an outlier at 843 deaths. The years prior were 570, 655, 677 and 713 at 100kmph. Once the limit changed to 80kmph the deaths were 676, 628 and 609 which are comparable numbers to before the limit change. By using the outlier year as your baseline you misrepresent the trend.

        The final two years at 80kmph produced 747 and 766 deaths. I will admit 1987 was not a good year at 795 deaths but it is an outlier relative to the surrounding data. The next few years are 727, 755 and 730 deaths (two of those three years below the latter years of 80kmph) before the toll comes down further to 600 then 500 deaths.

        1. “Blanket” would imply that they all ended up with the same speed limits, but different road environments warranted different limits – just look at the different speed limits along SH6 Nelson-Blenheim and SH75 Chch-Alaroa for example. So there were informed nuances in what was proposed and where (even if most of them weren’t actually carried out).
          As for 1973-85 80kmh speed drop, I’ve already looked into the question of what the safety effects were in a research paper a few years back ( There were a few other confounding factors as there always are, but it was still clear that the relevant rural speed changes had notable positive then negative changes to the casualty pattern (not just to deaths either; that is only one relevant metric).

    2. Sorry, TRM, that’s almost all Fake News. There were no blanket speed limit reductions. Simeon is the only one with a blanket.
      A few kilometres of new road have been built that may accommodate 110 km/h, or even possibly 120 km/h, but I doubt that much has the vehicle containment standard that makes that safe. Also, speed differential in same-direction traffic flow has significant risks for motorcyclists and slower vehicles (eg. tractors on Waikato Expressway).
      The studies on DSI rates and totals, comparing roads with appropriate limits with roads not reviewed will show where the increases and decreases are and also signal what we can expect if further speed limit changes are forbidden.
      Children are not a political weapon. They are the victims of this Rule change.

    3. We’ve come to expect your comments to continue multiple straw man arguments and this is no exception. This article is spot on, your disinformation fueled-response is just plain embarrassing.

      1. There is no hate for people here. However there’s every reason to hate needless death and injury on our roads and the huge social cost that comes with our poor road safety record (34th out of 36th in the OECD).

        We’re better go with what works in those 33 countries with better road safety records than us, than go backwards to a policy where all research has shown will not work.

      2. If you’re so passionate about it, feel free to write an article about improving driver skills. I’m sure this will be welcomed.

  8. Arguably, New Zealand has a high proportion of road accidents, because we appear to have a high proportion of dickheads behind the wheel. Certainly don’t seem to see so many angry impatient youthful drivers in souped-up cars in other countries as you do here. Appalling driving abilities on some people.

    Seems to me that you could reduce the road toll by targeting them more heavily. The technology exists on my rental scooter and Formula 1 race cars, to blanket reduce speeds via geo-location speed limiters – like the pit lane at F1 – so why aren’t we working towards bringing that in on all vehicles nationwide?

    1. I always find it interesting that people comment how their city or country has the worst drivers – what that usually means is a confirmation bias where, because they spend the most time in their city/country they are more likely to see the “bad” behaviour there…
      That aside, there is plenty of research here and overseas showing that most serious crashes actually don’t involve “bad driving” but rather, just ordinary people who make a human mistake or misjudgment. You can’t tell me that any one of us is a perfect driver behind the wheel (and let’s not forget the imperfect humans outside the vehicle, walking/cycling/etc – many of them just kids). Fortunately most of the time we get away with it but, when we don’t, I’d certainly wish that I (or the other party) was going a bit slower…

      1. Hi GlenK – I lived in the UK for years, and in Germany and Denmark for a while, so am comparing those experiences with my time living in NZ.

        Borne out statistically, in Death Toll – Crashes per 100,000 people (wikipedia).
        UK = 2.9
        Germany = 3.7
        Denmark = 3.4
        NZ = 7.8

        Without a doubt, it would appear that drivers are worse in NZ than those locations. As for the reasons, who know? Possibly that we can apply for / get a license earlier than other comparable countries (we start off at 16), or amount of roads per head of population, or lack of cars on the roads (except for Auckland, much of the country is comparatively deserted), but I would put it down to dicks (bored youths with too many horsepower and not enough brainpower). Just had one drive past me just then – its not Formula 1 mate, it’s a central city street! No need for all that malarkey.

        1. I suspect that you’ll find that infrastructure has a fair bit to do with those stats, rather than NZ drivers being apparently twice as bad as European ones. You’re talking about countries with higher population densities, allowing them to afford building more higher-quality motorways. At the same time, they make greater use of lower-speeds for rural undivided roads and urban streets. So those things will no doubt help explain a fair bit of the numbers. And as I stated, despite the headlines and perhaps some of your personal observations, most crashes in NZ simply involve ordinary people who didn’t plan on being a statistic…

        2. Some good points Glen and I agree the infrastructure is better in those countries. But surely comparing NZs 7.8 to Australia’s 4.8 that surely is all drivers right? I mean let’s talk facts here a lot of their 110 dual expressways are not grade separated. 110-130 kmh on undivided single lane highways. 60-80k for almost all urban arterials. 50-60k urban default depending on state. Variable school zones instead of permanent. Actually looking at those stats if drivers aren’t the issue maybe we do need to raise speed limits I mean Australia has proved it’s safer.

        3. Not entirely comparing apples with apples when Australia has about 22 million people in their urban areas, and a bit more natural wealth, allowing them to roll out more extensive high-quality arterial road networks, as well as far better public transport systems to take some of the load off motor traffic. Lower fatality rates in urban areas predominate as a result (due to lower traffic speeds). By contrast, 2/3 of NZ fatalities occur on rural areas, largely due to the higher speeds present. So, while in urban areas NZ has a reasonable fatality rate of ~2.7 deaths/100k, the rural equivalent is over 30 deaths/100k.
          (Perhaps not surprising too that one of their least resourced states Tasmania, quite similar in nature to NZ, has a fatality rate of about 8…)
          My personal impressions when I was driving around Australia was that they still have some oddly high speed limits; e.g. 80k “urban” arterial roads, 110k on narrow rural 2-lane highways, still far too many 60k urban “streets”. No doubt they’re doing some things better (e.g. no complaints about their higher infringement fines), but they’re still facing very similar speed management challenges to us…

        4. Appreciate the response Glen. But I’m a bit confused I’m pretty sure (Sydney speaking) the traffic flows a lot faster than Auckland minus Parramatta road. Not sure if you’ve been but Old Windsor road flows at 80kmh and Penant hills road flows quite fast as well I think 70+. Apart from the slightly wider lanes there’s nothing particularly great about the infrastructure everything is still at grade. As for Tasmania they have the OVER is OVER speed ads and have recently reduced some speeds as well. Based off this logic we should be widening our lanes and increasing our speed limits. Surely drivers have a big part to play? Keep in mind NSW catches illegal drug use roadside as well which might be getting the “idiot” drivers off the road much faster than us.

    1. “Minister Brown said then the higher limits would deliver economic growth while “allowing drivers to get to where they want to go quickly and safely” and would also make the roads safer.”

      “Minister Brown later commented, “Auckland Council is out of touch with the people of Auckland by supporting slowing Aucklanders down.”

      No Simeon, the council understands the research, evidence and the results that speed reductions have achieved around the city. You don’t!

      Not surprisingly the two Howick ward councilors are 2 of the only 3 out of the full 21 members on council that support him.

      1. I cannot believe they are using that Abley report they know the data is flawed. Most of them wouldn’t have actually read the whole thing. Abley noted it would need to be monitored for longer due to lockdowns.

        1. “A report by Abley consultants for AT reveals: “In the 24 months following the June 2020 Auckland speed limit reduction, Phase 1,” the report says, “roads have seen a 30% reduction in fatalities. In comparison, over this same period, the rest of the network has seen a 9% increase in fatalities.”

          So what we can tell is that during that 24 month period, reduced speed roads had fewer fatalities while unchanged speed roads had more. The lockdown applies to the whole network by the way, so it is irrelevant.

        2. Good response Alex well thought out. You’re probably right although they did note that 24 months isn’t an appropriate timeline for making decisions. Even if it is right no one has managed to bring the general public along for the ride. If you want lower speeds you have to make support for them no one has done that. I would love to see more speed/phone cameras and higher fines but I’m in the minority, votes tend to speak louder than anything else unfortunately.

    2. There is some pretty damning stuff in that article. It just shows brown’s move is ideological because they have stats. Brown has none.

      “But this is central government telling us what to do. It’s a local issue and should be decided locally. We’re the local authority.”

      Just let them decide and the democratic process will play out at the local ballot box.

  9. The right thing for Govt to do would be to amend the existing rule to add a 5 yr review after changing speed limits, to see if there are any that were excessive and unnecessary (bet they wouldn’t find many).
    Simeon van Pelt may carry on cuddling his blanket, but as noted – Labour didn’t use a blanket, Simeon wants to.

    1. This is one particular part of the legislation which I really don’t like. The draft plan is to simple restore without the need to force speed reviews. This is particularly true for speed limits set by local councils.

  10. I seriously wonder if the evil is more deliberate and callous than we would usually think possible in AoNZ. But the complete disregard and contempt for expert advice makes it clear that they know exactly what they are doing.

    The extra deaths are the intent not just a side effect.

    When people crash at higher speeds there is a much better chance they will be killed on the spot. People who die immediately cost the health budget sooo much less than those who are injured and need all that costly treatment and rehabilitation.

    So yeah I oppose pretty much all of this draft Rule. But I also oppose the one thing you liked – the need for public consultation. I’m completely opposed to all public consultation on speed limits. Safe and appropriate speed limits is a science and should be left entirely to trained experts following that science. It should not matter in the slightest what any non-expert thinks whether they be a parent living next to a street, a truck driver on it, and certainly not some Transport Minister with ideological objectives.

  11. Thanks Auckland Trains for making the point for traffic calming.

    ‘…almost no one follows the 30k zones ,cyclists are guilty and probably exceed the speed limit on some roads more regularly than drivers.’

    If even the cyclists are speeding, perhaps we need to fix the design speed of the road itself.

    1. Funny AT lowered the speed limit on Hendry ave which is a main arterial for cyclists then made it easier for them to speed by removing the bumps they had to go over lol. If you sat there with a radar running you would regularly clock drivers 10-15k over and cyclists easily 20k over no one seems to take any notice of the 30 zone, Or even in the slightest bit cares and the cars do have new bumps installed. Another classic is Kalmia st, I’ve been passed aggressively multiple times while sticking to the slow limit. It’s a main route for the police and fire as well and let’s just say even when there is no emergency they also exceed the slow limit. 30 zones are an absolute joke you can argue until the cows come home but the vast majority of people in NZ do not seem to take any notice of them. There are serious issues with some traffic calming that should be debated like the impact on ambulances as well.

      1. It’s true that only so many people take notice of a road that has its speed reduced to 30 with no other changes. Ideally we’d re-engineer all of these roads to have a lower design speed, but that’s obviously not possible in the short term.

        This is something that can (very) slowly be worked on as roads are renewed over the decades however, and reducing the ability for a council to set a lower speed for a paticular class of road means that you lock in those roads to their current design speed for another 30 years.

  12. Kalmia St is terrible implementation. Only changes are the wide bands on the road at each end and the actual signs. Still very wide with nothing done to narrow it. I’ve parked there to walk over to Ellerslie shops and forgotten that it is 30 when I’ve left.

    1. Anzac Street in Takapuna is also wishful thinking, it goes to 30 km/h right before a traffic light and it is still quite wide. Nobody will slow down for a green light if they know they will be slapped with a 2 minute delay if they do.

      1. Nobody slows down for the 30 zones I’ve never seen more mass non compliance of a law ever in this country. People just do 20 over and they couldn’t care less including cyclists who they are supposed to help. I appreciate some people on here think they are really making a difference (they aren’t) the truth is when you look at the data excessive speed is only a little portion of overall accidents. And many of those wouldn’t have slowed down if the limit was 30 as opposed to 50. The truth is most of the gains from any speed reductions were in rural areas that’s just a fact. It was a good experiment but it’s over not enough compliance and it became a joke to the point if you try to do 30 cyclists and cars will toot and yell at you for going slow.

        1. “Nobody slows down for the 30 zones”: I do.

          “People just do 20 over and they couldn’t care less”: I don’t.

          “I appreciate some people on here think they are really making a difference (they aren’t)”: yes, they do make a difference, just not the difference you like to see.

          “it became a joke to the point if you try to do 30 cyclists and cars will toot and yell at you for going slow.”: so what?

        2. I do as well Wilbert the vast majority however do not. In fact if you talk about 30 zones most of them had no idea they even existed. And when you tell them they normally say oh well and keep speeding. If you try and point out to cyclists using Hendry ave that it’s 30 they will keep doing 50-60 through there because they just don’t care.

        3. “…the truth is when you look at the data excessive speed is only a little portion of overall accidents.”

          But the speed reductions are also about the results. Get hit at 30, live. Get hit at 50, probably die. 50% of accidents are just plain mistakes. There isn’t alot we can do about that, so let’s mitigate the terrible outcomes.

        4. You’re probably right KLK. I understand it’s frustrating to not have the majority on your side but the speeds will rise. Personally I’d love higher traffic fines but I’m in the minority and understand that. At the end of the day if you want lower speeds you need to create support for them no one has done that yet.

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